In Aveta Marketing’s latest book, ‘The Book on Digital Marketing for Assisted Living Facilities: How to Get More Tours, More Move-Ins, and More Success,’ Mitch Alverson, Founder and CEO, gives a plan for senior housing marketing. Before delving into Internet Marketing, SEO, and Social Media Marketing, it is imperative to build a strong marketing foundation. These foundations are explored in the first chapter of the book.
"As I talk with various Assisted Living facilities across the United States," Says Alverson, "I have come to the realization the vast majority of you tend to skip straight past the fundamentals of your marketing strategy and dive headfirst into tactics (Pay-Per-Click adverting, SEO, Social Media, etc.)."
So, what does Alverson mean when he says “Fundamentals”? All marketing has 3 core components:
- Message (what)
- Market (who)
- Media (how)
For effective senior housing marketing, Assisted Living Communities must have a unique “Message” (who you are, what you do, what makes you unique, and why someone should hire you rather than another business offering the same service), a specifically defined “Market” (who you sell to and who your best customers are), and then look at “Media” (where you can reach those best customers). The tactics (Pay-Per-Click, SEO, Social Media, Direct Mail, etc.) fall into the “Media” category.
Focusing solely on the Media or Tactics will likely lead to failure regardless of how well-selected that Media is. That is precisely why Alverson suggests first scaling back to the fundamentals. "Invest the time and energy in fleshing out your 'Message' and figuring out who your 'Market' is. By doing so, all of your Media choices will be vastly more effective."
The senior housing marketing expert suggests that assisted living communities sketch out answers to the following questions
Message - The "What"
- How are you speaking with empathy and authority about your facility? Empathic messaging lets your potential guests know that you understand what they’re experiencing in this stage of life. Authority shows families that you and your staff are competent to exceed their expectations when it comes to caring for them or their loved ones.
- What do I do which is unique and different from my competitors? (Do you offer a guaranteed time frame for your appointments? Do you offer written estimates before starting work, promising to stand by that estimate? Maybe you offer a guarantee for all of your work and will look after any issues within one year after the project is complete. Perhaps you offer a free consultation to showcase the services you have to offer to potential customers.)
- If you think about the psychology of a customer, what concerns or apprehensions do you think they have about moving into an Assisted Living facility or their loved one moving in? “Will my Mom or Dad be well taken care of,” or “Will there be enough activity to keep me engaged socially,” or “How can I be sure my Dad’s medical needs will be met?”
- How can you address your customers’ common concerns uniquely?
Market - The Who
- Who is my ideal customer? (Please realize not everyone resides in your city nor within a 25-mile radius of your office). You need to be clear about the audience that you are looking to attract.
- Look at your last 25 move-ins and evaluate who spent the most money, who had the highest profit margins, and who was genuinely pleased with your service. What are the unique characteristics of those good customers? Do they live in a particular area of town? Do they have a higher income level? How did they hear about your service offerings?
- Start to define who your ideal customer is so you can put a marketing plan in place to attract similar customers.
Media - The How
Once an assisted living community has fleshed out its Message and its Market, then it can start to think about Media. Determine what media will be most effective stems from identifying where the ideal customer can be reached.
The Internet is a great "media" for connecting with the ideal customer who is proactively in the market for Assisted Living services. Further tactics and tools used to accomplish this are described in more detail throughout the remaining chapters of the book.
As a Senior housing Marketing expert, Alverson has set out to help seniors and senior living communities thrive. Aveta Marketing offers outsourced digital marketing that is specialized in the assisted living industry and exclusive partnership rights for a center's area.
"Remember, you need to start with the fundamentals of Message, Market, and Media before running headstrong into any marketing," says Alverson. "Only then can you be confident about the long-term success of your senior housing marketing endeavors."