By Allison Wert
The COVID-19 pandemic has hit senior living particularly hard. Without traditional lead sources like in-person events, many marketing and sales professionals are facing a shortage of leads and rising concerns about meeting revenue targets and occupancy goals.
Although there’s no silver bullet, marketing automation can be a senior care marketer’s best friend when it comes to increasing lead generation while saving precious time and effort.
Why Use Marketing Automation to Increase Lead Generation in Senior Care?
There are three main reasons:
1. Increase Your Efficiency
Marketing automation—as the name implies—uses technology to automate some of the repetitive and time-consuming work marketers frequently engage in, such as creating and sending emails. Senior care marketers, including many nonprofit senior care organizations, are usually working with tight budgets and small teams, so every opportunity to increase efficiency goes a long way.
2. Personalize Your Content
Marketing automation in senior care helps you personalize your lead generation efforts. Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, you can tailor the messages your prospects receive from you based on things like their community of interest, level of care, and stage in the buying journey—helping you accelerate sales-ready leads and nurture those who need more time.
3. Scale Your Marketing
Marketing automation can help you scale your senior care marketing efforts. Senior care often involves incredibly long sales cycles and multiple decision makers, such as adult children, along with lots of barriers and misconceptions. Marketing automation enables small marketing teams to think bigger, tackling both immediate opportunities and building out long-term strategies you can set and forget.
What Do I Need Before I Get Started with Marketing Automation?
You’ll want to take a few important steps before you jump into marketing automation for lead generation in senior care.
- Clarify Your Lead Generation Goals
What does success look like: generating more MQLs? SQLs? Improving conversion rates? Reaching a revenue goal through entrance fees? Meeting occupancy goals? It’s important to establish the metrics that matter most at the outset.
- Document Your Personas
Marketing automation really shines when you personalize the right content for the right person at the right time. To do that, you’ll want to document your personas, including their challenges and what they care about.
Extra points if you base these on real live interviews with residents who’ve recently moved to your communities!
- Define Your Lead Stages & Sales Process
- Map Your Content to the Buyer’s Journey
Next, you’ll want to make sure you’ve outlined your Buyer’s Journey. This is the process your prospects go through to become aware of you and your offerings, consider if you’re the right fit, and ultimately decide whether or not to move forward.
Your prospective residents care about different things at each of these stages. You’ll want to take stock of your existing content, map that content to the stages of the journey, and identify what you have (and what you don’t) before you launch your marketing automation strategy.
- Invest in Marketing Automation Software
Lastly, you’ll need a marketing automation tool, ideally one that’s integrated with your CRM, to help you implement and report on your strategy.
7 Marketing Automation Ideas for Senior Care Lead Generation
Now, let’s jump into the good stuff! Marketing automation comes in many different shapes and sizes, but here are seven ideas to get you started.
1. Content Offer with Automated Lead Nurture
A great starting point is to take one of your best pieces of content, such as an e-book, guide, or white paper, and turn it into a simple conversion path, which includes:
- The content itself
- A call to action
- A landing page optimized for conversion
- A thank you page
Then, pair your conversion path with an automated lead nurturing workflow that emails the downloaded content, plus additional information.
For example, if you have multiple communities and lots of visitors to your corporate website, you may want to use a content offer and automated email nurture with the call to action to explore your individual communities. Once they’ve chosen one, you can provide more targeted follow-up from the community.
Or you may want to ask if the visitor is searching for themself or a loved one, and then target your automated follow-up based on the senior or adult child persona.
With marketing automation, you can set up this entire conversion path and lead nurture one time and it will keep working for you.
2. Prerecorded Webinar
Have you had to pivot to a digital event strategy because of COVID-19? You’re not alone. Although senior living webinars are an excellent way to make up for that lost in-person interaction, you’ll get even more bang for your buck by publishing the webinar recording along with an automated email nurture.
If you’re using integrated marketing automation and webinar tools, you have even more options to target your follow-up based on criteria such as who attended the webinar or how long they stayed.
A blog—whether corporate, community-specific, or both—is a critical component of a senior care content marketing strategy. It helps you educate potential residents and their families, bring awareness to your communities, and boost SEO so you can be found by those who are looking for a community. But it can be time-consuming, too.
To save time, you can automate important components like blog post notification emails, blog digest emails, and social media posts. Work smarter, not harder!
Community and corporate newsletters are another great way to stay in touch with prospects during the long senior living sales cycle. Consider using an automated email template to help you personalize for different segments and to save time compiling your newsletter each time.
For example, you could use automation to automatically pull new blog posts or news items directly into your newsletter template.
From resident testimonials and virtual tours to recorded webinars and answers to common questions, video can serve a myriad of purposes in senior care marketing. In addition to being engaging, senior care videos provide a great opportunity for automation.
If you’re using a marketing video tool like Vidyard, you can have automated calls to action that appear at strategic times, such as right before engagement starts to dip. You can also set up automated lead nurture workflows targeting visitors based on their interaction with your videos, including view time.
Both live chat and chatbots are ripe with opportunities for automation! You can keep it simple—for example, build a short workflow to capture prospect information on your contact forms. Or you can get fancy by integrating a calendar tool to schedule tours or personalizing the chat conversation based on known prospect information.
Don’t be afraid to test an automated chatbot even within the senior living industry. Adult children will be comfortable with the technology, and even seniors might surprise you. Just remember to be clear that they’re engaging with a bot and not a live person.
Considering that 57 percent percent of businesses with chatbots deliver a return on investment (ROI) with minimal effort, what do you have to lose?
7. Smart Content
Your website is still one of the top ways you can reach, engage, and convert your prospects—so put automation to work for you there, too! With dynamic content, or smart content as it’s called in HubSpot, you can create a personalized experience for your website visitors based on information you know about them.
- Know that you’re talking to an adult child? Modify your messaging.
- Have a corporate site visitor who’s already identified their community of interest? Use a smart CTA to send them back to that community’s page or microsite.
- Are repeat website visitors downloading content? Use progressive profiling to capture more information each time they fill out a form.
You can also use content offers and opt-in opportunities like blog subscriptions to capture information about your anonymous traffic so you have an even bigger audience to target with smart content.
Optimize for the Best Results
Last thing: Don’t forget to optimize! Even though marketing automation lets you set it and forget it, it’s a good idea to regularly review the performance of your automated efforts, test frequently, and optimize your senior living campaigns for the best results.