Bankrate.com’s recent acquisition of Caring.com may have some senior living providers asking how they can compete against the lead generation giant, which now has a greater pool of resources and funding to draw from.
Matthew Fieldman, senior account executive of digital marketing agency Fathom, offers ways providers can stand out against the $1.5 billion marketing machine’s foray into the senior health care sector in a recent blog post.
Fieldman advises providers, “own your reviews, create your own pay-per-click marketing, create valuable, hyper-local content, nurture your leads [and] stay ahead of the curve.”
Here are six ways senior living providers large and small can develop organic, meaningful leads.
1.Develop your website
A provider’s website should be set up as a way to generate organic leads in addition to educating prospects about the brand.
“You want a website optimized for conversion [that allows interested parties to provide contact information],” Fieldman tells SHN. “So many senior housing providers opt for beautiful, original pictures but have no way to convert.”
2. Make a lasting first impression
A senior living provider’s website is often the first point of contact a prospect has with the provider.
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“Consumers are a lot more savvy,” Fieldman said about the way prospects shop the market compared to years past. “They want to do their senior living shopping the same way they do their car or house shopping — online. They want to get as much information as possible on their first visit to the website.”
“Eighty percent of my clients’ visitors convert on the first visit to the site,” he says, adding that sites that ask potential clients to call rather than provide information online may be missing out on organic leads.
3. Use reviews to your advantage
The majority of leads move in between 30 and 90 days, Fieldman says, adding that providers’ online presence is a key marketing component.
In addition to a provider’s website, companies should be following reviews of their product in online forums and make sure their brand ranks highly in organic results.
“What are people saying about you, and how are you responding?” Fieldman says.
4. Embrace online resources
For those unfamiliar with pay-per-click online advertising or search engine optimization (SEO), Fieldman suggests searching the web for free tutorials.
“The access to information is huge,” he says, adding that utilizing Google Analytics can also provide insight into the ages and demographics of people visiting a provider’s website. “The challenge is, how do you interpret that data and make use of it?”
5. Don’t pinch pennies
While Fieldman encourages providers to first learn about and implement online strategies to reach intended markets “DIY style,” a provider feeling overwhelmed should know when it’s time to call an expert.
“A good agency or vendor will educate you as well as execute the strategy so you can learn and understand along the way,” he says.
Investing in marketing technology is also key.
“Why are you pinching pennies when every empty bed is costing you thousands of dollars?,” he says. “Invest in technology that sets you apart.”
6. Go hyper-local
While Bankrate.com has “infinite financial resources, they’re competing nationwide,” says Fieldman. “They’re not thinking about how to make a difference in specific markets. So a hyper-local approach is a great strategy for mom and pop sites.”
For providers contemplating paying into a model that garners leads on a national scale, Fieldman says to be wary.
National providers who are marketing in all markets are selling their leads to everyone else who is buying in, which can affect the quality of the lead, Fieldman says, adding that another challenge with large-scale lead generation companies is that they may not be able to “fundamentally communicate your brand and product.”
Providers can stand apart by promoting their ties to their desired region and demographic.
“They can say, ‘We are not a national brand, we are the brand of this particular region,’” he says.
Written by Cassandra Dowell