As the baby boomers continue to reach retirement age, your senior living community may face a variety of new competition with all manner of options, services and amenities. Your biggest competitor, though, will continue to be one of your oldest competitors: aging in place.
For many seniors, the lure of staying at home — with its familiar surroundings and proximity to beloved people and places — trumps many of the benefits they could experience in a senior living community.
Individuals who lean toward aging in place are not likely to take the initiative to call or visit you without knowing more about your community, but they may visit your website. What steps can you take to position your site to compete with the charms of aging at home?
Set Realistic Goals
Before you begin making changes to your site, it’s critical to understand how it fits into your overall goals for your marketing program. What do you hope to accomplish with the site? Be clear about what you want to achieve — whether it’s providing general name recognition, generating foot traffic to your community, or booking reservations — so you can measure performance.
Is your content engaging and useful? Spend some time comparing your site to competitors’ sites. Does your community stand out? Consider redesigning to include imagery, text and videos that capture the uniqueness of your community while educating visitors about the benefits of senior living. If you’re not regularly updating your site, your search engine results can benefit simply from adding content — for example, through blog posts or an e-newsletter — on a regular basis.
Make it User-Friendly
Some of the most beautifully designed sites also can be the least user-friendly. In addition to offering compelling content and imagery, make sure your site has a logical navigation scheme and loads quickly. Text should be readable, and the site should intuitively lead visitors to click in the right places. Think about why users may visit your site and how you can help them find the information they need easily.
Keep it Simple
Some websites have become too complicated and too difficult to navigate, and a trend for 2018 is to get back to basics. For example, single-page websites, which use links to move around a single, scrolling page of content, have gained popularity over the past year for their simplicity.
Use Targeted Landing Pages
If you need to present different messaging to several different audiences, targeted landing pages may provide a useful option for updating your site. Rather than including too much information within one single page, landing pages direct visitors to content most likely to appeal to them. You can use different landing page addresses in targeted campaigns for print advertising, social media and other applications.
Dump Outdated Technologies
Persuading visitors inclined to age in place to visit your website — and spend enough time there to become familiar with your community — may be a matter of removing outmoded technologies that get in the way. On many sites, for instance, older Flash animations can take too long to load and may load at every visit, regardless of how many times visitors have seen them. If your site uses Flash or other older technologies, consider an upgrade to a universal format like HTML5.
Offer Mobile Options
Increasingly, no difference exists between mobile websites and websites in general. Because nearly everyone is using mobile phones or tablets, your website must be mobile-friendly to capture your prospects’ attention. To compete with aging in place, your website must offer information about your community wherever your prospects want to access it. If your site is not compatible with mobiles, it may be time for a comprehensive redesign.
Your website should be responsive; in other words, it should display well on a variety of screen types and sizes. To compete with aging in place, your entire marketing and sales team also must be responsive.
If your website does its job, visitors will contact you for more information. When a call or email comes, you need a plan in place for your team to get back in touch and begin building relationships with prospective residents.
How can you leverage your website to contend with your biggest competitor, aging in place? Develop a website presence that helps you inform, educate and engage.