Every day, 10,000 more baby boomers reach retirement age, and by 2030, one in five Americans will be 65 years of age or older. The population of seniors looking for a place to call home and settle in for their Golden Years and beyond is immense — and growing exponentially.
With many senior living community options — from active adult 55+ communities to independent living to assisted living, skilled nursing facilities, and more — how can you ensure your senior living marketing efforts are reaching and attracting the right people to your community?
In this guide, we’ll share 10 senior living marketing ideas (along with some real-life examples). Whether it’s ensuring your website is optimized, striking the right chord with your messaging, investing in senior living content marketing, or encouraging online reviews, these marketing strategies for retirement communities will help you show seniors and their families that your community is the right one for them.
- Fine-Tune Your Website
- Develop a Content Marketing Strategy
- Send Regular Emails
- Differentiate Your Messaging
- Get Active on Social Media
- Commit to Video Marketing
- Improve Your SEO
- Provide Multichannel Touchpoints
- Get Social Proof through Positive Reviews
- Don’t Forget Direct Mail
Let’s dive in!
1. Fine-Tune Your Senior Living Website
A website is the backbone of any business, senior living community or otherwise. Your virtual storefront 24/7/365, it’s always there to attract, inform, and engage your potential residents. And that’s a key factor in senior living marketing — your web design and development should be driven by your residents.
Should it be visually appealing, easy to navigate, mobile-friendly, meet accessibility standards, and optimized for search engines? Of course. But that’s only the beginning.
To truly stand out in a competitive market, it’s important to consistently monitor the analytics so you understand how users interact with your site. For most senior living community websites, the top three most visited pages (after the homepage) are:
- Floor plans
So, knowing that your website is usually going to be the first impression your prospects have of your community, and knowing these are the pages/information they’re seeking, here are some tips to help you improve your “online curb appeal.”
- Floor plans. Provide several views and images per floor plan. This is where users will truly get a feel for their potential senior housing options at your facility, so it’s critical that you give them a more realistic view than your competitors. Where they may just show a standard birdseye blueprint of their floor plans, consider upping your game and even showcasing more immersive, 3D images and videos. If potential residents can picture themselves in your community just by visiting your website, they’re far more likely to request more information or schedule a tour to see for themselves.
- Photos. High-quality photos will help sell your community. Focus on community spaces, kitchens, appliances, and special features. Proper staging, using natural light, avoiding shadows, and aligning vertical lines are just a few of the things that will set your community apart — and are often overlooked or improperly executed. Enlisting the services of a professional real estate photographer will vastly improve the quality of your website and the appeal of your community.
- Amenities. People often search for senior living communities based not just on the living arrangements, but by the lifestyle options they provide. Be sure to emphasize all the amenities (especially as they relate to health and wellness) that your community provides. Resort-style pools, fitness centers, walking trails, on-side medical care, social clubs, and so on should not only be listed, but described in detail. There’s a reason the amenities page is among the most visited on a community website. Seniors and their loved ones often have a checklist of “must-haves” as they conduct their research — so be sure you provide a comprehensive list of each and every one of your unique offerings.
2. Develop a Content Marketing Strategy
Content that attracts, engages, and educates your prospects is an essential senior living marketing tactic.
While a full-blown community content marketing strategy can become very nuanced and complex (including articles, ebooks, case studies, videos, podcasts, research reports, etc.), it’s okay to start small.
Start a blog connected to your website covering topics related to the interests, concerns, and questions of your current and potential residents. This will go a long way in establishing yourself as a thought leader while building confidence and trust among your audience. And it’s also a great way to gain organic search traction and begin to appear in search queries when prospects are looking for answers to common questions.
With a little keyword research on tools like SEMrush, you can gain valuable insights into the things your target audience is searching for online, and tailor your content around those topics.
For example, you might consider writing about topics like:
- Differences between independent and assisted living facilities
- Trends in retirement living
- How to find a senior living community that fits your lifestyle
- A guide to caring for aging parents
- What to expect in a skilled nursing facility
Once published, your blog articles can also be used as value-added content in your email sends and social media posts.
3. Send Regular Emails
As an extension of your content plan, regular emails are a powerful way to build your brand and consistently nurture your prospects.
Getting prospects to opt-in to your email list and sending regular communications allows you to cultivate a relationship while building trust and credibility.
Best practice with senior living community email marketing is to reach out to your list 1-2x a month.
Topics and formats for your senior living community emails can include things like:
- Informative newsletters with relevant news, information, and tips
- Featured blog articles
- Resident stories and testimonials
- Important announcements about your community
- Special offers (move-in discounts, special rates, etc.)
4. Differentiate Your Senior Living Marketing Messaging
In all of your messaging—from website to blog posts to social media—make sure you differentiate your community from the competition. How? By making it all about the resident and their families, of course.
While it’s great to inform about all the features of your community, there’s nothing more important than truly relating to your prospects when you communicate with them.
A lot of senior living communities use their marketing to tout their accolades, awards, and state-of-the-art facilities. Don’t get us wrong, these are important things for potential residents to know, but many communities fail to simply take a basic human approach and empathize with their audience.
When the customer feels heard and understood, they take action. The easiest way to do this is to use their words, such as “I want peace of mind. I know I’m at a point where I need assistance, but I want to age in place with comfort and dignity.”
By describing their “pain” and showing you understand where they’re coming from, you can establish why you’re best equipped to provide them with the assistance, comfort, and peace of mind they desire.
5. Get Active on Social Media
Maybe the most obvious senior living marketing idea is to establish a strong social media presence. According to recent reports by Pew Research, almost 70% of those aged 50 to 64 and 40% of those aged 65+ use at least one social media site.
