Marketing for Senior Living Facilities After the Coronavirus

Marketing senior living facilities after COVID-19 must demonstrate how you’ve improved, while presenting the facts that show your residents are safe.

One of the first big news stories that you may have read about COVID-19, usually just called the coronavirus, involved deaths at a senior living facility near Seattle. Since then, the virus has made its way to vulnerable populations inside other skilled nursing, assisted living, and independent living facilities across the United States. In response, most of these places have restricted visitation, canceled social activities, closed communal dining areas, and taken other firm action to reduce the chance of spreading disease.

In the past, most senior facilities have highlighted the chance to remain social and active as some of their most positive features. Of course, even offering residents an active, social experience cannot come before safeguarding health. Naturally, this crisis has created huge challenges for facility administrators, loved ones, and of course, residents. Still, this national health crisis will surely pass. Along with the challenges of today, senior care businesses can also find some marketing opportunities for the future.

Positive marketing for senior living facilities after the Coronavirus

No doubt, senior living facilities and families have recently needed to make some hard choices. Many facilities have temporarily suspended new admissions, which will reduce revenue. Families have had to make the difficult choice to forgo visiting their parents and grandparents or to take them home. The resident’s adult children may not want their loved ones to feel isolated or might simply have the typically misguided idea that senior care facilities are breeding grounds for disease. Marketing senior living after coronavirus will take emphasizing the very real positives of your facility by demonstrating how you’ve improved and presenting the facts that can alleviate concerns.

Marketing for assisted living and nursing homes should emphasize overall benefits 

For instance, families may already struggle to take care of their younger and healthier members during the current situation. Even during typical times, they often lack the training, equipment, and focus to protect their elderly and infirm elders. Katie Smith acts as the CEO and president of LeadingAge. This organization represents nonprofit senior care facilities. She admitted that some early cases, such as in Washington state, highlight how unprepared some facilities — and even the entire country — was for a quick-spreading virus of this nature.

At the same time, Katie Smith observed that these facilities still provide one of the safest places for elderly and infirm people to live. Trained professionals can monitor residents, ensure they get their medications on schedule, and most of all, stick to best practices for containing the spread of disease. In addition, federal and state governments strictly regulate senior living and healthcare businesses. Under this recent threat, organizations have doubled down on their efforts to adhere to high standards.

It’s well known that elderly people have a much greater risk from dying of coronavirus than younger people, according to published medical statistics. On the other hand, almost three-quarters of family members said that their own and their parent’s life improved after a move to a senior facility, according to surveys. Even better, about 70 percent of the seniors surveyed felt the same way after the move, even if they had resisted in the beginning. Some examples of the benefits that they cited included improved mental and physical health, less stress, and better family relations.

Focus upon communication

During this crisis, senior facilities can maintain their good image by focusing upon clear, honest communication with current residents, families, and the wider community. This is a good time to send out emails, letters, and even press releases to let everybody know how hard you’re working to effectively protect residents. Even if it’s not all good news, you should also remain as transparent as possible.

Certainly, current restrictions on activities, visitations, and communal dining will make some people unhappy. With the relatively long incubation period of coronavirus, you could have residents who already contracted the disease from visitors or even caregivers who had no idea they were carriers. You need to ensure that people understand that you have followed best practices and taken steps to save lives. While you’re communicating important information, you can also use this opportunity to build and maintain your brand image as a competent, caring, and transparent organization.

Try to mitigate the negatives

Right now, many residents and their loved ones will find your social distancing measures unpleasant, if necessary. Still, you may find ways to help bridge the gap. For instance, some senior living facilities have helped residents use such technology as Facetime and Zoom in order to reduce isolation, keep in contact with their families, and even interact with other residents. It’s time for you to find creative solutions and of course, craft marketing to let people know about them. 

Start developing your marketing plans now

Sadly, we’re likely to struggle with the coronavirus pandemic for several more months, if not years. Still, people will need your services, perhaps now more than ever. Your attention to safety, honest communication, and clever solutions should provide you with plenty of marketing inspiration in the coming months.

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Your Property Branding Is All Wrong

If your property branding isn’t expressing the identity of your multifamily development, you’re not communicating your value to new or existing residents.

