In a shift referred to as the “gray tsunami”, baby boomers are aging into their senior years at an incredible rate. According to the US census, around 10,000 members of this generation turn 65 every day. By 2030, all 73 million boomers will be 65+ and maybe beginning to ask themselves how they envision spending their leisure years. Industry hopes are that this shift will begin to restore declining occupancy rates to pre-pandemic levels. To remain competitive during this transition, senior living communities must creatively differentiate themselves during the outreach and marketing process.
Building Trust is Key
Choosing a senior living community is one of the largest financial and emotional decisions people will make in their lives. Consequently, families and residents need to feel trust and transparency in the process- starting from the very beginning.
As trends change, here’s our take on 5 ways you can attract new residents to your communities.
1. Social media (both showcasing and prospecting like LinkedIn)
Recent statistics show marked increases in the number of seniors with access to social media marketing. According to surveys from 2019, 53% of US adults 65+ own a smartphone, and 40% of this population use at least one social media site. To attract new residents, consider what impact these numbers may have on your community’s digital marketing strategy.
While standard paper mailers and pamphlets may be beneficial in reaching those seniors who are still holding out on smartphones, there is now a critical mass of potential residents ready to be engaged digitally. Beyond an attractive website, you may consider showcasing your community on social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram. These sites can be effective resources in creating an emotional connection with potential residents and their families. Creating this sense of familiarity and trust via things like testimonial videos is the key to genuine engagement and move-ins. Additionally, consider including clear calls to action and contact options, as well as recruiting “brand ambassadors” from your current residents who post “a day-in-the-life” videos and answer questions from prospective residents. In addition to showcasing, you might consider prospecting for potential residents and their families via the professional networking site LinkedIn.
2. Creative Family Outreach
When it comes to fostering trust in advertising, relying on existing networks is key. According to The Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Survey, 83% of consumers say they either completely or somewhat trust recommendations from family, colleagues, and friends about products and services. If utilized fully, current residents and their families can be incredibly valuable brand ambassadors.
Creative family outreach during COVID may look like creating private Facebook groups for residents and their families where they can share stories and resources, holding live AMAs (“Ask Me Anythings”) with families over zoom or Facebook Live, or sharing a newsletter.
Post-COVID, you may expand these activities to things like hosting family appreciation days, brunches, and intergenerational activities onsite. These options work to foster a sense of genuine community within residents’ families, which will in turn increase the likelihood that they recommend your facility to others.
3. Virtual Tours
COVID has dramatically altered the way we engage digitally. Out of necessity, prospective residents and their families have gotten used to researching senior living communities from the safety and ease of their own homes. As a result, expectations have increased for the availability of easy-to-access digital promotional resources. From your community’s website or Facebook page, prospects should have access to high-quality recorded virtual tours of your facilities and amenities. To set your community apart even further, consider also offering personalized live virtual tours so that residents and their families may ask questions as they arise.
It’s possible that even after COVID restrictions end, prospects may still prefer to research their options without getting off the couch. Families value the ability to get a sense of your community before they invest their time to visit in person. An added benefit of providing virtual tours is that once individuals are on your website, you may be able to capture some basic information about their online presence which can be useful in creating marketing profiles/avatars and lead generation.
4. Community Partnerships
Fostering community partnerships is not only enriching for current residents but allows you to showcase the experiences you provide to the larger community. Moreover, these partnerships give you the opportunity to promote a positive local reputation, which can lead to increased move-ins. Partnerships with other local organizations are incredible networking opportunities and offer enriching social, cultural, educational, spiritual, and personal experiences for all involved. These types of partnerships may include gardening groups, local schools/universities, public libraries, and so much more.
More operationally beneficial community partnerships may include various types of therapy practices, physician groups, pharmacies, ambulance companies, etc. Showcasing these connections provide prospective residents and their families with a sense of ease and confidence in your community’s ability to handle whatever needs may arise during their stay.
5. Differentiating with Technology Investments
As we mentioned earlier, trends in seniors’ technology usage are changing fast. Digital engagement can no longer be an afterthought. To stay competitive, your community may consider differentiating itself through technology investments.
For example, Eversound’s activity programming library offers 100+ on-demand video options spanning art, entertainment, history, culture, fitness, animals, and science. Unlike regular cable TV, these programs are catered directly to your residents are truly enriching. Paired with Eversound’s headphone systems, you can effortlessly engage your residents in meaningful content. Investments like these show current and prospective residents that your community is staying up to date with the latest technologies and that you truly value their engagement.
Shake things up
Moving towards a post-COVID world, senior living communities like yours have the opportunity to shake up the way you do things while also integrating the critical lessons you’ve learned over this past year.
COVID has exhibited the necessity of clear and intuitive digital marketing resources to attract new residents. When approaching the monumental decision of choosing a senior living community, seniors and their families value transparency and candidness. Now could the time to reflect and reset the way you consider approaching prospective residents and their families.
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