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Why Digital Marketing is Essential to Growing Assisted Living

Apr 3, 2018 9:00:00 AM

 digital marketing for assisted living

Digital marketing is an umbrella term that’s usually used to describe online marketing tactics that exist to digitally connect an assisted living facility with prospective residents and their families.

From your website itself to your online branding, digital advertising, email marketing, online brochures and beyond, these are all digital marketing tactics and assets that can exist independently of one another.

This blog post will teach you digital marketing tactics that attract future senior living residents and their caregivers and tell you why digital marketing is essential in today's market for growing your assisted living facility.

You’ll learn best practices for the major pillars of digital marketing, including:

  1. Optimizing your website
  2. Creating a digital content strategy
  3. Promoting your assisted living facility on social media
  4. Converting website visitors into sales leads
  5. Utilizing effective paid advertising
  6. Turning leads into new residents
  7. Measuring and improving your marketing

Let's get started with actionable tips for how to build your digital marketing strategy so you can grow your assisted living facility -- and your revenue. 

STEP 1: Start With Optimizing Your Website

Your website is the foundation of your digital marketing. It’s the piece of real estate your facility owns on the internet, where you can tell people about your property, publish original content that helps them find answers to their questions and overcome their challenges.

But building a pretty website isn’t enough. You need to make sure you optimize it so that it generates a constant flow of visitors, sales leads, and new residents.

Getting Started with SEO: 5 Elements to Optimize

1. Page Titles

A page title is the text you see at the top of your browser window when viewing a web page. It’s also the title of the page that is presented in search engine results.

Why Digital Marketing is Essential to Growing Your Assisted Living Facility

Page titles can be found and edited in your site’s HTML. The text that is surrounded with the tag is your page’s title. Here are some guidelines for coming up with effective page titles:

  • Write page titles that describe -- and align with -- a page’s content.
  • Include relevant keywords (which should happen naturally if you follow the above tip).
  • Place keywords as close to the beginning of the title as possible.
  • Make it fewer than 70 characters long. (Longer page titles will get cut off by web browsers and in search results. If you make the page title too long, it will also dilute the importance of the keywords mentioned.)
  • Include your company name at the end of the page title if there’s space. • Use different page titles for each page of your website.

 

2. Meta Descriptions

A meta description is a short summary that you can write for a web page, which search engines display in search results.

Why Digital Marketing is Essential to Growing Your Assisted Living Facility

These descriptions don’t count toward search engine rankings, but they are still incredibly useful for increasing click-through rate. When creating a description, the goal should be to write compelling copy that actually describes what’s on a page so searchers are enticed to visit your website over another that appears in the same results page. 

3. Headings

If a piece of text appears larger or more prominent than the other text on a page, it’s probably part of a heading. 

Both search engines and searchers tend to pay more attention to headings in comparison with regular paragraph text because their larger size denotes the topic of a section. Many readers may scan your blog post, for example, until the find a section that addresses their specific question. It’s a good idea to include keywords in your headings whenever possible.

Why Digital Marketing is Essential to Growing Your Assisted Living Facility

Keep in mind that <h1> tags give the text more weight as keywords than <h2> or <h3> tags. Including too many headings dilutes the importance of keywords in other headings, so use the <h1> tag only once. If the page is text-heavy (like a blog post), then feel free to break up the content with multiple <h2> tags as section headers, and <h3> tags as paragraph titles.

4. Images

Images on a web page can enhance user experience. When inserting images into your website, however, you should keep in mind the following:

  • Don’t use images excessively. More pictures can slow down the loading of your page, thus negatively impacting both user experience and SEO — search engines take page loading time into account in their ranking algorithms.
  • Customize the “alt text” of an image. This helps search engines understand that your image is relevant to the page, which is factored into search algorithms and will help you draw in relevant traffic from image searches. When writing alt tags, separate words with a dash (-). 

