If you are a regular follower of Senior Housing Forum you will probably agree that affecting consumer behavior is a big task. After all, it’s something most people don’t want! According to the AARP, 86% of adults over 65 plan to stay in their homes for the remainder of their lives.
I recently had a conversation with Paul Flowers the President of Circa 46, a Senior Housing Forum Partner, about how senior living communities can best get senior living prospects to consider their community as a senior living option. This article is the result of that conversation.
If you are a regular follower of Senior Housing Forum, you will probably agree that affecting consumer behavior is a big task. After all, it’s something most people don’t want! According to the AARP, 86% of adults over 65 plan to stay in their homes for the remainder of their lives.
Impacting the 14%
According to Paul, the question is this: How do you convince that other 14% who are at least open to senior living to consider your community?
To start, you have to make a strong first impression. Depending upon whose research you choose to believe, your prospect is going to select a senior living community within six months – with a good chance it will be within three months – and will likely visit no more than three or four communities. What this means to you is that you must claim your place within your prospect’s consideration set. That is, you want to make sure your community is one of those three or four properties your prospect is going to seriously consider. And, you had better do it fast!
Being In the Game
How do you make sure you secure one of those coveted places within a prospective resident’s consideration set?
You have to offer a compelling reason for that prospect to take a closer look at what your community has to offer. To do that, you must determine what makes your community different and better than other senior housing options.
Determining what makes you different and better can be a tricky proposition. First, not every candidate for senior housing is right for your community. You don’t want to “trick” a prospect into visiting your community if you do not offer the lifestyle and services that prospect wants or needs. That approach will usually result in wasted time and money – not to mention it can be a rather defeating experience for your marketing staff that is tasked with trying to sell a community that is not right for the prospect.
What is the Competition Like?
You need to understand how competing communities present themselves, in order for you to create a selling proposition that clearly differentiates your community from the others. That requires a thorough analysis of your competitors marketing communications. Once you know what they are saying about themselves, you can identify distinct and meaningful differences from your direct competitors. Then, you are in a position to create a selling message that makes your community stand out – especially to those people who are your highest potential prospects.
Is Your Message Relevant?
In order to make your selling message compelling, it must be relevant. That means you must do more than simply tell about your community’s features or amenities. You must give your prospects reasons to visit, so they will see firsthand what makes you special.
Determining what makes your community different and better than competing options is just the start. The next step is to demonstrate your uniqueness quickly. According to various sources, approximately 75%-90% of your prospects will check out your community online, before deciding whether to visit personally.
Based on our clients’ collective experiences, roughly 50% of website visitors will decided whether to include a community in their consideration set before they leave the home page. Sure, other pages on your website – dining, amenities, security, etc. – are necessary. You must have them to be competitive, but they are not significant factors affecting your prospect’s decision to include your community in his or her consideration set. The takeaway here is this: If your home page does not quickly and clearly communicate what makes your community worth taking a further look, you won’t capture those prospects.
The same principle holds true for your sales literature. If you don’t explain why your community is different and better upfront, you will lose most of your prospects before they get to page two.
Ultimately you need to be
- How compelling is your website?
- How compelling are your print ads?
- How compelling are you brochures?