Giving your senior housing Web site the attention it deserves
by R. Aaron Warnock, Director of Product Management, G5 Search Marketing
The decision to seek-out a managed living environment for a senior can be sudden, but selecting a community is never simple. More and more resources on the Internet play a critical role for those searching for retirement and/or long-term care communities.
If you own or manage a senior living community, it’s not enough for your Web site to simply list care specialties and your contact information. Today’s Web users expect ready access to complete information online and many will equate what’s found there with your facility’s real-life offering. Your Web site must actively engage visitors or you will risk being overlooked.
Creating an effective digital presence online is more than establishing identity and contracting with listing services. You must commit to building a Web site designed for user engagement and fill it with up-to-date content. The most successful sites engage visitors on multiple levels.
Get found through dominant themes
To drive and engage qualified leads you must focus on building quality links and content related to the topics visitors are researching. Seek out and participate in highly trafficked sites (such as these), which are appropriate to your offering.
In many cases those seeking senior housing options will need education to understand the landscape of choices before considering a specific community. By making your Web site content resonate with dominant themes found on common research sites, you’ll satisfy visitor needs and can improve placement in Search Engine results pages (SERP) for keywords.
Identify (with) your audience
Your Web site visitors are going to be different people with varying motivations. Each visitor type will likely have criteria to keep them interested. Seniors and their loved ones are the most obvious visitors. However, others to consider are helpful friends, specialty caregivers and physicians, or community workers.
Questions to ask yourself when preparing content for your site include:
· How will your presentation of information connect specifically with each group?
· How will you appropriately communicate to each group the breadth and depth of your offerings?
· What service descriptions will help visitors choose to pursue more information or recommend your community?
· What amenities or special capabilities will set you apart or be highlighted?
· How can visitors use the information they find?
Understand the cycle
Consider the role your Web site will play on repeat visits. The decision process for determining a new living situation is not taken lightly and all criteria is potentially considered or reconsidered right up until a selection has been made (and sometimes even after).
Once you’ve met new visitors with essential details and engaged return visitors with special content to answer additional questions, there are current residents to consider. Benefits for them can include event schedules, online services request, contact processes, and/or community functions.
Always remember: A significant fraction of future resident recruitment is dependent on your satisfied residents—make it easy for satisfied clients to submit reviews or praise directly online and to refer folks to your site using integrated email functions.
Keep it fresh
The chief concerns of prospective residents and their loved ones are fairly standard: living spaces, food, costs and available services. But the world is dynamic. Your Web site should reflect the latest industry practices, standards, and how the local community has changed. For example: new treatments, entertainment, or perhaps service and/or local visit options.
Figure out what works
If you haven’t already, institute feedback as part of your lead development and resident management process. Ask your prospects and residents their concerns, how they discovered you, and what their experience has been. Track everything (Web, office, phone, etc.) and establish benchmarks to determine what works. Then, optimize to the sources that provides the best return.
Quality not Quantity
Recognize the limits of your measurement and continue to cover each important visitor segment. Your site should engage users early, support the decision process, and cement the relationship with content for existing residents and family members. Engagement means building the foundation of a long-term relationship. In all cases, keeping calls-to-action visible is critical to enable actionable next steps such as phone calls, tours, or requests for more information.