“Compassion, honest concern, and a desire to get them the information they need now are critical to building a strong relationship. Anything less than a 100% commitment to that relationship will be noticed. And you may not get another chance.”

By Susan Saldibar

“I already looked at your website. Now I have some questions.”

Welcome to the world of marketing senior living to Baby Boomers. Today, they are the children of your residents. Tomorrow, they may become your residents. Either way, you need to market and sell to them on their terms.

No one knows this better than the people at RealPage, a Senior Housing Forum partner, who are always ahead of the technology curve. We caught up with Gustavo Sapiurka, Senior Vice President at RealPage a Senior Housing Forum Partner, to learn more about marketing effectively to boomers and what some of the key touch points are.

We also spoke with Meghan Lublin, Senior Vice President of Corporate Marketing and Communications for Sunrise Senior Living, one of the nation’s foremost senior living communities. As a RealPage client — they use their referral services — Meghan was happy to share her firsthand experiences serving this unique and tech-savvy demographic.

Get ready for a new generation of clients.

Here’s how this demographic breaks down: 

  • Internet-savvy
  • 50% of those aged 65+ use the Internet
  • The majority access the Internet using their smart phones
  • Regular users of social media; especially Facebook

“By the time we hear from these clients, they’ve done their homework,” says Meghan. “They have already scouted out several senior living communities on the Internet; typically from their mobile devices,” she adds. “So it’s important to make sure your website is responsive to mobile. Equally important is that it is intuitive to navigate and easy to get the information they need.”

Gustavo agrees. “There is no question that a growing percentage of information on senior living communities is being accessed over the web. Fueling that growth is a desire for immediate access to information. Senior communities need to be able to keep pace.”

What do they want? Everything!

Not that they are a demanding group, they just want to cut to the chase and do it faster. Remember this was the ‘tell it like it is’ generation, so senior living communities need to provide:

  • Instant access to information
  • Information delivered to them their way
  • Information that is highly tailored to their needs
  • Education on the different types of services and plans
  • Support and empathy 

Do This; Don’t Do That!

Both Gustavo and Meghan concur that there are key ‘dos and don’ts’ that can quickly build rapport with your clients or, just as quickly, alienate them.



Make sure your website is mobile-responsive.

Overload your web pages with small print and few visuals. It is an ‘old school’ look and it’s hard on the eyes.

Respond quickly (RealPage and Meghan Lublin recommend within 5 minutes). They may still be online looking at your competition. Catch them while they are still actively searching.

Assume they are patiently waiting for your response. They are not.

Respond in context with their inquiry. What did they need? What is their question?

Respond with a one-size-fits all “We will contact you” response.

Honor the way they choose to be contacted.

Call them if they prefer an e-mail. You will lose credibility.

Educate them. They need to understand what you do and what defines your senior community. There are lots of different types and levels of care, as well as amenities. But they want facts, not window dressing.

Try to convince them right off the bat. This is a highly-educated generation. They can read between the lines. Only they will decide if yours is a good fit for them or for their parent.

Provide a genuine, personal web and person-to-person experience. Use a CRM solution that has the ability to capture a 360-degree view of your client.  

Expect technology to do everything. There are times when even the most Internet-savvy clients need to speak with a live person. Be available to meet that need.

Use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram to share photos and stories of real residents and staff and to share interesting facts and articles.

Populate your social media with stock images and third party articles; keep it personal!

Using a professional contact center to follow up on inquiries can help to maintain a unified client experience across media channels. Be sure to use one that specializes in senior living communities, as the skill set is very different from a technology help desk or retail fulfillment houses.

“When your community gets a call from a prospective client, it could be a casual request, or an extremely urgent one,” says Meghan. “You need to have people answering those calls who are trained to recognize the difference and respond appropriately,” she adds. “And, they need to respond with as little delay as possible, preferably within 5 minutes of initial contact.”

Finally, all your systems, people and platforms need to work seamlessly together to ensure that no ball gets dropped and that the flow of information, both ways, is rich and tailored to your audience.

“Regardless of who your client is, there are some things that never go out of style,” says Gustavo. “Compassion, honest concern, and a desire to get them the information they need now are critical to building a strong relationship. Anything less than a 100% commitment to that relationship will be noticed. And you may not get another chance.”