By Leigh Ann Hubbard

For senior living marketers, 2020 was The Year of the Digital Pivot. 

No more tours. No more in-person events. Just a quick, ferocious ramp-up in online marketing—with little time for training. 

Thank goodness the worst of that is over, right? You’re online. You’ve got some basics figured out. And yet . . . are you getting the results you want?

Many communities are still struggling to adapt to the “digital-first” marketing mindset, says Dan Gemp, president and CEO of Dreamscape Marketing (a Foresight partner). If that describes you, you’re not alone! And there’s plenty of room to turn things around.

Here are Dan’s best tips to increase leads and conversions, so you can win your market in 2021.

Tip 1: Hone Your Messaging for Digital, Not Just Print

Because the Great Digital Pivot happened so fast, many marketers were pushed into a fire they weren’t ready for. Dan saw people who were highly experienced in direct mail, for example, struggle with online messaging.

“Buy one, get one free” type of marketing isn’t effective in this space, he says. Messages like, “We’ll pay for your moving van!” fall flat.

That’s because people aren’t solely looking for the best deal. They’re looking for home—​somewhere they’ll feel safe and valued. Focus your main messaging on alleviating fear and demonstrating respect.

Tip 2: Simplify Your Calls to Action

Creativity has its place but not necessarily in a call to action. Clearer is better. 

To encourage people to contact you, avoid ambiguous wording like, “Begin your journey now,” Dan advises. “We’ve tested every possible variant of that phrasing, and if you simply write, ‘Call now’, you will get the most calls.”

By the same token, “Schedule a tour!” converts better than something like, “Engage our virtual open house tele-tour!”

Tip 3: Add a Call Button

No, not an SOS button. We’re talking about a digital button featuring your phone number—prominent on your home page. People on a smartphone should be able to click it to call you immediately. (For examples, see Dreamscape’s senior living website portfolio.)

“Throughout COVID, we’ve seen internet call volumes double or triple,” Dan says. By putting your phone number front-and-center, you can be the first community people call. (Here’s a case study on that.)

Tip 4: Hyper-localize Your Content Marketing

If you feel like you’re paying too much commission to lead-generating companies, consider a different approach. You can generate move-ins yourself for about 30% less money, Dan says.

The trick is hyper-localizing your online ads and content marketing—including web pages, blog posts, and social media posts. “Any content you’re producing needs to be hyper-local to wherever you have operations,” he says. And he means down to the town or, for big cities, the neighborhood. That way, when people search for senior living in their town, your community will pop up, and leads won’t need to go through a third party.

Tip 5: Use “Automagic” Technology to Improve Your Results

Senior living has a wealth of automagic tech to choose from (tech that automates things so well it seems like magic). Investing in select products can improve your marketing results.

One of Dan’s favorites is call tracking software. Dreamscape Marketing includes this in its services so you’ll know what’s bringing in the leads. For example, you’ll learn how many people call after visiting your Facebook page versus seeing a print ad. (Print ads get special tracking phone numbers.)

Dan also likes Roobrik (another Foresight partner). “Their tool is so simple,” he says, “it’s like a survey. But it increases conversion rates on a website by a lot —30%, 40%, sometimes more.”

Dan has found that investing in these types of technology, along with a tool for sales CRM (customer relationship management), can lead to more move-ins per dollar spent.

And here’s a freebie to get you started! Dreamscape Marketing is offering free website audits right now. You’ll get an in-depth report on things like your site’s usability, its SEO (search engine optimization), and your social media effectiveness. Click here to get your report. 

Here’s hoping 2021 will be your Year of Digital Wins.

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