digital marketing tactics

5 Digital Marketing Tactics For Senior Living Communities

More and more seniors are becoming tech savvy, using smart phones and tablets to communicate with family and friends. They also use their smart devices to do their own research on where they want to live and how they want to do it. This is one reason why digital marketing tactics are critical for senior living marketing.

Digital Marketing Tactics for Senior Living Communities

Your website is one of your most important assets. It’s where consumers are going to find out more about your company. The place where you build trust. Where you show your leadership in the senior living industry. It’s where they can get more information about your community.

With your website in place, what digital marketing tactics should you employ?

  1. Blogging

Blogging offers you the opportunity to provide your audience with useful information while positioning you as a trusted expert. You can use your blog to provide useful information like how to downsize, how to stay healthy as you age, how to find the right senior community and how to find work as a senior. High-quality content keeps people coming back.

Check out these tips on How to Have a Successful Blog

  1. SEO

SEO (search engine optimization) works to get your community’s website found by the search engines. It is done with keyword placement, quality content, and a dynamic website. The more you have of all three, the better your SEO results will be.

  1. Social Media

Social media allows you to engage your audience. You can share tips, post links to new content, or share testimonials. Facebook offers a place to share as well as a place where potential residents can make queries or learn more about your community.

  1. Email

Email lead nurturing allows you to make your community more attractive to people who have expressed interest. You can share community events, resident highlights and interesting tidbits to show how involved and engaged the residents of your community are. That makes it more attractive to those considering moving in.

  1. Online Advertising

Online advertising positions your brand in front of anyone seeking information on senior living communities. In fact, as they search for that kind of information, your name pops up. It can give you highly qualified leads almost instantaneously.

These tactics will help you position your senior living community. You can grab the attention of seniors as well as their loved ones and care providers.

Download Our White Paper Guide To Learn How To Perfect Buyer Personas For Your Business

What’s New With Google: How Your Web Page Speed Effects Your SEO and Adwords Performance

Speed has always been a factor in defining both organic rankings and AdWords Quality Score. However, Google’s most recent change, which comes into effect in July, shifts this focus somewhat; speed will now be a key ranking factor in mobile searches.

For companies that already advertise to prospective customers on mobile devices, or who have organic search presence, there are numerous elements of their online presence that need to be checked, tested, and, where appropriate, changed. Knowing how to optimize your mobile site for speed will make all the difference to your search engine rankings.

The Importance of Testing Site Speed

The changes are going to make knowing the speed of a mobile site essential. Many tools permit site owners to determine their page speed to see whether enhancements are needed. Most of the tools that are available to test speeds are free and do not require administrator access to the website in question. That means that companies can check their competitors’ sites as well as their own.

Adjusting Mobile SEO Strategy for Google’s Speed Update

The benefit of Google announcing the change six-months before it comes into effect is that it gives companies time to undertake the necessary checks and make appropriate changes.

One such change that companies should consider is switching to Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). An AMP works by altering the source code of the website, thus directing the standard HTML page to a minimalist version of itself, the hosted AMP page. As AMPs are still so rare, they load exceptionally quickly. In initial Google testing, AMPs reduced load time up to 85%.

Click here to find out how to measure your audience with Google Analytics

Local search should not be ignored, either. A Google Mobile Moments Study revealed that 40% of mobile searches have local intent. Companies also need to be aware that mobile search engine users enter queries differently than desktop search engine users; mobile queries tend to be much shorter.

Leveraging Search Console is a fantastic way to check in on a site’s usability. Using the following options under “Crawl Errors” can make a significant difference to usability:

  • Smartphone tab – permits users to recognize any crawl errors that might be burdening their mobile pages
  • Fetch on Google – allows users to see how crawlers view the site and adjust accordingly
  • Mobile Usability report – tells users precisely which pages have mobile usability issues, as well as the nature of the issues.

How Will Google’s Speed Update Impact Your AdWords Account?

The Quality Score algorithm, the algorithm that determines how much users pay per click to serve an ad on the Search Network, is heavily influenced by landing page experience. If a company’s site does not load quickly and does not convey beneficial information, the company will either end up paying a premium or realize that they are unable to serve an ad at all.

