Jul 17, 2017

7 Content Marketing Tips To Increase Occupancy

In the next 20 years, the 65-and-older population in the U.S. is expected to grow from 48 million to 79 million people. This means a large segment of America will be moving from single-family homes into senior living. Here’s the question: is your retirement community ready to reach this audience and their loved ones with messages that resonate?

Your sales team already knows it needs support from marketing, but connecting the two can be difficult in some organizations. You need to connect them because the potential impact on sales is incredible. Nearly 4 million seniors retire each year, which means this diverse group of baby boomers (and/or their children and relatives) are potentially 4 million sales opportunities.

Whether you represent an assisted living facility, retirement community or an independent senior living realtor, content marketing can help generate leads and keep your occupancy high through better brand awareness and inbound marketing. It’s not sales messaging, but it can ultimately create fans of your company when you do it right — and then turn those fans into paying customers. Here’s how you do it.

1. Define Your Key Audiences and Personas

The transition from in-home care to senior living is emotional, especially for loved ones who need memory care. So when they’re considering a transition to senior living, older adults rely on their intimate relationships — their children, friends and caregivers. Your integrated marketing strategy should target these key influencers and decision-makers. Each piece of content created should address these questions: which audience is this message for, and why will they care?

2. Build a Content Strategy

Once you know who your content needs to speak to, it’s important to define the content strategy that will set your messages up for success. A content strategy defines the planning, creation and management of content for the purpose of achieving business goals. It answers the why — why are you creating content and why is it valuable to your target audiences?

3. Understand Your Audience’s Content Needs and Wants

There is no place like the comfort of home. This makes the job of creating a friendly, safe and caring environment for seniors both difficult and rewarding. A smart content strategy and storytelling plan can help engage your target audience and get them one step closer to visiting your community and becoming a full-time resident. When you understand your audience well, you can identify the types of content they consume and how they want to find it.

4. Drive Leads with Content Marketing

As a senior living operator — even in independent senior living — you are more than just a landlord — you are a neighbor and trusted friend as well. So it’s important to create the best first impression possible with seniors and their children who are seeking information. A modern, mobile-friendly and tablet-friendly website with relevant content will contribute to a good first impression and establish the trust your target audience needs to make these important decisions. Once a content strategy is in place, use smart copywriting and marketing tactics to convert your target audience into active customers.

Content marketing topics can range widely — from help articles about ways to stay healthy in senior years, to tutorials on technology, to video interviews with local personalities. Even publishing book reviews of the latest best-sellers can show you’re in touch with the things your residents and future residents care about.

5. Promote Your Content with Amplification

The overwhelming decision to downsize and relocate to a senior living community is made more overwhelming by the sheer variety of resources available. Your content marketing should provide a clear way for people to find you, and amplification can help. When your content is viewed and shared — either through organic or paid engagement — by your customers, influencers or partners, it becomes amplified beyond your normal channels. This creates a megaphone for your company, increasing your exposure and placing your messages in front of the audiences who need it most.

Many amplification strategies fall under the umbrella of search engine marketing (SEM), which is a digital strategy that promotes websites by using optimization and paid advertisements that appear on search engine results pages (SERPs) to increase a page's visibility. Advertising can also be in the form of social media marketing, digital ads and paid search, which allows you to promote sponsored content on a search engine or partner site.

6. Measuring and Analyzing Content Marketing

To measure and improve your content marketing, you need to know which numbers to track, and how to analyze them. With insight from real data, you’ll be more able to connect your messages with your key audiences. Software tools like Google Analytics, marketing automation tools like Act-On and HubSpot, customer relationship management systems (CRMs) like Salesforce and SharpSpring, and analytics tools like Open Site Explorer and Google Search Console can all help you continually measure your results and develop insights about your market.

As you develop insight on what works for your organization, use the data from your analytics tools to decide where to focus your resources. These days, search results and social shares can tell you a lot about what’s working and what’s not.

7. Creating Customer Loyalty Through Content

If home is not a place, but a feeling, your job is to ensure that feeling remains long after the senior has signed a lease and moved into your community. Your brand strategy depends on creating happy customers who want to recommend your brand to friends, family and other influencers. Building customer loyalty will help combat fierce competition and fluctuating market prices, ensuring you maintain a consistent customer base and high occupancy rate.

These are just a few of the key steps to building a successful content marketing program that will help you stand out above the crowd in a growing and competitive market.

Remember, content marketing isn’t sales. Good content marketing is about making helpful, useful content your audience wants to find and consume. It’s not the same as providing sales information and feature/benefit lists about your communities. But it’s a powerful approach, and it’s here to stay.