How to Best Use Events to Market Senior Care Communities

Ryan Bradford

Ryan Bradford, director of digital marketing, CDMG

Senior care communities rely on a variety of marketing activities to generate leads. Those activities often include social media marketing, digital marketing, advertising, and more. But event marketing offers unique benefits, particularly within the senior care industry. Adding events into an existing marketing approach can help senior care communities connect with their audience in new and exciting ways.

The Value of Event Marketing

Ryan Bradford, director of digital marketing at CDMG, Inc., explains that events are key, particularly for senior care operations. “You’re selling a high-dollar ticket item that’s also very personal,” he says. “With events, you really see an ability to engage one-on-one with individuals or prospective clients, on top of having the ability to showcase your service.”

Even more importantly, events allow you to focus on the experience that you’re offering to attendees. “I love digital marketing, but events can engage all five of a person’s senses,” says Bradford. “That’s a huge advantage.” While digital marketing can only engage one or two senses, events are a more immersive experience. They can help you to close leads and, with the ability to engage with attendees in person, you can get a level of commitment that’s more difficult to achieve with digital marketing.

Events to Use When Marketing a Senior Care Community

Bradford suggests that senior care communities consider hosting events that allow them to engage with the community. These might be hosting classes for seniors or providing caregiving classes for individuals who might be caring for a loved one at home. Charity drives can also help you to get involved in your community and establish important connections.

“Focus on ways that you can be involved in the community and put yourself front and center for your target audience,” he recommends. “Focus in on not only how to bring people to your facility, but also on how to give them an experience or something of value.”

Focusing on these smaller events, like classes, is also advantageous in light of the pandemic. The pandemic has prompted a shift into a hybrid world, where in-person events also often have a digital attendee option. Bradford notes that your location might dictate how people feel or how they want to engage with events. He notes that he’s seeing more small, personal events at the moment that allow for one-on-one engagement. These smaller events might help attendees feel more confident about attending them in light of COVID-19.

How to Make the Most of Your Event

Hosting a successful event doesn’t just mean getting a great turnout. For your event to be valuable for your marketing, it’s important to capture attendee information.

Bradford recommends using attendance cards and giveaways to gather contact information for attendees. He also notes that registering attendees works well, especially for events like classes.

Once you have that attendee data, Bradford suggests that you use it in an omnichannel marketing approach. Rather than just focusing on digital or social media marketing, use that data to establish multiple touchpoints. “A personal touch like a handwritten note thanking them for attending can go a long way,” he says.

Getting Started with Event Marketing

If your senior care community wants to get started hosting events, Bradford recommends that you find something that your community is good at and focus on that type of event. For example, if your residents love the activities that you offer, try to incorporate them into your event.

As you focus on marketing your senior care community, it’s also important to keep compliance in mind. “Make sure that you’re familiar with marketing rules and regulations in your area,” says Bradford. “There are federal and state laws around marketing to seniors.”

While it can be tempting to focus on events that you’ll market directly to prospective clients, don’t underestimate the importance of events that will help you to engage with the entire community. “Building value in the community has longer-term success,” says Bradford. “You’re becoming ingrained in that community.” Hosting events like drives and other public service events can build public awareness and appreciation of your senior care community.

Bradford cautions against starting off with events that are too large. “Start small and grow bigger,” he says. “Your event success threshold is easier to hit when you’re small. With a small budget, you’ll expect fewer individuals to come. It’s easy to scale up from that and build off of the successes that you have.”

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