Senior Living Inquiries Spike in January
Inbound inquiries for senior communities spike in January, increasing as much as 50 percent over December inquiries. Here are tips for senior community salespeople to cope with the flood.
By VP of Marketing & Sales Katie Roper, Caring.com, an Argentum Gold Member
During the holidays, adult children often discover during their visits home just how poorly mom is coping now that dad is gone. That realization sparks an influx of inquiries online as families begin to research care options. Community websites and Internet directories see a surge in inquiries in January, with increases of 50 percent or even more compared to November and December.
While leads can turn into growth, managing high volumes without compromising quality can be challenging. On a recent webinar, part of Caring.com's "Best of the Best" award-winning Digital Marketing Academy series, senior housing marketers and Caring.com's experts discussed coping strategies for marketers.
Priority #1: Speed to Lead.
The lifespan of a digital lead is about an hour. Reaching someone in the first minute or two after they submit an inquiry is about 300 percent more effective than even just a few minutes later, according to Velocify. Here are some ways our partners cope with the January rush:
Postpone or delegate other, non-sales tasks like paperwork
Bring in lunch, stay a half-hour extra, or come in a little early to return calls.
Loop in others to help - perhaps the executive director, activities director, or receptionist could make calls during the busiest times
Keep responses short. If you get voice mail, focus on making an emotional connection with the family ("I'd love to discuss your mom's needs and see if I can help") rather than rattling off a list of community features. You'll make more calls in less time, and probably get a better response rate.
Priority #2: Personalization.
In a recent study by SocialFish.org, three out of five people felt better about a brand when that brand's marketing was personalized. In the senior housing industry, Caring.com partners who personalize their responses convert our referrals 44 percent better than those who respond just as quickly but use canned email text or unpersonalized voice mails. Reference your referral partner ("Carol at Caring.com asked me to call you") or the notes they provided on their inquiry form ("You said you were looking for help with your dad with Parkinson's?") and they'll respond more quickly. This is especially important in email messages. Address them by name and they're much more likely to read what you've sent them.
Priority #3: Work Smart & Prioritize.
As you go through your first calls, make use of your CRM system to schedule callbacks. Read the notes in the leads sent by your referral partners to identify which families have an urgent need, and which are just starting to look around. Then schedule a callback task for yourself the next day for the first group, while making a note to check in with the others later on, after the rush subsides. For leads from your own website, look carefully at the information they've given. Are they looking for a community within the same ZIP code? Jump on that lead, and call often. If they're looking in a town 10 miles away, it's probably not as "hot" a lead. Call once, then schedule a task to check in later. If it's an adult child contacting you on behalf of their parents, jump on it. Those leads convert about three times as fast as people searching for themselves.