With new facilities, concepts, and care options poppingup all the time, we really like to encourage our Senior Living Partners tothink about the role their website and overall web presence is playing in"earning" an in-person appointment with a resident and their family.
The emphasis on the word earning is intentional, withmore choices than ever, and consumer buying behavior permanently shifted inrecent years, the web is now the battleground that will determine whether yourfacility gets "ruled out" or "ruled in". We study trendsacross hundreds of facilities, and the Autum team measures the effectiveness ofdozens of tactics, at time of writing - here are some fantastic ways to earnyour way to the in-person visit:
1. Be present when consumers are inthe research and consideration phase. Often, senior livingcommunities are out of sight out of mind for many of us, until it becomes aneed. In the world we live in today, most consumers will turn to search enginesto help them identify what their options are. According to Google, over 400,000people per month search for “assisted living communities near me”, “seniorliving near me”, and other variation of senior living near me in the UnitedStates. That’s a lot of people trying to find facilities just like yours. Ifyou are not marketing on search engines aggressively, you are missing out on alot of potential business and branding opportunities. Senior living marketingis something that should be well strategized, planned, and executed to help youget the most out of your budget. Based on our expertise in the senior livingspace, these four strategies have worked the best:
· Paid search marketing on GoogleAds and Microsoft Ads – This type of marketingpinpoints your geographic market and prospective customers who are searchingfor a senior living facility just like yours, which is your bulls eye audience.With this marketing strategy, you can be at the top of search results almostimmediately. The engagement rates and conversion rates we achieve at Autum withthis type of marketing are outstanding. Click through rates in the accounts wemanage are 256% higher than the industry average, and conversion rates are 440%higher than the industry benchmark average, per WordStream.
· Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – There are two ways to get your facility in search engineresults for the searches that matter for your business, paid and organic. Wetalk about the paid strategy above, and the other part of it is organic.Industry wide this type of marketing is referred to as search engineoptimization, or SEO. SEO takes a lot longer than paid search marketing to seeresults, but it’s worth investing in long term. We attack this strategy andexecution in the below ways.
· Google and Microsoft businesslisting – Setting up, optimizing, and managing yourbusiness listings is a key part of boosting your local presence when people arelooking for facilities like yours in your market.
· Keyword research –Understanding which keywords and search queries are the most valuable for yourbusiness, and the most highly searched in your market, is a critical first stepin optimizing your site.
· Website optimizations– Taking your keyword research and building a strategy to help optimize yourranking for those keywords is very important. This often includes modifyingyour URL’s, meta titles, meta descriptions, focus keywords, image alt tags,page copy, and building out new copy for every page.
· New content – Creatingnew content optimized for SEO on a consistent basis is critical for helping yougrow your rankings and web traffic. This can be done through a blog, or justfocusing on existing pages and expanding on the content in the form of writing,imagery, and video.
· Technical SEO implementation andfixes – Monitoring errors and warnings on your site andfixing them as they pop up is important in Google’s eyes. It shows them thatyou have a quality website, and you are invested in maintaining a solid digitalpresence online for your prospective consumers.
· Search Console setup,monitoring, and execution – We use Google Search Consoleand Bing WebmasterTools to help us monitor technical SEO, as well asprovide these search engines with your sitemap, and submit URL’s for indexing.
· Remarketing – Remarketing refers to getting in front of users who have previously visitedyour website or taken a specific action on your site. This audience has shownintent and staying in front of them is sometimes all it takes to keep you topof mind during the research and consideration phase. We see great results withremarketing campaigns through Facebook, and our display platform.
2. Showcase quality online and makeyour brand pop. As mentioned above, often a prospective customer’sfirst interaction with you will be online, likely on your website. Having a high-qualitywebsite is critical for making a great first impression, showcasing your valuepropositions, and generating leads which can turn into new residents. A websiteshould achieve the below:
· Secure, to protect your traffic
· ADA compliant
· Responsive, to look good andfunction on all screen sizes
· Good looking aesthetically, toconvey quality
· Highlight your services,amenities, and other important information that helps your facility stand out
· Excellent user experience
· Optimized for conversions, oftenphone calls or form fill outs to help you get in front of as much new businessas possible
· Fast load times, which help userexperience, boost conversion rates, and help search engine ranking
· Optimized for SEO, to help yoube found on all search engine
We can’t overstate howimportant a high-quality website is. Aside from building it with best practicesas mentioned above, people searching for facilities like yours usually make anemotional decision. They want to ensure their family member is going to afacility with great care, great amenities, loving staff, and checks all theboxes to meet the high standard their loved ones deserve. If your website looksoutdated, does not function well, does a bad job at showcasing why yourfacility is the right place for their loved one, they will move on without evengiving you a chance, right or wrong. It is so important to impress online, asit’s your first chance to make a great first impression.
3. Provide Virtual or Video Tours. At Autum we have learned that prospective customers love to see your communityvirtually before making contact to learn more or to book an in-person tour. Havingvirtual tours, or video tours available online is a great way to showcase yourfacility in a low risk, less time intensive way for all parties. If they likewhat they see, it can lead to massive increases in both conversion rates and inperson visits, which leads to more qualified leads and more business.
4. Communication.This one is simple. Make it easy for people to communicate with you. We allhave our own communication preferences, and they tend to change based on whatconsideration phase we are in. At Autum, we take a comprehensive approach, andrecommend the below strategies.
· Phone Number – Makeyour phone number highly visible during the entire user journey online. Ofthe accounts we manage, 95% of our outreach comes from traffic calling you.
· Live Chat – Having live chat on your site can be a great way for people to ask questionsand communicate with your facility in an easy and helpful way. We can set upthis capability for you at Autum.
· Contact Forms – Somepeople still like to fill out a form and wait to be contacted. Having this asan option can serve a specific group of people.
· Online Scheduling - Ifyou make it easy for consumers to schedule a tour, schedule a consultation,etc. it will help you earn that in-person appointment. We leverage a state-of-the-arttool to help make your online booking a reality.
5. Reputation Management. Reputation management is often overlooked, not paid attention to, andneglected. Don’t make the same mistake. In this industry it’s even morecritical that you have a solid reputation management strategy. Bad reviews,negative comments online, or any other bad PR can lead to people flat outtaking your out of consideration right away. Potential customers what to knowthat their loved ones will be in great hands. Anything negative that they findwill often cause them to rule you out as an option. The good news is you can dosomething about this, and Autum can help make sure this does not become anissue, or barrier for you.
Reputation takes years to gain in the digital workd. Earning customer trust is a gradual process. That doesn't meant you should wait around for it to happen.
What to take-away
Investing in your online presence and marketing strategy is extremely important in the senior living and senior care industry. We know how consumers behave in terms of searching for their options online and engage with a website before becoming a lead. We highly suggest that you invest in a professional agency that is an expert in your industry, with a track record of producing outstanding results. Contact Autum today!