Why bother with branding?

Executive Magazine contributor Samantha Chalmers realizes that residential real estate managers may view branding as less important than optimizing operational efficiency and offering attractive amenity packages. “But make no mistake,” she warns, “one of the most crucial elements of your portfolio is your brand.”
 
Ask yourself how your apartment complex or multifamily development differs from other residential properties within a radius of five to ten miles. Then set yourself apart from the competition by launching a branding campaign that capitalizes on your specific strengths and driving values.


 
Do you own or manage a LEED-certified green community? Ms. Chalmers stresses the importance of engaging in comprehensive and highly strategic multifamily marketing to establish a brand name that is consistent with energy consciousness and environmental sustainability. In other words, when promoting “composting stations and community gardens,” property managers would be unwise to “place a print ad in a Range Rover catalog” or “serve coffee or water in Styrofoam cups in the leasing office.”
 


Use what makes your residential complex unique to tell a compelling brand story with a memorable organizational identity. The challenge is to make your brand come alive in the hearts and minds of your target audience. With a solid property development marketing strategy, you can develop a meaningful and evocative brand that consumers can see, feel, hear, taste, and even smell!
 
What follows are just a few key tips to help you make the most of your branding efforts and tell a cohesive story across all elements of your marketing plan.

Lead with your logo and put your best foot forward

Although small in size and scope, the logo may be the most important component of your branding efforts. After all, if your multifamily property development were a person, your logo would serve as its public face. This critical representation of your marketing identity should communicate the values that your complex holds as well as the benefits that your complex offers.
 
Jessica Ervin, professional digital designer and contributor to the leading Internet marketing blog The Next Scoop, presents the Apple logo as an ideal embodiment of this principle. “The apple bite is a perfect example of brand storytelling,” she writes. “Apple defined their core values of user-friendliness, good-looking designs, and simplicity through their simple logo design, product design, packaging, UX and UI.”

Craft your messaging with your narrative in mind

With your brand firmly united under an appropriate and captivating logo, you can begin crafting on-brand messages across all facets of media marketing and customer interaction. In her Executive Magazine article, Samantha Chalmers identifies differentiation as the most critical aspect of your messaging strategy. In other words, you must communicate a company narrative that is unlike those of your closest competitors.

Your company messaging embodies everything from the promotions that you present to the advertisements that you place to the face-to-face interactions that you have with your residents.

Although it is great to set yourself apart with your unique qualities, Ms. Chalmers warns against relying on cheap gimmicks to brand your residential complex. She quotes LMC West Region Marketing Director Kristen Mete Kingi, who says “I think there are circumstances where you can become too ‘theme-y’ with a building or brand, and that can turn people off.”

Design your website as the hub and heart of your brand

“Owned media” is a buzzword in the worlds of marketing and public relations for a very good reason. Encompassing all online media channels that a company maintains directly and controls entirely, owned media includes your official website as well as all of your social medial pages and blogs. Among its other benefits, owned media gives businesses the distinct advantage of carefully crafting and strategically curating all content and messaging. This makes it the best place to spell out the narrative of your brand.

Although your digital outreach should have multiple arms, consider establishing links to drive all traffic to your website. By making your website the hub of your online marketing efforts, you can also make it the heart of your brand. Using finely honed text as well as collaborative graphics, pictures, and videos, you have the power to tell your brand story on your website with absolute freedom and precision. 

Consider environmental branding and signage with care

Just like your logo, the promotional and identifying signage that you display on-site goes a long way toward defining your residential property development in the hearts and minds of your consumer base. But signs and banners are just one component of the larger marketing category of environmental branding. Briefly defined, “environmental branding “ refers to all efforts to represent brand values and communicate brand narratives on company grounds and within the brick-and-mortar environment.

In the multifamily residential housing sector, environmental branding is a key driver of both resident loyalty and on-site sales conversions. Use your property grounds as an opportunity to tell the story of your brand, whatever it happens to be. From the color of your interior walls to the types of refreshments in your sales office lobby, everything you do and say on-site reflects upon the power and quality of your brand.