The AdWords documentation recommends five ways to affect positive change regarding a site’s landing page experience:

  • Include relevant, compelling content
  • Be recognized as trustworthy
  • Make navigation simple and effective
  • Reduce load time
  • Make the website faster

In Conclusion

Failing to consider the new speed update will negatively affect a website’s ranking and, in turn, adversely impact the ROI of the business it showcases. AdWords users need to ensure they optimize for load time and landing page speed, and not just in terms of relevance. Companies should also contemplate making a move to AMP, ensure that their intent is on point, and make the most of the power of Search Console and page speed insights.

Integrating Social Media & SEO Efforts For Enhanced Search Engine Results

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Telling Your Brand Story To Baby Boomers

The only thing in the world that is constant is change, and not many changes in recent history can compare to the way baby boomers have redefined how we approach everything in life, marketing and spending included. The baby boomer generation controls 70% of disposable income in the United States, and represent 44% of the US population. That is a considerable market share and one that you can tap into by telling your brand story in a way that appeals specifically to this generation.

The Importance of Experience

How your customers think is influenced by their unique life story, current circumstances, environment, and worldview. It is also influenced by their experience and the wisdom they have gained as they have progressed through life. Your brand story needs to take these elements into account and reflect the knowledge, experience, and interests of this age group. Your brand story needs to use language in a way that celebrates this wealth of life experience.

However, just as importantly, your brand storytelling must reflect on the role that this wealth of experience plays in the changing buying habits of the Baby Boomer generation. Worldviews change as you age and gain new information and perspectives. These changing views reflect in how this customer segment process information, and how they make decisions about products and services.

Life becomes more about relationships, developing positive relationships in particular, rather than categories. Family, friends, and nostalgia, play a significant role in the decision-making process. Choices are not black and white and are more likely to be emotionally led.

Check out this similar article about Brand Storytelling

Changes in Storytelling Style

When considering how to tell your brand story to Baby Boomers, you also need to recognize that the changes are not just emotional, but also physical. As the brain ages and its functions change, you must adapt your storytelling to communicate efficiently with this generation. While the younger brain wants unambiguous, precise details and facts, the brain of this generation is more intuitive and emotionally led. It is also more attuned to sensory images, meaning that your storytelling needs to use words in a multi-sensory manner to create these pictures.

Metaphors are an essential part of this creative process. They aid in the brain’s comprehension of a subject and help to make it more vivid. If you cannot paint pictures with words and metaphors, you risk losing the customer’s focus and interest in your story.

Luckily for you as the storyteller, the Baby Boomer generation as a whole loves stories. So, the stronger the story, the more likely you are to attract Baby Boomers to your brand. However, your stories need to be emotionally charged. If it just contains line after line of facts and statistics, it will quickly lose its appeal. As with any customer segment, good writing, detailed characters, and engaging content also remain essential to reaching the Baby Boomer generation.

Learn The StoryBranding Process

How to Tell Your Brand Story and What It Means To Generation Z | Stevens Tate

When deciding on how to tell your brand story, your intended audiences are a key component in any decisions you make. A great deal of time and effort goes into developing your brand story, especially in relation to making it appealing to your core market segment. While many companies focus their efforts on attracting the buying power of millennials, there is another sector who have money to spend, but who expect very different things from the brands they choose.

This sector is, of course, Generation Z. This generation encompasses all those born from 1995 onwards. Generation Z accounts for 25.9% of the population of the United States; by far the largest percentage of any age group. Currently, analysts believe this generation has in the region of $44 billion in purchasing power, and by 2020 they will account for a third of the U. S. population, so they are undoubtedly worth paying attention to.

Appealing to Generation Z

This generation lives in a world where everyone can have their voice heard, thanks to social media, and particularly channels such as YouTube, with its vloggers, product testers, and social stories. Generation Z is firmly based online, with recent research suggesting that 28% of this generation wants to be reached via online ads, compared to just 16% of millennials.

Their continual connection to the online world also means that they are more likely to be moved to action by real people than they are by celebrities. They are, as most people were at that age, looking for products over experiences. However, the challenge your brand story faces is how to make the products you sell feel current and therefore appealing to this younger age group.

Just a Click Away

As well as changing perspectives to appeal to this generation, you need to change how your story is delivered. Generation Z is very much a one-click generation. If it takes more than that to access or share the story, they are not going to read it or pass it on to others. Your story needs to be shareable through channels such as YouTube, WhatsApp, and Instagram.

