By Susan Saldibar

Anybody out there who was running a senior living community back in 1983? Or, shall I say a “retirement home”? If you were in sales and marketing back then, like I was, you would be hitting the phones with cold calls, licking stamps on mailers, and finalizing print advertising.

So much has changed since then, it’s head spinning. SageAge Strategies (a Senior Living Foresight partner) would agree. And they’ve experienced all the changes, firsthand. They’re celebrating their 37th year anniversary this year. Think of the knowledge they’ve acquired since then. Much of it has spilled out into a great article that celebrates their 37 years by sharing some of their wisdom with today’s sales/marketing teams.

The article contains 37 tips from key SageAge team members. You may want to just cut to the chase and get all the tips here. But, to give you a taste, I’ve peeled off 15 of the 37 (and, believe me, it wasn’t easy):

1. Have a Marketing Playbook, but Be Flexible.

“It’s important to work closely with the community and to explain what marketing is doing and why. Having a playbook helps to formulate better strategy questions.” – Sean Ochester

2. Do Your Research

“Sometimes the old adage ‘trust your gut’ just isn’t enough . . . especially when you are making huge product decisions. Whether you do a market study or consumer research – or a combination of both – it is important to be sure your plans will be supported by the market.” – Malissa Illiano

3. Mystery Shop Your Team

“Everyone knows that no matter how good you are, there is always room for improvement. Even though you may think your sales team is doing a great job, mystery shopping them gives you the insights you need to keep training, coaching, and improving.” – Malissa Illiano

4. Know Your Competition

“One of the best ways to ensure you are effectively marketing your community in your marketplace is to know and understand your competition – including their pricing and how they position and market their community.” – Malissa Illiano

5. Be Data-Driven

“Use the data collected from market research, digital reporting, and other sources to drive your marketing. Know your prospect and what they are looking for. Design your tactical plan, brand, and messaging to meet those needs.” – Rachel Fox

6. Think Outside the Box

“Don’t get stuck in the same old, same old when it comes to your marketing events. Consider new options, like lead generation focus groups, to stir up some new interest in your community.” – Malissa Illiano

7. Build Brand Consistency Across All Social Media Channels

“This includes using consistency with tone and messaging, frequency of posting, and branding efforts so all tactics across all platforms are integrated and unified with strategy.” – Debra Gawet

8. Be Authentic

“As Maya Angelou famously said, ‘I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’ Your marketing should convey the vibrant, bright, warm lifestyle found within your community. People respond to authenticity.” – Rachel Fox

9. Don’t Drop Your Lead

“With all the data we now have and all the tools and technology available, we can now know a lot more about a prospect than ever before. Through a combination of automation and customization, there is no reason any lead should be left unattended.” – Sean Ochester

10. Humanize Your Brand with Social Media

“Social media is the perfect vehicle for senior living operators to showcase the heart and soul of their organization to others: residents, caregivers, prospects, and the local community. This helps to demonstrate authenticity, compassion, and understanding. By doing so, you’re able to connect with others on a meaningful and deeper level.” – Debra Gawet

11. Be Consistent with Your Social Media Posting Efforts

“Consistency is key to build a relationship with followers and by doing so, others will see that the services are also consistent, reliable, and trustworthy.” – Debra Gawet

12. Don’t Ignore Your Online Reviews

“We all know the importance digital plays on someone’s perception of your community as they research their options. Even a negative review that has a strong, timely community response can leave someone with a positive impression.” – Cristina Mank

13. Find and Use Your Champions

“We all know some of the best referrals are new residents with a great experience. Make sure new residents are getting settled in and offer them experiences at the community they can share with their friends.  And, if they want to share their experience online – even better!” – Cristina Mank

14. Utilize Your Residents

“Your residents are your best assets! They can advocate and campaign for you, and there is no more genuine source of vocal advertisement. Use their wisdom, experiences, and stories in your marketing.” – Melinda Schmitz

15. Don’t Forget Your Existing Leads

“It’s easy to say, ‘I need more leads’ but don’t forget about the gold mine in your database and use lead advancement tactics as part of your marketing plan.” – Melinda Schmitz

More Wisdom from the Experts

As I said before, there is plenty more where this came from and it’s well worth a look. Print off the original article and share it with your team. Here’s the link.

Kudos to the great team at SageAge Strategies for using these 37 years to help make this industry smarter, wiser, and better.

For more information about SageAge Strategies, please visit their website