Secure quality professional marketing assistance

If you want to learn more about the benefits of real estate branding that tells a compelling story, contact a representative of Bigeye today. This innovative marketing agency has the knowledge and skill to develop a brand narrative for your multifamily property development that captures its unique spirit and remains consistent across all marketing channels.

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Why You Should Craft a Longer Media Plan for Senior Living Communities

The unique values and sensitivities of the senior living sector require a specific media outreach and marketing plan with a decidedly long-term approach.

Short-term vs. long-term marketing approaches

As defined by the independent news source Business 2 Community, the fundamental difference between shorter and longer outreach/marketing plans is goal orientation. Put simply, a shorter plan will seek short-term results, while a longer plan will seek long-term results.

From effectively managing costs to meeting immediate business demands, the short-term marketing approach certainly presents many distinct benefits. The value of long-term marketing, however, simply cannot be underestimated. This is true in all industries and market sectors, but it is particularly true in the world of senior living.

Although it requires a bit of patience, a longer media plan for your senior living community will gradually build the brand credibility and trust factor that you need in order to attract a loyal consumer base.

Key long-term strategies for senior living marketing

Seniors and their families are not generally quick to place their faith in any random living facility. It takes a bit of time to establish trust and build confidence in this particular business sector.

In light of this fact, senior living community owners would be wise to concentrate on the following long-term marketing elements:

1. Branding 

From Coca-Cola to Apple, the brands that we love the most share one thing in common: familiarity. By building brand awareness and recognition over time, a company can firmly establish a positive reputation. This is particularly important in senior living and other business sectors that provide essential, sensitive, and/or emotionally charged services. To find true and lasting success with your senior living, you must take care to build your brand across a full spectrum of media channels from print to broadcast to digital.

2. Content Marketing

A key component of brand-building in the digital realm is content marketing. By maintaining a current blog and offering downloadable informative content online, your senior living community can both attract new clients and strengthen relationships with existing clients. Just maintain consistent branding elements (logo, slogan, etc.) on all content marketing outreach and make sure that all content marketing connects to a central pillar page that represents your brand with strategic precision.

3. SEO 

Another long-term marketing strategy that is absolutely vital to senior living community owners is search engine optimization. Better known by its acronym, SEO, search engine optimization is a specialized and time-consuming process that improves your company’s overall ranking on Google and other popular search engines. In short, when someone in your area searches for a senior living community online, you want yours to be among the first that appear at the very top of the page. SEO is your ticket to this type of immediate visibility.

4. Consumer Reviews

Another great way to generate credibility over the long haul is to accumulate positive online reviews. In addition to building a good reputation on independent consumer rating sites such as Caring.com and SeniorHousing.net, you should consider posting positive reviews on your official website and/or social media pages. Go beyond reviews from current and former residents by adding reviews from family members and loved ones.

For more information

If you have further questions about the value of a long-term media plan for your senior living community, contact a skilled and knowledgeable senior living marketing professional at Bigeye today. Bigeye has a state-of-the-art approach to good, old-fashioned credibility building that is perfect for the senior living sector.

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Investing in Your Resident Retention Efforts To Reduce Turnover

While the majority of apartment complex owners understand the importance of reaching out to a targeted consumer demographic in order to fill vacancies, far fewer place enough emphasis on avoiding vacancies by effectively marketing to existing residents.

Financial and business experts agree that keeping current tenants in place is one of the best ways for apartment complex owners to build long-term value and boost overall ROI. Citing market information from Forbes Magazine, the National Apartment Association discusses many reasons that this holds true.

For example, attracting new residents often requires the delivery of contract signing bonuses, initial rent discounts, and other marketing tactics that can significantly damage your bottom line. By retaining your existing tenants, you can not only avoid these profit-destroying offers, but also eliminate costly vacancies and foster a climate of ongoing community satisfaction and togetherness. 

Key tips to keep residents engaged and avoid costly turnovers

So what measures can you take to increase tenant retention? Here are just a few key marketing tips.