Moreover, it is not just about accessing the content; researchers believe you have an average of 8 seconds to capture the interest of this generation, once the content has been accessed. This is one of the reasons why audio / visual approaches to your story are essential.

Four social media platforms. Four different ways to advertise. Click here to learn more. 

Personal Products for Personal Experiences

While Generation Z is about the product rather than the experience that you are offering, they do want the product to provide a personal experience. This is where the more traditional approach to storytelling comes in, but using personas that they recognize – real people, in real situations, which they can imagine themselves in by buying your product.

While one could still use actors and showcase their lifestyles, using the YouTuber who Vlogs from his or her bedroom two streets over, could work even better with this generation because they seem more relatable to this younger audience.

Some Rules Still Apply

The differences between Generation Z and previous generations does not mean that you should throw all the rules out the window. High quality, consistent content is still a must when determining how to tell your brand story. Stories still need to have believable characters and situations. Your values, aims, and mission statement must again shine through; younger members of the Generation Z are also still under parental input, so, you need to bridge two or more generations with your approach.

However, you must tie all this together with a tech-savvy approach. Your brand story needs to encompass the online world in all its various forms. This generation uses different platforms for different activities, and you need to be able to tap into most of those if not all. Content that you provide for this generation needs to be in the form of micro-interactions; short snippets of mainly visual information, provided by someone that this generation recognizes and can relate to. Simple really, isn’t it?

A GUIDE TO EFFECTIVE MOBILE MARKETING TECHNIQUES

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Stevens & Tate Speaking at LeadingAge Illinois Symposium in September

Stevens & Tate’s Internet Director, Nicole Wagner, has been selected to speak at the 5thLeadingAge Illinois Private Duty Symposium in September. Nicole will be presenting “Attract, Convert, Close, and Delight Your Prospects With Inbound Marketing” to the attendees. During this session, Nicole will explain how Inbound utilizes pull marketing – content, blogs, events, SEO, social media, and more – to create brand awareness and attract new business.

When: September 12th

Where: Tinley Park, IL

Learn More.

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How To Create A Brand Story

Storytelling is an ancient art form, which has scientifically been proven to aid memory, making it the ideal vehicle for promoting products and creating successful branding. Learning how to tell your brand story begins with understanding the role of characters.

At the heart of the story lays the characters. It is through your characters that you connect with your customers. If your story does not have believable characters, then your potential customers will not connect with you, find your branding believable, or create an emotional connection with your story.

Starting with Archetypes

Your brand persona reflects your customers understanding of your brand’s behaviors and values. The persona must appear human and exhibit traits that the customer recognizes, such as courage, persistence, and imagination. They need to be able to create an emotional connection with your persona. Your story’s characters play a vital role in shaping this relationship.

super heroFor your brand story to be compelling, it needs strong, well-drawn, and quickly recognized characters, which your customers can relate to and see themselves in. To achieve this, you need to begin with archetypes. Hero, villain, mentor, caregiver; these are archetypes that are easily recognizable and relatable to. They are found in all stories throughout history, from Ancient Greek classics to modern fantasy tales. However, an archetype on its own is two-dimensional, so it needs to be personalized to make it believable.

Developing a Believable Persona through Relatable Characters

Your characters must grow from these archetypes. Otherwise, they will remain flat and hold no emotional connection with the customer. Achieving this involves creating credible stories for your characters without losing consistency. This enables the customer to see them as multi-dimensional.

Through those character stories, you develop your brand persona’s attributes. The attributes your persona portrays will be the ones your customer associates with your company, so these need to be chosen carefully. You might want to consider qualities such as courage, decisiveness, determination, work ethic, honesty, flexibility, responsibility, and curiosity.

An example of good brand storytelling and excellent character creation is Guinness. Consider the company’s latest campaign with the guys that have turned their backs on the gang culture of Compton, and are instead saving horses. The archetypes are good versus evil, but the characters stories make them relatable and give an overall caring, yet brand persona for Guinness.

How do you bring your brand story to life, even when it’s online? Check out this article to learn more. 

Creating a Relatable Persona

As well as being believable, your brand persona must be relatable. If your target customer group is young women, then having a brand persona that your audience consider to be a middle-aged businessman is not going to make your brand relatable. If your customers cannot relate, then they will not feel connected to your brand and are unlikely to believe your promises, mission statement, or aims. You need to know who it is you want to connect with before you even begin to develop your persona.

