Developing a digital marketing strategy for seniors can be challenging for a number of reasons. Many cutting-edge and relevant digital marketing tools and techniques might not yield the same results for these audiences, and you may have to rely on classic marketing techniques (even when you are using digital channels).
However, by adhering to the best practices and avoiding the most common pitfalls, you can develop a digital marketing strategy that may yield positive results for your senior living business.
Best Practices for Senior Living Digital Marketing
Target Market Segmentation
Not all seniors may be looking for the same set of services. Seniors/retirees who are healthy and active may have different needs than the ones looking for different tiers of assisted living. Understanding these market segments is crucial.
This will help you reach each segment more effectively, rather than employing a broad-term marketing approach without enough depth to connect with most of your target audience or connecting with some segments at the cost of alienating others. Another segment of the audience is the caretakers/guardians of these seniors.
However, you are more likely to create a better impression if your digital marketing speaks to the seniors themselves and implies that they are the ones making the decision regarding their living arrangements rather than speaking to their caretakers. You can even decide to differentiate the two paths by offering different options, like for caretakers and seniors.
Relevant Information and The Right Tone/Verbiage
The goal of target market segmentation is to reach out to each segment in the most impactful way possible. This includes providing the right information to each market segment and narrowing down the amount of information to relevant bits. You should also use a friendly tone, clear and concise language, and use words instead of symbols.
Modifying Content-creation (and Other Marketing) Practices for Seniors
Seniors are likely to respond best to content developed in a way that mimics a trusted friend offering them advice. It should be concise, friendly, but not too informal. Also, make sure the content you create for seniors does not focus too much on their age or their need for assistance.
The goal should be to tell them the services and people that would be available to assist them while preserving their dignity.
Leverage Their Sharing Habits
Seniors love to share the stuff they find interesting in their social circles, and you can leverage that for your digital marketing. You can post interesting things on Facebook pages/groups that seniors generally use (ideally, your target audience).
You can also create a group on the social media seniors in your facility most actively use (Whatsapp, Facebook, etc.) and post interesting things there. They may become your word-of-mouth advocates by forwarding these things to other people in their contact list.
Keep The Communication Habits of Seniors in Mind
Communication, whether it’s handled via chatbots or human agents, is an important part of marketing strategy for all senior living businesses.
That’s because, unlike newer generations that prefer to search for answers rather than talking to someone, seniors prefer to talk. Seniors may also have a specific communication pace and require a higher degree of patience, requiring an agent to repeat things or explain things multiple times.
Chatbots can be ideal in this regard as they can be unfailingly patient and polite, but human agents should be trained for courteous communication with seniors. It’s quite easy to attract a potential client and then lose them to miscommunication.
Understanding and Leveraging The Values of Your Customers
This is a relatively tricky aspect to navigate. The values that millennials and newer generations grew up with or have grown to cherish as adults may not be the same that seniors (hailing mostly from the boomer generation) will adhere to.
If you think your business values are aligned with the target market, make them a prominent part of your marketing message and material.
Otherwise, use it as a negative filtration process to identify what not to include in your marketing message. These values will differ based on the communities you are operating in and your primary target market’s cultural and social backgrounds.
Pitfalls of Senior Living Digital Marketing
Misunderstanding The Needs Of The Target Market
Understanding the target market and their needs is the core of good digital marketing, and you can do a lot of damage to your brand if you misunderstand the needs of your target market. Marketing luxury amenities to a financially modest set of seniors can be counterproductive, especially if there is insufficient pricing transparency.
If they get the impression that your senior living services are out of their price range, they may switch to other prospects without digging any deeper.
Not Choosing The Right Marketing Channels
Seniors are not as active on channels popular with newer generations, like TikTok and Instagram. Facebook and YouTube are two of the best channels to approach seniors on. Also, it’s important to look into what seniors are looking at and what kind of media they share most in their social circles.
Simply transposing the material prepared for other social media platforms to Facebook and YouTube may not work. For example, seniors may prefer long-form videos, and you can lose your senior audience by focusing on shorts.
Focusing on Irrelevant Elements
If you are offering home-care services and your marketing focuses more on the credentials of the medical/care professionals providing these services or your vetting process instead of offering clarification on the type of services and the level of assistance they will offer, you may lose your audience.
While it’s important to communicate what makes your business different and special, it should never supersede what customers want to know.
Make sure your messaging is coherent and consistent, especially if you are serving the same marketing message to a broad audience (before the segmentation layers). If you are claiming your forte is assisted living in one place and highlighting senior community management as your specialty in another place, it may not convey the right amount of credibility for either.
It’s important to keep your brand image consistent and not modify it every few years to chase a different trend. Changing/pivoting too much and too frequently (in your marketing message/image) can be just as damaging as not changing at all.
Blurring the Lines Between Privacy and Transparency
For many businesses, “behind the scenes” videos (both short and long-form) have become an important part of the overall marketing strategy. It shows transparency and humanizes the business. However, it may backfire if you overdo it in a senior living facility, even if the seniors you are filming have given their consent and are comfortable with the experience.
The seniors watching those videos may not take it the same way, and some may even interpret it as an invasion of privacy. This is inferred from the social media habits of seniors, particularly on Facebook, which is popular with this age group.
Seniors share more videos/images generated by others and are less likely to share their own photos and videos due to privacy concerns.
The essence of almost all best practices is understanding the audience and finding the best way to connect with them. However, it’s important to understand that even the best marketing strategies may not help you sway the core decision factors in your favor, like pricing, proximity, or the need for specific services. So make sure you are segmenting your target audience from these perspectives as well.
Try the Waypoint Navigator for Free!
If your senior living community is looking to improve its online presence by taking website interactivity to the next level, consider exploring our options here at Waypoint.
Using Waypoint’s Navigator VSA tool, providers we’ve partnered with have realized as much as a 27X ROI on tech investment, converted up to 34% of inquiries to tours, and generated an estimated $1M in sales.