Many senior living, assisted living and senior care providers who contact me have a “traffic” problem. They are not getting enough people contacting their facility. Typically, they are doing little to create inquiries. They tend to be waiting as “order takers” and do not really seem comfortable developing and/or implementing marketing strategies. (And the intertwining of marketing and technology can make this discomfort even worse.)
If you have a traffic problem, it is critical to be strategic, be proactive and utilize technology. Your two preliminary goals should be to make it easy for your facility to:
- Be referred to.
- Be found.
Both Strategies Are Important
As in the past, building a referral pipeline is still the basis of any assisted living marketing plan. However, technology and the internet continue to increase the importance of making your facility easier to “be found” by those in search of care. And often, the two preliminary goals merge together. For example, there are dozens of care facility referral (and listing) agencies/websites. These resources can both refer and help you be found. Social networks also fill this dual role.
In addition, even when a professional in your pipeline refers someone to your facility, often the first thing a prospect does is looks for your website. Or the prospect searches the web first, then asks a professional they trust about the facilities they have found.
Building Your Referral & Internet Pipelines
Yes, its still important to visit doctors, hospitals, and other professionals to hand out brochures, give a tray of cookies, and most importantly, establish a bond.
However, you should also:
- Keep in touch in between personal visits, supplying links to valuable information, updates and testimonials. This allows you to inexpensively stay in contact with more people every month. Just as important, you provide new reasons for people to talk about your care and new tools to use when recommending your care. Referrals will go up and traffic will increase.
Adding that same information, updates and testimonials to your website will also improve your value to search engines. Your facility will be found more easily in random searches and valued more by web visitors. This will result in more inquiries and traffic will increase.
Other Traffic Builders…Magnified
There are a variety of other things you can do to build traffic in your facility. I suggest infusing fundamental marketing efforts with technology to make them more effective and to build on your ability to be found. Here are some examples.
- Advertising – Include a Caregiver Tip from your website that shares your expertise and drives readers back to your website.
- Hosting events – Provide good reasons for your target markets to value the event and/or to attend. Also, utilize press releases to promote and invite, and to drive readers to your website for more information.
- Serving the local community – Share your expertise with your target markets and post photos in your website’s Activity Scrapbook. Then share the link with your three key lists inquiries, family/friends, professionals.
- Introduce a new service (or repackage an old one.) Utilize press releases to promote and drive readers to your website for more information.
Note: Adding technology can also extend the timeframe in which a single, short-term marketing effort is of use. For example, a Caregiver Tip, press release, invitation or event added to your website can continue to promote your care and expertise for years to come.
Make A Plan Of Action
Logically speaking, if you want more people to visit your facility, more people have to know you exist and they have to value what you do. Make a plan to help your target markets do so by incorporating ideas from above. Do not sit and wait for others to fill your beds, or blame others for your poor census. Put yourself in control of the situation, and build your referral and internet pipelines.
If you would like help increasing the traffic in your facility, please call (888) 213-526.
Added Information For Marketing Toolbox Clients
For Senior Living Marketing Toolbox clients, the following links provide more details for some of the recommendations above.
- Potential Referral Sources Checklist
- Caregiver Tips Checklist
- Create An Activity Scrapbook To Regularly Update Your Website
- Offer Something “New” Guide & Checklist
- Press Release Checklist