As tours go virtual and prospects are online more than ever, now is a critical time to give your web presence a tune-up.
By Matt Perrin, Carely
The senior living industry is more competitive today than it has ever been. You simply can’t be a contender without a strong online presence.
That may seem obvious for your website and social media, but your profile pages in the multitude of online directories need attention, too — especially in a moment where Americans are spending more time online during quarantine.
In addition to the hyper-competitive senior living landscape, consumer expectations have changed. People don’t want to be sold; they want information to inform their decision-making on their terms.
Online directories are a critical digital medium because they’re another way to drive people to your website. Sure, some people will find you directly and visit your website first, but many won’t. Most will meet you through one of your directory profile pages, and the biggest mistake that communities can’t afford to make is creating a poor first impression with their listing.
As we all know, the world has been turned upside down by COVID-19. While the focal point of the senior living sales process pre-pandemic was always getting the prospective resident and family into a community for a tour, that is no longer the case. So much of what used to happen in-person is all virtual now. It’s a complete paradigm shift, and your first digital impression has never been more critical.
For those senior living communities that haven’t paid their digital presence and online directory pages attention in a while, here is some low-hanging fruit you can take advantage of to get started.
Be clear about what you offer
Make sure you clearly and concisely convey the levels of care you offer, other services and amenities you provide, the costs associated with them and even the forms of payment that you accept. Most communities have the first part covered, but rarely address the pricing portion.
Consumers expect to see pricing information in their research. They want transparency, and listing the costs is an easy way to provide it.
Not only does transparent pricing information make it easier on the consumer, it also saves your sales and marketing teams from spending time with prospects who aren’t financially qualified. This will ultimately reduce reliance on the expensive online lead aggregator services.
Swear off stock photos
“A picture is worth a thousand words” is a cliche for a reason — there’s more than a shred of truth to it.
Senior living is the ultimate human business. It’s the people — residents, staff and partners — who make your community unique. That’s why it’s so important to show yourself.
Use online profiles of your community to show the world who you are with real photos, and tell your story with video interviews whenever possible. Prospective residents and their families want an authentic look at who you are, and there’s no easier way to make that positive first digital impression than by filling your directory pages with resources of authenticity.
Make consistent COVID updates
There isn’t a more top-of-mind topic today than COVID-19, which is why it’s important to link your website’s updates onto your online directory profile pages.
Those discovering or considering your community will want to know what your team is doing to keep residents and staff safe, along with information on how your community has been affected. Most importantly, update your COVID-19 page as frequently as possible — weekly at a minimum. The status of what your community was doing in June, let alone four weeks ago, isn’t helpful.
Keeping your website up to date with regard to COVID-19 and resident/staff safety is an easy win from a transparency perspective. And you can easily add links to that helpful content on your profile pages.
Give your content the ‘Emma Test’
When I think about Carely’s sales collateral or marketing copy, I’ll often give it the “Emma Test,” named for my 10 year-old daughter.
I’ll hand her sample copy, ask her to read it and tell me what it means. It’s a helpful exercise because I want to be sure we’re conveying a clear and concise message. After all, we only have one shot to make that first impression.
I’d think about online directory profiles for a community in a similar way. Ask yourself:
- What are we communicating with our words and imagery? Does it show our community DNA?
- What information is going to be important to the visitor of our profile? Are we providing it (e.g. levels of care, pricing and reviews)?
- Are we clear on how the visitor can contact us and are we offering them choice (phone, email, text)?
The market continues to get more crowded by the day. Between new communities, technology advances, increased capabilities of home health providers and health systems and new models, such as small homes, it is becoming more difficult than ever to get the consumer’s attention.
Your people are the product, and digital is another opportunity to tell the world who you are, what you do and how you do it better than anyone else. Because even if your community has the absolute best reputation in your local area and an army of trusted and proven offline referral sources, ignoring the importance of digital (including your online directory profile pages) can be a costly missed opportunity.
And remember, consumer expectations and behaviors have changed. People are doing more of their own research prior to raising their hand to a community, and they expect authenticity and transparency. Without any friction, they want to understand whether a community can meet their needs (today and in the future), if it’s a good fit for them and how much it will cost.
To live up to that expectation, your community’s story must be authentic, transparent, lively and consistent across all of the various digital media. It needs to start with the community website as the hub and ripple out to any and all social channels, review sites and directory profile pages. Because you never know where you’ll need to make that first impression.
Matt Perrin is head of growth at Carely Inc., a set of tools for enhancing the caregiving experience for both caregivers and professional care providers.