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Senior Living Branding: Do You Focus Inbound Marketing on the Corporate or Community Level?

August 3, 2020

By Jessica Vionas-Singer

Senior living organizations are no strangers to complexity. Instead of marketing just one organization, you have to think about not just corporate, but all of the individual communities in your portfolio as well. They need marketing and leads too! 

In any organization I’ve ever been part of or consulted with, there have been a limited number of marketing initiatives that could be tackled. There are never enough resources to do everything you want to do and accomplish at once (and then there’s that crazy list of things you want to do someday that just keeps growing).

Because of this reality, you simply can’t focus all of your efforts at the corporate level and with every community in your portfolio at the same time with the same amount of vigor. There aren’t enough hours in the day.

You have to prioritize. What do you do now and what will wait until later? Where do you start? How do you decide where to focus your time and energy?

What’s the answer? Do you focus marketing on the corporate or community level?

Ultimately, the answer comes down to the maturity of your marketing program. Here’s my take on where to focus your efforts:

Just Starting

When you are beginning your inbound marketing efforts, you may be just like a puppy, wiggling with excitement at all of the possibilities and dreams. But, like any company just starting with inbound marketing, you’ll want to think about setting a good foundation for your plans over the next 3-5 years. This starts with your website.

Now we get back to the complexity piece of senior care organizations. It’s not just one corporate website you are considering. You need to also think about the digital presence of each of your communities. 

First priority: Each community will need its own page if not its own website (watch for a future post about whether these should be on separate URLs or all on one URL with subfolders). This is important for several reasons, including Google listings, giving the community a home base online, and other inbound efforts that will be community focused in the future.

Once that’s done, you’re ready for the next stage.

Getting Your Feet Under You with Inbound Marketing

With your foundation laid, you’ll be able to turn your attention to your corporate efforts. In this stage, you’ll want to consider building out the pillar pieces of your inbound marketing at the corporate level.

This means starting to blog and creating offers to be hosted on your corporate website that will appeal to your personas interested in any of your communities. Content around “how to choose a senior living community” and “how to talk with my parents about senior living” will have broad applicability. Community pages (or sites) can link back to the corporate blog and e-books, and staff at those communities have resources that they can forward to potential residents and families. 

Again, in terms of prioritization, you’ll want to focus on creating things that will have the broadest appeal for all of your communities.

We’ve written a lot about content marketing for senior living, but here are some of our favorites to get you started:

Lean into these strategies at the corporate level as you get going before moving into more advanced initiatives.

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Cruising and Moving into Advanced Initiatives

Your foundation is laid. You’ve created the big pieces of content that communities find useful. Your corporate blog is running, generating subscribers, and helping improve domain authority. With your inbound marketing cruising at the corporate level, it’s now time to shift the focus back to the communities. 

As we know, one-size-fits-all is rarely the best approach. Each of your communities is different, with different staff, different residents, in a different location, and different things that make it special. (This blog post, “5 Real-World Examples Why Your Senior Communities Should Have Different Marketing Strategies,” has just a few examples of why one-size-fits-all doesn’t work.)

Once you have those corporate building blocks in place, it’s time to take your limited marketing resources and consider the unique needs of each community. Some initiatives you may want to consider:

  • A blog for each community that covers topics of interest in their area and to their potential residents (in addition to the corporate blog)
  • Downloadable e-books and guides with resources tailored specifically to each community, the living options it offers, and locational considerations
  • Monthly email newsletters for each community that go out to leads in their area
  • Video interviews of residents, staff, and volunteers
  • Individual social media pages for each community on Facebook and Instagram
  • Virtual events around subjects that each community is passionate about

I’m a Pro

Now that everything is running smoothly, you’ll want to continue to focus the majority of your efforts on the communities, but revisit the corporate assets you created back when you first started. 

Some things to think through:

  • Has your branding changed or evolved, putting your downloads in need of a refresh?
  • Has any of the content in your guides become stale? Are there stories or resources that should be replaced?
  • Are there any older blogs that should be updated so that Google sees them as fresh?
  • When you originally envisioned a specific marketing initiative (such as an online calculator, for example) was there a Phase 2 in mind? What would make this a truly outstanding offer/interactive content/campaign?
  • Can we take an existing corporate resource and customize it for this community because of a specific need?

A good marketer will never be satisfied with things as they are without thinking about how they could be better!

As a senior living marketer, it can be overwhelming to think about all of the marketing things you want to do. By focusing on where your program is on the maturity scale, you can ensure that your efforts are being directed in the most effective way.


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Topics: Marketing Strategy, Branding, Senior Living