1. Show Sincere Appreciation with a Gift

The value of saying “thank you” far exceeds the monetary price of a small seasonal gift or renewal bonus. Consider showing your appreciation for loyal residents with a gift card for a local shop, restaurant, or coffee shop. This can go an incredibly long way when it comes to fostering a positive community environment, increasing overall tenant satisfaction, and reducing your turnover rates.

Although more costly than a gift card, apartment upgrades, such as a new carpet or a fresh coat of paint, will also increase your overall property value, making them gifts that truly keep giving. The property video tour app Real NYC suggests thinking outside of the box with gift ideas like making a donation to a worthy charity in a resident’s name. Just be sure that you are tailoring your gifts to meet the specific wants, needs, and values of your customer base.

2. Keep Residents Informed

From distributing regular newsletters to sending text messages, there are countless ways to reach out to your tenant community with pertinent information. Discover your residents’ preferred channels of communication and keep them informed of matters of importance that relate to the property and its surrounding areas.

Residents who feel that they are kept “in the loop” by a fully transparent real estate company are generally far more comfortable in their living environments. You can further the retention marketing potential of your resident communiqués by ensuring that your messaging remains consistent with the defining values of your organization and brand.

3. Build a Sense of Community

In the words of the property management software company AppFolio, “a true sense of community can really keep residents around.” Help your tenants feel as though they belong in your apartment complex by hosting appropriate resident activities and/or appreciation events.

Holiday parties, donut breakfasts, and fun “how-to” classes are just a few ideas of on-site gatherings that can generate a true sense of togetherness and mutual appreciation. Consider welcoming new residents with social “meet-and-greets.”

Get professional guidance

For more information about the importance of resident retention and for assistance with resident marketing and resident advertising in general, wise apartment complex owners will secure the services of experts in these fields. An incredibly innovative multifamily marketing agency, Bigeye has the knowledge and skill necessary to keep residents happy and dramatically slash those dreaded turnover rates!

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What’s the Difference Between Co-Living and Co-Housing?

Two up-and-coming buzzwords in the worlds of residential real estate and property development marketing, co-living and co-housing draw upon the best of historical traditions and new trends to create shared living environments and communal spaces.

There is certainly nothing new about shared living spaces. Offering co-living home options in major cities that span the United States, the residential property firm Common points out the fact that people have chosen to live in shared spaces since before the dawn of recorded history. From the hunter-gatherers of the Stone Age through the public homes of the Middle Ages to the boarding houses of the Industrial Revolution and the World War II era, shared living has been a prominent part of the human experience.

While there is certainly nothing new about shared living, it has recently emerged anew as a highly popular concept among millennials and other people who are looking for something different in the residential property sector, both urban and rural.

What is co-living?

The shared living organization Open Door has locations in both Portland, Oregon and the San Francisco Bay Area of California. It offers a definition of co-living that is both nuanced and succinct. In its attempt to clear up any confusion, Open Door calls co-living “a modern form of housing where residents share living space and a set of interests, values, and/or intentions.”

In short, co-living gathers individuals and/or families in residential environments that offer private sleeping quarters but shared bathrooms, kitchens, living rooms, and other common areas.  

As previously mentioned, co-living is particularly popular with millennials who have come to age in an era of social networking and the sharing economy. Many young adults view co-living as the natural progression of these ideas and appreciate its emphasis on values such as openness and collaboration.

It is important to note that modern co-living environments differ from the “hippy” communes of the 1960s, which tended to be activist-oriented and isolationist in nature. The co-living of today stresses the value of interconnectedness within the community and without.

What is co-housing?

The California co-living housing development Kindred Life resorts to Wikipedia to draw a clear distinction between co-living and co-housing. While both promote communal residential life, co-housing allows for substantially more privacy, keeping certain, more personal spaces (such as kitchens and bathrooms) separate. In addition to sharing significant indoor living spaces, co-housing places a strong focus on integrating shared features such as specialized work spaces, gymnasiums/health clubs, and game areas.

Co-housing, as we know it, first came to the United States in the late 1960s from Denmark. It generally tends to exist in suburban or rural settings rather than urban centers. The prototypical co-housing setup consists of a cluster of small private homes that share one or more common buildings. These common buildings often consist of common recreational areas, guest rooms, dining rooms, and/or kitchens. In many co-living situations, the community is planned and managed by its residents and governed by consensus-based decision-making.

