Who is your target audience? That’s an easy enough question for a business to identify. For a senior living business, the target audience or target market can be simply defined as – seniors looking for services like assisted living, respite care, food prep, etc., in their respective locations. 

However, this is a mere oversimplification of a much more complex concept. Hence, you cannot base your marketing strategy based on this limited information. You must go deeper and segment your audience based on geographic, demographic, and psychographic factors to create a detailed profile for your ideal clients. 

In marketing, this process is often called creating personas. In this post, we’ll provide an in-depth guide to marketing personas, including steps senior living marketers can take to create one for their business.

  What is a Persona?

A persona, also called a customer or buyer persona, is a fictional “individual” that represents a segment of your market. That individual has expectations, needs, preferences, and issues that are shared by all (or most) of the members of a specific target market segment and allows you to focus your marketing effort on that segment. This makes your marketing more potent because by focusing your marketing efforts and message on that persona, you would appeal to the specific needs, preferences, and expectations of one market segment, significantly increasing your conversion rates within that segment. 

You can essentially divide your entire target market into a number of segments and their representative personas, allowing you to serve each segment with the most relevant marketing message/material.

Why Are Personas Important For Senior Living Marketers?

Personas are important and highly useful for almost all marketers, regardless of the industry in which they operate. However, for senior living marketers, the need for personas is a little more enhanced because of the nature of the transaction that takes place between a senior customer and the senior living business.  

For a significant segment of the senior population that selects a senior living facility or service provider (or it’s selected for them by a family member), the choice is usually permanent in nature. Hence, they spend more time researching their options and asking questions to ensure they make the right choice. They are looking for a facility that can take care of their specific needs and is run by people who truly understand the problems and challenges they may be facing. 

A senior living business that cannot appeal to the individual sets of needs and expectations of its target market segments may not gain adequate traction. However, a senior living business that understands its target’s diversified nature and segmentation’s importance will leverage the power of personas to make its marketing more impactful.

8 Steps To Create Personas For Your Senior Living Business

It’s important to understand that the following steps can be taken in a different order than presented below, as each step is connected to one element of the personas you can build for your senior living business. These personas will emerge as you segment your target market into multiple categories.

1. Interview Your Residents

The best source of information you need for your personas will come from the seniors you have already attracted to your business, i.e., your existing residents. Ideally, you should interview both the most satisfied and disgruntled residents, including those switching from your senior care business to a different one for reasons other than proximity to their loved ones. Try to understand what made them choose your facility over others. If it was referrals, one persona representing a sizable portion of your target market responds well to word-of-mouth marketing. If it’s price, that connects to your persona’s socio-economic status. 

2. Analyze Your Traffic

Once you have gathered as much as you can from the primary source of information, you should start casting a wider net and look at the patterns in your website traffic. See the pages your visitors are spending most or least time at. Also, look at the geography of the traffic. If you are getting a lot of visitors from a nearby city/town, creating a persona for that city, creating marketing elements, and developing content for that persona may get you more leads.

3. Understand Market Needs

You can use your network of healthcare professionals and facilities to identify the needs of your target market. If you are living in an area where seniors with dementia have a difficult time finding a good facility, creating a persona for this specific need and marketing to the persona may get you more leads. In contrast, if you identify that most of the local seniors are opting for facilities outside your target region because of high pricing, you can create a persona from a socio-economic perspective and develop a marketing plan to woo them to your facility.

2024 Trends in Senior Living Marketing

4. Filter From Service Perspective

Market knowledge is important, but focusing on relevant knowledge is crucial. So, filter your market research from the lens of your services. Even if you know that a substantial portion of your target market needs specific healthcare needs, creating a persona for them would be redundant if you don’t provide that service.

5. Demographics and Socio-Economics

In addition to their senior living needs, you must segment your target market based on demographics and socio-economic elements. The age, race, language, and finances of your target audience are crucial to creating personas. You may discover that most of your relatively younger prospects (between 65 and 70) may have a health condition compelling them to pursue a senior living facility. Or that people whose social security income makes up over 65% of their total monthly income might welcome a lower pricing tier, even if it comes with fewer perks. 

6. Conduct Surveys

You can conduct both online and offline surveys to identify more about your target market’s needs and preferences. These surveys may focus on the individual services provided by your senior living business, pricing models, or even the eating habits of seniors in senior living facilities or contemplating one, which can give you useful insights about your target market.

7. Research Your Competitors

Finally, it’s important to research your competitors, especially the ones more successful than you are. If you can identify what kind of seniors they attract the most and their major pull (services, pricing, location, etc.), you can leverage it to make your personas richer and more potent. Alternatively, you can create a persona that your competitor is attracting and develop marketing strategies to appeal to that, which can go a long way towards winning over their business.

8. Use Persona Creation Tools

The actual process of creating a persona can take several different forms. For some senior living businesses, creating personas manually is more feasible, while others may take advantage of online tools. Some of the tools you can use for this are Make My Persona by HubSpot, Delve.AI, and Semrush Persona.

Final Words

Personas can augment senior living marketing strategies and efforts by making them more directional, focused, and potent. There are several steps and different ways of creating personas, but a deep understanding of your target market and their needs is at the heart of everything.