There’s a reason why many organizations and businesses rely on marketing plans that lean heavily on more “traditional” tactics, such as print, radio, television and word of mouth, to generate results. These methods, while traditional, are still very effective! Today’s seniors may be more tech savvy than any seniors before them, but they are still some of the top consumers of traditional media, and move into new technologies slower than other demographics.
If your marketing plan relies heavily on traditional methods and tactics, that’s not necessarily a bad thing at its core, but it probably does indicate that there are some other tactics – digital ones – that you are missing out on.
“A truly integrated marketing plan is one that includes traditional as well as digital touchpoints,” says Sean Ochester, Executive Vice President of Digital & Integrated Strategy at Sage Age Strategies. “Yet many organizations shy away from digital marketing, mostly because they do not fully understand the substantial benefits it can produce.”
The reality is, digital marketing can pay off in some seriously big ways, making your investment worth more than you planned. Let’s take a look at some ways to integrate digital touchpoints into your 2017 marketing plan, and some of the common bottlenecks that teams face when trying to integrate their digital and traditional marketing efforts.
Key Digital Marketing You Should Be Doing for Your Business
1. Incorporate email into your outreach. Email is a powerful tool, especially if you are able to cut through the clutter, escape the ‘junk mail’ filter and provide something truly valuable and relevant to your audience. The opportunities for email are pretty much endless – you can use it to share special deals and discounts, important news, relevant and helpful information and a lot more. Just look at the fliers and print collateral you are sharing for inspiration. If you have a list of emails that you simply aren’t using, the potential is huge, and it simply requires that you come up with a plan and get started!
2. Establish a presence on social media. This is one area of low-hanging fruit that couldn’t be lower. While investing time and effort into social media is obviously a cost to consider, the actual use of the platforms is, in general, free. You decide how much time and energy you want to put into it, but much like having a responsive website, this is something today’s consumers have come to expect. A robust social media presence can build trust via social proof, and gives you an opportunity to connect your online and offline presences in a very real way. There, you can post images and anecdotes from your community, creating an online presence that feels like a genuine interaction with the community.
3. Make your website responsive. Too many senior living communities have websites that haven’t been touched in years. That may have been okay a decade ago, but in today’s world customers expect to be able to not only find you online – and easily – but to be treated to a positive online experience. They want easy-to-read websites that let them navigate content with a click or a tap, either on their desktop or mobile device. They want simple user interfaces that let them gather information quickly, and they want it all to load in the blink of an eye. It’s a tall order, but completely doable with the right expertise!
By making your website responsive, you have an opportunity to quickly and easily share the more “traditional” marketing efforts you’re doing by posting videos, making brochures and pamphlets available for easy download and more.
Common Bottlenecks to Incorporating Digital Media into Your Marketing Strategy
Any one of the three tactics listed above could be as simple or as complex as you’d like to make it. They could be multi-quarter initiatives or simple exercises for a new staffer to tackle, but in general, our team advocates for a thoughtful and thorough approach no matter how big or small you want to go.
Here are some common stumbling blocks teams face when implementing digital marketing tactics, and how to overcome them:
1. The project starts with a lot of momentum but quickly loses steam. Competing priorities get in the way, and before you know it, it’s been three months since you checked your company’s Facebook account. The key to tackling this challenge is creating clarity around what tasks need to be done and when, and by who, and incorporating those tasks into your existing workflow.
It’s a pain to go back out into the activity room to take a photo and post it to Facebook when you’re in the middle of filling out reports or working on vendor contracts, but if you add “take photo and post to Facebook” as just one step in your morning, when you’re already out and interacting with residents, you’ll be more likely to keep the habit. Forcing it is the last thing you want to do; instead, make what you’re doing fit into your life.
2. You feel aimless. The key to avoiding this bottleneck is to plan, plan, plan. Having clear and definable goals, reasonable timelines and a clear picture of what success looks like can keep you focused and act as a lens through which you can view all your efforts.
3. Your team isn’t working together. This often comes down to a lack of clear planning and a lack of understanding around big picture goals. Your teams will work more closely together to achieve their objectives if they see their objectives as being complementary. Battle this by creating a unified vision for your marketing efforts, identifying a common goal that all efforts should drive toward and highlighting the ways in which working together creates better outcomes for everyone. This is a leadership challenge first and foremost, and requires that your community’s leadership to be on board!
Digital marketing is a big world, but with the right leadership and approach, it could pay off in a big way for your community. It’s also something we’re pretty passionate about here at Sage Age, so get in touch if you’d like to explore the opportunities!
Proven Sales and Marketing Expertise That Connects with Today’s Seniors
If you are managing a senior living community and are in need of expertise in precisely profiling, targeting and connecting with your target markets, contact us for more information today. Sage Age Strategies is a multiple award-winning, strategic growth and marketing organization that operates exclusively in the senior living industry. For more information, please call or email Adrienne Mansfield Straub at 570-601-1720 ext. 100 / firstname.lastname@example.org.