Attracting a younger senior is on the “wish list” of many Senior Living providers. A younger population is advantageous on nearly every metric that impacts a community’s ability to sustainably prosper.

Attracting a younger senior is on the “wish list” of many Senior Living providers.  A younger population is advantageous on nearly every metric that impacts a community’s ability to sustainably prosper.  Despite this desire, very few change their approach to reflect a different consumer journey for the younger segment.

The consumer journey for senior living is different from other purchase decisions.  It is a highly considered decision process—riddled with complexity, high in emotional and financial value and with many influencing factors— that involves a lot of online research yet ultimately the sale occurs offline.  The consumer journey for younger seniors is different still.

Using Data to Attract a Younger Population

Lead InSite, a Senior Housing Forum Partner has worked with Willow Valley Communities for the past 2 years as their “big data” analysis partner.  Together we have examined every stage in an individual consumer journey from pre-lead activity through to a completed sale.  Mounds of data from their website, inbound marketing efforts and CRM are integrated to make sense of the vital touch points that indicate sales progression thus allowing Willow Valley to engage with prospects in a more appropriate, helpful and relevant way.

We recently teamed for a presentation at Leading Age in Nashville to demonstrate the differences in the consumer journey for the Younger and Older Senior based on data for those who have completed the sales process at Willow Valley Communities.  From this analysis several insights and implications were shared. For the purposes of this analysis we defined “Younger Seniors” as those 72 years and younger, and “Older Seniors” as 73 years and older.  This article is based on a portion of that presentation.

We looked at the role of their website in the consumer journey for each segment, specifically how it was used at different stages in the process and what content was viewed to support the decision. 


Willow Valley’s website is critically important to how Younger Seniors progress through the purchase decision.  When compared to Older Seniors, the Younger Senior initiated:

  • 83% more website visits prior to a “contact us” form submission
  • 25% more website visits once a sales lead
  • 55% more website visits along the entire journey

While both segments had hundreds of page views, Younger Seniors viewed 31% more pages than Older Seniors.  So, what were they looking at?

Both segments viewed roughly the same amount of content related to Pricing and Affordability.  Determining whether your community is a good financial fit is essential early in their investigation.

Older Seniors are more likely to viewing content that supports the more traditional aspects of the decision than are Younger Seniors with 13% more page views related to Amenities and 45% more page views related to Care.

For Younger Seniors, housing related content dominates their online experience with more than twice or 108% more pages views related to living options than for Older Seniors. 

Where they’ll live was the most important aspect of the decision process.  Having the right product is essential however it is vital to create an online experience that recognizes the way Younger Seniors make their decision.  Said another way, having a great product without appropriate online support puts you at risk of being dropped from consideration by Younger Seniors.

This is not surprising.  A quick scan of Zillow or Trulia websites will show you where expectations are being set for the real estate market.   If in fact Younger Seniors are more focused on the housing aspect of the decision, what can we learn from them?

Beautiful images, detailed product information, pricing transparency and historical data are the norm.  A community’s intangible value is expressed by information and ratings around local schools, walkability, restaurants, shopping and cultural opportunities.  Helpful search tools allow the visitor to narrow on what characteristics might best meet their needs and is within their pricing parameters.  Proactive emails are sent when a new listing meets that criteria.  

Younger Seniors expect more because they’re getting more from other places.  What are they finding from you?


A clear view of the consumer journey for Younger Seniors opens a number of new possibilities for how a community like Willow Valley positions itself to attract their attention, encourage lead conversion, nurture their decision process and ultimately, complete the sale.  It informs their website and online strategies, and how they interact with their offline efforts.

  • Do you have a clear view of the consumer journey for the Younger Senior you’d like to attract to your community?
  • Are you rising to the expectation for more transparency around the Real Estate aspect of the decision?
  • Do you offer the breadth and depth of content to keep the Younger Senior engaged in the process?
  • Are you tracking their progress to identify opportunities for improvement?