As owners and future owners of residential assisted living businesses begin learning the keys to success in this industry, it isn’t long before you take into account the importance of marketing. Marketing matters. It may be obvious to many, but just like any entrepreneurial endeavor, marketing remains an important element in the success of the business. It is not enough to simply build an assisted living home, find qualified staff, and then just sit back and watch the cash flow come in. It requires marketing.
Residential assisted living is a service, although an incredibly important and in-demand service, it is still a service that requires marketing. Just like any other service, the public needs to know that you exist and what exactly you have to offer. As you learn more about this amazing industry and navigate your path to RAL success, it is worth taking the time to process how your business will be made known to the public. Afterall, if you are going to put in the time to build or acquire a residential assisted living business and all that entails, you would do well to consider your potential marketing strategy.
Our RAL Academy instructors often advise entrepreneurs to look around at assisted living homes and facilities around the community to see how they are run and what they are doing to market themselves. What is working and what isn’t? Are there things that other assisted living businesses are doing that you could do better? Marketing is not guess work. Leave guess work for board games. Marketing is scientific. It is the nuts and bolts that drive the sales engine. Marketing brings clarity to an otherwise unclear attempt to reach the right people at the right time with the right product/service. If you want your home to be fully staffed, occupied and well respected, effective marketing is the wind that blows the fog from the path allowing business owners to see clearly what to do and when to do it. Marketing converts dreams to reality.
Be mindful, many business owners desire their enterprises to be staffed properly, occupied fully and well respected in their communities, but have you thought why so many are not? The answer is simple: the owner probably played the guessing game instead of using the strength of proper marketing. So, what exactly should an owner of a residential assisted living home do? Most owners are not marketers by trade or education. How does an owner effectively market his/her residential assisted living home? To be clear, marketing is a science, but it is an adaptive one. As time ticks forward, an understanding of the consumer is vital because the mindset of the consumer changes. How so?
Staying Relevant Amid Consumer Changes
Many owners assume the way to reach the right customer with the right product at the right time is to market to the demographic for whom they desire to serve. In other words, in the residential assisted living business, many market to the senior who will become a resident. This is not altogether wrong. It is likely that seniors aren’t going out of their way to move into a residential assisted living home. It is their adult children who are often the potential client. If one has been educated by the Residential Assisted Living Academy, then a market feasibility study would have been done long before any construction or renovation of a RAL home. This study uncovers so much information about the community and the needs within it. It also details the challenges in erecting a residential assisted living home and approximately when one would be needed.
Demographic studies are included so that the potential owner understands the “who, what, when, where and how” of doing business in a particular community. What does any of this have to do with marketing? The answer is simple. The market feasibility study will help focus an owner on the needs of the RAL home, and how the needs should be communicated. Many aging seniors do not use social media, but their children do. Therefore, traditional marketing strategies might be nice for grocery store shoppers, but social media captures the adult children.
In other words, the adult children of seniors are the people owners need to reach. They are the people who are asking:
- Where should we place Mom?
- When should we talk with Dad about moving out of the house?
- How are we going to convince our parents that they can no longer safely reside in the family home of 50 years?
This conversation is being had by the children of Baby Boomers via text messaging, direct messaging through Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter, and presently video conferencing via Zoom. What does that mean for the owner of a newly established residential assisted living home? If you are not advertising via social media, the key decision makers will seldom know your home exists.
The “Thirds” Marketing Strategy
1/3: Promote Your Content
The easiest type of content to produce is promoting the brand of your residential assisted home. The stage of your home, whether new or renovated is inconsequential. Your home may have:
- Added a new amenity,
- Received a highly acclaimed award,
- Hosted a special event.
This needs to be advertised and publicized with the appropriate angle that will benefit your establishment. You also want to engage the potential client by encouraging them to take action. This actions starts by encouraging consumers to visit your assisted living home web page and engage in the following steps:
- Fill out contact information so you can keep in touch,
- Click to call and learn more about your home,
- Chat online with a specialist who can encourage a tour or virtual tour.
It doesn’t stop here, though. Content needs to be diverse in order to captivate the various learning styles of the potential residents.
Content Ideas To Promote Your RAL Home
- Press releases
- Event Announcements
- Photos of staff and residents
- Video testimonials
All of this content should be consistently promoted via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and on search engines such as Google and Yahoo. There is a balancing act that must be performed with all of this information.
2/3: Share Others’ Content
It is not just about your residential assisted living home. Today’s decision makers integrate information. They compare and contrast content as they seek to validate information. Therefore, do not be egotistical. It is important to identify and share content from other sources that is of value to your audience. You can then leverage that content to enhance your brand and stature as a subject matter expert. For example, you can provide links to reputable senior living resources. They should be:
- Chosen based on care types
- Relevant topics to your brand
- Topics that best align to meet the needs of your target audience.
3/3: Interacting with Others
In the senior living world, it is important to engage potential residents and their families. Ask visitors for their opinions. Why? Today’s potential prospect wants to voice their opinion quickly and concisely. They want you to know what they think of your brand. What’s the owner’s reward for creating an interactive platform for their residential assisted living home?
- Community connection
- Comments, likes, and shares
Stay on top of questions and any negative comments or reviews you may receive and respond in ways that reflect positively on your community. Marketers should think about how to use social media. Think about what attracts you and what is an instant turn-off. Furthermore, think about your parents, aunts, uncles or grandparents who may need to relocate to a residential assisted living home. How would you make that decision?
Social Media Marketing During The Pandemic
When COVID-19 hit and Americans began to quarantine themselves, what did they do?
- We reached for our phones.
- We grabbed our laptops.
- We started searching sites on our desktops and devices.
People found themselves spending countless hours liking and sharing funny videos on Facebook, even tapping that new “hugging heart” emoji to show everyone how much we care.
Some even liked and loved content that they thought bizarre. People wanted to stay connected. Humans are social creatures, not isolated robots.
So, are you formulating a plan to promote your future residential assisted living home adequately on social media?
7 Effects Of Proper Marketing That Will Impact Where You’ll Be After Covid Is Under Control
- Increases brand awareness. Since your target demographic is visiting social media multiple times a day, you have numerous opportunities to connect with them.
- Humanizes your brand. Creates a more direct connection with prospects, residents, caregivers, the local community.
- Establishes your RAL home as an expert in your care field. RAL homes that do not post relevant content consistently will not appear as knowledgeable.
- Gives you better reputation control. Using social media, you highlight positives and address negative issues before they turn into crises.
- Provides a tool for crisis management. Use social media to properly and effectively respond to a crisis in a meaningful way.
- Helps get you more reviews. Facebook reviews are looked at by so many consumers prior to taking the next step.
- Helps increase website traffic. By sharing community-specific content, it drives individuals from social channels back to the website.
Stay Connected To Ralna For More Tips For Success
Social media, especially Facebook, is where your future prospects are going in greater numbers to dig deeper into your community. How will you seize the moment? Remember, it is only a moment. Today’s client/consumer exists in the moment. You must seize the moment, digitally. RAL Owners and future owners are strongly urged not to waste another moment. The enormously increased activity of social media will likely go back to normal once COVID-19 passes.
Therefore, will you seize the moment? Will you be ready to promote your future residential assisted living home adequately? Will you engage potential clients/consumers where they are currently residing – in front of laptops and smartphones? Seize the moment. Remember, it is only a moment.Visit www.RALNA.com for more information.