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?
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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.