The Value of Digital Marketing
for Senior Living Facilities

For over 15 years, we have provided digital marketing services for various Senior Living facilities.  In the past, such facilities relied on referrals from other websites like AplaceforMom or medical professionals compensated by high fees.  That is no longer the case.  Today, Senior Living facilities use their communication channels to reach their customers directly.

The following is what we’ve learned about marketing Senior Living.

Digital Marketing Challenges for Senior Living

Search Intent

There is more than one type of Senior Living facility.  Someone with an accurate understanding of Senior Living would know the differences between the following:

  • Continuous Care Retirement Community
  • Independent Senior Living Communities
  • Senior Living 55+
  • Assisted living facilities
  • Nursing homes
  • Skilled Nursing Facilities
  • Alzheimer’s care
  • Memory care
  • Respite care
  • Retirement communities.
Senior people are searching for senior living facilities

The average consumer looking on Google may not know the precise term for the correct facility they need.  For example, the consumer may look up nursing homes or assisted living facilities.  The actual term they may need to search for would be memory care.

How do you address this problem?  Do you optimize your website to be captured by searches for memory care?  Should you expand your searchability to compete for nursing homes too?  Optimizing for memory care will limit the number of people that find your website.  Only potential customers who know they need memory care will discover your facility.  Expanding to include nursing homes will increase the number of visitors who find you.  However, there is no guarantee that they will all need your facility’s specific set of services.  Additionally, you will be fighting to capture these consumers against unnecessary competition.

Local Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is Complicated

Reputation Management

The consumer trend for 2023 and beyond isn’t to go to a brand’s website.  Potential customers visit your facility’s Business Profiles listing and aggregate websites (like to check reviews.  It is difficult to attract positive reviews, but customers hold back very little with the negative ones.  To combat this, you will need to invest in resources to:

    • Monitor reviews across the entire web
    • Respond to customer reviews (complaints and concerns)
    • Create a program which organically attracts positive reviews.

Google Business Profile

Google pays attention to the search results pages and constantly optimizes GBP capabilities.  Your senior living facility must do the same to keep up in 2023 and beyond, which may take considerable resources.

Increased Competition

A client based in San Antonio, TX, was the only facility within a reasonable driving distance for many years.  Today, they have 11 direct competitors within a 15-mile radius.  Their story is not uncommon: more formerly uncompetitive markets are becoming ultra-competitive as new companies spring up.

Occupancy Rate and Marketing Dollars

Marketing investment needs to be consistent to grow and protect market share. Many facilities suffer from “yo-yo” marketing campaigns.  When the occupancy rate is high, they reduce marketing dollars to save money.  If the rate falls, they pump more money into marketing.  They don’t realize that it may be difficult to get to the original rate without using a larger budget.  If a facility finds their occupancy rate is too low, they may squash the marketing budget to maintain profit margins. The facility falls into a negative loop that keeps losing market share.  Meanwhile, their competitors that gain ground do so because they spend more consistently on marketing even with cyclic occupancy.

Paid Advertising for Senior Living

PPC for senior living facilities digital marketing

Paid advertising plus natural SEO is a powerful combination of tools for promoting a local business.  Senior Living facilities face a few issues that make this more challenging.

Health in personalized advertising (remarketing)

Facilities that provide memory care (or anything related to health conditions) have limitations when marketed on Google and Facebook.  Neither platform allows these facilities to run remarketing ads, eliminating a large section of the marketing funnel.

Average cost per click for Senior Living

The cost per click for relevant keywords related to senior living is $10, and for memory care, it is $12.  This is because there is high competition and relatively high lifetime value for residents in the facility.  Assume a conversion rate of 5% from your website and approximately 10% from salespersons.  It will cost about $2000 to attract a new resident.

Confusing Keywords

Memory care is healthcare and a term related to computer components like hard drives and USB management. In the past, we learned a complex and expensive lesson about keywords and context. We spent much time and money fine-tuning the paid campaign to filter out unrelated clicks.

The Path to Digital Success

There is no one-size fits all plan which can be applied to everyone without customization.  The first thing we need to understand is your unique needs and objectives.  We have to define what success means for your organization.  We may ask questions like:

  • Do you need to increase occupancy at particular locations or parts of the country?
  • Do you need to increase revenue at certain locations or regions?
  • Do you need to find a better way to maintain brand and messaging consistency across your locations?
  • Do you want to maintain a relationship with the existing audience through Social Media?
  • Do you need to find ways to hire new caregivers more quickly at certain locations?

Finding the right digital marketing mix

Each senior living community is unique, just like their target audience.  Your timelines, your marketing, and your needs are different and dynamic.  It is important to see what digital marketing elements best fit your needs.  We aim to create the best campaign with the highest ROI (short-term and long-term) for your budget.

Successful Marketing Strategies for Senior Living
[based on our experience]

From our previous work with senior living facilities, we found that the following strategies work the best:

  • Identifying the consumer persona:
    • The person searching for themselves
    • The person searching for a loved one
    • Medicare (insured) consumers versus self-pay (out of pocket) patients
  • Website design that is user-friendly and attractive to your target audience. It should also be voice-search capable, adapted for cell phones and tablets, and loaded quickly
  • Local SEO-discoverable and available on all relevant search engines
    • Google Business Profile
    • YouTube
    • Facebook
    • Aggregate Websites
  • Manage online reputation and reviews
  • Content marketing that provides real value
  • Paid advertising that compliments SEO
  • Developing a conversion funnel that captures leads early enough in the consideration stages
  • Working closely with the current marketing manager to craft a campaign with a consistent message for promoting the brand via
    • Social Media Posts
    • Event Marketing
    • Specials
    • Website Updates
  • Using analytics and data to observe trends, adjust the campaign, and test and improve seasonal tactics and the overall strategy.

The Bottom Line

If you need a digital marketing company to market your facility or senior living community locations, consider our experienced team.  Our proven results show that we know to make you successful in this competitive field.  Reach out to us today and see if we’re the right partner for you!

Roman Zelvenschi
Chief Storyteller

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