The customer may never see any of this directly, but they will instinctively know if you have not considered these elements as it will show in the consistency–or lack thereof–of your brand storytelling. If you are unsure of the importance of characters in how to tell your brand story and create your brand persona, go back to your favorite work of fiction and imagine that work without the attention to detail that has been poured into each character.

Learn The StoryBranding Process

The 5 W’s Of A Thank You Page

Thank you pages are an important part of the inbound methodology. To better understand a thank you page, it is best to look at the 5 W’s: Who, what, when, where, and why.

Who sees a thank you page:

Anyone who chooses to follow a link on your website to obtain an eBook or a white paper of some sort, is going to see a thank you page. These people can be prospects, leads or customers.

What the page should look like:

A thank you page should look similar to your companies website. The thank you page should include the main headers which can be seen on your website as well as the name of the company. Most importantly, the message that states “thank you for ___”. You fill in the blank with signing up or downloading the eBook, etc. Additionally, the time frame in which the person will receive the information they have requested. To the right side of the thank you page, it is good to include information related to the topic. Additionally, including a CTA is a good addition as well. When designing your thank you page, it is important to remember that it should NOT be a blank white screen that says thank you.

When a thank you is important:

Thank you’s are always important. Especially because in today’s time, people are always looking for information. By providing a thank you page, there is a good chance the person could return to the website. These pages are something very positive.

Read more on how a thank you page is not the end but a continuation.

Where to go after this step:

Once someone has seen the thank you page, they will be waiting for the information requested to be sent to them. It is important to get back to that person within 2-3 business days. Something else that can be done is to start sending emails to that person with information similar to what they requested. This way, by keeping your company as a part of their attention, they won’t forget about you.

Why these pages are important:

These pages are important because it shows people that you care. It also shows that you will get back to them with the information they are looking for. Thank you pages are important when converting people in the inbound methodology.

Overall, thank you pages are a great addition to have as a part of your website. Don’t forget that these pages appear after someone has requested information. That means that your website will need to include call to actions.

MAXIMIZING YOUR MARKETING BUDGET

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Use Personal Selling During the Decision Making Stage

In our final article on in this series, we’ll focus on the final stage of the buyer’s journey: the decision making stage. Here, we’ll shift our view of inbound marketing from a marketing heavy stance to sales and how to use personal selling during the decision making stage. Your prospective buyers have finally made it to the bottom of the funnel. All of your hard work with content, landing pages, social media and marketing has paid off and your leads are now ready for sales.

At the decision making stage, your buyer is already 60% of the way towards their decision and you can attribute that virtually all to marketing. You’ve heard the adage, “You can bring a horse to the water, but you can’t make it drink,” and this couldn’t be any more true in inbound marketing. And in all likelihood, despite some cleverly crafted and personalized lead nurturing campaigns, the personal aspect of your buyer’s journey with your company’s sales team is just beginning.

Deliverable Content

A more traditional approach to getting buyers to make a decision was to draft bottom of the funnel content and use a “Speak to Sales” or “Request a Consultation” button to get sales involved in the buying process. Many buyers roll their eyes at the prospect of speaking to a sales person, so the new approach deals more with deliverable, downloadable content.

While marketing does close to 60% of the work in getting your leads sales ready, content’s job isn’t quite done. Your buyers are looking for the final piece of your content puzzle to help them know that going with your brand is the best thing for them. Offering deliverable content coupled with personal selling during the decision making stage is an excellent way to optimize your brand’s efforts at the bottom of the funnel.

Content at this stage of the buyer’s journey is generally geared towards giving the buyer added value. Offers can include case studies, free assessments, service comparison, or product literature. Of course, the content you tailor to your buyer all goes back to your buyer personas.

Personal Selling

Once marketing has done their job, qualified their leads for sales, and your leads have shown the behaviors associated with sales readiness it’s time to bring in the sales team.

For your sales team, personal selling will deal largely with getting inside your buyer’s head and asking the questions they’re asking themselves. Some of the fundamental questions a buyer will likely be asking as they vet potential sellers are:

  1. What specifics of your product or service do the buyers typically evaluate?
  2. How do buyers evaluate those products or services?
  3. What sets your brand apart for buyers?
  4. Who is involved int he decision and how to their perspectives differ when making the decision?

