Your website is now one of the most important tools you have for generating leads and making sales for your senior living community. In just five years, website-driven leads rose from 9% of total lead generation to 25% in the senior living industry.
So, think of your website as a virtual handshake: It’s the first touchpoint many consumers will have with your brand, and, as the old saying goes, you only get one opportunity to make a first impression.
Three-quarters of seniors start their research on search engines, and only 15% of them search for a specific brand name, facility or location. So that’s an opportunity for your site to stand out on search engine results pages.
When people get to your website, what they find there will greatly influence their final decision. Make sure they find what they’re looking for when they visit your website.
There are three major sections of your website they will especially want to view. By focusing on and optimizing these pages, you can provide the information users need and want, and you can leverage your website to attract more leads and get more sales.
Posting prices on your website may feel uncomfortable, but it can give you an advantage over other communities. Posting prices—or at least a “Prices starting at…”—demonstrates transparency. Full disclosure can make consumers and their families feel you have nothing to hide, and that will make them more comfortable with your brand from the start.
You’ll also provide an important service because prospects want to know that information. For example, while few senior living retirement communities post their prices on their website, one website behavior analytics firm found that 99 percent of the questions that came through had to do with pricing.
If you do include prices on your website, it’s up to you to be sure that you clearly and concisely communicate the value of what you offer. If you have higher prices, make certain people can understand why. After all, there are several fee models, and not all senior living communities are the same. Be sure to:
- Explain your unique value proposition.
- Show what makes your community different.
- Use easy-to-understand language and avoid “legal-ese” as much as possible.
- Encourage visitors to contact you with questions.
- Make it easy for prospects to contact you.
Your residents are your best brand ambassadors. Their words are one of the most authentic ways to highlight the value of your community.
By having real residents share real stories, you can humanize your brand and help prospects understand what differentiates your community from others.
When residents tell stories, those stories resonate with consumers. Hearing from someone like themselves makes it easier for consumers to see themselves as residents and understand how the community could be a good fit for them.
Reviews are essentially word-of-mouth marketing, and with 75 percent of consumers saying they ignore advertising altogether, word of mouth is one of the most powerful marketing channels available. Here’s why:
- Word of mouth is more effective than paid ads, resulting in five times more sales.
- Nielsen reports that 92% of people trust recommendations from family and friends over advertising.
- SaaS provider Big Commerce found 88% of consumers trust online testimonials and reviews as much as recommendations from friends or family.
You can post residents’ stories and testimonials on your website in written form or with video—or, better yet, both. Whichever way you do it, there are a few things to focus on with resident testimonials:
- Residents’ perceptions of value, unique features and overall living experience.
- What they most like about your facility.
- How services and amenities help them maintain independence.
- What it is about the community that helped them make one of the biggest decisions of their lives.
Floor plan pages are some of the most-visited pages on a senior living website. People want to imagine themselves in your community, and floor plans are the first step in matching lifestyle expectations with reality.
Be sure to highlight your variety of floor plans with complete descriptions written in a welcoming and warm tone and highlighting what sets your units apart, including:
- Larger bedrooms or overall unit size
- Storage space and walk-in closets
- Outdoor spaces, patios and balconies
- Safety features and emergency measures
- Pet policies and places to walk dogs
- Smart tech, such as Nest thermostats and WiFi connectivity
- Energy efficiency and ENERGY STAR® appliances
- Individual temperature controls
In addition to typical two-dimensional floor plans, offer easy-to-navigate 3D and virtual tours to help prospects visualize what their future home might look like.
Include tools such as furniture planners so viewers can easily see how their furniture will fit and how much room they might need.
One of the most important things seniors seek when looking at retirement communities today is choice, so on your website, make sure you highlight all the options, amenities and services you offer so they can easily visualize all the opportunities that lie ahead. Your website is a powerful marketing tool: Make sure you use it to your advantage.