By Leigh Ann Hubbard

Your marketing is cruising along. Some social media here, a blog post there, maybe some paid ads in between.

The vacancies are gradually outpacing move-ins. Not an emergency yet. Surely somebody will move in soon.

One day you realize you’re down to 70% occupancy. Something’s gotta give.

So you flood social media, pour money into Google ads, send out a batch of postcards and work to fill those apartments!

It’s stressful, isn’t it? That hurry-up-and-wait cycle. Truth be told, it doesn’t work that well. It’s not like you go from 70% to 100%, with a waiting list, overnight.

Senior living marketer Dan Gemp advocates using a different method—something he calls sustainable marketing. It’s less stressful and more effective. He and his team at Dreamscape Marketing (a Foresight partner) use sustainable marketing to draw warm leads to clients’ doors year-round, with no stressful ramp-ups.

What Is Sustainable Marketing?

Say your census is at 100%. Great. But a year from now, it could be at 75%, right? To avoid that impending stress and revenue loss, strong marketing needs to continue even in good times.

“Setting a sustainable, tactical level of marketing is more important than throttling expenditure up and down dramatically with census swings,” Dan says. “Slow but steady wins the race — and is way, way more cost-effective.” 

Why more cost-effective? Well, at any given time, only a portion of your target audience is ready to move in. Reaching all of them and persuading them to choose your community is a tall order.

“Since 90% plus of senior living moves are hyperlocal, markets do have a maximum yield, and a marketing saturation point,” Dan says. “A warm lead from normal levels of consumer demand is going to convert less expensively than trying to rapidly fill a dozen units in a market that might only have enough demand for eight or nine.” 

He uses cars as an example: “If there are three cars for sale and only one human is ready to buy, the dealership will have to spend a lot of money to sell that one car.” It might advertise, run specials, offer a buy one, get one free deal. “But if instead, the dealership has a nice, consistent turnover, with one car and one customer every month, that’s going to be very efficient.”

Here are some sustainable digital marketing methods Dan recommends:

  • Search engine optimization (SEO), so when people in your area are looking for senior living anytime throughout the year, they find your site first. Even if they’re not ready to move in yet — just researching — it’s critical for your community to get into the running early on, so it can become a top pick when they are ready to move in.
  • Pay-per-click campaigns using specific targeting (such as memory care) to capture people ready to move in.
  • Content marketing, including blog and social media posts, to keep your brand top-of-mind and differentiated.
  • Mobile apps, to promote communication, events, and blog posts that support your community while welcoming new members in.

Dan is happy to talk with you about how to get started with sustainable marketing. Just email him through the form below, or call Dreamscape Marketing at 833-681-1661.

Sustainable marketing is budget-friendly and more effective, and it reduces stress on your team. It’s marketing that works like clockwork, all year round.