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5 Smart Strategies for Leveraging Digital Marketing to Increase Occupancy in 2023

Published by Samantha Flynn on

5 Smart Strategies for Leveraging Digital Marketing to Increase Occupancy in 2023

The goal sounds simple in theory: increase occupancy by creating 10% more online traffic. It’s a goal we hear often from senior living clients around this time of year. But, how do you move beyond setting that goal for 2023 into taking intentional steps every day to achieve it?

That’s the #1 focus of this article. We want to help senior living operators like you avoid what we call the Q2 blues. That’s where you resolve in Q1 to whip your marketing into shape only to forget about your action plan before Q2 even gets underway. 

Fortunately, we have a marketing secret that can help your senior living community achieve its occupancy goal – even if by some chance you develop marketing amnesia and forget you set the goal. It’s called automation – and we have 5 strategies for how you can put it in motion now to continuously boost traffic to your community throughout 2023, and by default, increase occupancy.

In this article we will cover:

  1. Automating Your Follow-Up Emails
  2. Increasing Positive Online Reviews
  3. Bringing Your Offline Events Online
  4. Using Blogs & Podcasts to Become a Recognized Resource
  5. Launching a Paid Ads Campaign

 

Automate Your Follow-Up Emails

Of all the various digital marketing channels you will consider for 2023, email still reigns supreme at giving you the biggest return on your investment. In fact, in 2022, every dollar spent on email marketing generated a $36 return on investment according to Litmus. That’s a high-yield investment that even the most budget-challenged senior living communities can get behind.

And, just when you thought that stat couldn’t get any more compelling, enter automated email marketing.  When you put your follow-up emails on autopilot, you supercharge your efforts even more because your emails get sent to the right person at the right time with minimal effort from you or your marketing team.

If you don’t already have a system in place for creating robust automated email campaigns that are tailored for senior living, we recommend checking out Enquire. Their software solutions integrate with what you’re already doing on the sales and customer service side of the business, and can automatically send out targeted emails in direct response to a sales or customer service encounter. They also offer a full suite of automated tools, from email workflows to landing page creation to social media scheduling so you can truly have one-stop automation for all your key 2023 marketing initiatives.

What are the top 4 follow-up email campaigns we recommend you automate in 2023?
-First contact follow-up (e.g. we’re glad you’re interested, now get to know us!)
-Tour invite email
-Tour reminder email
-Thank you for touring our community

 

 

 

Increase Positive Online Reviews 

We’ve previously shared that 82% of families rely on online reviews when they are researching senior living facilities specifically. That’s 10% higher than the 72% of customers who say they use Google reviews when researching businesses in general.

That means 8 out of 10 prospective customers are checking out your reviews and making assessments about your community based on what they find.

So, what exactly will they find? And, more importantly, how up-to-date are the reviews they will find?

Among Boomers, Power Reviews reports that 69% say they’re more likely to buy when they can read fewer, more recent reviews than if they were to find a higher volume of reviews published 3 or more months ago.

You cannot afford to let your online reviews get stale. If your reviews are from two years ago, it is essential to prioritize online reviews in 2023.

Using the email automation we discussed in the first strategy, you can set up campaigns to ask both prospects and current residents for reviews at key times when they are most likely to have positive feedback about your community.

Ideal Triggers for Online Reviews Include:
-After a tour of your community
-After move-in
-After a resident’s first-year anniversary
-After a positive service encounter with your staff

Make it a habit to ask for feedback. It is not only great for your online reputation, but it also keeps your community on the pulse of how people truly feel about your business, which can be a great source of information when you need to make improvements.

 

 

 

Bring Your Offline Events Online

Whether you’re looking to host a local staff meet-and-greet or plan to live stream an on-site tour, video makes it easier than ever to bring these traditional offline events online so more prospective customers and their family members can virtually share in the experience. 

We particularly like virtual events for seniors who have adult children who live out of town but who desire to participate in the decision-making process. You can help your community stand out and show that you’re willing to help the entire family feel part of your community by providing online video access to key offline events.

If you’re new to virtual events, we recommend starting small by hosting one virtual event per quarter. Email is one of the best ways to promote these virtual events with 76% of marketers praising it as the single most effective way to drive registrations. You can also use social media to announce your virtual events and drive even more traffic and registrations.

 

 

Become a Recognized Resource Through Blogs & Podcasts

Another great way to drive traffic to your community is by being a valuable online resource to people who are researching senior living options. Create blogs that answer questions seniors and their families have about the important transition to senior living.

You can also share information through a podcast. Podcasts are increasingly popular because they offer the unique ability to have a live conversation with influential guests.

Great guests for a senior living podcast include: 
-Financial advisors
-Health care professionals
-Legal professionals
-Families that have had positive experiences in your community
-Families that have had negative experiences in other communities and want to help people avoid their pitfalls

The possibilities are truly endless for creating an interesting podcast that will help your community stand out. Both blogs and podcasts can give you further marketing traction as content for social media posts and emails.

 

 

 

Launch a Paid Ads Campaign
If organic searches are failing to attract enough online visitors to your website  – and let’s face it with all the competition these days that is likely the case  – then it is time to up the ante and give paid ads a try. 

While search engine optimization (SEO) may be a cheaper and more stable approach,  pay-per-click (PPC) ads generate 2x the visitors that SEO does, and according to HubSpot, PPC delivers quicker results with SEO taking months and PPC showing results in a matter of hours. 

No doubt, you should include both in a comprehensive marketing strategy. But, since we’re looking at leveraging digital marketing to increase occupancy, we’re betting our marketing dollars (and yours) on paid ad campaigns. 


In particular, we recommend you start with two types of paid ads


Remarketing ads: these paid ads can be set up to target people who visited your website but didn’t schedule a tour for example.

Social media ads: these can be used to promote the blog content on your website with people who are engaging with you on social media.



You don’t have to tackle paid ads alone, in fact it’s preferable that you engage an experienced marketing partner who can help you create your target audience, set up your ads, and monitor your campaign performance to ensure you’re getting the most out of your paid ads budget. 


Smart Girl Digital has experience helping senior living operators use SEO, paid ads, online reviews, and automated email marketing to increase online traffic and double the number of tours booked.

If you have questions about these or other digital strategies that will optimize your performance in 2023, schedule a free call with the Smart Girl team. We offer a free 15-minute discovery call to senior living communities. It can help you and your team get a jumpstart on your 2023 marketing plans.

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