Senior living sales and marketing teams are facing a seismic shift, both in terms of who they’re targeting and how they must go about it. Although some prospective residents still respond to traditional advertisements, baby boomers and their adult children go about their senior living searches differently.
At the nation’s third-largest senior living operator, the sales and marketing team at Life Care Services is taking notice, and taking action.
“We’re going from traditional advertising to modern marketing,” Liz Bush, senior vice president/director of senior living marketing and sales at LCS, tells Senior Housing News.
Des Moines, Iowa-based LCS is a resident-centric company at its core, Bush says. Right now, the company is focusing on understanding the senior living consumer, and understanding how that person learns about the communities managed by Life Care Services, LCS’ senior living management arm, she adds.
And today’s senior living consumer is quite different from yesterday’s—as are their adult children. Now, the people who are reaching out to senior living sales staff are armed with a much higher level of awareness about senior housing options—in part because they’re conducting their own online research, Bush says.
Still, it’s important for salespeople to realize that online research may not have yielded correct information, she says.
“Sometimes we’re having to go back and re-educate because they haven’t found accurate information,” Bush says. For this reason, senior living marketers and salespeople should educate themselves as to what information is out there about senior living—accurate or otherwise.
It’s important to be “digitally engaged,” or aware of the information that is out there about the industry, Bush explains. This includes the information that other communities have on their websites, resources like the “Where You Live Matters” website from the American Seniors Housing Association (ASHA), and content and reviews put out by Caring.com and A Place for Mom.
Once an analysis of the digital space been achieved, a community’s sales and marketing team must determine, strategically, how the community is going to engage in that digital space.
“Too many times, communities say, ‘I’m going to have an online presence,’ before they understand how they fit into the bigger picture,” Bush says.
Above all, a community looking for success in the sales arena should focus on its website first, Bush says.
“Whatever you do, whether it’s content marketing or pay-per-click or search engine marketing, you eventually want to drive people back to your website,” she says.
Written by Mary Kate Nelson