What to Consider Before Making a Marketing Investment at Your Senior Care Facility
Part 2 of a 2-part series on senior care marketing trends to embrace in 2023
In part one of this series, we talked to four marketing experts about current top marketing trends and which trends are ideal for senior care facilities. In this second part, we’ll share how to determine if a marketing strategy is worth the investment and important things to consider before increasing marketing efforts at your senior care facility.
Is That Marketing Strategy Worth the Investment?
Before implementing a new marketing strategy, it’s important to consider whether the subsequent efforts will be worth the investment and return real value. Jenna Ballard, director of sales & marketing at The Virginian Senior Living Community, encourages communities to consider the marketing efforts that suit their strengths.
“Each community operates in its own unique way,” she says. “Some offer the full continuum of care known as life plan communities and others are rental model communities, like The Virginian. Every community should be evaluating their strengths, including areas where they thrive and have their niche.”
It’s also essential to get buy-in from senior leaders before investing in newer marketing strategies, says Christel Henke, vice president of earned media at STIR Advertising & Integrated Messaging. “[Senior leaders will] need to see that it’s a priority because that’s the only way you will be able to invest in a program for a consistent amount of time to fully see results,” she explains.
Senior care communities should also look at the capabilities of their marketing generalist. “Many senior care facilities have a marketing generalist on staff. This person handles program flyers, website updates, social media posting, and a whole portfolio of marketing activities.” says Dr. Colleen Kendrick, DBA, FACHE, CEO of Kendrick & Company. “They are critical to the execution of marketing strategy, but when they are serving in a generalist role, they rarely have the narrow and deep expertise required to effectively manage online reputation profiles, or to copywrite effective calls to action, or optimize websites or social media ad campaigns.”
By looking at the generalist’s knowledge base, a senior care community can identify which marketing efforts can be handled in-house, and which may need additional third-party support. “Once you make note of the items that need additional expertise or capacity, search for a marketing communications agency partner or consultant that understands your industry and is in your market or familiar with your market,” Kendrick explains. “Calling in just the special expertise needed can help you control your budget, gain the outcomes you desire, and support your marketing lead with additional resources to advance the strategy of the organization overall.”
Things to Consider Before Increasing Your Marketing Efforts
Before increasing your marketing efforts, Ballard recommends taking the time to analyze which marketing efforts are already working and where improvements can be made. “It’s so important to market your community and to brand yourself the right way,” she says. “Ultimately, this is what people will remember when they visit your community. This is an investment that will have a return time and time again. It must be strategic and intentional.”
Henke recommends that senior care communities start with their own team when determining which marketing messages to focus on. “First, spend time talking to your own team members about what excites them about the organization,” she says. “Use these conversations to finetune your senior care facility’s key points of difference before you start thinking about marketing tactics. Once you understand what makes your facility special, it’s much easier to determine the best methods to market these messages.”
Likewise, Kendrick recommends that senior care communities look at their current marketing spending and consider whether it’s possible to reallocate any funds before increasing the budget. “Shifting even a small amount of costly direct mail that requires graphic design, printing, and postage, into targeted Google ads or Facebook ads could increase the reach and frequency with which you can reach your customers and prospects without increasing your costs,” she explains.
She also recommends looking at the assets that have already been developed, such as a website, and then looking for opportunities to improve its functionality. “Would adding a live chat help address questions from prospects online immediately? Would offering online booking for site tours increase the number of tours booked if we eliminated the time associated with the back and forth of scheduling? Ask yourself, what are the critical touchpoints we can identify from mapping the customer journey and how can we invest in improving those that are most meaningful,” she says.
“Start where you are with the resources and dollars you have and assess how you can spend them more strategically,” Kendrick advises. “Once you have worked with your in-house marketing team, and an agency or consultant if needed, to optimize the budget you are already allocating, you can build up and add on resources from there.”
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