By answering those basic questions for your buyer before a sales call is even made will make a huge difference for how well prepared your sales team is. Also, it’s critical for marketing to communicate with sales and pinpoint exactly what your buyer’s journey look like. This way, sales and marketing are on the same page and your buyer isn’t left with redundancy during their personal interactions.

How do you  drive website conversions throughout the buyer’s journey? Find out by clicking here. 

Tailoring Sales to the Buyer

Finally, let’s focus on tailoring a sales presentation to your buyer. Inbound salespeople are tasked with advising a prospective buyer on how your brand’s unique position fits the context of the buyer’s need, but that is the bottom of the four step inbound sales process which includes identifying the buyers problem, connecting with prospective buyers, and exploring solutions. Smarketing helps align those stages of the buyer’s journey to the inbound sales processes.

The presentation your sales team give to a sales-ready lead should be 100% tailored to your buyer. Hopefully, you’re already leveraging every possible avenue to identify your buyer on a personal level and create a sales presentation that hits home. Those types of presentations may include consultations, demos, or a guided case study where sales takes a buyer through the information.

Just the Beginning of Smarketing

The decision making stage is only the beginning of your sales and marketing efforts for your brand and personal selling is the cornerstone to your sales-marketing marriage. Hopefully through this series of articles, you’ve been able to see with your own eyes the value of smarketing. Just know that inbound is only the beginning of how your sales and marketing come together, but the fruits they produce will be immeasurable over time.

Download Our White Paper Guide To Learn How To Perfect Buyer Personas For Your Business

 

 

Generation X Matters: How to Tell Your Brand Story to Them

Generation X, often referred to as the middle child, is the generation sandwiched between the baby boomers and the millennials. And just like the middle child, they often feel forgotten, especially when it comes to marketing. However, this generation has impressive buying power and are essential to consider when determining how to tell your brand story.

Generation X are now in their late 30’s to early 50’s, and are the generation that remembers a time before the technological, and specifically the digital, revolution. On the whole, however, Xers were young enough when it happened to have embraced the change and made technology work for them. They have a foot in both camps and are just as at home with print media, as they are with blogs, Facebook and YouTube.

Why is Generation X Important?

While, relatively speaking, Generation X is a small customer segment in comparison to baby boomers and millennials, they have immense buying power, which should not be overlooked. However, marketers are confused about how to reach a generation that has one foot in the past, and the other firmly in touch with digital technology and change. Research has shown that 62% of this generation still read print media, while at the same time 60% use a Smartphone on a daily basis.

Despite the difficulties of appealing to this generation, they are ignored at your own risk; after all, they account for over 30% of consumer spending, and not only are they buying for themselves, but many still have financial responsibility for their children as well. They are also extremely brand loyal, once they find a brand that is worthy of that loyalty.

Creating Consistency is Key

Given all of this, consistency is vital in your brand storytelling, not only within your story but also across the platforms through which you tell that story. However, generation Xer’s are also busy, often juggling children, careers, and responsibility for older family members. So, your story and your brand need to be instantly recognizable, and easily digestible. Short snippets of information combined with audiovisual formats make your story memorable and accessible. Generation X is not shy of technology, so utilizing channels such as YouTube, along with approaches such as email marketing, is vital if you are to get your brand’s story across in a meaningful way.

While busy juggling their many commitments, creating the lifestyle they want remains of paramount importance to this generation. They work hard and expect their money to work hard on their behalf, especially as there are few guarantees when they hit retirement. They respond well to offers, especially coupons that offer what they want at a price that is well within their budget. However, they are wary of trying new, untested companies, so when choosing how to tell your brand story, you need to develop trust from the very start.

Got tips? Sure we do! Check out these six tips on email marketing.

Hearing the Voice of Generation X

Generation X has strong opinions, is generally worldly-wise, and drawn to companies that are ethical, and which promote ethical goods and services. These need to form part of your brand story if you are to begin to build the trust of this generation. However, you also need to show that you value your customer, as well as the planet.

Excellent customer service is essential to Generation X. They need to feel valued and respected by your company and your brand. If they do not, you will know very quickly. This generation, more than any other, is not afraid to take the time to say what they think, and they expect you to listen. So, your story needs to focus on the customer and show that not only do you accept and listen to feedback but also that you act on it. That means that while the fundamentals of your story – your ethos, mission, and goals – may not change, how you achieve these needs to be tweaked to adapt to the changing needs of this generation.

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