Chicago-based Senior Lifestyle Corp. recently revamped its company website and launched a new consumer blog as part of a year-long, comprehensive rebranding effort.
There were multiple reasons for rebranding the company, says Adam Kaplan, senior vice president of marketing at Senior Lifestyle.
“We felt we were getting good traffic to our site but wanted to improve conversions [of people who then requested more information],” he says. “We felt the site needed to be more of a resource for people. It’s a very big investment that we made to create the site the way we did.”
The initiative included creating new brochures, newspaper ads and inserts, and direct mail templates for the company’s marketing efforts, in addition to launching the new website and blog in late November.
The company hired a boutique marketing agency with no prior senior housing experience to carry out the branding effort, with an overarching goal of modernizing the look and feel of all of the company’s marketing materials. This included eliminating all stock photography and replacing it with a library of 20,000 custom images of the company’s own residents, staff, and family members, along with professional photographs and videos of each property in the portfolio.
“We felt we created more of an emotional connectivity with prospects and influencers by moving away rom listing attributes and showing people what it’s like to live in our communities,” said Kaplan.
Another aspect of the newly designed website is a live chat feature to the landing page, where visitors who are having issues finding what they’re looking for can converse with a Senior Lifestyles employee who is the company’s online concierge dedicated to responding to online leads.
Additionally, the company built a separate career site for jobseekers to access through the main landing page in order to track traffic better.
Senior Lifestyle believes the changes to the website will result in a significant increase in the number of people who visit the site and then submit a request for information. The company had the eighth-highest estimated site visits in October among the top 10 senior living providers, according to data compiled by SHN based on traffic statistics from online information database SimilarWeb.com.
While it’s still to early to measure changes in traffic and conversion rates, Senior Lifestyle is planning a final component to the rebranding: hiring a company specializing in search engine optimization.
“We’ve made significant investments in the content, look, and feel of usability,” says Kaplan. “But even though it will improve conversion ratios and aid the sales process, the next step is to make sure more people are coming to our site.”
The plan is to have the company perform SEO for each property in the portfolio and optimize each one in its market. The new blog will play a role in that, Kaplan says, as it will be publishing at least one new article a week on a range of topics that includes stories about residents living in Senior Lifestyle communities, staff working in communities, family members who have been able to obtain financial assistance in subsidizing care, and other information about veterans benefits and long-term care insurance.
“We’re trying to make it a resource library for people so when they’re making the decision they can refer to the blog and find objective articles about similar situations,” he says.
Another component added to the website provides what Kaplan hopes is another layer of objectivity: third-party reviews. Visitors to Senior Lifestyle’s website can see four and five-star reviews that have been posted on referral sites couch as Caring.com, SeniorAdvisor.com, or SeniorHomes.com, and can opt to click through to each review site and see every review that has been posted.
“On most websites, you’ll find people write things like, ‘I wish I had moved sooner,'” says Kaplan. “This helps add another dimension of credibility as they’re reviews posted on another site that we’re simply presenting on ours.”
Kaplan declined to disclose the rebranding effort’s price tag but did say the company expects a return on its investment in the coming months.
“While it’s a significant cost to hire a rebranding agency to do a rebranding, and a digital media agency to relaunch your site, there’s a lot more cost in order to do it the right way,” he says. “I think we’ll see a higher conversion from unique visitors to actual leads, and once somebody does contact us, we have a lot more resources available through the website and blog that help aid our sales people in educating a consumer on our product, and how we’re different from other options out there.”
Written by Alyssa Gerace