How effective is your website? Is it’s purpose to serve solely as an electronic brochure of your senior living community, or are you optimizing it to be so much more?
Last week I attended a statewide meeting of senior living center marketing professionals through their professional association–VANHA– Virginia Association for Nonprofit Homes for the Aged.
With the challenging economy being the focal point of the discussions, the various communities exchanged ideas of how they were marketing themselves to obtain new residents.
A recurring theme throughout the meeting was how to use new technologies and marketing methodologies to attract leads and convert those leads to residents. Maintaining desired occupancy levels was a major challenge and having to do it with decreased marketing budgets, meant Marketing Directors for these communities are having to be more resourceful than ever.
A 2009 study of consumer purchase behavior by PriceGrabber.com indicated that over 85% of consumers use the internet at some point in their purchase process to shop for their products and services. And should we think that the purchase of senior living services is so unique, that these statistics would not be applicable?
Even though all the communities attending the meeting had websites, it became apparent that many felt their websites were underperforming. So, how can you determine if your current web marketing is working as hard as it could be? Here are some tips to keep in mind as you assess the performance of your web marketing efforts:
- Analyze your website traffic—Make sure you have the measurement tools in place to track traffic volume, tell you who is coming to your website, what pages are they viewing, how long are they on your site. A variety of web metric software (such as Google Analytics and HubSpot) is available for managing your performance.
- Check you functional elements –Run a diagnostic check on the critical navigational and operational mechanics of your website. On-page search engine optimization components such as: keywords, meta-description tags, anchor text, graphic image use, alt text and body copy play an integral part in getting found on the internet.
- Develop lead nurturing strategies – It is important to give people new reasons to return to your website. What are you currently doing to keep them returning to your site? Are you providing a continuous stream of relevant content and offers? This strategic addition to your website will keep visitors there longer and provide reasons for them to return, while at the same time building their trust in your expertise and differentiating you from of your competition. By constantly adding new information to your website that proves that you understand (and have experience with) the issues that concern seniors and their caregivers. By doing so, you:
- Build trust by in your expertise and experience.
- Continually position your facility as caring, service-oriented and professional.
- Create more reasons for seniors and their caregivers to come back to your website.
- Provide new tools for residents, family members and referrals sources to use to promote your community.
- Create reasons for you to keep in touch with those who have inquired about your facility.
4. Integrate Web Marketing with other marketing activities —Even with the more prominent role that web marketing is assuming, it is critical that it be effectively used in combination with other forms of traditional marketing that have previously delivered a successful outcome. It’s the integration of all marketing tools, approaches and resources within a company which maximizes impact on the consumer’s mind by using a complementary media to deliver a consistent message.
5. Review and revise your web marketing often—Websites, along with all the elements of web marketing, are dynamic. Target audiences, offers, census needs are always going to be in a state of change. So, with web marketing at the heart of everyone’s marketing hub, it’s only natural that this would also need to adapt and change as well. This reinforces the need to have websites on a content management system (CMS) platform to enable maximum flexibility and utility.
Your website is your most powerful marketing asset. You should be taking steps to insure that it serves as the hub of information on senior and caregiver issues, and a long term contributor for attracting new residents.