The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented hardship to the senior living industry, with much blame being thrown about in the wake of this ongoing disaster. Work will have to be done to rebuild the narrative and counter the negative image cast upon our sector. Brand-reputation management and targeted PR campaigning provide a path forward.
Connect with Clients & Families
Retention of current clients is a major concern during this time where restrictions limit move-ins. Since the start of the pandemic, move-outs have accelerated. While mortality is the leading reason for move-outs, the second reason for move-outs is because of resident or family concerns. That’s why it’s vital to engage in high-quality communication strategies with your residents and families in order to build trust.
Tackle the issues head-on with clarity and honesty. Communicate new policies and community standards by providing regular updates. The goal is to rebuild the trust that attracted current residents and their families to your community in the first place. Use empathetic messaging with a personal touch to remind families they are important and that you care about their well being.
In order to reach your audience, you need to think beyond the usual communication platforms. Email campaigns, direct mail, newsletters, video, live online meetings, and social media offer excellent channels to connect. Enlist the help of staff at all levels of the organization, including executive leadership and on-site employees, to build confidence and the sense of a united community working together.
Establish Trust with Prospects
Many seniors and their families may be reluctant to search for senior living in the midst of a pandemic. Yet, people will still need a safe place to live as their life conditions change. Position your community as the solution they need during this challenging time. Handle the messaging with care to match the tone of current events.
One way to do this is by shifting your message from a sales-focused approach to a digital reputation-management solution. Highlight safety protocols and address concerns directly. Calls work to move prospects through the sales cycle in normal market conditions. Use your existing marketing call structure to encourage leads to reach out with questions or to schedule a virtual tour to talk about their concerns and address their questions. And now is the time to use omnichannel marketing to deliver consistent messaging across platforms. Consistency builds trust whereas disconnected marketing channels can cause confusion.
Educate Your Audience
Take care to explain the differences in the levels of care on offer, from independent living to nursing care. Don’t be afraid to address the COVID-19 risks and associated protocols at each level. This helps to establish credibility and answer some of the questions that all your prospects have. Choose to confront difficult questions and remind your audience of the advantages of living within a community. Stressing that your community has clear and effective protocols in place can position you as a trusted authority in a time of general uncertainty.
Consider building a visually strong campaign with infographics, videos, and articles as effective educational tools. Partner with trusted industry organizations to publish articles about your business’s story and response in the midst of the crisis. And don’t hesitate to ask your residents for a quote to accompany the story.
Reviews are crucial to most people’s decision-making process, so now is a great time to ask your satisfied clients to contribute sincere reviews on trusted platforms. There’s nothing more persuasive than hearing real people speak about their experience with your facilities, services, and levels of care.
Current, appreciative reviews go a long way to engendering the trust needed to build a strong digital reputation. When it comes to an individual who is close to making a choice on a senior living community, a short series of informative, positive appraisals can make the crucial difference by converting a prospect into your latest client.
Get the Support You Need
At Sabal Group, we help senior living communities with data-based marketing solutions. In these uncertain times, we offer the insight you need to reach the right audience with the best message. Contact me today to discuss how to get back on track with an effective reputation management strategy.