There is no doubt that COVID-19 is a market disruptor. If your marketing world continues to feel upside down, rest assured we are here to help. It’s clearly a tumultuous time, but if we had to find a silver lining, it’s this: as more of the resident journey moved online this year, we have new opportunities to engage seniors and their families in this increasingly digital landscape. Here are five things to consider when marketing to the modern senior and their family. 

1. Your Resident’s Journey Has Changed

Our lives are dramatically different and the same is true for your current and future residents and their families. 42% of the U.S. labor force was working from home full-time in June 2020, which is more than ever before. With families spending more time at home and less time commuting, many have chosen to move older relatives into their homes rather than into senior living communities. This is particularly true for seniors who don’t have specific care needs, but possibly needed an extra hand around the house.

While this may have seemed like a temporary solution in March when we thought the pandemic lock-downs would take six weeks. But, it’s been months. In that time, seniors’ needs may have changed and families are starting to realize that they can’t just “wait until COVID is over.” Many seniors and their families are beginning to search for a new living arrangement. While they might not be ready to move into your community before the holiday season, it’s a great time to get the conversation started and suggest post-holiday move-in dates. 

2. Socially Distant Media and Technology

We seldom see people in-person and lean toward social media to keep us connected. Especially as the pandemic timeline continues to be uncertain, many seniors and their families are craving normalcy, empathy, and clarity. As a result, social media usage is up, with just about half of users spending more time scrolling through their phones. 

Social media gives you an authentic and human way to connect with future residents and their families. According to the Pew Research Center, 46% of Americans over the age of 65 use Facebook, and 38% use YouTube. Social media platforms connect seniors with their families and loved ones. Consider posting ideas to engage both seniors and their loved ones, such as DIY cards to send to residents, photos of your community in enrichment activities, and other moments to bridge the gap between the inside and outside of your community. 

Keeping your residents connected with loved ones is vital to their mental health and wellbeing. Even pre-pandemic many seniors experienced feelings of loneliness, which is known to exacerbate a variety of physical and mental conditions. Consider fulfilling this resident need by supplying platforms — Google Nest Hub, Facebook Portal, FaceTime on iPads, or Google Hangout — to help seniors connect with loved ones in a virtual age. A recent AARP study found that smartphone adoption is at 62% among adults aged 70 and older. Moreover, according to Amwell, 45% of American adults aged 65 and older, have participated in video calls such as FaceTime, Skype, or Google hangout. The truth is, for many current residents and their families video calls are their best option for a socially distanced connection. 

3. MarTech is Better than Ever

The future is now. Technologically, we jumped years forward as a result of the pandemic. We know that technology adoption is a one-way street.  Once you’ve added a solution to your stack, your property is likely to continue solving this need in tech-driven ways. Moreover, increased automation allows your sales and marketing team to allocate your time to high-impact interactions for your community. According to the American Marketing Association, 85% of consumers are open to digital offerings and 84% are open to digital experiences. We expect customers’ focus on digital offerings to be a permanent shift. 

In MarTech you have more options to choose from than ever before. From email marketing to customer analytics dashboards, there are now over 8,000 options to choose from — that’s 13.6% more than last year. This is an indicator we know to be true: marketing matters more than ever. Moreover, as more of the resident journey begins and ends on your website, it might be a good time to consider the benefits of adding a virtual sales assistant (VSA) to your website. VSAs are fast, effective, and always ready to provide a memorable first impression to future residents or hand off decision-ready leads to your sales and marketing teams. Read this blog to learn how FURTHER, our preferred partner for virtual assistants, is changing the game. 

4. Safety First

As seniors and their families research senior living communities, they are seeking safety-centric communities. Clearly communicating how your community is navigating the ongoing pandemic is vital. Your future residents want to know the safety and hygiene precautions you have put in place, and how you’re ensuring they’ll stay connected to family and friends. Does your community have iPads for residents to use with FaceTime or other video streaming platforms? Are residents able to meet guests outdoors in good weather? Have you built a plastic hug wall for loved ones to give a months-overdue hug? Of course, each community’s approach is guided by state and local regulations as well as the latest information on COVID-19 transmission, but making sure you’re honest and clear with how you’re navigating this within your community allows residents and their families to rest assured of their safety within their future home. 

5. Best-in-Class Partnerships

When you have a year like this one full of ever-changing variables, do you ever wish you had another all-star, go-getter on your sales and marketing team? Best-in-class partners operate as an extension of your team. Good news, by choosing to work with best-in-class partners, you can grow your team of experts overnight. Having a team of best-in-class partners working for you can eliminate data and tech silos, which decrease efficiency and increase error. Plus, they know your business needs and can put the right strategies in place to help you meet your goals. For instance, at G5, our developers, engineers, project managers, and programmers are constantly innovating so that your team can focus on what you do best — connecting with seniors and their families. It’s important to thoughtfully select your partners since they have the power to transform the way you work. As more of the residents’ journey has shifted online, there is no better time to include a new technology partner to your stack.

We’re in this Together 

We’re here to help you navigate the ongoing unknown challenges presented by the pandemic. Want to explore more marketing ideas for 2020 that will carry you into 2021? Check out this checklist to explore more tips on marketing to modern seniors and their families.