This blog is also posted in Long Term Living Magazine.
By Dave Beltramini, Director of Paid Advertising
There are scores of ways to reach prospective Senior Housing residents online, but here's a look at the most effective channels.
PPC (Pay Per Click Advertising)
If your locations have vacancies, PPC is mandatory. PPC picks up where SEO leaves off and allows you to cover the long tail. For example, if you’ve used SEO tactics to properly optimize your site for the term "memory care," what happens to the hundreds of thousands of searches for “dementia”? They go elsewhere. PPC can fill in that gap.
Additionally, PPC can serve as a branding tool. Working with an Advanced PPC management team allows support for the different stages of the purchase process with different ads, different search terms, and different, relevant landing pages.
Done wrong, email marketing is spam. However, if done well, it can be a cost effective marketing tool. Provide relevant content in a concise, timely manner and you will have a profitable email program.
Do not go out and rent a list; you don't have a relationship with anyone on that list. Collect your targets from places where they have interacted with you – such as your website.
Online Directories and Listing Services
In theory these are impartial places where you list your business. If the directory has a positive reputation and quality information, you may benefit. However, these are extremely costly on a per-lead basis.
Social Community Rating Sites
Sites like Yelp and CitySearch are typically associated with restaurants, not Senior Housing. But be forewarned: These sites will automatically create a profile for your business if you don’t. So it's imperative that you create your business profile; negative reviews can be devastating and you want to have the ability to influence that content with your message.
Social Network Sites
Social networking is hot, but the Internet has always been social.
First there were Usenet groups, then chat boards, forums, GeoCities and now social networks. What is new is how the online social content is being leveraged; social networking is the latest version of good ol' fashioned word-of-mouth marketing. When you interact with local people and businesses, you have advocates in place for references, recommendations and reviews. See here for our list of the Top 5 Social Networking sites for Senior Housing. (Hint: Facebook and Twitter both make the cut).
Warning: It is not a one-way conversation. Don't just push out press releases or specials. Listen and interact!
Online Video Marketing
YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine in the world today. What better way to project a warm feeling about your location, staff and residents than with a nicely produced video?
The purpose of a well-written blog is to build relationships by telling personal stories and giving people a better feel for who you are and what you represent. It also provides content for conversations and link opportunities for SEO.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Appearing in the top of the search engine results pages requires a lot of work. So much work that our next blog will be devoted to the SEO process.
There are many tools in the online marketing arsenal; the list above is merely a starting point. In a business sector like Senior Housing, which demands a level of personal interaction and caring, your on and offline marketing efforts must first focus on creating trust and respect.