The number of senior living communities in the U.S. has been growing steadily for the last few decades, which makes it increasingly difficult for individual businesses to stand out. Although there many kinds of senior living businesses (assisted living communities, nursing facilities, continuing care retirement communities, etc.), they all tend to run into similar issues when trying to improve brand awareness.
Often times, senior living businesses are seen as depressing or as the final chapter of someone’s story, but that truly isn’t the case. Residents in retirement homes still have much more life to live than others realize, and it is important to build this identity into the business’s brand. On the surface, this might seem like a daunting task, but here are four fun strategies that senior living businesses can implement to gain brand awareness:
- The Billboard Effect
The billboard effect, which was first published in a report by Cornell University, refers to the advertising and marketing benefits that businesses can experience through being listed on online directories and review websites. Actual billboards, which are often located in high traffic areas, are purchased by companies attempting to maximize their visibility. The improved visibility leads to increased brand awareness and results in more revenue.
How does this apply to senior living businesses? The report published by Cornell measured the benefits of hotels being listed on travel websites, like Expedia. All of the hotels in the study saw an increase in reservations during the time period when they were listed in the online directories. These directories serve as an internet equivalent of billboards.
The same results can be achieved for senior living businesses that appear on online review websites, and even more so if they have a featured listing. Depending on how many directories a business is featured in, the billboard effect can have a significant impact.
While being listed in directories will definitely help improve brand awareness, these listings can be further helped by encouraging engagement. Convincing happy residents to rate and review your senior living business online will legitimize the appearances in directories. In fact, 78% of people believe that a company’s customers have the most dependable information about senior care. More ratings and reviews will improve database rankings and promote additional visibility, while also improving brand reputation.
Frequently updating the company website, utilizing social media and relevant hashtags, and other online engagement practices will also increase brand awareness. Social media might not seem like the ideal place to expand the visibility of a senior living center, but there are many ways to pinpoint an audience and measure the effectiveness of your efforts.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Much like with the billboard effect, search engine optimization is a way to increase the visibility of your brand, specifically through Google’s search engine. In order to truly gain visibility through search, it is vital to have your business appear on the first page of results. Appearing on the fourth page of a Google search query, for example, would be akin to having your logo appear on a billboard in the middle of nowhere.
The more results you can get on the first page, the more visibility your brand will receive. This can be accomplished in a number of ways, but two of the most common are to create a Google business profile and to optimize the content on your website for relevant keywords. By utilizing keywords that are relevant to the senior living industry, businesses can ensure that their content is more likely to rank well in related searches.
Consumers looking for a senior living community are much more likely to search for general terms related to senior care (73% of the time) than they are to seek out a business by name (15% of the time). This means senior living businesses have a lot of room to work with in SEO to improve brand awareness. Working with a business like Myriad Core is the best way to ensure you properly utilize search engine optimization for your senior living business.
- Community Involvement
One of the most exciting ways to improve brand awareness for a senior living center is to promote community involvement. Whether this means attending events, planning trips to sporting events, or even working with schools in the area, there are countless ways to get senior living residents involved in the community.
This method of increasing brand awareness is particularly effective because it can help educate the community on life in a senior living facility while simultaneously providing an additional outlet for the residents.
Brand awareness and brand reputation can be earned in a variety of ways, but the four outlined above will help senior living businesses adapt to the ever-increasing digital age. Having an online presence is a good start, but there are a variety of inexpensive and easy ways to further extend business visibility.