Last week I sat down with Andy Cohen, founder and CEO of Caring.com, a Senior Housing Forum Partner, to talk about how senior living communities can most effectively take advantage of internet leads. Today most senior living consumers do their initial senior living research on the web. In practical terms what this means is that consumers use the web to select 2-5 senior living communities to go visit and the vast majority of them choose one of those preselected communities based on phone conversations and site visits.
The Big Question
As we were talking I asked Andy this:
Suppose you were going into the senior living business and wanted to give yourself the highest probability of marketing success, what would you do?
Getting It Right
Andy’s first response was to assure me he was not going into the business of competing with his customers (I knew that). He then gave me a list of three things he would do. I was surprised because none of them actually involved becoming a Caring.com partner (though he did think that was a good idea).
- Build Your Online Reputation – Senior Living may be one of the very last business segments that treats online reviews as if they don’t matter very much. The reality is that, regardless of the business you are in, online reviews matter. If reviews are important to choose a one night hotel stay, a place to have lunch, the purchase of a camera or even a relatively inexpensive hard drive, imagine their power in making a senior living decision for a parent or grandparent. The caring.com data shows that senior living communities with reviews get more clicks and more requests for information. Most importantly they have a much higher move-in rate. The best part is that building your reputation costs zero dollars.
- Build a Nice Website that Reflects Your Brand – This means two things that seem contradictory. Don’t go crazy building an expensive fancy website. Build a website that reflects what makes you special and unique. Tell stories, use testimonial videos of residents and resident families. Tell people what your prices are (This will be the subject of another article).
- Have an Internet Specialist – Caring.com has done a lot of research on how fast senior living communities respond when they receive an internet referral. Only about half of the communities respond within 24 hours . . .
Let me emphasize that: only half of your marketing teams respond in 24 hours.
And yet . . . this is the big rub, if you respond within 5 minutes your chances of closing a sale go up by a factor of 10.
Equally compelling is that, if your community is the first one to respond to a lead from an internet referral site like Caring.com, you are 5 times more likely to get the move-in than if you are number two or later.
If you would like to learn more check out this 5 minute tutorial on how you can maximize internet sales by DEI.
I publish Senior Housing Forum and speak on a number of topics that are important to the senior living sector. While I am passionately curious about all things related to aging, I am particularly passionate about helping older seniors live purposeful meaningful lives.