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Why Hire an Assisted Living Marketing Agency?
With an increasing demand for assisted living communities across the nation, competition is soaring. If you want to attract new residents and stand out above your competition, it is crucial that you invest in an integrated online marketing strategy. Whether your community is a private-owned facility or part of a nationwide collective, digital marketing is the best way to ensure your community is successful for years to come.
Marketing an assisted living facility involves more than just creating a website and being active on social media. It involves knowing your target audience, analyzing your competitors’ data, and developing a foolproof strategy that will actually grow your business. This takes a certain level of skill that is only acquired through years of hard work and experience in the healthcare marketing industry.
Although hiring a marketing agency costs money, cutting corners and trying to cover your online efforts in-house might cost you business and precious time in the long run. Since online marketing is the single most effective way to grow your business, you want to make sure all of your investments are driving real results. Instead, an assisted living marketing agency will help provide a better ROI while you stay focused on caring for your residents.
What Marketing Ideas are Effective for Assisted Living Homes?
An effective assisted living marketing strategy doesn’t focus on one single technique. Instead, digital marketing involves increasing your presence on the internet, social media, and local listings. Five specific areas to focus on include:
- Web design
- Search engine marketing
- E-mail marketing campaigns
- Social media marketing
- Reputation management
When you choose Stodzy to create and enact your assisted living marketing strategy, we will focus on all of these areas and more to help you connect with potential clients, increase your bed capacity, and grow your business over time. The first place we will start is with your custom website.
Getting Started with a User-Friendly Website
Your website is at the center of your marketing strategy. If it doesn’t accurately reflect your brand, give visitors an idea of what your facility is like, and look professional, you’re going to lose business to the competition. Your website isn’t just there to provide information – it’s there to act as a virtual salesperson that keeps the phone ringing. Also, it very well may be the first impression many people make of your facility – so you better make it good.
So, what do we mean by a “user-friendly website?” Well, a user-friendly website is easy to navigate and use on PCs, mobile phones, and tablets or iPads. This means your website should have a mobile-friendly interface with a simple design and quick page speed. As the focal point of your marketing campaign, you don’t want your website to be bland, cluttered, or looking like it was built by an amateur. Additionally, you don’t want your webpages to take several seconds to load because people will give up on your site and move to the next one. Instead, you want a professional design, optimal page speed, clean navigation bar, and informative pages that help users decide what their next step will be.
In addition to responsiveness, your website should also clearly convey your brand’s messaging to your target audience. Delivering the right types of information to the right types of visitors is critical. When it comes to targeting prospective residents, there are three types of audiences you want to shoot for:
- Adult children who are looking for an assisted living facility for their parents, particularly baby boomers and Gen Xers.
- Seniors who may be looking for an assisted living home.
- Institutions and physicians who might refer seniors to your facility.
In order to target these audiences on your website, you will need to provide thorough information that is necessary for your market to make an informed decision of where to send their loved one. This information will be posted on your landing pages as well as regular blog posts.
When it comes to assisted living websites, you will want to spice up your website with visuals, infographics, videos, or even a virtual tour of the facility. These graphics help give users a better feel for what your facility is like and the different amenities that you offer. Rather than using stock photos, communicate your facility’s value by using real images to showcase your services and amenities.
Invest in SEO to Boost Your Rankings and Generate Inbound Leads
When an adult child of someone who is in need of senior care begins looking for a facility, they might run a Google search that looks like this:
As you can see, the first three results are paid ads, followed by Google My Business Listings and, finally, the organic search results. According to Backlinko, websites that rank as the #1 organic search result are 10 times more likely to get clicked on than pages in the #10 spot. Additionally, websites that rank starting on the second page of search results have a significantly lower click-through-rate than websites that rank on the first page as less than 1% of users click on results on the second page.
In order to move up in the rankings and earn the top search positions for conversion-driven keywords, you must invest in search engine optimization (SEO).
