Times have changed, and so have the ways people search for senior living facilities. In the past, when someone was considering putting a loved one into a senior living facility such as an assisted living facility or a nursing home, this is what the process looked like…
The Old Sales Process:
- Get a referral from a doctor or another trusted source
- Set an appointment with the senior living facility
- Make the decision
This placed a lot of pressure on the sales representative who bore the majority of the burden of convincing the caregiver or family that this particular facility was the best choice for their loved one. Today, the process path looks much different for many senior living facility seekers.
The New Sales Process
- Conduct an online search for senior living facilities in the local area (either with or without the benefit of a referral)
- Read about a few select facilities on their websites, and also read online reviews about these facilities
- Set appointments with the facilities that appear to be the best fit
- Make the decision
The difference is that in today’s digital age, by the time a caregiver has met with your sales rep, he or she has already done an extensive amount of research on your facility. The good news is that if the caregiver set an appointment, this probably means the prospect liked what he or she saw online and just needs the final experience of a site tour to validate what he or she learned online.
The challenge lies in becoming one of the top assisted living facilities or nursing homes considered in the first place. There are a vast number of senior living facilities listed online, so simply having a senior living website will not be enough—you have to have one of the most visible and engaging senior living websites for your geographic area.
So in short, your online marketing could be key driver of sales for your senior living facility, but only if you have a powerful Internet presence. I have provided a few steps below for improving your website and online visibility.
Step 1: Have a High-Quality Senior Living Website
If you want to compete at all in the online world, you need a modern, professional-looking website that keeps your web visitors engaged. Today, people expect every service provider to have a website, and for that website to be easy to use. This is where your prospects will come to learn about your senior living facility, what has to offer, and why it stands out from competing facilities in the area.
Your site must engage the visitor on both a rational and emotional level, and it should also profile the PEOPLE at your facility who provide care for residents and patients. This both highlights the staff’s professional qualifications and gives the website a more personal feel.
Step 2: Get Your Website Found Online
If you website listing is buried on Page 10 in the search results, chances are it’s not going to get noticed by online searchers. Another issue may be that your website is not showing up in the right types of searches. Here at Scorpion, we use two key strategies for driving more traffic to our clients’ websites through search engines:
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising
SEO is a group of strategies that helps improve your organic ranking in search engines. When you ranking goes up, your website is able to appear higher up in the organic (or natural) results for searches related to your facility and services. When you do SEO right, you make it easier for search engines and users to find your website, and you also improve the overall user experience.
PPC ads are the sponsored results that appear above and below the organic search results when specific keywords are searched. These ads give you additional exposure in search engines and can help drive more traffic to your website. By bidding on keywords relevant to your business and using other forms of targeting, you can ensure that your ads appear to the right audience right when they are searching for facilities like yours.
Step 3: Inform & Convince
Once you have a potential prospect on your website, the next step is to keep them interested and convince them to set up an appointment. Website traffic means nothing if it doesn’t lead to a healthy conversion rate (percentage of web visitors who actually take the action you are seeking).
Here are a number of ways you can turn web visitors to convert into new leads:
- Make sure your website caters to your target audience (includes design features and content that would best appeal to this specific audience).
- Anticipate what type of information your audience will be looking for and deliver it.
- Explain what makes your facility different than all the others.
- Include client testimonials that show visitors why your residents and their families choose your facility.
- Provide compelling calls to action that guide your web visitor to the next step (“Schedule a Visit Today!”).
- Make it easy for web visitors to contact your facility with easy-to-find phone numbers and web contact forms.
With the right Internet marketing strategy, you can get more prospects—and specifically, more qualified prospects—through the door, which helps make life easier for your sales team. I would love to help you improve your senior living marketing plan. Contact me at (703) 862-4464 to discuss your options!
About the Author
As Senior Vice President of Sales at Scorpion, Justin Mink focuses on developing and growing Scorpion’s national business across a variety of industries. Prior to joining Scorpion, Justin was the Chief Marketing Officer at New Frontier Data, a start-up technology company that provides responsible operators and investors in the legal cannabis industry with real-time data and analytics. Some of his other previous roles include co-founder and VP of Strategy at Music Audience Exchange, National Director at ReachLocal, and Brand Marketing Lead at Gannett.
Justin is a graduate of the University of Mary Washington, where he received a B.A. in political science. Outside of work, he enjoys traveling, cooking and wine, hiking and the outdoors, and spending time with his family. He is also a major Washington Redskins fan, spending a couple of seasons at FedEx Field on game days as an official team “flag guy.”