Top 10 Best Online Marketing Practices for Senior Housing Communities
Last month our firm tracked more than 7 million searches for Senior Housing Communities on the web in the US alone. The number of people over the age of 65 will increase from 35m in 2008 to a projected 70 in 2030. We can expect Internet usage for Senior Housing to more than double. The Internet will continue to be the most cost effective way to identify new residents. We believe a solid Internet Strategy includes three essential elements: a website strategy, a search engine strategy and a reputation management strategy. For our purposes reputation management includes using the Internet to (1) Manage PR, Distribute content and create community through Social Networking.
There are many things that Senior Housing Communities should do to connect with the growing Online Audience. Here are 10 good ones.
- Make sure your website has your Phone Number and Email Address form on every page
- Track everything, including phone calls and emails from your website. Set up a separate phone tracking service for your site. This can be done for as little as $10 a month and tells you exactly how many phone calls your site is generating. At a minimum, have your receptionist ask everyone how they found you. They never do, so best to track it with a number.
- Keep your content fresh, the more updates you make to your site the higher your Natural (Organic) rankings will be on Google. Monthly updates should suffice.
- Target your site’s content to match Keywords for your customer audience. Track the keywords that visitors use to find your site through Google Analytics. Monitor the number of searches for your community on a monthly basis using Google AdWords. If you are a Baltimore Assisted Living Facility, you better know how many people type in that term on Google every month. First page placement on Google pays for itself very quickly. For a few thousand dollars, you can have your site targeted to a specific set of keywords that are popular with your target audience. This process is called Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Sometimes popular categories like Nursing Homes and Assisted Living are too competitive to get first page placement. Targeting less popular words like Maryland Assisted Living maybe a more effect strategy. In the worst case, you can still purchase Search Advertising on the first page and still present your Community to Google visitors.
- Make sure your Community is listed on local search platforms. Google local, Yahoo local, Superpages.com, SeniorLiving.Net and SnapforSeniors.com are all free services that let you get exposure for your Community. You can pick the Type of Care and the Geography that you appear under. SeniorLiving.Net also let’s you upload video, a photo gallery, pricing and up to 200 other keywords to promote your Community.
- Put your website address on all of your collateral. As more people use the net to research their options you want to drive people to your site to learn about your people and expertise. Each year more computer centric adult children enter the pool of researchers. Within five years the concept of driving around town or using the print yellow pages to find communities will be history. You need to position your community as a thought leader and progressive enterprise.
- Develop an Online Community for your property. Publish newsletter content, schedules of events, activities and pictures to allow your families to stay connected to your Community. Families can’t visit as frequently as they like, but if they can stay connected, it adds to their relationship with you. Facebook is the best tool available to build this Community. It will also serve as a reminder to visit, call and keep in touch with loved ones.
- Sign up for a Reputation Management service. It is difficult to track everything that is said about your company or community on the web. Between directories, search engines, blogs, ratings and review sites, you need to subscribe to a service that will help you manage the constant updates
- Develop a PR calendar and utilize inexpensive tools like PRWeb to release quarterly press releases on your Community. Whether it’s a corporate name change, local art or photography contest, or positive write up in local magazine or newspaper keeping top of mind with local families is the best way to keep foot traffic and website traffic to your property flowing. Press releases also create linkages back to your site improving your community’s ranking on Google Search.
By Todd Walrath
Todd Walrath is the Founder and CEO of SeniorLiving.Net, a Washington, DC based referral service for families looking to find the best senior care communities in their area. They provide free consultation through their Care Advisor Network. Care Advisors average more than 10 years of experience helping families. For more information visit, www.SeniorLiving.Net