Happy New Year! It’s time to start making resolutions, finalizing plans and dreaming of everything ahead of us in 2019. While you’re welcoming the post-holiday rush to your communities and planning this year’s schedule for growing your business, take some time to think about marketing strategy, too. Are your messages as strong as possible? Are you achieving the distribution reach you’re hoping for? What can you be doing to ensure your marketing dollars are working as hard as possible? What are the hot trends for senior living marketing?
To answer that last question, we've put together a list of the experts’ top predictions for the upcoming year. Does your marketing strategy include these six trends?
1. A continued increase in content marketing.
Content marketing was the hot topic last year, and it will continue to play an integral role in senior living marketing in 2019. Since senior living conversion relies on informing, nurturing and assisting older adults and family members, content marketing is a natural fit to any marketing plan. The most successful content marketing includes a thorough strategy that aligns with your community’s goals and directions, as well as unique content that includes blog posts, videos, social media and mobile.
2. A focus on “micro moments.”
Micro moments are those bite-sized, incredibly short moments when a person turns to a device to watch something, buy something, learn something or do something. These days, micro moments generally occur on smartphones, as people are out and about during their days – in line for coffee, riding the bus to work, while chatting with friends. The immediacy of technology has trained consumers to demand the information they need whenever they want it, wherever they want it, as quickly as possible. Here are some findings about the power of micro-moments:
- 90% of smartphone users don't have a brand or company in mind when they begin looking for information online.
- 91% of smartphone users will use their device to look up information while they’re in the middle of a task.
- One in three smartphone users end up choosing a company because it provided information in the exact moment it was needed.
- More than half of smartphone users have discovered a new company or product when doing a search on their phones.
- 69% of online customers feel that the timing, relevance or quality of a company’s message influences their individual perception of that brand.
Making sure that your marketing plans include a focus on developing and optimizing mobile-centric information will enable you to latch on to those “micro moments” to your benefit. Think of it this way: many conversations about senior living are happening with family members, and instead of getting up to go to the computer and search, a participant may instead pull out their smartphone and research options in the moment. By capturing their attention and presenting your brand as a quality resource, you have an opportunity to jump yourself to the top of their list or even convert the lead right away.
3. Owning “topic clusters” for SEO optimization.
Search engines are becoming more complex, and consumers’ queries are becoming more targeted and specific in response. Building off of the “micro moment” point above, customers are becoming more savvy with technology, meaning that they’re expecting much more from it. Instead of searching for “restaurants,” they’re more likely to query a complex phrase that’s more specific to their needs, like “family-friendly locally owned farm-to-table restaurant near me.”
That’s why SEO strategies are starting to move away from a keyword-focus and are instead focusing on “owning” a topic. It’s a complex and highly technical strategy that relies on machine-learning algorithms that allow search engines to “see” a customer’s intent rather than just the literal words. By focusing on owning these topic clusters, communities can improve their organic traffic flow and SEO results.
4. Using chatbots for immediate customer interaction.
You’ve probably seen chatbots before – those little pop-ups with the picture of a smiling person asking, “Hi! How can I help you today?” These automated messages allow you to interact with a potential lead right away in a basic yet increasingly complex manner. With the rise of brand interactivity and AI (think of Amazon’s Alexa), customers are starting to expect interactions with brands to help inform and educate. By using chatbots, you’re able to get information about what your potential leads are looking for, as well as delivering that information to them in a quick, easy manner.
5. Integrating voice search into SEO strategies.
Speaking of Alexa, experts are predicting that voice search will make up half of all search queries by the year 2020. Since that’s just a year away, senior living communities should be thinking about integrating this new method of searching into their SEO strategies. By focusing on it now, you’ll be leaps and bounds ahead of your competitors next year.
6. Increased focus on video content.
Video is becoming more and more the norm on social media and digital marketing. With stats like this, you can see why:
- Video earns 12 times more shares than text and images combined
- People retain 65 percent of information for three days longer when it’s supplemented with a visual aid
- Organic engagement on Facebook is higher when posts include videos
- 400 percent as many consumers prefer to watch a video than to read about a product
- Companies that use videos in their marketing say they’ve seen a:
- 27 percent increase in click-through rate (CTR)
- 34 percent higher web conversion rate
- 49 percent faster revenue growth year after year than those who don’t
The bottom line for 2019? Focus on short, emotionally relevant content that will instantly hook your leads’ interests. Ten seconds is the amount of time that businesses generally have to grab a customer’s attention before interest starts to decline.
By focusing your efforts on streamlining and refining your marketing strategy with these trends in mind, you’ll be in a good position to put your best foot forward and stay ahead of the pack.