While many industries experience a slow holiday season and first quarter, this time of year has a big impact on the growth and marketing opportunities for senior living communities. As you build your marketing plan for 2019, consider how you will effectively manage changes in senior living seasonality. Most real estate marketers are specifically concerned with reaching their ideal renter audience. However, with senior living, we are trying to reach both the potential new resident and their loved ones or caregivers. How we approach these two different audience groups can differ vastly depending on the time of year.

Senior living seasonality does not follow the traditional quarterly calendar. Instead, there are three major seasons of senior living search: Post Holiday Planning, Summer Planning and Home-Selling, and Emergent Holiday Care Needs. We’ll take a look at each of these three seasons below, and how you can incorporate their needs into your marketing plan.

Senior Living Seasonality Patterns in Searches and Paid Advertising

Before we delve into seasonal marketing tactics, let’s review current trends and growth in senior living search and paid advertising. The number of searches for senior living continue to increase, with a significant percentage – 59 percent – from mobile devices. Advertising clicks are up 56 percent year-over-year and more users are clicking on paid ads. This year, 62 percent of all clicks come from mobile, compared to 28 percent from desktop, and 10 percent on tablet.

Based on data from the past three years, the number of senior living queries have consistently peaked in September and CPC traditionally peaks in April.  

January-April: Post Holiday Research and Planning

After the holidays, there is an increase in senior living searches, especially by loved ones or caregivers. This occurs simply because families visited their senior loved ones over the holidays and realized that it was time to start planning for an independent or assisted living move. The level of care needed is a major factor in the overall speed of the search-to-move-in process. This is especially evident for daily tasks such as bathing, dressing, and medication assistance.

As this first season continues, be sure to not forget that the loved ones who are researching senior living communities may not live in your area. This aspect may vastly change your digital marketing strategy and spend. Try focusing more on retargeting, so that visitors to your website are reminded of your community when they are browsing elsewhere online.

May-October: Summer Research and Home-Selling  

The late-spring-to-early-fall months show a slower search-to-move-in process, in part because new residents may need to sell their home prior to moving into a senior living community. The home-selling season may slow down the process, but it doesn’t slow down your website traffic. Senior living searches have consistently peaked in September.

Take advantage of the slower summer months to review what’s working and what’s not, both onsite and online. What maintenance issues need to be addressed before the busy holiday season? Do you need to revamp your website and digital marketing strategy? Take the time to talk with your residents, staff, and community partners about upcoming changes and solutions.

November and December: Emergent Holiday Care and Move-In

The end of the year brings up two major reasons for rushed moves: weather and the holidays. Do your mild or pleasant winters offer a much-needed break for seniors who have dealt with feet of snow year-after-year? Or, do you experience an increase of moves because seniors are no longer able to tackle winter chores? This is a great opportunity to highlight the worry- and maintenance-free aspect of independent or assisted living care.

On the other hand, seniors and their loved ones or caregivers may need urgent care over the holidays. This could be a short-term stay while a caregiver or family member is out of town. Family members may also visit a senior loved one who has rapidly declined or suddenly needs a level of care that they cannot provide. The holiday season tends to already be busy with visitors, staff leave, holiday parties, and outings. Be sure that you’re ready ahead of time to meet the needs of urgent moves. Again, this is why it’s important to take advantage of the slower months as much as possible.

Annual Marketing Trends and Needs

As you know, the timeframe for searching to move-in can be less than a week to up to a year. One in four seniors research independent or assisted living themselves, and take twice as long to move-in as when caregivers research. Other than weather, home-selling season, and the holidays, planned surgeries are another significant factor in when and why move ins occur. This is a good reminder to highlight your proximity to local hospitals and clinics, as well as your range of respite and assisted living services.

Be Prepared for Seasonal Changes with G5

Understanding the nuances and care required to assist potential residents and their loved ones is a sensitive task for all senior living experts. G5 is the leader in real estate marketing and can help you maximize your marketing spend with the right digital marketing tools to reach your audiences year-round. We offer a range of innovative and creative solutions for senior living communities targeted to the services and amenities you provide. To learn more about the future of marketing and why seasonality is so important for the senior living industry, download the G5 Senior Living State of the Industry report.