It’s not just basic marketing that will bring new residents to your assisted living facility, but stories – tales of how your facility has impacted the lives of real, tangible seniors throughout your community.
Who are those people that you’ve served? What struggles did they deal with and how did you help? What worries and concerns did they have and how did you ease them?
Answering these questions is the key to resonating with potential residents and showing them how you can improve their own health, well-being and overall quality of life. It can also help you connect better with their friends and family members, proving just how well you can care for their loved ones in their stead.
Finding Stories to Tell
Your best bet for finding great, relevant resident stories is to start with your internal team. What big moments have they had in their time at your facility? Are there any conversations they’ve had or feedback they’ve gotten that were truly touching? Have there been any situations that really pulled at their heartstrings or made them feel particularly lucky to have their position?
Ask your team members to jot these memories down and share details of their biggest, most game-changing moments on your campus. Then, go back to the residents in those stories and interview them about their personal experiences. How did they feel coming into your facility? How do they feel now? What changes have happened and how do they feel their life has been impacted since moving in? What staff members helped them along the way and how did they do it?
What you learn from these interviews – both with residents and with staff – can offer so much insight into your brand and its place in the market. What trends emerge from the interviews? Is there something you’re consistently providing? That’s your unique value proposition. Use it to target the right audience and convert leads into paying customers. What struggles did your residents share at the outset? Use those challenges to gain a deeper understanding of prospective customers and better tailor your marketing messages to their needs.
Sharing Those Stories with Prospective Residents
Once you’ve got the right resident stories, it’s time to start sharing them with prospective residents. Video can be a great option for storytelling, as it personalizes the story, putting a face to a name and letting potential residents see the impact of your facility live and in action. Videos are also highly shareable, making great content for your website, Facebook page, Instagram account and even Google+ page. When posted to YouTube, Vimeo and similar video sharing sites, they can also offer a boost to search rankings as well.
You can also use your real-life resident stories for:
- Testimonials on your website – Take your best resident stories and use them to create a reviews or testimonials page on your official site. You can even ask for additional testimonials from your residents’ loved ones. Consider offering them an incentive to send you their reviews via email or post them directly to sites like Google or Yelp. Again, these can help with SEO efforts and give you more visibility in search engines.
- Fodder for social media posts – Social media is primed for storytelling. Post the tales on Facebook, add your video to Instagram, or share snippets of each story on Twitter. Be sure to include an image of the resident you’re mentioning to make your stories even more relatable. Just be careful to get their permission in writing first to protect yourself from any liability.
- Q&A articles and posts on your blog – Turn your resident interviews into engaging, prose-style stories on your blog, or for easy consumption, format them as quick-and-dirty Q&A posts instead. Send them out to your email list once they’re posted and share them on your social accounts as well. The more eyes on them, the better!
Make sure to include graphics and imagery with your stories as often as you can, and feel free to reuse and repurpose your story in all these formats and more.
You should also create a plan for gathering additional stories and reviews on a consistent basis. Consider scheduling a quarterly staff meeting at which you can brainstorm with your team and pinpoint potential residents for interviews. Then, work from there to gather new stories and format those for wider consumption on your website, social media accounts, blog and more.
Stick to Stories, Not Marketing Gimmicks
When it comes to filling assisted living vacancies, few marketing strategies are as effective as simple, solid storytelling – both with seniors themselves and the family members and friends who care for them.
Remember, most potential residents aren’t too worried about the actual, physical location you’re offering them. They care about the lifestyle you can give them – the improved health, quality of life and maybe even longevity that can come with becoming your resident.
Use stories to show the impact you’ve had on countless other seniors just like them in an authentic, relatable way, and draw them in with tales they actually care about. Show them that you understand their struggles and that you know help to help see them through. That’s what will get them to reach out, learn more or schedule a tour.
Need Help Telling Your Facility’s Story?
Do you need help using storytelling to fill your assist living facility’s current vacancies? We can help. Contact Outlet Creative group today to get started.