Throughout history, hermits have been the exception.
Humans are hardwired for social interaction, for person-to-person connections. We seek to build a community with one another. And that’s one reason we’re struggling with sheltering in place, staying at home, and self-isolation. We crave contact. The first week, it was a bit of a lark. Something to challenge us. Can I do this? What will it be like to work from home, homeschool the kids, and share space with my spouse 24/7? The second week was less fun. By the fourth week, well, let’s just agree not to talk about Fight Club.
No matter how you’re coping with our new reality, you still have to reach your audience. Marketing still matters. And that’s why a focus on your direct mail campaign, as part of an omnichannel process, is the best strategy for both short- and long-term success.
The Power of Touch
Research shows that touching and being touched are elemental human needs. However, during this pandemic, touch is the last thing we should do. When you think about senior living events and in-person tours, what are the most common things we see? A handshake. Facial expressions. Body language. Human-to-human connection. Each one of these helps a potential resident assess your community and their fit within it.
For an industry that has a long and slow sales process, the power of personal touch, meeting people, and making a connection is priceless. When in-person connections are curtailed, you can reach out and connect through a smart direct mail campaign.
Solutions Instead of Sales
You might not call your prospective audience the Cursive Generation, but it’s an apt descriptor. For Boomers and their parents, penmanship is a point of pride. They use it in daily life by mailing checks to pay bills and writing letters or postcards to friends and family. Sending them mail taps into this form of communication.
If you’ve paused your sales campaign, now is an excellent time to experiment with fresh ideas for a direct mail campaign. Research shows your audience is a fan of direct mail. And in a time when days blur together and everyone is staying home, high-quality mail can help you stand out in a sea of competitors, providing connection and useful information. Now is not the time to fall back on the tried-and-true pieces you’ve used in the past. Your calls-to-action, primary content, and visual collateral should be retooled to reflect a new purpose and our new reality.
Consider sharing your community’s favorite recipes to help home cooks vary the menu. You can offer tips for downsizing as bored seniors tackle spring cleaning. If you’re scheduling live events on Facebook to help build a feeling of community, send postcard invitations to make prospects feel like they’re a valued member of the group. To acknowledge our need for physical touch and feeling connected, you could create a mailer with instructions on how to fold an origami bear to share a virtual hug. It’s interactive, it’s unusual, and it can brighten someone’s day.
Looking for something a little more personal? The seniors in your community have had their daily lives curtailed, so why not involve them in a direct mail campaign? Ask for handwriting samples and choose the best to pen legible, handwritten notes to your high-value prospective audience. Or ask everyone to write down the one thing they love most about your senior living community. You’ll have new content for an entire series of campaigns, current testimonials for your website and social media, and graphics for a direct mailer. And you’ll validate your residents’ experiences and contributions to your community.
As the song says, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. You will return to in-person events, hugs, and handshakes. You will host onsite tours and information luncheons again. You will continue to leverage digital media to stay connected. But in the meantime, why not reach out to touch people via direct mail too? It can make all the difference to your marketing campaign, and, more importantly, to your audience.