Jackie Stone

In today’s senior living marketing environment, the timeline from initial inquiry to move-in is longer than ever before, and it takes many touches along that timeline to convert an inquiry to a sale. These touches must be consistent, meaningful and varied in order to effectively move the prospect forward in the sales process. Some of these points of contact include events, which are an essential part of a strategic marketing plan.

The key word here is “strategic.” What are your objectives for each event? Do you want to educate, entertain or demonstrate lifestyle? Generate new leads for your pipeline? Close sales? Here are some key points to consider:

  • New lead generation. If you are looking to generate new leads that are truly interested in finding out more about your community, purchase a qualified mailing list and invite its members to information sessions about your community and the concept of senior living.
  • Lifestyle events. Quality speakers and special events show that the community offers interesting, engaging programs and demonstrates the lifestyle that people will experience there. Topics such as healthy aging can showcase the community’s approach to wellness.
  • Addressing common objections. We know that the most common objections really boil down to fear, cost or lack of urgency due to prospects being satisfied with their current situation. Topics such as Dispelling the Myths of Retirement Living (fear), The Value of Life Care (cost) or Why Wait? (I’m Not Ready Yet) can help prospects get beyond some of these objections.
  • Specific inventory to sell. Perhaps you have a number of small one-bedroom apartments that are difficult to sell. Segment your purchased mailing list and lead base by single/widowed women (cue Beyonce’s “All the Single Ladies”) and host a champagne runway show featuring your residents modeling fashions from a popular boutique, followed by tours of your community and a professionally staged one-bedroom apartment. (Tiny homes are all the rage now!)

Seminars and special events can be very effective marketing tools that produce great results. Determine your objectives; define your target audience; choose a topic that relates to both; buy a new outfit (okay, I threw that in because it’s what I would do); and put on your best host/hostess smile!

Stay tuned for more event strategies in a future blog.