Digital Transformation in the Senior Living Industry
September 17, 2020
By Emma Bennett
There is no industry untouched by the effects of COVID-19, but senior living may be one of the hardest hit. In Q2 alone, senior housing occupancy fell 2.8 percentage points from 87.7 percent to 84.9 percent, according to new data from NIC MAP® Data Service (NIC MAP). This is the largest quarterly drop in over 10 years.
Times are changed, and the senior living industry is changed right along with it.
What’s Changed in the Senior Living Industry
If you’re in the senior care industry, you know that tours and regular visitors are not what they used to be. But those aren’t the only things that have changed. Families want to be kept in the loop even more than before. And rather than hosting events for residents and prospects, now you have to find ways to connect with people without getting too close.
The day-to-day environment has changed, but that doesn’t even begin to touch on how COVID-19 has affected marketing a senior care community. Although safety is always a priority, right now, people’s main concern is whether or not it’s safe to make the move to senior living.
Making connections with prospects is more important than ever, and making sure your community is being as transparent as possible will help build trust with current and future residents and their families.
Harnessing the Power of Digital Technology
Digital technology doesn’t only mean adding more videos or creating a Facebook page, but those are two important places to start. Video has made its mark in the digital marketing realm, because while a picture is worth a thousand words, video is worth tenfold. Video allows you to build a higher level of trust with your viewers and replicate the feeling you would get by talking to someone face to face.
As SmartBug® Team Lead and senior living marketing extraordinaire Jessica Vionas-Singer says, “Customers in the senior living space need three things: safety, comfort, and trust. All of that is best conveyed through video.” Here are more ideas for how senior care communities can use videos in their marketing strategies.
Along with virtual tours, 360 tours can be considered for reaching your prospective residents and families. A 360 tour is an interactive experience that gives the user a panoramic view of an entire area that they can control.
Examples of Digital Technology for Senior Living
One of the most common adjustments for marketing senior care communities is the adaptation of virtual tours. Here are a few pointers for filming your own low-tech virtual tour:
- Have your employee tuck their elbow in, hold their phone in front of them, and walk slowly from room to room so viewers can see the community without the risk of feeling motion-sick.
- Be aware of your surroundings when conducting a live tour. Make sure to check for residents who haven’t signed a consent form to be filmed or for items that are less than inviting (wheelchairs, trashcans, etc).
Your senior living marketing plan could also include:
- Optimizing your website: Enable your site to pop up regularly in web searches conducted by families and seniors looking for a senior living community like yours.
- Creating educational content: Provide answers to your prospects’ questions and offer downloadable versions so they can take this information with them wherever they go.
- Use a CRM: Having a tool that collects and scores your leads makes following up easier and allows for the creation of automations to help keep your leads engaged as they move through the pipeline.
- Update local listings: Google Business Manager and Yelp are good ways to make sure your online presence is accurate and up to date, so when people search online, they find accurate information. It also allows you to monitor and respond to positive and negative reviews.
If you’re ready to take the plunge and go all in on digital and inbound efforts for your senior care company, we’ve got just the thing for you! Check out our Intelligent Inbound® Bootcamp for Senior Care Marketers. The digital transformation in the senior care industry provides a great opportunity for management to showcase their transparency and safety to all of their current and prospective families! If your senior care company is doing something different or you have any questions on how you can harness the power of digital, tweet us at @SmartBugMedia.
About the author
Emma Bennett was formerly an Inbound Marketing Strategist based out of Norfolk, NE. With experience as an account manager and content strategist at a B2B inbound marketing agency, she has a passion for writing and loves to share inbound and digital marketing best practices. Her former role at SmartBug has allowed her to develop expertise in the senior care and financial industries Read more articles by Emma Bennett.