The process to select a senior living community differs from other purchase decisions in that it signifies a personal transition to a new phase in life. Therefore, the consumer journey requires more intention and investment to capture and guide leads from first connection to conversion.
The data supports a more fragmented consumer journey for independent living residents. In fact, the sales cycle for independent living residents is almost double that of assisted living residents, at 120 days compared to 70 days. For independent living residents, the decision isn’t as urgent as it can be with assisted living residents. This means the consumer takes more time to conduct in-depth research and investigates alternatives.
The Consumer Decision Journey
U.S. homecare market growth predictions indicate an 125% increase from 2016 to 2024. This enormous upsurge presents vast opportunities for senior living communities to capture market share. However, it is vital to understand the consumer decision journey and shift marketing and communication strategies to match that journey. While a longer sales cycle may feel like a disadvantage, a tailored marketing strategy reaches your target market more effectively to capitalize on this growth and potentially shorten the cycle.
On average, it takes 25 touches to close each senior living customer. A touch is any contact with the consumer during the decision-making process. For example, online resources, like blog articles, website visits and emails, along with offline resources, like print advertisements, phone calls or location visits, all count as touches. Diversified touch points produce more opportunities for leads to find your senior living community and learn about your competitive advantage.
Many senior living consumers begin their journey with online search engines. At this point in the journey, most consumers don’t have a senior living provider in mind. This is the golden opportunity to capture the lead and convert.
While most senior living marketers state their website is the most effective marketing channel, they only experience a 30% conversion rate at a cost of over $400 per lead. Simply put, the current marketing strategies aren’t working effectively. There is a disconnect between the starting rate of searches by consumers and the conversion rates.
A Better Approach to Senior Living Marketing
Understanding the digital consumer journey can change the results for senior living marketers. Due to the high number of touches and long sales cycle, senior living communities need diverse types of communication and marketing channels.
When deciding on a senior living community, the consumer more often calls the provider as part of the sales journey. Make it easy for consumers to call. Add the right tools to your website, including a call option on your contact form and “Call Now” features. Don’t push leads towards email and online sales funnels that restrict the ability to connect with a real person. Otherwise, you risk losing out to the competition. The data shows that calls close the sale more effectively.
Add value during the call to build trust and understanding. Also, ensure all channels have consistent and quality marketing resources and messaging. Senior living marketing requires a new approach that matches the digital consumer journey. Build online platforms that meet the consumers’ needs so that you act as the guide on their journey of transition to senior living.
If you’re betting on digital marketing, optimize when and where you present your content to reach the right audience. Sabal Group can help. We provide you with the right information based on digital data to effectively reach your target market through omnichannel marketing. In other words, we take the guesswork out of your marketing strategy to narrow the gap between you and the consumer. Contact Maribeth to discuss how to maximize your marketing budget.