In an increasingly competitive senior living space, Community Administrators need to challenge themselves with some difficult questions about the effectiveness of their web presence. Is your site meeting your expectations for generating traffic and growing sales? Is it built on your customers’ needs? Does it speak to your customers about things they value and provide the content in which they are interested?
An Essential Part of Your Strategic Marketing Platform
Twenty years after bursting onto the scene, websites continue to be a relevant and useful source of communication. In fact, websites remain a “go to” source of information for most Americans. Along with social media and traditional marketing channels, your website is part of a strategic marketing platform that provides an ideal means of expressing the value of your brand and communicating with your market – if done correctly.
Just as there are basic “Dos” in creating an effective website, there are also certain things to avoid that can cause your site to fail. In an August 2013 article titled, Three Deadly Reasons Most Websites Fail http://www.marketingprofs.com/articles/2013/11495/three-deadly-reasons-most-websites-fail#ixzz2dJZp6uvy, author Mike Volpe states, “If you don’t avoid these three deadly mistakes, your website will struggle to see results. The key is to not think of a website as just a website. Think of it as a media channel.”
According to Mr. Volpe, consumers are loyal to websites that draw them in because, as he puts it, the majority of today’s 700 million sites are “just plain bad.” Of millions of websites analyzed by Marketing Grader, 72% received a grade of 59 out of 100 or below, which essentially means 72% of websites are failing to attract new visitors and convert leads.
But why is the failure rate so high?
Key Website Pitfalls to Avoid
- Avoid “Brochureware” – Many websites today remain locked into the 90’s paradigm of the “digital brochure.” They are a static, boring assemblage of the community’s existing print materials. These sites typically lack the rich, relevant and valuable content customers are seeking. They also miss the opportunity to demonstrate thought leadership on topical senior living issues and be a valuable information resource to visitors that will keep them coming back. When pertinent content and educational information is shared in the more dynamic form of blog posts and various forms of social media that promote interaction, your efforts can significantly contribute to increasing the number of new leads for your business.
- Is Your Website Overly “Self-Centered?” – A fundamental marketing mistake often seen in creating a website is to focus on the company or the “product.” Instead, focus on your customers’ problems and needs and how your product provides an ideal solution. Your site should be organized and presented in a customer context, i.e. present your solutions as if you were viewing them through the eyes of your customers who have specific needs or problems.
If you were the customer, would you be convinced to use your services as opposed to those of a competitor? Clearly demonstrate how your community resolves your prospective customers’ issues and does so better than the competition. A customer-centered site is much more effective in gaining attention and interest.
- Is Your Site Overly Static? – Consumers prefer websites that are dynamic in terms of the communications media used and the level of interaction available. This is especially true today for the adult children of aging parents who are highly engaged in the information gathering and decision making process. With the many and varied forms of media available today, there is no reason not to have a website that brings your organization to life and maintains the interest of your prospects. Facebook pages, blogs, online forums and other social media options can directly engage customers and provide you with an opportunity to demonstrate your competence and present yourself as a senior living thought leader. Additionally, videos on your website are an ideal medium for demonstrating your problem-solving solutions, providing virtual tours of your facility and highlighting testimonials of satisfied residents and family members.
For the most effective web presence, build your site around the problems and needs of your customers and provide them with the relevant solutions, information and useful resources they are seeking online. This will help you to increase traffic, returning visitors, leads and positive word-of-mouth.
Implications for Senior Living Providers
A well-conceived web presence, when integrated into your overall strategic marketing plan, can create a powerful platform for communication and interactivity and provide a substantial boost to your business performance, including building your reputation as a trusted “go to” provider. If your organization requires additional support to develop a high-performance online and social marketing strategy, be sure to look for an experienced leader that operates exclusively in the senior living space and has the specialized expertise and experience in senior living sales, marketing, operations and planning required to succeed.