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How and Why to Track Your Leads

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Where do your residents come from?  

This blog was originally published by Long Term Living.  

Most senior housing providers will tell you they find residents in their geographic region. How people find them isn’t a mystery. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)) tools such as Yardi help keep track of where those residents and prospects originate.  

There is an inherent problem with that.  

A local marketing director for a senior housing community and myself have a cordial relationship. One day, I asked him how he keeps track of his prospects.  

His response?  

“As best I can.”  

His dilemma is not an unusual one. He’s a one-man show. Sure, they have a lead tracking system. But the problem is – he has to enter that information manually. This means remembering specific details of a prospect, potentially after three or four back-to-back tours on a busy day. He can rely on notes to a certain extent – but there will always be gaps and missing information.  

Couple that with the information you manage to capture from a phone lead and it should be fairly obvious where the problems arise. While having too many prospects, particularly in our current climate, is not a major issue for most. Finding ways to properly manage the prospects you have can be.  

Knowing which of your sources are providing the best return can save you money – both now and later. Most often, the Internet is the most affordable source of leads. But the trick once you move to the Web is finding people in your neighborhood – on the Internet. Finding local prospects online isn’t a phenomenon specific to senior housing. U .S. companies spend more than $150 billion annually on advertising in local newspapers and magazines, local TV, and direct mail. Many of those users are moving online. In fact, over 30 million Americans are currently caring for their elderly parents, with a majority turning to the Internet to aid in their search for the appropriate senior care community.  

As consumers shift from traditional media consumption to the online world, senior housing providers will find significant opportunities to both measure and improve the efficiency of their local advertising.  

The Key to Success: Tracking  

The best ways to track your leads and determine which of your sources are working, which are not, and how to spend that tightened marketing budget most effectively.  

Call Tracking – You can set a different number for each of your lead sources – from Internet Listing Services like A Place For Mom, your own corporate web site and Google Adwords ads to more traditional sources like the phone book or newspapers. These numbers will record your calls to quantify how many of your leads are coming from each source.  

Tracking URLs – By sending people to a specific web site that you’ve created just for them (sometimes called microsites) you can not only control what they initially see about you, but also track where they’ve come from. This is especially helpful in campaigns such as e-mail marketing, but can also prove useful in more traditional campaigns, such as direct mail.  

Mailing Address – This is typically just for traditional campaigns. A clever response-driven direct mail piece such as THIS one will actually get you a response sent back, via U.S. Mail. Knowing which direct mail piece garnered the response can help you the next time around.  

Online Forms – These are only useful on a web site. You can use these forms to capture information about prospects (name, address, phone, e-mail, etc.) when they reach your site and are asking for further information, or possibly a tour.  

While there are certainly additional ways to track and measure, rigid testing has repeatedly shown these options to be the best way currently available for finding cost effective lead sources and optimizing spending to increase the rate of return.  

The traditional model for developing local, qualified leads has worked to date. In some markets, it will continue to. But with prospects doing their research online 16 percent more than they did just two years ago, there is an undeniable shift from traditional media to online. Being aware of this shift allows savvy senior living providers to leap ahead of the competition by efficiently and cost-effectively measuring and managing local advertising efforts.

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