The biggest challenge in assisted living marketing today isn’t building awareness. It’s standing out as the best option.
As a search term, “assisted living near me” gets 40,000 hits per month, according to Ahrefs. People know assisted living facilities exist, why they’re important, and how to find them. What they need is help figuring out which best fits the needs of their loved ones.
Your assisted living marketing has to do more than generate leads for you to stand out from growing competition. It also has to help you continually understand your customers better. That makes online marketing one of your best investments. It gives you the opportunity to reach customers online and show them why your assisted living facility is the best option. At the same time, it captures data on your customers’ journeys.
Those customer journeys can be challenging to follow, too, with senior parents and adult children working together. SeniorLiving.org found the majority of senior parents, or 41.9%, would prefer their adult children to be “somewhat involved” in housing plans. However, at 63%, the majority of adult children said they’d prefer to be “involved” or “very involved” in their parents’ housing plans.
Online marketing lets you tailor your approach to each group. That way, you bridge your customers’ concerns and keep your facility full of happy residents.
1. Make your website a showcase of active senior living
Personal freedom ranks among customers’ top wants in assisted living, according to Caitlin Morgan Insurance Services. That includes the freedom for residents to make decisions on socializing, eating, and bed and wakeup times. Besides showing customers how safe they or their loved ones will feel at your facility, your marketing also has to convey a lifestyle that excites them.
Your website is one of your best assets for your assisted living marketing. It lets you showcase what care, comfort, and lifestyle look like at your assisted living home. Think of it as the front door to your business. What customers see and read on your site determines if they’ll call or continue looking.
Organize your website with clear, simple design
The smoother your website guides customers to the information they need, the more you position yourself as a resource that customers can trust instead of a business trying to sell them something. Brookdale Senior Living offers a good example to follow.
Notice how the main navigation guides the customer journey with just three categories:
- Where to Begin: Covers process and logistics, from how to start searching for a facility to planning a move-in
- Our Services: Breaks down Brookdale’s level of care so customers can see how it matches their needs
- Brookdale Life: Details what it’s like to live at Brookdale, from dining to resident events
By anticipating what customers want to know and making it easily accessible, Brookdale positions itself as a facility that puts customers and their family members first.
Optimize your site for mobile
Would you believe only 13% of websites retain the same search position across devices? This change in ranking — you might rank on page one of Google on a computer, but not on a smartphone — happens because a business’s website loads great on a desktop, but not on mobile. That’s a big deal considering more searches happen on smartphones and tablets than desktop computers.
Start by improving your site speed since search engines see fast mobile page speed as an indicator of good user experience. Google’s guide on optimizing your site for mobile includes a speed test that recommends improvements. From there, use a resource like SEO company Moz’s mobile optimization guide to explore more advanced techniques, such as enabling and disabling certain plugins or using a more mobile-friendly site structure.
Create customer-centric content
Clear design and mobile optimization ensure a good user experience and help with search rankings. Now entice customers to click and engage with your website by producing content that helps them quickly make informed buying decisions. The best way to do that is with content that answers their most pressing questions.
For instance, Ahrefs shows that many people searching for assisted living want to learn about its costs:
- “assisted living cost” (1,900 searches per month)
- “cost of assisted living” (1,300 searches per month)
- “how much does assisted living cost” (800 searches per month)
Brookdale, again, offers a great example to follow. It presents a financial planning section that walks customers through how assisted living pricing works, from average costs to what Medicare can cover. Brookdale now ranks in the top 10 for keywords such as “assisted living costs” thanks to creating useful, well-organized content for its customers.
Keywords aren’t your only resource to understand what customers are looking for, either. For instance, Care.com reports that 54% of adults “would rather have the sex talk with their kids than have the ‘senior care’ talk with aging parents.” Knowing that’s a pain point for your customers, you can create a blog, a video series, or another content page that helps your customers’ families have that conversation.
Mix your mediums, too. Brookdale made a video showing how residents restore furniture in the workshop.
It works great on the activities page, plus Brookdale’s marketing team now has an asset they can repurpose in email, social media, and other assisted living marketing channels.
2. Drive people to your site by investing in local SEO
Like restaurants, dentist offices, and other local businesses, assisted living facilities depend on drawing customers from the surrounding community. Investing in local search engine optimization (SEO) improves the chances of your ads, videos, and blogs surfacing in nearby customers’ searches.
A simple but important distinction assisted living marketers should know here is SEO versus local SEO. SEO refers to the practice of reaching more and better-quality customers by creating blogs, videos, and other content optimized to appear in customers’ online searches.
Local SEO refers to the same concept, except optimizing to compete in a certain geographical location. It’s an especially important tactic for brick-and-mortar businesses.
SEO software SpyFu reports that 51.65% of all webpages worldwide are viewed on mobile devices, and 64% of Google’s organic search traffic happens on mobile. Remember those 40,000 searches per month for the keyword “assisted living near me?” A good portion of them are motivated to reach out and learn more about you, too. Think with Google reports that 76% of people who search for a nearby business on their smartphones visit within one day.
Ultimately, winning at local SEO through both paid and organic campaigns requires consistently producing content — ads, landing pages, blogs — that aligns with what your customers search for. But even more fundamental than that is name, address, and phone (NAP) consistency. NAP consistency refers to putting consistent, accurate business information across all of your online listings, from your profile on A Place for Mom to your social media pages.
