Providers Shorten Sales Cycle With New Approach to Online Leads

The decision to move into senior living is one that takes time — time that senior living providers are often looking to shorten, especially as seasonal occupancy declines drag down operational efficiencies.

But with the help of new technology, operators are hoping to significantly cut back on the time it takes for a prospect to take the first step toward committing to a community.

They’re doing so by capturing qualified leads from existing Web traffic through personalized messages that guide them down the path to inquiry.

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Often, qualified leads will return to a senior living provider’s website between six and eight times before submitting a contact form, according to Lead InSite, a data analytics company focused on the senior housing industry.

“What we’ve seen over time is that about 20% to 25% of our clients’ traffic are return visitors,” says April LaMon, co-founder of Lead InSite. “But because we don’t know anything more about them other than that — no name, phone or email — we needed a mechanism to personalize a message to deliver to visitors that look ready to convert, but haven’t yet.”

That’s the goal of Prompture, a new Lead InSite tool that identifies a community’s high-potential leads based on their past behaviors on the website.

Once they’re recognized as return visitors who are engaged in the community’s content, those prospects receive a customized message that nudges them to fill out an inquiry form or to take a look at other relevant content on the website.

For one community, in particular, this tool prompted nearly 5% of its 244 “high-potential” return visitors to become new leads.

“It’s great that so many visitors are coming to the site, and coming back, but we wanted to find out what we could do to help them ultimately engage with us and engage with us sooner,” says Kevin Isakson, director of sales and marketing at Isakson Living.

Park Springs, an Isakson continuing care retirement community (CCRC) based in Stone Mountain, Ga., piloted the Prompture tool earlier this year to test its effectiveness.

In a breakdown of the analytics, Lead InSite determined Park Springs had 244 high-potential return visitors, 109 of which were exposed to a personalized Prompture message, which appeared at the bottom of the website.

“There are four active prompts on the Park Springs website, which change depending on what page they’re on,” says Kerrie Gilbert, managing partner and creative director of Gilbert & Sheppard Group, the PR agency for Park Springs.

One prompt takes the visitor from content they’ve chosen to look at and presents the opportunity to get additional information on that topic, she says. Another presents the opportunity to go directly to a contact form.

A third takes visitors from content they’re looking at to a relevant resident testimonial. And a fourth is what’s referred to as a short form — it captures only the visitor’s name and email address, Gilbert says.

Of the 109 visitors who saw one of these four messages on the Park Springs site, 39 engaged with the message, or scrolled over the prompt to see it expand. From that number, 28 visitors clicked through, and 11 inquired, becoming new leads.

“These are incremental leads they might not have otherwise gotten,” LaMon says. “With Prompture, providers will get more and better qualified leads at the same time by inserting messages in their path that will appropriately help them convert more quickly.”

Since the pilot launched earlier this year, about eight providers have begun using the tool, and others have expressed their interest in it, LaMon says.

One such provider is Glendale, California-based be.group, which operates seven licensed senior living communities and 26 affordable senior housing communities throughout Southern California. In the coming weeks, the provider will be rolling out the Prompture campaign.

“Our objective is to reduce the number of visits [to our website] and the amount of time it takes for someone to make that initial decision to fill out a form requesting more information or requesting a tour,” says Dan Hutson, vice president of communications and marketing at be.group. “We want to figure out how to reduce the number of steps it takes for someone to go from ‘what is senior living? I’d like to learn more,’ to ‘I’m sold, I want to buy, sign me up.’”

Cutting down the time it takes for a lead to commit not only benefits the provider, but also the prospective resident, Hutson says.

“We want people to come to that decision earlier because we want them to have more time to enjoy the product,” he says. “From a business perspective, it helps us meet our occupancy goals and shorten the purchase cycle, which is important.”

Written by Emily Study

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