When the pandemic hit final calendar year, quite a few senior living operators relied on interaction and advertising and marketing to win the have faith in of current and potential citizens and their families. But even if operators concur transparency will make the ideal policy, it’s not normally distinct what they must say, or how they must say it.
4 senior dwelling operators — Aegis Dwelling Grace Administration, Inc. Knollwood and Juniper Communities, with its promoting lover JPR Team — invested the early times of the pandemic crafting marketing and conversation designs. The 4 operators share just one thing in widespread: they all gained recognition in the “Covid-19 messaging and communication” category as portion of the inaugural Aging Media Community Component Awards.
What these 4 senior dwelling firms realized through that procedure can support advise the broader industry as suppliers across the place hone their own strategy and regain occupancy in 2021.
“It was obvious back in the commencing of all of this that we took a pretty large lump … and unlucky instances naturally made a bigger overhang for the market,” explained Angie Snyder, main internet marketing officer at Aegis. “So, we required to make confident people today understood that we recognized what we were being undertaking, we have know-how and broadly, [are] furnishing secure and sanitized and lively communities.”
‘A very little a lot more hopeful’
It was the spring of 2020. Covid-19 situation counts have been on the rise, census was declining and senior dwelling providers weren’t absolutely sure what to do or say.
Sensing a shift in the public notion of senior living, Bellevue, Washington-based Aegis Living’s marketing and advertising workforce established out to craft a marketing and advertising and communications marketing campaign that would the two exhibit sensitivity around residents’ fears and issues while also projecting strength, assurance and leadership.
By June, they experienced their reply: “Living Fortunately Jointly.”.
The campaign, which was aimed principally at older people involving the ages of 45 and 65 — who are usually the chief choice-makers for possible people — conveyed the notion that Aegis was both equally maintaining its citizens safe and supporting them direct enjoyable, fulfilling life.
For example, in a single ad, a smiling person plays a bongo drum, with a caption that reads: “Bongo Mike. Living safely and securely. Nevertheless enjoying bongos.” Whilst he doesn’t seriously go by “Bongo Mike,” the person in the advertisement is a authentic Aegis resident named Mike. Other residents also starred in advertisements that depicted them keeping a cocktail, rocking out on a guitar or just lounging with a crossword puzzle.
For possible people and their family members, the supposed message was that Aegis could keep them harmless throughout the pandemic — and even assistance them prosper.
“We were very purposeful about the messaging in discovering the right harmony of basic safety … but also to give individuals a thing that was a very little much more hopeful and optimistic,” Snyder explained to Senior Housing News. “We required to carry a tiny little bit of lightness to what was a pretty major time.”
Aegis was also purposeful in producing a campaign that stood apart from the rest of the field.
“We actually did and do believe that we are safer [than seniors’ own homes], and had a price proposition that was probably unique than what other individuals felt at that precise minute,” Snyder reported. “So, we wanted to stand out in a way that reflected that.”
Now, Aegis has viewed the impact of its marketing campaign in its web visitors and new resident qualified prospects. The organization saw a around 40% enhance in its net targeted traffic, and is reporting stronger conversion of produced sales opportunities many thanks in portion to the enchantment of the marketing campaign.
The provider also acquired 11% far more brand look for leads in the 2nd fifty percent of 2020 in contrast to the second half of 2019, and the operator’s conversion fee of world wide web leads to transfer-ins rose from 8% in 2019 to 9.3% in 2020.
“The successes we had been equipped to have — both of those in attracting people’s awareness as properly as obtaining [residents] who had been actually participating in our services and with the model — were just really great,” Snyder explained.
Combating the crisis
In the early days of the pandemic, it was prevalent to see headlines about the range of new Covid-19 scenarios or deaths at nursing houses or senior living communities, occasionally conflating the two.
But what these tales did not as generally convey were the initiatives of the personnel inside of the community to maintain residents secure, in accordance to Jeanine Genauer, founder and president of JPR Team, which qualified prospects Bloomfield, New Jersey-primarily based Juniper’s communications strategy.
“We knew from the get-go, from the phone calls we had been getting from the media, that we required to improve the lens that people today in the media were being viewing senior living as a result of,” Genauer informed SHN.
So, in March, Juniper and JPR began brainstorming on a way to answer to the ongoing crisis although serving to to advise the general public to contain the distribute of the virus and save lives, and in the procedure, protect Juniper’s track record with possible inhabitants and their people.
Concerning March 2020, and January 2021, JPR and Juniper created endeavours to communicate around a huge range of mediums. That incorporated building podcasts for downloading and streaming around Apple platforms producing a YouTube series termed “Voices on Aging” publishing website posts with critical health and fitness care information and info on new partnerships and placing ads in print, broadcast and social media.
The operator was not push shy, possibly, and invested the pandemic pitching media shops across the region to display what was going on in its communities. Juniper CEO Lynne Katzmann held interviews with countrywide publications, like The New York Periods, The Philadelphia Enquirer and Forbes. Cindy Longfellow, Juniper’s vice president of business development, product sales and marketing and advertising, also dealt with some nearby media interviews.
