It’s taking people longer than ever, it seems, to make a move. That’s true for young first-time homebuyers, those purchasing a new home, and seniors deciding it’s time to downsize or move into an assisted living facility. For some, it’s easier or more comfortable to stay where they are while others are paralyzed by economic fears.
What does that mean for marketers in the real estate, homebuilding and senior living arenas? We need to keep in touch with prospects multiple times and in multiple ways. Building a relationship over time is essential to ensure that when your potential customers are ready to make their move, your company is on the top of their mind.
In the senior living marketplace, direct mail continues to be a vital source of information. Host an event on your property such as a wine tasting, holiday gathering, or friends and family day. Have your chef prepare sample meals and invite prospects for a taste test. Offer a simple class such as flower arrangements or cake decorating. Give away tickets for a local sporting event. Then promote your event through a targeted direct mail program. Make your invitations fun and memorable so they grab someone’s attention when checking the mail. Reach out to your own database of past visitors but extend your reach to people similar to your current residents. And don’t forget to target their families – often, an adult child will help make the decision on where their mom or dad will live.
A more cost effective option to stay in front of people is an email program. You can get out the same message to a targeted group, without the expense of printing and postage. And, let’s face it, almost everyone has access to email these days. In fact, a recent study by Pew Internet and American Life Project revealed that the 65-plus age group uses email at levels comparable to younger age groups.
Email programs also have become a key for homebuilders looking to streamline operations and reduce costs. One of the biggest mistakes a builder can make in today’s economy is to abandon a prospect who is not immediately ready to buy. Rather, we need to nurture these prospects through continual, consistent communication so when they are ready to move, they remember our name and buy from us – and not the competition. Don’t just send more messages to the same people…send the right messages to the right people at the right time. Smart marketers realize how important it is to craft a set of effective messages that can be customized for prospects at different stages of the home buying process.
With new technologies, smart phones, texting and such, how we stay in touch in the future may change but the importance of staying in touch is here to stay.
With 20 years of advertising and PR experience, Debbie Szwast understands the multifaceted nature of marketing. A true believer in the art of communication, she acquired an MBA in marketing and a Master’s degree in writing. Today, she calls on the knowledge she has gained over the past two decades to formulate big-picture strategies and execute comprehensive marketing plans for clients across the country.