If your community isn’t actively involved on social media, you’re missing a big opportunity to reach and connect with seniors and their families.
Whether on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, social media can do more than just raise brand awareness for your senior living community. It can show how you’re genuinely making a difference in seniors’ lives. And while you may not become an overnight influencer, here are a few best practices to optimize your engagement:
- Retweeting and favoriting things your followers post
- Commenting on followers’ posts
- Being responsive to comments on your posts
- Responding to mentions
- Uploading shareable videos, photos, and content
- Following/adding prospects on social media
- Connect with influencers within senior, aging, lifestyle, and assisted living communities
Regular, organic posts are a great way to engage with your audience, but don’t forget about paid and boosted social media campaigns/posts to reach a larger pool of potential prospects.
BONUS: Social media does really well when you use faces in your posts, especially in the highly personal nature of the senior living industry. Everyone wants to know more about the people that help them, so sharing posts of your staff helping and interacting with current residents is a great way to further connect with prospects.
6. Commit to Video Marketing for Your Senior Living Community
There is perhaps no better way to personalize your senior living community than with video marketing.
Videos for your senior living community can cover almost anything related to your community, really. But here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Resident spotlights
- Employee spotlights
- Q&A with your care director, head nurse, engagement director, etc
- Virtual tours of your facilities, the grounds, the community center, different apartment layouts, and more
- Welcome video for new residents and families
- FAQ to discuss specific care options and answer common questions
- Recordings of live onsite events to be posted and repurposed
The possibilities are nearly endless, and while professional videography works best, it’s not uncommon for communities to film quick high-quality videos on their smartphones that can be very effective as well.
By creating a YouTube channel to host videos, and posting them on your website, using them in email and social media marketing, you’re taking prospects behind the scenes and making a deep personal connection.
7. Improve Your SEO
SEO stands for search engine optimization – and in a nutshell, it means your senior living community comes up when prospects search by name, by proximity, by lifestyle, or by question.
- By Name: “ABC Life Care Community”
- By Proximity: Life Care Communities Near Me
- By Lifestyle: Active Adult Communities in Houston, TX
- By Question: What should I look for in a senior living community?
No matter how impressive your website and content are, it’s all for naught if prospective residents can’t find you.
To improve the likelihood of prospects finding you vs your competitors online, SEO should always be top of mind with your senior living marketing. This can be done by creating original content for your website and blog, as well as encouraging linking to your pages from other sites.
Page titles, site copy, image descriptions/captions, and meta data should strategically use the keywords relevant to the page content.
The more localized you get, the better.
For example, if you’re an assisted living facility in Scottsdale, your marketing campaigns and content topics should go beyond “best assisted living communities,” and instead target keywords and phrases like “best assisted living options in Scottsdale,” or “Scottsdale assisted living virtual tours.”
8. Provide Multichannel Touchpoints
People today are all about omnichannel communication and content consumption.
Fifty-seven percent of Baby Boomers use tablets, and 4 out of 10 seniors own a smartphone.
As a result, your senior community marketing should offer a unique user experience to encourage and increase engagement. Be available and responsive on all your social media platforms, provide contact forms on your website, and consider text, live chat, and chatbots as well. The more touchpoint options you offer, the better your odds of meaningful prospect communication — on their terms.
9. Get Social Proof through Positive Reviews
Good word-of-mouth from your residents and their families is wonderful, but it’s made even more powerful when they take to the internet to spread love.
According to Smart Girl Digital, 82 percent of families use online reviews to research senior living options. Your prospective residents and their families are going online to vet you long before they reach out for more information or visit your community in person.
Start by setting your community up on the following review platforms:
- Google My Business
- A Place for Mom (powered by Senior Advisor)
- Bing Places
- Facebook Ratings and Reviews
Then, send a thoughtful email to new residents and their families (as well as longtime residents who love being at your community) asking them to take a moment to share their thoughts and leave a review about their experience. Be sure to include a link to the review platform so they can access with a simple click.
Just as important as encouraging positive reviews, however, is swiftly responding to negative ones. Be sure to comment on and address concerned reviewers directly. In many cases, you may also want to call them to discuss the concerns and ways to rectify the situation. Often, prospects won’t even look at communities that have a sub 3-star Google rating, so it’s critical you cultivate and maintain loyal and happy customers — and do your best to mitigate and resolve negative online reviews.
10. Don’t Forget Direct Mail
You probably noticed something about the previous senior living marketing ideas here — they all have a decidedly 21st century digital feel to them.
Here we step back to a simpler time and encourage you not to sleep on direct mail. When done correctly, direct mail can still have a major impact.
Particularly when marketing directly to seniors (as opposed to their children), a well-designed postcard or brochure can produce a great return on your investment if your retirement community direct mail pieces:
- Properly target and personalize
- Focus your content on lifestyle
- Have a clear message with obvious calls-to-action
- Offer something for free
- Use current resident testimonials
Amplify the Exposure of Your Senior Living Community and Get More Qualified Leads
We hope the ideas and examples in this guide are helpful. Whether you’re already executing on all of these ideas, or planning to improve on some or all of these…your senior living community marketing should be ongoing and ever-evolving.
And if part of your marketing plan includes generating a high volume of targeted leads who are the right buyers for your community, PCR can help.
Each year, more than 1 million visitors browse PCR’s website to find their dream retirement home in the perfect lifestyle community. And for the past 25 years, hundreds of communities have taken advantage of PCR’s success with listings that have generated thousands of leads — consistently keeping their pipelines full.
Because our audience continues to grow and data shows increased interest among a broader group of consumers, we recently expanded our marketing platform to include senior living communities!
Through a compelling community feature page, PCR’s advanced SEO techniques will help you find and attract seniors (or their loved ones) when they’re looking for communities like yours.