“There was no managing away from the actuality of Covid,” Longfellow explained. “So, we took the place of not working away from that and as an alternative sharing the reality.”
Juniper also communicated frequently with its citizens and their households. Involving March 15 and July 4 of very last yr, Juniper despatched an inner daily update detailing the current range of Covid-19 conditions and far more normally “the truth of what was heading on in our constructing,” Longfellow claimed.
“And that identical transparency, I hope, is what we brought to the push,” she added.
Juniper calculated the campaign’s achievement in its media influence, with an approximated attain of more than 895 million impressions for Juniper Communities and far more than 2 billion acquired media impressions for Juniper Villages, all informed. And that has translated to an uptick in net targeted visitors for the firm.
“When we see a spike in traffic on the web site, or possibly a spike in type submissions … which is unquestionably a measure that what we’re speaking to is significant, and is resolving or resolving issues that families may possibly have,” Longfellow said.
Displaying what’s crucial
Some senior residing companies pared down or halted their promoting endeavours when the pandemic spread previous calendar year — but not Grace Management.
As an alternative, Minneapolis-primarily based Grace — which is a subsidiary senior dwelling administration enterprise of Chicago Pacific Founders (CPF) along with CPF Living Communities — ramped up its advertising initiatives with companion Triad Marketing, according to the operator’s senior vice president of profits and marketing and advertising, Kymm Clark.
“We definitely took a quite considerate, purposeful solution to continuing our advertising and marketing attempts, and producing guaranteed that the messaging and what’s remaining communicated would resonate with seniors and their families,” Clark informed SHN.
Concerning May possibly and December of very last calendar year, Grace qualified potential customers in every of its 57 communities’ sector areas, with the intention of raising direct generation, mitigating census declines and preserving an regular occupancy price of nearly 85%.
The company’s marketing campaign, “Senior Living is Important,” included immediate-mail postcards to new prospective buyers a collection of flyers for neighborhood referral sources, inhabitants, and existing potential clients electronic show advertising and marketing and print promoting.
The campaign occurred in 3 phases. The first was meant to entice new citizens by demonstrating them how they could stay their ideal lifestyle in Grace’s communities the second concentrated on resident and spouse and children recommendations and the third centered on vaccines and training.
“Our messaging was not just about encouraging new folks to shift in, but also ensuring that our present citizens keep that assurance and have faith in in us,” Clark reported.
The campaign not only fulfilled its stated goals, but exceeded them. For occasion, guide generation enhanced 18% in March of this yr compared to January of last 12 months. The business also preserved its just about 85% occupancy backstop all through the pandemic, and is now working to make on that quantity.
“While we have to have to carry on to create prospects and do the job from a internet marketing perspective, we’re also transparent in our conversation, as that’s how you can keep on to create assurance and trust,” Clark reported. “And that is what we carry on to do in 2021.”
Bridging the distance
Senior residing communities all but closed by themselves off to the outdoors entire world in the middle of the pandemic — but that produced a divide in between those people inside of the neighborhood and people outside of it.
Knollwood, a life prepare neighborhood in Washington, D.C., established out to bridge that divide through a campaign called “Distance Delivers Us Closer.” The phrase was an interior rallying cry, and one that served as the topic for all of Knollwood’s exterior communications all through the pandemic.
When the pandemic hit and communities across the country started closing off to the exterior entire world, Knollwood Director of Profits and Internet marketing Carol Ann McCormick brainstormed with the community’s internet marketing and community relations spouse, Van Eperen, on a new conversation and marketing and advertising system.
“We necessary to continue to be able to hook up with potential shoppers, locate a way to achieve them through Covid, and remain linked to them knowing that some would be fearful to arrive in individual,” McCormick explained to SHN.
Megan Neapolitan, an executive chief from Van Eperen who will work carefully with Knollwood, additional: “We knew that this was likely to change the way that we had to talk, and I consider we pivoted quickly with that.”
Knollwood taken care of its site and outbound e-newsletter as a way to share news and maintain inhabitants and their households informed. The local community also commenced web hosting free webinars with guest appearances by industry experts and recent citizens shared posts on social media a handful of moments a 7 days and focused area and national news publications for stories on Knollwood.
The linchpin of the energy was Knollwood’s electronic existence and webinars, according to McCormick.
“The pandemic built folks link more digitally. I imply, my mother was utilizing Zoom when she experienced never applied it just before,” she mentioned. “Our digital responses have been quite higher, and that is significant, as that feeds into other marketing and advertising attempts.”
Knollwood thinks the marketing campaign was a good results, with 56 million media impressions and an uptick in new leads and deposits. In reality, Knollwood has continued with the campaign proper up by way of existing day.
“We want to proceed that success,” McCormick said. “And we do not want to enable our foot off the gasoline.”