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Marketing to Seniors: How to Open Your Doors Before They Arrive

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The secret is meeting seniors “where they are”

Whether a senior is alone in contemplating a move to a senior living facility, or whether the entire family is involved in the conversation, the decision to make the move doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, it can take several months or even years for a senior to come to the conclusion that being a part of a senior living community is the right next step.

Meeting seniors where they are

These months and years of contemplation are the perfect time for you and your staff to begin fostering relationships with seniors and their families. Even if you don’t know exactly who these seniors are, there are ways to reach out to those in your community who likely need and want your services in the near future.

You can do that by first considering how to do what we call meeting seniors “where they are.” In other words, where might seniors be in their decision-making toward senior living and how best to engage with them?

Some are likely just thinking about what’s next. Maybe they are considering an independent living community because they want to downsize or become part of a larger community. Some may be experiencing health problems that can be overcome with some assistance from a family member or other caregiver. And then, there are those who likely could use the services of a senior living community due to more significant health problems, but are not emotionally ready to take that step.

Once you identify these places in the journey, you can create new programs and market current ones to meet their needs. From offering educational classes and adult day care programs to providing volunteer opportunities, all are great ways to begin fostering relationships with seniors in your community. Plus, these ideas can be tailored for seniors who are at different steps in the journey. For example, if you know a senior whose likely next step is an independent living community, ask them to volunteer or perhaps even share a talent by offering a class. For those still living at home but needing assistance, offering them Meals on Wheels or other care, is a great introduction to your services.

Remember that their physical needs are not the only priority in meeting them “where they are.” Consider their emotional needs—like those feelings of uncertainty—that accompany seniors on the journey.

Marketing senior living to your community

As you develop programs, or begin to invite community members to your facility, you’ll need to get the word out. Here are a few fundamentals to keep in mind as you market your senior living community:

  • Begin establishing trust with seniors and their families. Rather than trying to sell your services, listen to what they are telling you. By being a better listener, you’ll find ways to connect for the long term.
  • Try not to use confusing industry jargon in your conversations. Tell real stories about real people that are both emotional and memorable.
  • Avoid talking about situations in which seniors needed to enter a senior living facility due to health or family issues, as opposed to coming to the decision on their own. This can scare prospective residents, who likely already have feelings of doubt about the future.
  • But, do talk about your current residents, along with their accomplishments and activities. Better yet, engage prospects with your residents for a behind-the-scenes view of senior living.

Let us help you plan your future

If you need additional or reconfigured space to provide programs to attract prospects to your facility, contact us or call (920) 969-9344. The first step in our process—master planning—includes a market assessment that will help you determine your future space and programming needs.