Content Marketing Ideas for Assisted Living Homes
Content is at the heart of SEO. One of the best ways to both deliver information to your potential clients while increasing your online visibility is through blogging. Your blog posts should be informative, reliable, and valuable to the reader. For example, you might write a blog post on “How To Evaluate Your Parent’s Need for Assisted Living” that offers practical tips and examples on how adult children can tell whether or not it’s time to look into assisted living for their parent(s).
The blog should be easy to read and contain the right keywords to rank for specific search terms. For example, you could SEO this blog to rank for search terms like “does my mom need assisted living?” Then, over time, you would dedicate on and off-page SEO techniques so that when people search for a specific keyword such as “does my mom need assisted living,” your website shows up on the first page of the search results, like below.
In addition to managing a regularly scheduled blog, your website should also consist of landing pages that offer an in-depth description of different offers, amenities, and programs that your community has. Then, to wrap up each page of content, you should have a call to action that either encourages the visitor to call your facility or give you their e-mail address to be signed up for your e-mail newsletter.
On-Page & Off-Page SEO Techniques
Of course, you can write great informative content but struggle to get it to rank well. This is where on and off-page SEO comes in. If nobody can find your website on Google, what’s the point? Here are a few on and off-page SEO strategies that your assisted living marketing strategy should focus on if you want to move up in the rankings.
- Title tags and meta descriptions – Title tags and meta descriptions are pieces of HTML code that are found in the header of each webpage. These identifiers help search engines understand what a web page is all about. Title tags appear on web browsers, search results pages, and social media websites, whereas meta descriptions are a short summary of the webpage that appears under the title tag. As seen below, once published on a search engine, the title tag (blue text) takes the user to the designated webpage while the meta description (black text) provides a summary of the content on that particular page.
- URL structures – Google takes many factors into consideration when ranking a webpage, and URL structures are one. You can designate custom URLs on the back end of your website when publishing a page. URLs should clearly describe the hierarchy of a webpage, contain the right keywords, and briefly let readers know what the page is about. Here is an example of a bad URL structure vs. a good one. As you can see, the second URL clearly tells us that the page is about the amenities at the facility in a simple and clean manner.
- Backlinks – Backlinks may come from guest posts, PR-related media, resource pages, and business listings. When you obtain backlinks from high-authority websites, your website earns a level of trust and authority. This sends positive SEO signals to Google bots that your website is a reliable and trusted source of information.
- Images and alt text – Content that ranks well often includes photos or infographics to spruce up the information on the page. Although search engines can’t see an image, they can read the alt text – which is another HTML attribute that is accessed on the back end of your website. Your image alt text should clearly describe the purpose of the image so that search engines can take this information in and use it to rank your webpage.
- Citations – These are places on the web where your business information is listed. This includes your name, address, and phone number (NAP). You will want to make sure your NAP is exactly the same everywhere your business name appears on the internet. This uniformity will help your SEO efforts.
Clearly, there is a lot that goes into search engine marketing for assisted living facilities and that’s only the tip of the iceberg. If you really want to see your rankings grow and your revenue increase, you will want to leave SEO to the experts.
Capitalize on Local Search Marketing
Most people want to find their parents an assisted living home near them. They want to be able to visit regularly and check in with their loved ones. As a result, local search marketing is one of the most important online marketing strategies for assisted living homes. The first place you will want to start is with Google My Business (GMB).
If you’re like most people, you have searched for a product or service near you at one point or another. Before the organic search results begin, most local searches will result in Google My Business’s local 3 pack, as pictured below.
The importance of ranking in the local 3-pack for assisted living-related keywords cannot be understated. According to HubSpot, 46% of all Google searches are looking for local information or businesses, and searches related to terms like “near me” or “close by” have grown more than 900% over the last two years. With Google being the most commonly used search engine, taking advantage of GMB’s free features is a sure-fire way to bring in more residents.
After claiming and verifying your listing, it’s important to fill our your business name, address, phone number, and description as accurately as possible to ensure maximum visibility of your GMB profile. Once you fill out your profile entirely, your completed listing will look something like this on Google.
