When you first make contact with new prospects—through an ad, your website, your Facebook page, or elsewhere—you are inviting them to form a connection, and developing connections has stages. There will be a time to ask for their contact info, but that time isn’t now.

Your tool for guiding buyers through their journey is the call-to-action. Whenever you want a prospect to do something—view a virtual tour or schedule a walk-through—you should lead them to that action in a clear and compelling way.

Since the buyer experience is a journey, you need more than one call-to-action; and each one has to suit the stage at hand. Just as a new friendship might start at a group event, your first call-to-action might be a social media invitation to an open house, with a promise of good food and activities.

On the other hand, if a casual acquaintance starts asking for all your time too soon, it can be off-putting. The same goes for your marketing efforts. Your prospective customers want to get to know you, to see if this connection is a good fit.

Last week we mapped the buyer’s journey for an apartment search, suggesting effective calls-to-action along the way. Here’s how it might look for a senior living community.  


1) Search


If you’re looking to expand your group of friends, you can do that in a variety of ways. You might find like-minded people at events, work, or through other friends. It’s the same in digital marketing. Whether it is social media, search engines, or paid advertising, the more visible you are, the more chances the right people will find you.

Once they do, your first job is to grab their attention, to get them to click. With a search engine, the first snippet of text that appears in the search results is your first chance to show them who you are. Make sure your description highlights the top things your prospects are looking for. You’re trying to get people to your home page, not trying to make a sale—yet.

On social media, you might invite the public to an event in your community—like a concert or play, or an open house, and ask them to click through to your website to learn more.

2) Visit Website

If you’ve convinced a new prospect to click through to your website, they are open to learning more about your community—but far from committed. In other words, they are gathering information but not ready to take action. So hold off on asking them to provide contact details or to schedule a tour just yet.

When you know you’ll be meeting new people, you probably try to make a good first impression. It’s the same for your website. It should clearly communicate the most compelling aspects of your community and allow visitors to explore and easily discover relevant information. Your first job when prospects arrive is to get them to linger and learn, rather than hitting the back button and moving on.

Consider attention-grabbers that capture the personality of your community, such as great photos of residents enjoying events, dining experiences, and activities—with punchy text or titles highlighting the benefits. To turn photos into true calls-to-action, consider adding links to videos on the same topics, with phrases such as, “Make retirement like a vacation.”

3) Schedule a Visit

At our hypothetical party, this is where group conversations start to filter down to one-on-ones. People have had a chance to get to know you without any pressure, conversations get a little deeper, and new friendships start to form. You might even exchange contact info with one or two people.

On your website, this is when prospects are ready to open themselves up to a phone call or schedule a tour. The key here is to make that process easy. Is your contact information easy to find on the page? Is there an invitation to schedule a visit? It’s important to ask for what you want—and make that request compelling. “See why Pelican Point feels like home. Schedule a tour today.”

4) Research and Consider Options

After a visit, people need time to process what they’ve seen and learned, to picture what their new life will be like, and to form new questions—which will need new answers. So this isn’t the time to print out a contract.

Reach out personally to see how the tour went; invite each prospect to ask follow-up questions; and offer additional links to information about the community, the region, or anything else that will help them make their decision. “See what a typical month looks like at Pelican Point’s Community Hub! View this month’s schedule of events.”  

A great way to get to the most critical call-to-action—the invitation to apply—is to be sure it is included in the follow-up content you provide after a tour. “Ready to join us? Contact us to apply to live here.”  

5) The Application and Beyond

Once a prospective resident has submitted an application, he or she might still back out. Continue to support their decision with invitations to connect with residents or join activities.

And finally, don’t forget the connection. Show that the community feels like home for all of its residents with social media posts that will interest other prospects. For instance, you could post a video or photos from an activity, encouraging others to download the calendar of activities.