The numbers are in, and they all agree: better marking can increase your occupancy. In the recently released data for Q2 2017, National Investment Center (NIC) is reporting record low occupancy in the senior living industry. But while the national average has experienced a softening in occupancy for independent and assisted living communities (currently 90.6 percent and 86.5 percent respectively), G5 clients are experiencing an average occupancy of 94 percent – that’s 3.4 to 7.5 percentage points higher than the national average reported by NIC.
If your communities are missing out on valuable occupancy, consider revamping your marketing strategy with these 5 simple truths.
1. SEO Increases Your Visibility
Think about all the work you’ve put into developing your care philosophy, services, dining program, and community amenities. Consider the value these offerings can bring to the lives of seniors and their families in your market. Now, imagine how many more people you could reach if your property outranked the competition on a search engine results page (SERP).
The truth is, online users will not spend a lot of time trying to find you, especially if your competition catches their attention first. You may have excellent messaging, beautiful advertisements, and a fantastic looking website, but if you rank low on Google, you’re losing out on a lot user traffic. Lay the foundation of SEO through your website’s structure, your keyword phrases and more to ensure you get found when people are looking for your services.
2. Current, Accurate Information is Essential
Maintaining correct information online may seem self-evident, but it's actually a challenge for many businesses. When it comes to a robust online presence, there’s more to think about than just a website. Your business information, particularly your name, address, and phone number, must be correctly listed across all touchpoints, including review sites, social media, and directories like A Place for Mom, Caring.com, Senior Advisor. Incorrect information can result in a family member getting a wrong phone number or driving up to the wrong address. This bad experience will likely result in them moving on to your competition. You also need to get found across various directories and review sites. If leads can't find you on the most well-known sites and resources, they are likely to move on after only a very brief search.
3. You Must Adapt to the Latest User Behavior
Recent research shows that 51% of Internet browsing takes place on mobile devices, and that percentage increases every year. This means vertical screens are rapidly becoming the norm. Remember to take this behavior into account as you design your website and advertisements. For example, your website should be responsive, automatically adjusting the design and content to fit the device your residents and their families are using.
If your website lacks this important capability, users will generally have a poor experience with your brand. This will likely mean fewer leads and leases for your property. So ensure your website responds gracefully across all devices and is loading fast for your audience.
4. Clear Branding Converts
To effectively reach and convert leads online, you need to establish a clear brand identity which builds trust and loyalty with your residents and their families. Knowing your value proposition and how you fill a gap in your market is necessary in order to create a strong brand. As the foundation of your entire marketing strategy, from your website and blog to your promise to the resident, your brand is what drives your messaging, communicates your value proposition, and defines your place in the local market.
Without a clear picture of your target personas, increasing your leads can be difficult, especially if your competition has a straightforward, attractive brand message and identity designed for conversion.
5. Your Reputation will Precede You
Your brand identity and offerings do a lot to determine a resident’s opinion of your community, but there are other factors to consider when thinking about reputation management. The online feedback and comments from your residents and their families paint a picture of the day-to-day life in your community. Leads will use these reviews to judge and compare you with your competition, so negative reviews—or a lack of reviews—could be a problem when you’re trying to fill occupancy. Create a reputation strategy to engage in the online conversation. Respond to both positive and negative reviews and invite your happy residents and their families to rate you across all the social channels that drive traffic to you.
Strategic Partners, Smarter Marketing
If you’re wondering how you can leverage SEO, user behavior, branding, and reputation management to increase your occupancy, you’ve already taken the first step to smarter marketing — which, of course, is admitting that you need it and taking the time to evaluate how you currently are performing.
The next step is contacting G5 to learn more about strategic partnerships for effective digital marketing. Our experienced teams know the challenges and nuances of the senior living industry. We can tailor your digital solution to be scalable and practical today, and as your needs change over time.
Don’t wait to reach your prospective residents and their families. To see the results in action, download this case study to learn how MBK Senior Living partnered with G5 to achieve a 42% increase in move-ins from website leads.