Dec 13, 2010, 8:58 AM
Post #1 of 1
By Harriett Dietz, President of Dietz Associates
Most organizations that own and/or operate senior communities are aware of the importance of web-based marketing due to the dramatic growth in the use of the Internet among older Americans. For instance, a 2009 study by The Nielson Company found that the number of seniors (65 and older) using the Internet increased 55% from 2004 to 2009. The study also found that the biggest increase in Internet use was among the 70-75 year-old age group, which grew from 26% in 2005 to 45% in 2009. Smart marketing directors are planning or implementing comprehensive web-based marketing strategies.
However, in their hurry to launch their websites and social medial strategies, companies may risk not taking enough time on the most important step – developing content that authentically conveys their culture. Too often, websites don’t have the content that potential residents need and want to help make such a significant decision. This is especially important because first impressions, as we all know, are everything, and increasingly companies will make their first impression with their website. Potential residents want insight into your community’s culture, its commitment to residents’ well-being, and your staff’s capabilities and compassion. In other words, why should they, and/or their children, trust you with one of the biggest decisions they will ever make, especially when they may become more dependent on your staff? This type of content will help them to ‘connect’ online with your community, keep them coming back to your website, and most importantly, pick up the phone and an appointment for a tour.
Unfortunately, many websites still feature the usual laundry list of services and amenities, generic descriptions of communities, and upcoming events along with stock images and static homepages.
To help ensure that your website is a truly effective marketing tool that allows potential residents to connect online with your community, think about how well your website’s content answers the following questions:
• Who are you? Why are you in the senior services industry, i.e., what is your mission? What are your core principles and beliefs? How do you implement these principles and beliefs throughout all aspects of your community?
• Who are your staff and management? What criteria do you use to select your staff? What kind of training and orientation programs do you have? What kind of experience, empathy and passion does your staff have for their jobs and the residents? Why would seniors, and their children, think your staff will take good care of them and treaty them with respect and compassion?
• Has your community clearly identified and articulated the quality of life that it strives to provide for residents, and how?
• What unique qualities, programs or services that truly benefit seniors do you have that helps to differentiate you from other communities?
• What kind of quality control programs do you have, particularly in regards to healthcare?
• How do you assess and respond to your resident’s concerns and interests?
• What are your financial management practices? How solid are you financially?
• What steps do you take to help ensure your residents’ investment and the long term sustainability of your community?
Hopefully, most companies and communities have already discussed and articulated responses to these questions. If not, then developing website content can offer a good opportunity for a strategic and comprehensive discussion of your company’s culture, mission and service to your residents.
Harriett Dietz, President of Dietz Associates, has over 20 years of experience in strategic planning and business development. Her firm assists clients with strategic planning, web marketing strategies and content development. Follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/50fiveplus and contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(This post was edited by HarriettDietz on Dec 13, 2010, 9:37 AM)