Working in harmony, paid search and paid social advertising strategies can make beautiful music for your senior living community’s bottom line.
Today, experts inside and outside the senior living space agree that each tactic – paid search (a.k.a. pay-per-click advertising, or PPC) and paid social (i.e. advertising on Facebook and other social media networks) – offers substantial marketing advantages. And when combined as part of a comprehensive digital (online) approach, they represent a powerful growth strategy for engaging, cultivating and converting new customers for senior living providers.
Effective by Themselves, Dynamic Together
In his article, “Paid Search vs. Paid Social: How to design the ideal marketing mix,” long-time digital marketer AJ Wilcox says, “Having ‘grown up’ in search marketing, I had a strong appreciation for keyword targeting early on. Then, about five years ago, my corporate responsibilities led me to take on social campaigns, and I fell in love instantly.
“Quite often, I’m asked about which is better for companies, and, with very few exceptions, I’ve found myself giving the same advice: ‘You absolutely should be doing both!’”
He adds, “Search and social channels are completely different animals. They sit in different areas of the buyer’s journey.”
In addition, paid search and paid social strategies complement and reinforce each other. As just one example, WordStream found that advertising on Facebook also led to a 34% increase in brand searches on Google, adding “Each of these major marketing channels has its own advantages and disadvantages, but when treated as one super-mega-major marketing force, they become even more powerful than as separated channels, and can definitely get you superior marketing results. The secret is to fully use the power of each of these channels and let each channel help the other.”
For those not completely familiar with these game-changing digital strategies, “paid search” marketing enables you to advertise within the sponsored listings of a search engine such as Google or Bing by paying each time your ad is clicked (pay-per-click or PPC). Based on the prospect’s keyword searches or inquiries, this SEO technique assures that your senior living community’s name will be highlighted at the top of the search engine results page (SERP) that your prospective customers see. Paid search listings always appear in a special section at the top of the search results page above the listings that are generated organically (i.e. non-paid).
“Paid social” refers to all forms of marketing on social media in which advertisers pay for their ad placements. The most common types of paid social advertising today include Facebook ads, ads on Twitter and Instagram, LinkedIn ads and sponsored YouTube videos.
Paid Search Delivers ALREADY Interested and Motivated Target Prospects
Paid search (PPC) excels by connecting you with an audience that is already searching for your services and offerings, i.e. an audience with very high intent. The very nature of PPC is that the searcher’s intent avoids most steps in a conversion funnel and delivers an audience ready to move forward quickly in the sales process. The user wants information, a tour or has a request that needs to be met quickly. Knowing this, other PPC marketers are also competing for this same audience and costs can make some keywords and niches more expensive than others.
“This is an important consideration when planning a PPC strategy,” explains SageAge PPC/SEO Manager Michael McDonald. “High-converting keywords are usually more expensive because, historically, they produce a higher ROI. There is a balance between what a business is willing to pay for specific keywords and the likelihood that keyword will result in a sale. In some cases, it might not be fiscally responsible to pay top price for certain keywords or phrases.”
This is where incorporating a social media strategy along with a paid search strategy can be highly advantageous. PPC competition for your target keywords could be very high, out-pricing businesses with smaller advertising budgets. In this scenario, a strong social media campaign can help you get in front of your target audience, and familiarize potential customers with your products and services at a much lower cost.
Paid Social Advertising Amplifies Your Message and Maximizes Your Results
Debra Gawet, Social and Digital Content Strategist at SageAge Strategies, adds, “The use of paid Facebook advertising efforts in conjunction with paid search or organic efforts can greatly maximize the success of a social media campaign for a senior living community. It helps to build brand awareness, drive traffic, increase engagement and drive leads. The combination of paid social and organic tactics results in a higher level of engagement, reach and impressions than organic social media efforts alone.”
The use of paid social advertising by a senior living community can significantly strengthen the performance of the social media component of its campaigns. And because Facebook is one of the largest social media networks, we typically recommend Facebook advertising as part of a social strategy for our senior living client-partners.
To ensure the correct audience is being reached, the targeted prospects must be defined. This includes geographic location, age, gender, interests, language and more. Once clearly defined goals are identified, the defined audience is specified and a budget is in place, the paid social campaign can commence. Then, the analytic findings are tracked and the social media tactic is reviewed and adjusted accordingly.
Says Debra, “To help you better understand the effectiveness of paid social advertising using a typical Facebook example, let’s look at a fictitious illustration of the customer journey for an adult child influencer:”
Susan is a 60-year-old adult child that resides in Tampa, Florida. She is a full-time caregiver for her mother who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s two years ago. She’s been considering full-time memory care services for her mother, but she’s not sure if all her mother’s needs will be met. Because she’s still learning about the disease and she’s feeling overwhelmed, she searches the internet for various blog articles, videos and other resources to help her better understand dementia care. She also follows various Facebook pages to stay up-to-date with the latest research, caregiver tips, blog articles and other relevant information.
Recently, during one of her searches on Facebook, she noticed a Facebook sponsored ad for a local memory care community. It included a call-to-action that said: “Learn more today.” After clicking on the link, she was redirected to a Facebook page for the community. She Liked the Facebook page and frequented it often. There, she found helpful posts that included blog articles, videos, invitations to educational seminars, special events and open houses, and even a monthly caregiver support group.
After interacting with the Facebook posts for a period of four months, she finally felt comfortable enough to call the community to take a tour. After touring the community, Susan decided It was finally the time for her mother to transition from her home into a full-time memory care community where she would receive the quality of care she needed.
Susan’s story is a typical example of a caregiver who has gone through the various stages of the customer journey from awareness, discovery, and consideration to the final stage of conversion. Based on her geographic location, interests, age and other identifiers, she received a targeted Facebook ad from a proactive senior living community, which eventually led her to visit the community and decide for her mother to receive full-time memory care services there.
While paid search and paid social are each effective tools in their own right and can each achieve measurable improvements over conventional organic methods, combining them as part of a comprehensive digital strategy can create an unmatched growth engine for your community.
As a qualified Certified Google Partner, SageAge Strategies’ professionals are ready to help you assess your unique lead generation environment and create a customized strategy that will work for you.
SageAge Strategies: Leaders in Digital Marketing Solutions
At SageAge Strategies, our marketing team excels in the latest senior living best practices that increase quality lead generation and grow your occupancy. If you need assistance in any areas of digital (online) marketing and integrated growth strategy to improve your results, we invite you to contact us today to learn more about our proven strategies that have transformed other senior living communities like yours..