New Year Marketing Ideas For Your Senior Living Community

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New Year Marketing Ideas For Your Senior Living Community

marketing ideas for senior living

When it comes to setting a marketing strategy for your senior living community, as a marketer you can often feel stuck. Going too digital too fast isn’t a good idea, but traditional marketing efforts may be eating up more of the budget than you like.

So what do you do? How do you create and incorporate those desired senior living marketing ideas?

Step 1: Assess Your Goals for Growth

The first step to forming a fresh marketing approach is to set your goals. Many marketers think that a marketing strategy is about conveying a specific brand message. That’s definitely part of it—but a good marketing strategy is much more than that.

Good marketing begins with a set of specific, clearly crystalized goals. Creating clear, focused goals takes time, brainpower, and collaboration.

One of the best tactics out there for setting goals is the SMART strategy. SMART goals are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time(ly)

The idea is that the more finely tuned your set goal is, the more attainable it becomes.

When it comes to marketing strategies for senior living communities, occupancy rates are the name of the game. But even focusing solely on increasing occupancy rates is not specific enough. Many senior living communities may be tempted to say “we want to grow our occupancy rate by 25% this year.”

This is a good start, but keep going. It’s specific and measurable, but is this goal achievable and relevant to your company? Can it be done in the allotted amount of time? Asking yourself and your team these sorts of questions will help you create a concrete, workable set of goals.

Step 2: Assess Your Current Marketing Strategy

Assessing your current marketing strategy requires a pretty honest look in the mirror. Are your current efforts getting you the results you want? Figure out both what’s good about your marketing strategy and what you’d like to do differently.

Beginning with the more effective parts of your strategy and then refining can be both uplifting as well as effective. If, for example, you are already seeing a good return from advertising in a certain magazine, there may not be any reason to change. In fact, if things are working well you may not want to change anything.

Conversely, remember not to toss out the baby with the bathwater here. Just because your current strategy hasn’t been yielding the desired results doesn’t mean that it’s ineffective: it may just need some tweaking. If you’re sending out mailers into the surrounding neighborhood, for example, and they’re not garnering much interest, it may be a wake-up call to market to a different sector rather than to give up on mailers entirely.

Chances are, though, that something will need to change about the way you’re currently marketing your senior living community. The world we live in updates at a dizzying pace, and so your marketing efforts should reflect that and have built-in flexibility.

Step 3: Respond to Reality

It’s important to keep all of your marketing efforts within the context of reality. Sometimes fast-paced change can make us cling to what we do know rather than encourage us to branch out.

About ten years ago, I got hired as a marketing rep for a company that didn’t have a functional website. The first thing I wanted to do, of course, was get to work on building one. The owner’s response was along the lines of ”Well, we work with seniors. That’s not how they find us. We don’t need a website because we get our business by word of mouth.”

This is an example of a marketing strategy that is not responding to reality. While that strategy may have worked ten or twenty years ago, how likely is it that the market is going to stay that way? One of the keys to creating and implementing a successful marketing strategy is being realistic about change. Building flexibility into your marketing strategy and making room for change are smart ways to respond to reality.

Step 4: Add Fresh Ideas

One of the best ways to add new tactics to your marketing repertoire is simply to try things out. You’ll need to balance this with wisdom (and the reality of your budget), but it can often be eye-opening to try out a new method and see whether it’s a success or failure.

In general, it’s good to stick to your tried-and-true marketing methods about 60–80% of the time and try new ideas with the remainder.

Some senior living marketing ideas:

  • Partnering with related agencies: Partnering with related agencies can help increase your referral business. The more agencies know about your senior living community and its culture, the better equipped they are to recommend clients that will actually “stick.” Some ideas include partnering with Medicare sales agents, DME providers, long-term care pharmacies, local hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and home health care agencies.
  • Traceable marketing: Do you know how you’re getting the clients you do have? If you don’t currently trace your marketing efforts, you should. Try asking visitors on a simple survey how they found out about you or attaching a special code to a mailer or magazine advertisement. Ask prospective clients to bring the ad with them to their visit for a bonus of some kind.
  • Advertising to new demographics: Try shaking up your demographics by advertising in different neighborhoods, zip codes, or parts of town. And don’t forget the children of your residents and potential clients. Older people very often consult their children about moving into a senior retirement community, so their opinions can weigh in heavily.
  • Expanding the amenities in your senior living community: Happy residents will recommend more residents, as will their children and families. This tactic falls into improving infrastructure too, but the impending improvements can be announced and promoted early on in the construction process.
  • Digital Marketing: Even though senior living communities are targeting an older age group, this doesn’t mean that you should give up on digital marketing. More and more seniors are researching potential communities online. Make sure your website is user-friendly and reflects your community culture. And don’t be afraid to venture out of your comfort zone and conduct email campaigns or in-app advertisements.


What sorts of senior living marketing ideas do you think will work best for your company? It’s likely that you already have some good things going for you. Setting specific goals, making room for change, and incorporating fresh ideas are key to a successful marketing strategy.