Boomers and Gen Xers both sang “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone,” which, in a weird way, resonates with me when I think about an email drip campaign. I know, I know. But hear me out. In Joni Mitchell’s Big Yellow Taxi, she sings about the loss of the birds, bees, and trees, her old man, and paradise. In Cinderella’s glam metal rock ballad, the sentiment is the same though the circumstances are different. People leave, and we suddenly recognize what’s been lost.
Senior living’s audience faces that same moment of recognition every single day. Someone, somewhere has to make a decision about choosing the right / best / available senior living community NOW. Which is why, in my brain, I flip the lyrics and sing, “You don’t know what you need until you gotta have it.”
Slow and Steady
Many marketing teams consider an email drip campaign like white bread for a sandwich. It’s necessary, it does the job of holding the star of the meal in place, and it’s totally forgettable. But I believe they’re wrong. A smart drip campaign can put your brand in the right place when that potential resident or their family member has to have a solution today. A slow and steady campaign that converts a reader into a resident is a cost-effective solution that deserves more respect.
Rather than making your email drip campaign a set-it-and-forget-it, passive-action, the consumer has to trigger the next message, I’d like to suggest a different approach. Let’s think about email drip campaigns as a terrific opportunity to tell your story to the right audience.
Let’s Reinvent the Wheel
I realize there are tons of blog posts and experts online offering their recommendations on the perfect drip campaign strategy. Depending on how many they want you to send, a typical campaign might look like this:
- A warm, friendly introductory message
- A second message to thank them for taking an action or suggesting something of interest
- A follow-up message highlighting another piece of content
- Rinse, repeat until they take action
Successful drip campaigns can reach 50 percent open rates and generate a double digit increase in sales. But that’s exactly why I believe senior living drip campaigns need to reinvent the wheel. If you’re selling a widget to consumers, there’s a clear and logical customer journey that’s been well mapped and lends itself nicely to an automated campaign. But senior living decisions are not ㄧ at heart ㄧ a purchase decision. And automated campaigns seldom have heart or arrive when a decision must be made.
A segment of your audience may have the luxury of time to research all of their options, but for too many, thinking and planning has been put off because no one wants to see themselves as needing what senior living offers. To reach those who haven’t been researching you, you need a different approach. You need to be top-of-mind before they’re ready to become a resident.
Flip the Script
Adding value to a person’s life by sharing trustworthy, authentic, and relatable information they can use is a tried-and-true strategy. The trick comes in knowing what your audience wants. Helpful hint: it’s usually not what you think they want you to share! More importantly, you need to be sharing this authentic and useful information with the right audience. Blasting out thousands of email newsletters to the wrong audience will never move the needle on your lead generation. If you’re investing in delivering excellent content, you need to ensure it’s being sent to a receptive audience. That means you need a finely tuned mailing list of people who reflect your current residents.
Crafting the cadence and content of the campaign means delivering content your audience enjoys. So ask your residents, your audience experts, what they’re reading, watching, and sharing. Instead of focusing on what your facility offers (fine dining, beautiful grounds, and enriching classes), offer strategies to keep them healthy with suggestions about exercises they can do at home, fitness workouts for those with limited range of motion, or community-based events with backstories on the headliners or featured participants. In other words, sharing information about your senior living community should be like a back-up singer, out of the limelight and not drawing attention.
The Right Partner
Changing a long-term strategy is always a challenge. We’re creatures of habit, and trying something new can give us second, third, and fourth thoughts. But email campaigns are cost effective and affordable. If you’d like to know more about how Sabal Group can help you change your email drip campaign for the better, I hope you’ll reach out to me. Even if you’re not ready to flip the script, let’s talk about what’s working or needs improvement. I’m happy to schedule a Zoom call to talk about fresh ways you can connect with your audience before your director or CEO makes it a must.