Google My Business is powerful for a number of reasons. Not only will ranking in the local 3-pack help increase your organic search traffic and call volume, but it provides a trustworthy source of information about your business. As you can see, on a GMB profile you are easily able to locate links to the website, contact information, directions, business information, and even reviews. Like organic search engine results, the closer your business is to the top of the Google Map Listings, the more phone calls, residents, and revenue you will generate.
Paid Advertising Options
Organic SEO is the best way to achieve long-term results as your webpages slowly move up in the search positions. However, another marketing idea for assisted living homes is paid advertising. Whether you use PPC Google Adwords for Facebook ads, these paid advertising methods will target users who are searching for assisted living facilities.
If you have ever searched for an assisted living home on Google, you probably noticed that the very first thing you see is an advertisement like this:
With PPC ads, advertisers identify target keywords, bid on those keywords, and Google determines which keywords from your account are most relevant as well as your ad rank. The highest ad rank for that keyword earns the first Google Ads position, and so on. Since you will pay each time a user clicks on your ad, PPC ads can get costly, which is why you want to leave it to the experts to determine how to make the most out of your ads.
Another paid advertising option for assisted living homes is Facebook ads. The majority of baby boomers who may be looking to put their parents in a senior care home are already on Facebook, and if they’ve been doing research about assisted livings recently, you can target your Facebook ads to show up on their newsfeed. Unlike Google Ads, your Facebook ads can come with more than just a title, call to action, link to your website, and business description/offer – they can also include pictures, short videos, more detailed descriptions, and more.
Although PPC and Facebook ads can become costly over time, when executed correctly they are a great way to target specific audiences, generate more conversions, and ultimately lead to more admissions to your facility.
Increase Your Conversions with E-mail Marketing Campaigns
Building a website and making sure people are able to actually find your website is only the first step. Going to an assisted living facility isn’t an easy decision to make and it certainly isn’t a decision that is made overnight. Instead, everyone in your target market is going to do some research before making a decision. As a result, you have to ask, how can you nurture the potential leads that come through you website? More importantly, how can you make sure a past page visitor chooses your facility over the competition?
The answer often lies in e-mail marketing.
There are several ways to capture a person’s e-mail address. We already mentioned CTAs and how those can be effective on blog posts and landing pages – but what if somebody doesn’t even scroll down to the bottom of the page? This is why you should build your e-mail list using multiple strategies, including:
- Exit-intent pop-ups that appear when a user’s keystrokes indicate that they are about to leave the page. This will offer the user a promotion or deal in exchange for someone’s e-mail address.
- Post your e-mail newsletter signup link on your social media channels so your already dedicated followers can sign up.
- Publish a banner on your website that encourages users to put in their e-mail address in exchange for an offer or weekly tips and advice.
- Share blog posts on Facebook and give users an option to sign up for e-mails to receive similar content right to their inbox.
After you have begun building a decent e-mail list, it’s time to start sending out targeted emails and autoresponder campaigns.
Making The Most of Your E-mail Newsletters
When your e-mail arrives in someone’s inbox, they’re going to glance at the subject line. If your subject line doesn’t grab their attention or offer valuable information, some people might just delete your e-mail. In addition to an attention-grabbing subject line, your e-mail newsletter should deliver a clear message, include links to your website and social media profiles, as well as a call to action or a special invitation to an upcoming open house.
Your e-mails might consist of everything from recent blog posts to videos and industry-related news pieces. As your relationship with your readers begins to grow, your sale’s funnel begins. The next step is to create customized autoresponder e-mails that target specific patients. Using e-mail automation software, your assisted living marketing agency can track the actions that your readers are taking to create more customized and targeted content.
The ultimate goal is to turn this person isn’t a real lead by getting them to tour your facility, meet with a salesperson, and continue to receive your information until this person is ready to choose your facility as their parent’s new home. When your e-mails are sent regularly, provide relevant and useful information, and are focused on bringing new leads into your community, you will start to watch your assisted living facility grow.
Use Social Media to Market an Assisted Living Home
Although your blog, website, and e-mail campaigns will be effective at delivering information to your prospects, your assisted living facility should also take advantage of social media marketing. In fact, social media is one of the best ways to promote your existing content and interact with your target audience on a personal level.