To learn more

Despite its inherent value and growing appeal, shared living remains a decidedly niche market. If your residential property company is interested in pursuing this trendy new living style, you absolutely must have a clear and forward-looking plan to promote and market it. For more information about co-housing and co-living marketing, contact a knowledgeable Bigeye representative today.

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Using Look-Alike Modeling for Multifamily Marketing Outreach

A proven technique for expanding audience for multifamily property developers, look-alike modeling should be a key component of any advertising campaign.

Look-alike modeling defined

Look-alike modeling certainly isn’t a new technique on the modern marketing landscape, but far too many multifamily developers and apartment complex owners fail to grasp just how valuable it can be when it comes to broadening their marketing audience base and spurring overall renter conversions.

Briefly defined, look-alike modeling regards your current consumer base as a “seed audience” that can be used to cultivate a far larger audience base while mainlining highly relevant and precise target marketing practices. In other words, a skilled marketing professional will begin to create a look-alike model by analyzing your existing target audience and identifying individual consumers of exceptionally high value. The specific characteristics and behaviors of these consumers can then be used as a template in efforts to reach out to similar individuals that lie beyond the limited purview of your existing marketing efforts.

The prevalence and effectiveness of look-alike modeling

As reported in the leading sales and marketing medial outlet Business 2 Community, a 2014 study by eXelate determined that a 73 percent of American advertising agencies and 64 percent of advertisers regularly employ look-alike modeling to “enhance their targeting marketing focus.” Furthermore, among the advertising agencies that actively engage in the technique, roughly half say that it improved the overall performance of their marketing campaigns by 100 to 200 percent.

Although no other qualified marketing industry resource has released a comprehensive survey of look-alike modeling since this most recent eXelate report, it is safe to assume that the practice has only expanded and become more effective thanks to the continuing evolution of marketing standards and improvements in digital technology.

The complex nature of the look-alike modeling process

As we have previously discussed, the look-alike modeling process begins when a qualified professional isolates the most valuable members of an existing marketing audience and analyzes their defining attributes. This requires a great deal of expertise because, among other potential problems, marketers who focus on the wrong consumer attributes are bound to skew final look-alike modeling results and set the process off in a decidedly less fruitful direction.

GlobalWide Media Analytics Manager Zackary Cantor offered a perfect example of this issue in a recent article for the leading global performance marketing publication PerformanceIN. Detailing look-alike modeling work that he undertook for an apartment rental site that sought to boost overall numbers of online rental applications, he demonstrated the need to value certain consumer attributes far more than others.

While many look-alike modeling processes simply look for overlaps in general characteristics and behaviors among different consumer profiles, Cantor quickly realized that this particular model had to pay closer attention to profile attributes for home ownership. Even prospective new audience members who share many attributes in common with the ideal target consumer were “very unlikely” to submit a rental application if they showed a propensity toward home ownership.

Look-alike modeling guidelines

The intricate nature of look-alike modeling makes it truly effective only in the hands of highly experienced of digital marketing professionals. But how can you tell if your multifamily developer marketing agency has what it takes to produce the look-alike modeling results that you seek? Here are just a couple of guidelines for securing the very best look-alike modeling services available:

  • Pay close attention to any negative predictors – A strong propensity toward home ownership is only one of may potential negative predictors that can easily trump a whole host of commonalities between the most valuable members of your existing marketing audience and the expanded audience base that you want. It is absolute vital to place all data in proper context when determining consumer similarities and differences in order to identify strong negative predicators and give them the appropriate weight in your final look-alike model.
  • Insist on full look-alike model transparency – We have already examined the ways in which the underlying elements of a less than optimal look-alike modeling framework can lead to less than desirable results. If your marketing agency can’t give you a basic understanding of the predictive modeling method that they are employing on your behalf, you may want to look elsewhere for your look-alike modeling needs.

How Bigeye can help

If you’re looking for a multifamily developer marketing agency with extensive expertise in look-alike modeling and other techniques that can expand your potential customer base and drive prospective renters to your door, contact a skilled and knowledgeable Bigeye representative today.

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