By Lola Rain

It’s time to audit your website before the spike happens after the holiday.

We all know the peak season happens from December 26 through March. This year, I imagine this spike will be even larger because it’s been a while since families have gathered. The moment loved ones notice their aging family members have declined, worry skyrockets, and urgency sets in. Here is what you need to do to prepare.

Step 1: Test Your Forms

Here are the things that often get overlooked:

Have you had turnover in the sales department?

Make sure all your forms are going to the right people. Consider creating an internal distribution list so that multiple people get the leads. The game is “speed to lead”. So, if someone is out of the office (or gone altogether), who is the backup person who can respond right away?

What does the thank you page and thank you email look like?

Once the form is filled out what happens? The best practice is to have a “Thank you” page load with a message and some links, like this:

Thank you for reaching out. We are so excited to talk with you, but we are currently singing and dancing with our residents. It will take us a few minutes to take off our dancing shoes, and then we will be in touch. If this is urgent, please call our front desk at (555) 555-1212. If it’s after hours, we will get back to you on the next business day.

In the meantime, check out these links: WATCH this video of us dancing, FOLLOW us on Facebook, READ about our Life Enrichment programs.

Don’t forget to send the same message to them in email so they have a record of their inquiry and a phone number they can refer back to.

Step 2: Run a 404 Report

There is nothing worse than a Page Not Found error. In fact, I did a search recently for ‘careers’ of a specific senior living company, and the careers page had a 404 error. Ouch!

You most likely have at least one 404 error on your site. The easiest way to find issues like this is to ask your website manager to verify the site is error-free. While they are doing this, ask questions like: What is our site speed? Now is the perfect time to establish if there are ways to clean up your site and make it more efficient and easy to find and navigate.

If you are a small organization and do not have a website manager, you will need to do this on your own or engage with an expert. Luckily there are lots of online resources like this one from Neil Patel.

Step 3: Set a 2022 Form Fill Goal 

Look at all the form fills you have had over the last 11 months. Are they consistent month-over-month? Is there a history of spikes? Do you know what caused those spikes? What percentage of all inquiries come from your website?

Here is a formula for you to follow. Note: an agency or consultant will charge you for what I am about to give you for free.

  • Take the total of the last 11 months of form fills and divide it by 11 for your average form fills.
  • Add 10%. This is your 2022 goal.
  • Now, look at your spikes and attribute each one to a marketing activity. Did you run a Google ad or mail a postcard? Make sure you schedule doing those marketing activities each month this year.
  • Next, find out how many phone inquiries and walk-ins you received and create a pie chart that shows the percentage of each type of inquiry. This is your baseline to beat in 2022. The clock is ticking and the challenge is on!

Step 4: Google Your Company

Here are three things you should ask your teammates to do. This needs to be done by multiple people on multiple devices from multiple locations in order to get a good picture of performance.

  1. Google your company name. If you are in the home office, you will need to Google each community’s name as well.
  2. Google ‘senior living’ and the city your community resides in, or try ‘senior living near me’; however, note that ‘near me’ is implied but users still type it in. Google automatically adds the near me filter based on GPS location and that is why your testers need to be in multiple places to get an accurate picture.
  3. Put yourself in the shoes of a worried son or daughter and type in a phrase like: “I’m worried about my aging mom”, or “Is a nursing home right for my dad”. Remember, no matter how hard we try to get away from the term ‘nursing home’, the public still uses that search term.

While you are doing this exercise, make a list of the search phrases. These are called ‘long-tail keywords’ (5 or more words = long-tail). Now is a great time to review your Google Analytics account and do a deep dive SEO session with your website provider. If you make the right tweaks here, you will beat the 10% increase goal you set in step #3 above.

Good luck, and if you are looking for vendors, please consider one of our Partners. We only work with companies that we have vetted, and we believe their products and services will improve our industry (or we would not have partnered with them).