Create a Steady Stream of Referrals with These Digital Marketing Tips

November 28, 2016

Senior living facilities (whether independent or assisted living) are in a unique business that requires a constant stream of resident prospects to maintain facility occupancy as current residents age.

Traditional advertising is a great way to achieve brand awareness, but you risk attracting relatively unqualified leads and may find the ROI uninspiring. Generating referrals from current residents, or the families of current residents is a great way to up your referral numbers.

Identify Your Audience

As we discussed in a previous blog about digital marketing tactics for senior communities, your target audience is not always the potential resident.

A 2014 research study indicated the adult children often play a heavy role in researching living options for their senior parents. In addition, medical or other professional referrers may also partner with family members to make a decision for a potential resident. By only targeting potential residents, you are limiting yourself to a smaller audience. 

Now that we know whom we are talking to, let’s get to the tactics.

Keep the Blog Up to Date

For online marketing, a blog is a powerful tool. It allows you to present fresh, interesting, and useful content to your prospective clients as well as allows you to keep current residents abreast of what is happening in your facility.

A blog also allows a way to produce fresh content for social sharing. Whereas your original website may not be “current,” a blog is an easy way to react to news events, hot trends, or on-site events that are worthy of sharing. Sharing via social channels is a great way to generate interest and engagement with your page. 

Connect On-Site to Connect Online

A strong digital presence is key for your facility, and even more so in the era of social media. A large number of older Americans have a Facebook account, so don’t overlook the power of social media because of your target demographic. 

Get people to connect on-site by advertising your social media profiles on brochures, placards, and other elements throughout your facility. Self-advertisement such as this encourages people who visit your facility to stay up to date with you on social media. It can also be a great way to engage new prospects who may be shopping facilities and several weeks out from committing. Having them engaged with your social media allows another opportunity for your marketing message to reach them. 

Also, it is possible that most people who like your profiles through these sources are related to a current resident, meaning they are the perfect person to offer a referral for your facility. Every so often, most likely in anticipation of enrollment goals, sponsor contests that encourage your social media followers to refer someone to your facility.

Aside from quarterly contests, run an ongoing promotion with some sort of referral bonus. Periodically remind people about this. When someone refers and wins the prize, be sure to share it on social media! This will create a perpetual desire to be featured, and it also provides leads to your facility.

Monitor Your Reviews

Your website and social media channels are great ways to get easy and highly qualified leads to your facility – and the best part is they are under your control.

Unfortunately, sites like Yelp, Google Reviews, TripAdvisor and more are not entirely under your control. Regardless, peer review sites are used by a lot of people and deserve the same amount of attention as your own digital properties. 

Fortunately, you can control some aspects of these profiles. Be sure to conduct an audit and claim or dispute any unauthorized profiles representing your property. Also, ensure that information entered on these sites is accurate and up to date. Do you need to modify closing hours, address, contact numbers, etc.? The wrong information here can easily lead to a lost lead.

Also, take the time to respond to comments via these sites – both good and bad. If you get a good comment, respond asking the person to contact your facility so you can send them a thank you note or thank them by phone. 

If it is a bad comment, also respond and attempt to follow up with the problem and provide a solution. What you don’t do in these situations shows what kind of facility you can be.

Partner with Blue Sky Marketing for your Marketing Needs

The team at Blue Sky Marketing are digital marketing experts who can help potential clients evolve their marketing programs to reach desired goals and outcomes.

Contact Blue Sky Marketing today to discuss what we can do for your business.

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