So how does NAP consistency help your assisted living facility rank in customers’ searches? As Moz points out, every listing is a local citation. The more consistent your local citations, the more trustworthy your assisted living facility looks to search engines, improving how they rank you. In fact, it’s considered a best practice for local businesses to list themselves in as many relevant business directories as possible. This ultimate list of free SEO directory listings is a great place to start finding extra opportunities.
A great place to start with NAP consistency is your free Google My Business (GMB) listing. A high-quality GMB listing becomes a template that you can use to model other listings after. Your GMB profile, by the way, is the one directory listing you can use with call tracking. Just make sure you either add call tracking to GMB the right way or use the CallRail GMB integration to do it.
The GMB listing in the image above comes from The Gardens at Barry Road Assisted Living and Memory Care. It shows how the facility invests in helping customers by posting images of what living there is like, reviews from other customers, and an active question/answer board.
And if you want to learn more about SEO, start with the 10 ranking factors you need to know.
3. Use call tracking to find out which ads drive the most calls
Choosing an assisted living facility is a major decision. Even though customers may find you online, they’ll likely continue investigating your service by calling your assisted living center to ask questions. That makes tying calls to your assisted living marketing campaigns crucial to understanding your customers’ buying journeys.
Call tracking software helps you do that by assigning unique phone numbers to your online and offline ads, from billboards to your Google My Business profile. When customers call these ad-specific numbers, the calls route to your main business line. That way, you can see which ads generate the most calls.
Seeing your assisted living marketing results at a glance helps you understand where you might be underspending or overspending. For instance, CallRail’s Call Tracking lets you sort based on criteria such as first-time calls and qualified calls. Data like that helps you understand which ads are best for starting buying journeys and which channels your ideal customers frequent.
You can further optimize your assisted living marketing ad budget with CallRail’s optional Conversation Intelligence, which adds tools such as Automation Rules. With it, you can drill down into the dollar value of your marketing campaigns and ad channels by:
- Automatically qualifying and scoring calls with AI so you compile data on lead quality.
- Assigning values to those leads, then tagging them as closed-won or closed-lost.
- Running a report to cross-reference your data and see which channels bring in your best leads.
Now, you have data to inform how you spend your ad budget. Shift spend toward highest-performing ad channels; experiment on underperforming channels until you find what works and then scale from there. If text and image ads on social aren’t driving calls, now you can try video.
That kind of call tracking data helps Sagora Senior Living determine which of its marketing campaigns create the highest call volume.
“It’s been nice to just look in one place and see based on the campaign, ad group, and actual keyword phrase which ads are driving the raw leads in the form of calls,” Bret Forster, digital marketing manager at Sagora, said.
4. Analyze call transcripts to write high-performing digital ads
CallRail’s Conversation Intelligence feature goes beyond qualifying and scoring calls. It also bolsters your assisted living marketing by scanning transcripts to highlight important words and phrases your customers use.
Those words and phrases show you what your customers care about and the precise language that resonates with them. The more calls you analyze, the more data you have to create ads, landing pages, and blogs relevant to your customers’ wants.
It’s easy to use Conversation Intelligence once you activate it, too. From within your CallRail account:
- Enable call Transcripts on your call tracking numbers.
- Run Call Highlights reports to see the important words and phrases customers use.
From there, look for opportunities to better align your content with what your customers want by using their own words and phrases.
Keep in mind, seniors’ expectations about assisted living have shifted in recent years to focus more on lifestyle over care. According to CBRE, today’s healthy, active senior population responds to terms like “active lifestyle,” “active living,” and “active adult.”
A strong example to follow is this Facebook video ad from Oxford Villa Active Senior Apartments.
It plays up phrases important to active seniors, such as “independent Wichitans,” “personal space,” “social lives,” and “secure, maintenance-free living.” The video reinforces that messaging with visuals of painting, biking, and residents playing with their pets.
5. Take customers on virtual tours
Your assisted living marketing should share a glimpse of what life will be like at your facility. The more you can make potential customers and their loved ones feel safe and secure, the more likely you’ll stand out as the best option.
The ability to share a glimpse of life at your facility makes tours particularly important. It gives you the chance to make a strong first impression, specifically an impression of how your center is like a home. Consider that nearly 85% of baby boomers and Generation Xers would prefer that their parents and other loved ones move in with them. So if adult children have to put family members in assisted living, they want it to be an environment that feels as much like home as possible.
Virtual tours give you an advantage over your competition in a few ways. First, virtual tours help customers warm up to the idea and see the process as more approachable before committing to an in-person visit. Second, an in-person tour isn’t always practical. Imagine the risks involved with taking visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic.
St. Paul’s Senior Services attracts customers with creative virtual and socially distanced tours.
For example, St.Paul’s turned its annual Mingle Jingle into a Motor Mingle. Instead of touring the holiday lights on foot, guests drive the grounds and enjoy stops for cocoa and treats. Likewise, St. Paul’s shifted to themed virtual open houses.
A related idea: Shoot 360-degree videos or post interactive tours like these Rockwood Retirement Communities that let customers take on-demand tours of your rooms, grounds, and care facilities.
Drive continually improving results from your assisted living marketing
By using these tips, you’ll do more than build strong assisted living marketing campaigns. You’ll also continually learn about your customers as you compile more data from your SEO campaigns, call tracking, and online form submissions.
This information will help you drive incremental improvements across assisted living marketing, such as improving your Google Ads quality score so you get better ad positions at lower costs. It will also create a record of your customers’ journeys — starting with the ad that made them call — to give your sales and support teams the context they need for successful customer interactions.