The Next Generation of Senior Living Marketing: Automation

With more tech-savvy seniors online today than ever before, developing automated marketing campaigns is becoming the next generation of the senior living sales strategy, according to a panel of industry marketers.

Senior living sales teams may be missing valuable opportunities to not only reach more prospective residents and their adult children, but also engage and convert them into move-ins at their communities under traditional marketing strategies, said presenters with senior living marketing firm GlynnDevins during a Senior Housing News webinar Wednesday.

Marketing automation enables senior living providers to more effectively and efficiently market across multiple online channels (e.g. email, social media, websites, etc.), allowing them to automate the process that would otherwise have been performed manually.

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“It’s saving time for finding that needle in the haystack,” said Travis Bridges, senior account executive at GlynnDevins.

Marketing automation can help senior living communities track the digital behavior of leads via email as well as any other activity an individual does on a community’s website, whether they’ve downloaded a brochure, filled out a contact request form or clicked through content about the community.

This tracked data paints a picture of a potential lead, which can aid salespeople in better engaging a prospect’s personal interests or needs.

“It gives sales counselors a peek behind the curtain of that customer,” said Bridges. “They can see what that person qualifies for, what they’re downloading and what they’re interested in.”

Essentially, automation allows sales staff to talk to leads in a relevant way, said Mark Johnston, senior vice president of strategy, CRM and analytics at GlynnDevins.

“The goal is to help move leads through the sales process,” he said.

Automation has been at the forefront of growth in marketing technology with more companies adopting it and expanding their offerings to include automation, Johnston said.

But as evidenced by a poll question during the webinar, adoption within the senior living industry has been slow going. When asked what best describes the current level of marketing automation happening at attendees’ respective communities, only 6% said they are utilizing “full marketing automation.”

However, 28% of attendees said they use batch and blast campaigns in their email marketing efforts, while 23% use segmented campaigns to targeted lists and 16% are sending both batch campaigns and auto-response/drip campaigns.

That leaves 27% who are not deploying any marketing emails—a significant shortfall considering that 71% of seniors age 65 and older are online daily, according to 2014 Pew Research on older adults’ technology use, and 40% of new leads in senior living are coming from digital inquiries, Johnston said.

“All automation platforms are powerful email marketing tools,” he said. “Automation allows us to track website visits—we know who came to the site, what they looked at and how frequently they came back. Our goal is to finds those leads and get them in front of the sales people.”

But before a provider can establish an automated marketing strategy, presenters agreed there needs to be content that is engaging enough to drive traffic to the site and ultimately, calls.

“The more that content speaks to the intent, the more likely we can use that info to put a lead in front of a salesperson,” Johnston said.

Written by Jason Oliva

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