 

5. URL Structure

The URL of a web page is its web address. For example, Outlet Creative Group's Blog has a URL of https://www.outletcreativegroup.com/blog 

When structuring your website’s URLs, there are a few best practices to keep in mind:

  • Separate keywords with hyphens.
  • Describe what’s on the page. For example, if you land on a company’s products page, seeing the URL http://company.com/products/product-name will be much more reassuring than something like http://company.com/1543?/eh?
  • Use 301 redirects when necessary. A 301 redirect forwards an old URL to a new one. Make sure you do this if you change the URL of a page on your site. 

 

STEP 2: Create Blog Content to Get Traffic to Your Assisted Living Website

Content is the fuel that should drive your digital marketing strategy. By creating valuable, high quality content that’s targeted at your well-defined audiences, you’ll do more than attract visitors to your website: You’ll attract the right visitors, who are likely to convert into leads (and new residents).

When blogging, take off your hat as a marketing manager and try to think like a magazine publisher. The goal of your business blog should be to publish valuable, non-promotional posts, much in the way a column or an article in an industry magazine would. 

What do I write about?

A great way to start blogging is to answer the ten most common questions you get asked by prospective new residents. Do this once a week for ten weeks and you have the foundations of a successful blog.

Generating Leads with Blogging

Business blogging presents a fantastic platform for attracting traffic to your website and engaging with your audience. However, the primary goal of your business blog should be to move your website visitors to the next stage in their decision making. To achieve this goal, add calls-to-action (CTAs) to your posts and have them link to landing pages where the reader can sign-up for a tour of your facility.

STEP 3: Use Facebook to Engage with Caregivers or Potential Residents

Social media is a key driver of your blog distribution and brand visibility online. While there are a wide array of social networks that you can use to your advantage, we’re going to start by focusing on Facebook.

Facebook is the most popular social network in the world. From a marketing perspective, Facebook serves as a powerful platform for building a community of advocates and increasing word-of-mouth marketing.

In order to grow your Facebook fanbase, you need to make your company page on Facebook as discoverable as possible. Here are few things you can do to help make that happen:

  • Fill out your company information completely.
  • Invite existing contacts to like your page.
  • Add value by sharing content.
  • Pay for engagement using Facebook advertising such as boosted posts.

 

Read more about setting up your Facebook Business Page and How to Create Your First Facebook Ad.

STEP 4: Convert Website Visitors into Sales Leads by Scheduling Tours Online and Creating a Downloadable Brochure

To start converting your website visitors into sales leads, you’ll need to create a call-to-action (CTA) to promote tour sign-up and another CTA for your brochure.

why digital marketing

For the brochure, launch a landing page with a form for visitors to provide their name, phone number, and email address in exchange for the brochure. Finally, you’ll need to measure and iterate the whole process.

STEP 5: Supplement Your Assisted Living Marketing with Paid Advertising

When you’re first building your brand online, it can be difficult to rely entirely on your blog and Facebook page to generate enough leads for your business. That’s why many marketers choose to supplement their owned media promotions with paid digital marketing, such as pay-per-click (PPC) ads and native advertising.

The problem with paid ads is that they can be interrupting and annoying -- which means they become really expensive, really fast.

In this section, we’ll go over ways you can make your pay-per-click (PPC) ads less annoying and more enticing to increase clicks to your website. 

When to Use Paid Advertising

The best way to use paid advertising is to drive traffic to a page that has a specific call-to-action, such as subscribing to your blog, downloading a brochure, or signing up for a tour. You don’t want to just pay for traffic, you want to pay for traffic that turns into subscribers and leads.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Search Engine Marketing (SEM), or paid search, is one of the biggest areas of paid marketing, and it refers to paying for search terms people are entering into search engines such as Google and Bing with what are known as “bids”.

For example, if you were to bid on the term “memory care in Michigan”, your ad would appear on the page displaying search results for that keyword. 

How to do paid search effectively:

  • Do keyword research to understand which terms to bid on and understand your cost per click (CPC)
  • Always use targeting so your ads get served to the most relevant audience. You can target by behavior, location, device type and more. 
  • Bid on keywords related to your brand. 
  • Optimize ads for quality score by linking them to relevant landing pages. If your ad points to a page that a search engine doesn’t think is actually related to the ad, your ad won’t get served up.

