A solid marketing plan is 80% tried-and-true, 20% something new. For many retirement housing providers, the “something new” in their marketing plan is technology. Revamped websites, increased social media presence, and search engine marketing often provide big opportunities for lead generation.
So, how do you incorporate these new opportunities with the “tried-and-true” that already works for your community?
The best marketing plans combine the art and science of retirement housing marketing.
The art of retirement housing marketing is the personal relationship that the sales staff develop with prospects, and the emotions and feelings they generate through written messages, telephone calls, and in-person contact to help move the prospect through the sales process.
The science of retirement housing marketing is the ongoing use of technology, tools, testing, and observation and measurement of prospect responses in order to craft the strongest message, targeted to just the right audience through the right media, to generate maximum interest in the community.
The science of marketing generates leads.
The art of marketing converts them to sales.
The Science of Retirement Housing Marketing
Technology gives us greater insight into the behaviors of our customers and their likes and dislikes. We can pinpoint what moves them with greater accuracy than ever before.
- Pay-per-click (PPC) ads and posts on social media offer instant feedback on language and concepts that spark interest.
- Website analytics show how prospects behave on a site, where they linger longest, and what they’re searching for.
- The methods that we’ve always tracked, such as direct mail, can be improved by coupling them with new technology. We can learn more about the impact of a direct mail piece not just by event attendance and call logs, but by measuring website and social media analytics immediately after the mailing.
- A combination of targeted social media advertising and targeted direct mail campaigns reaches consumers with different preferences for how they receive information, and reinforces the message for those who give attention to both.
Ultimately, your technology should plant the seeds of a personal connection. Website content and ads that pique interest and evoke an emotional response are based on solid research and continued refinement.
The Art of Retirement Housing Marketing
Establishing a personal connection with your internet leads immediately and skillfully is essential. Your prospects and their influencers have researched your community online, and demand a personalized experience that goes beyond “features and benefits” selling.
Your internet leads know more about you than you know about them. The “tried and true” best practices for relationship-based sales now have even greater urgency.
The art of retirement housing marketing is about the emotional experience rather than rational decision making.
Relationship building must include a strong emotional component: an emotional endorsement.* In other words, if prospects like you and you like the product, then they like the product.
People are highly susceptible to other’s enthusiasm for a product. Consider the following statements:
“I went to the best restaurant. I really loved it. I think you would love the cannolis there!”
“I went to a restaurant that has really good food.”
Which statement would influence you more?
Emotional endorsement, especially from someone we like or trust, is the root of influence. When your sales staff establish relationships with their prospects, their level of enthusiasm steers the relationship.
Enthusiasm changes the emotional dynamic of the relationship. Ask yourself: would I want my prospect to adopt the energy level I have right now?
If they’re skilled at discovery – those tried and true practices – genuine enthusiasm and connection will take your sales team beyond features and benefits selling to higher level selling that engages the prospect’s own positive thinking to further the sale.
For example, a salesperson who knows about their prospect’s love of gardening might offer this during a tour: “I love seeing what people do with these patios when they move in! Do you think you could plant your beautiful hydrangeas here?”
In this example, the salesperson’s enthusiasm and positivity has carried to the prospect, who is now imagining doing something he loves at the community and being recognized for it by someone he likes and trusts.