Are all the leads in your database bringing you joy?
If you’re a fan of decluttering whiz Marie Kondo, you’ll recognize this question as a way to pare down your belongings. But the logic of less also can apply to your data bank of prospects.
For senior living communities, marketing databases represent important and valuable assets. Within the fields and forms in your database is vital information that may determine your future occupancy success.
The temptation with databases is to simply continue accumulating information, but setting some limits can benefit your marketing program. Can you have too many leads in your prospect database? Yes, and here’s why.
Information Quickly Becomes Outdated
Your database likely includes multiple data points about hundreds or thousands of prospects. How much of that information is no longer valid?
For all kinds of reasons, information in your database can and will become outdated. People move, get divorced or pass away. In some cases, they also choose to move to other senior living communities and don’t let you know so that you can update their records — and stop sending them mailings and event invitations.
Ideally, you should have a schedule that you use to periodically check the accuracy of information in your database. After some predetermined period of time, you may want to archive or delete records that can no longer be validated.
Not All Leads Will Meet Your Needs
What type of people are you trying to reach through your marketing program? If you don’t have a profile of your ideal prospect, it’s a good idea to develop one.
Based on your residence mix and other factors specific to your community, are you looking for people within a certain age range? What is the ideal home value and monthly income? Are you looking for more single people, couples or a mix of both?
By understanding your ideal prospect, you can tailor your database to ensure that it continues to meet the marketing needs of your community. If your services change — for example, if you eliminate a specific floor plan — you may want to trim your dataset accordingly.
You May Be Wasting Time and Effort
Your marketing team members have a finite amount of time to spend conducting tours and meeting with prospective residents. Shouldn’t they be focusing on the prospects who are most likely to move into your community?
Marketing is both a science and an art, and it requires many judgment calls. Your marketing reps are in a position to have a good feel for which prospects will eventually become residents and how difficult the road might be to get them there.
By strategically reducing the size of your database, you may reduce the overall workload for your team. In turn, they can use that additional time to focus on the people who qualify to become residents of your community and have a desire to do so.
You May Have Limited Resources
Along with the time available to your team members, your marketing also may limit how many leads you can successfully cultivate.
While you do benefit from economies of scale in some marketing applications — for example, your website and magazine ads — others such as direct mail cost more. The bigger your database, the more items you’re mailing in each campaign, and the more collateral materials you may need to print.
In addition, you’re likely giving some form of access to your community — whether that’s free lunches or free fitness classes — as incentives to encourage promising prospects to visit. By offering those premiums to people who are unlikely to qualify or unlikely to move in, you deplete your resources available for wooing other prospects.
Some Leads Hold More Promise
For a variety of reasons, certain leads are more promising and, thus, are more valuable to your marketing program. Until people formally apply for residency, you may not have the full picture — even if they’re on your waiting list for years.
If you can determine ways to begin gathering information that will allow you to pre-screen leads, you can save yourself time and effort over the years. Consider sending out surveys that ask for a range of income and assets, or have marketing team members ask in person when they meet with people.
Purge or Prioritize?
Permanently deleting leads may not be the most helpful method for paring down your database. Instead, consider re-categorizing your records so that team members are working with a smaller active set in their everyday activities. If you’re unsure how to organize your prospect database for maximum efficiency, Walker Marketing can assist you.