 

Facebook Advertising

Facebook Ads are considered native advertising. This refers to ads that look like they are part of the platform they are on. You may have seen promoted posts in your Facebook news feed. They look like a normal update in the user’s feed but are marked as “sponsored” or “promoted” so users know it’s an advertisement. When you combine native advertising with good targeting, which many platforms such as Facebook allow, you can get great bang for your buck. 

Learn Facebook Advertising

 

Retargeting Website Visitors

Say you get 1,000 visits a month to your website. You know that the people visiting your website interacted with it somehow -- maybe your content, or your products, or they want to learn more about your company. But you don’t have their email address, which means there’s no way for you to reach them.

That’s where retargeting comes in. You can use tracking pixels (snippets of code on your website) to mark visitors with a cookie. You can then show those visitors relevant ads on display or social and get them back to your site.

Retarget contacts in your database

You can supplement your marketing automation, which you’ll learn more about in the next section, with paid retargeting to nurture leads into becoming residents. Essentially, you can upload a list of email addresses or phone numbers that you have in your database and then show ads to just those people on Facebook. 

Retargeting is a great way to engage your existing audience across other platforms they might be frequenting without being interrupting.

STEP 6: Nurture Leads Into Residents with Email Automation

From a technical standpoint, a lead nurturing system -- often called marketing automation -- is software that allows you to send an automated series of email messages to early-stage leads in order to pre-qualify them before handing them over to your sales team.

As a marketer, you know that getting leads is fantastic -- but not all leads are at the point where they can be considered sales-ready.

Email Marketing Best Practices

Only send messages to people who have explicitly opted in.

Be personal in your communication. Use a real email sender name and add a personal signature. Personalize the message so the recipient remembers how and why they came to your website.

Make sure that your message adds value. Get into the mind of your recipients and ask, “what’s in it for me?” Are you emailing them just to tell them how great your facility is? Or are you offering to help them solve a problem? Make the value clear in the email body and subject line.

Don’t rely on images, as some email clients don’t load images automatically. So if your email is one large image, your recipient might not have any idea what it’s about! Use images as supplementary (clickable) content in your email, and make sure you have enough text to communicate value.

Be consistent in your communication to set the right expectations. Whether you send your messages daily, weekly, or monthly, pick a schedule and stick to it.

Measuring Email Performance

  • Click-through rate (CTR) - Click-through rate measures response: how many of the people you emailed clicked on your link(s)? Experiment with different offers, subject lines, calls-to-action, and timing to improve your email CTR.
  • What about open rate? Open rate is an unreliable metric, as major email clients do not load the images necessary for tracking who opened an email. Instead of worrying about open rate, focus on the number of clicks your emails receive.

 

STEP 7: Measure the Effectiveness of Your Digital Marketing

Now you are surely moving to the bottom of the sales and marketing funnel. That means you need to review the performance of your various marketing activities, identify the winning ones, and eliminate or drastically modify the ineffective campaigns. In this section we will review some metrics to monitor and suggestions for refining your internet marketing strategy.

Identify Opportunities

When you review your marketing activities, figure out what you want to improve. Do you want more people coming to your blog? Do you want to convert more of the visitors on your home page into leads? Get into the mindset of constantly looking for new opportunities.

Set a Metric for Success

In almost all cases, your metric should be quantifiable and involve a set time frame. For example, “increase website leads by X% over the next X days.”

Refine Your Strategy

Analyze how your programs performed. Make changes with the intention of achieving your marketing goals by doing less of what doesn’t work and more what works (and by modifying what doesn’t work so that it works better).

Evaluate Performance

Determine if you’ve met your success metric. If so, stick with your change. If you haven’t met it, see what you could have done differently. In either case, continue to monitor the metric to make sure the improvement has a long-term effect.

Digital marketing might seem difficult and daunting. But by tackling each digital marketing tactic step by step, you can make it more manageable and start producing results. We hope that by reading this guide, you’ve gained an understanding of how digital marketing can improve your overall marketing of your assisted living facility and help you achieve business growth.

Now go forth and conquer digital marketing, one step at a time!

 

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