While third-party sales lead generators have held a strong presence across the senior living marketing landscape, some providers are beginning to take those efforts in house, and they’re finding a viable—and less expensive—alternative.
Ideally, marketers say, the approach is two-pronged. But a longtime reliance on third-party lead sources such as A Place for Mom and Caring.com has led to a slow adoption among providers taking the efforts in-house.
“If they have the staff and expertise internally, they should be doing this,” says Matt Fieldman, a senior account executive with marketing company Fathom. “It’s about customer service and how do you give potential move-ins the most successful experience.”
Fathom, which counts among its clients Brookdale Senior Living and Elmcroft Senior Living, works with companies to develop their own campaigns for strategies like keyword marketing, pay per click, and “re-marketing.”
That might include going beyond traditional search engines such as Google and Bing to span second-tier sites that often the senior living searcher finds himself or herself visiting in the span of a search, such as Advertising.com.
“When talking about this demographic who is 45 to 65, this is not necessarily the most tech savvy,” Fieldman says. “For various reasons, they’re ending up on sites like Advertising.com. That’s really valuable insight for digital marketers at these companies.”
For Elmcroft, which began ramping up its in-house online marketing efforts in addition to work with third party providers about eight months ago, the company is beginning to realize results, says Jason McCloud, Elmcroft’s director of Internet marketing.
“It’s becoming more difficult but more necessary,” he says. “It’s more difficult because there are more established partners out there. So there are third parties, but also large providers such as Brookdale and Sunrise that have been doing this separately for a decade. But at the same time, the cost is significant of trying to generate your own leads, so you can’t deny trying to get into that space and get into that market share.”
But in casting the right net for leads, the combined approach can be very beneficial. Costs can be reduced by as much as half, Fieldman says, based on price-per-move-in data Fathom has collected from provider clients.
“Overall, if you aggregate the average cost per lead or move-in from third party providers to ours, it can be from twofold to threefold less,” McCloud says. “It can be very substantial.”
Given the expertise and understanding required, as well as the “science” behind lead generation online, Elmcroft has found a holistic approach incorporating third party leads as well as self-sourced leads has proven most effective.
“Third party lead generators are important to the ecosystem,” McCloud says. “Our goal is to develop a holistic approach that embraces third parties in addition to our own efforts. I don’t think you can totally go away from third party lead gen, but providers now, including Elmcroft, are getting to the point whether in terms of the competitive landscape or price of referrals, if they generate as much as possible, they can reduce costs.”
Written by Elizabeth Ecker