by Wendy O’Donovan Phillips


A welcome sign

You have a database full of prospects, some of which you and your team have been nurturing for months or even years. You are having all the right conversations and doing all the right things you have done before to fill occupancy. Still, tours are down, move-ins are dwindling and census is low.

Here are four ways to address the issue at the root now:

1. Sharpen positioning.

Our data shows more than 20% of senior living organizations’ executives believe their position in the marketplace is not different than competitors’. Positioning is what the organization does for whom at what value that can’t be found elsewhere.

Your organization may offer services in independent living, assisted living, memory care and hospice care to potential families and residents in your area. Most of your competitors have very similar offerings.

Now is the time to sharpen positioning by taking these steps:

• Focus on the service offering. Big Buzz specializes in gathering and analyzing diagnostic survey data to drive warm through your door. We would ask: of all services, which do survey data indicate are the most needed now? The question is not “Which does your organization most need to fill?” In your surrounding area, which is in most demand by those you serve right now? Primarily market only that service to coax warmer, tour-ready leads to emerge from your database. You can introduce additional services on a case-by-case basis.

• Directly address the decision maker. Survey data from Big Buzz reveals the primary decision maker: the future resident, or the family member. Resist the temptation to address both. This is what your competition does. By addressing one target persona that is most likely to move forward with your team, you speak directly to their pain points, build trust and encourage conversations that can lead to tour and move-in.

• Amplify the unique value. The latter part of the positioning definition is where most senior living organizations falter: at what value that can’t be found elsewhere. Big Buzz’s diagnostic voice-of-the-customer survey reveals what current residents value most about your organization. It is not meals, activities or even the continuum of care. Lead with those features and you will get lost in a sea of sameness. Lead with what those you serve already love most about your communities to differentiate and attract more sales-qualified leads. The unique value is a collective feeling that provides a sense of belonging specifically to your communities, something you absolutely deliver because the data shows it’s true. This value encourages stuck leads to move toward the bottom of the funnel and contact you.

2. Narrow content marketing focus.

Now is the time to pause writing general content in favor of positioning your team as the experts in one particular area of senior care.

Using CRM analytics, Big Buzz supports in identifying your most engaged readers. We train your team to automate outreach to these warm leads to learn more about industry-related questions or concerns they may have before they are even ready to have a conversation with your team.

We then guide the creation and implementation of highly targeted content marketing campaigns designed to speak directly to the pain prospects feel now. This inspires those warm leads to become conversation, tour and move-in ready.

3. Narrow social media focus.

This is also a good time to crystalize your message across social channels. Big Buzz uses programmatic survey data to pinpoint those social channels your target persona most frequents to minimize any leaking marketing efforts and funds. We then develop pointed posts relating to callouts from the narrowed content marketing efforts, offering up solutions to pain points felt now. This invites clicks to your website, engagement with your content, conversations, tours and move-ins.

Big Buzz is a marketing agency delivering a steady stream of move-in-ready leads to teams serving the senior living industry. For more than 15 years, Big Buzz has helped senior living marketing and sales teams nurture leads to increase occupancy, grow and scale. CEO Wendy O’Donovan Phillips is the author of the book Flourish!: The Method Used by Aging Services Organizations for the Ultimate Marketing Results, has been published in McKnight’s, has been a regular contributor to Forbes, and has been quoted in The Washington Post, ABC News and Chicago Tribune. The Big Buzz leadership team regularly lectures in front of audiences ranging from 25 to 3,000 attendees, including at Argentum and various LeadingAge chapters. Agency awards and accolades include recognition for excellence by the American Marketing Association, Gold Key Award Winner by the Business Marketing Association, HubSpot Academy Inbound Marketing Certification, and Top Advertising and Marketing Agency by Clutch.

by Wendy O’Donovan Phillips



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