When it comes to social media, people often think that the more followers they have, the better. While this might be true for general social media influencers, this isn’t the case for healthcare facilities – especially assisted living homes. Your services are for senior citizens, so having an immense following of 20-30-year-olds probably isn’t going to generate you many leads. Alternatively, if your following consists of local baby boomers and Gen Xers who are starting to look into homes for their parents, you’re on the right track.
Taking into consideration your target demographic, Facebook is one of the strongest social media marketing ideas for assisted living homes. 68% of people aged 50-64 are active Facebook users, making Facebook the most popular social media platform for your target audience.
In order to build a following, the content you share on social media needs to be valuable to your target audience. After all, the entire purpose of your social media profile is to build new relationships and engage with prospective residents and their families. In addition to sharing promotional offers, new amenities, blog posts, and general information about your facility, its also a good idea to incorporate some fun, friendly posts into your page to give your facility a warm, homey feel. Here’s a great example:
In the comments, family members go on to talk about how much their parents enjoyed the activity, which looks welcoming and appealing to prospective residents.
By regularly posting on social media, your facility will be able to connect to new residents, showcase your compassionate nature, and give prospective residents and their families a reason to choose you over the competition.
Manage Your Reputation and Respond to Reviews
People tend to find an assisted living facility in one of two ways: by receiving a recommendation or finding one online. When looking for a senior living home, people want to know that they are putting their parents in the hands of someone they can trust. Since most people trust online reviews just as much as they trust word-of-mouth recommendations, it’s essential to manage your online reputation and actively respond to reviews.
First, consider all of the different places that reviews come from. There are the obvious ones, like Facebook, Yelp, and Google My Business, and there are more niche review sites, such as senioradvisor.com or caring.com. To begin managing your online listings, you will register, claim, and fill out your listings in entirety. It’s important to remember that these listings aren’t only good for reviews – they’re also likely to show up in organic search listings and may become an additional source of organic SEO for your brand.
The key to getting more positive Google reviews is to provide a positive experience to your guests, staff, residents, and family members. A helpful, caring staff combined with a clean and positive environment is the perfect recipe for ensuring that your online review profile is a positive one. So, how do you develop a review strategy that works?
Some of the best ways are to simply ask personally or set up an e-mail template asking prospective residents, families who have toured your facility, or past residents and their families to tell you about their experience. Your e-mail can have two options: one for good feedback and one for bad feedback. Direct the “good feedback” button towards your review site, and the “bad feedback” option could open up a form that allows them to send their feedback directly to you. This will help push positive reviews to your online profiles and inform your staff of areas you may need to improve in to better satisfy your residents and their families.
Getting reviews is only one piece of the puzzle. Your potential residents and their families are paying a lot of attention to your online reviews, which means you should, too. Bad reviews happen, but in many cases, businesses can redeem themselves by solving the situation. If a potential customer sees that a poor review was left ignored on your GMB profile, it’s not a good look. Responding to both poor and positive reviews is crucial because it shows customers that you care about your residents’ experiences and are actively looking to improve.
Here is just one good example of an assisted living home who has quite a few negative reviews, but has taken the time to respond individually to each and every review – both good and bad – to further improve their services and online profile.
Clients are looking at your reviews and they are also looking at how you respond to them. When you have a full-throttle review strategy in place, your online listings will be that much better than the competition. With a good reputation and a streamlined online strategy, your facility will be ready to watch your prospects grow and your business flourish.
Let Stodzy Take Care of Your Assisted Living Marketing Needs
When you choose Stodzy for your assisted living marketing needs, you will feel assured every step of the way that your online strategy is in the right hands. Between working with you to develop and optimize your website to handling your SEO, e-mail marketing, and social media accounts, our healthcare marketing experts are here for you each step of the way. Hiring Stodzy means detailed monthly reporting, flawless project management and execution, and a return on investment that you simply won’t find anywhere else.
Whether you are just beginning to expand your assisted living facility or have been let down by a marketing company in the past, Stodzy is made up of professionals you can trust. Contact us today at 800-761-1426 to get started with a free site audit and consultation.