If you are thinking about your marketing efforts, then the question of paid ads has crossed your mind. Maybe you know of other senior living communities using them, but you've heard a mix of horror stories and great successes, so you have no idea what's right for you.
QUESTION: What are paid search ads?
ANSWER: When you enter a search on Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. you land on a page full of search results. At the very top or sidebar of the page will be results that companies have paid for in order to get that prime spot. No matter how good your SEO is, you will never beat the paid search.
If you have the responsibility to market your senior living community, what are some factors to consider when deciding if you should run paid search ads or not? Here are some suggested scenarios below:
1. Opening a New Community Location
If you find your senior living company growing, great! That means that you're probably expanding into new markets where your brand is not yet known. This also means you're putting a ton of effort and money into market analysis research or print advertising. But, what about paid search? If you're serious about coming out of the gate strong with high occupancy within the first year, you need to be looking into paid search ads.
If people don't know your brand yet, they aren't searching for you. What they are searching for are phrases like, "Assisted Living Near Me" or "Best Memory Care in Yakima, Washington". If you are bidding on keywords like this, these people are more likely to find your community, become a move in and then finally, love your service and be a brand ambassador for you in a new town!
2. Low Occupancy in a Service Line 📈
What's great about paid search is that you can switch your strategy whenever you'd like. You can pause and start campaigns, and choose exactly what you want to spend and when.
This is helpful for when, say, you have a community where all the assisted living beds are full, but you are at 70% occupancy for memory care. You can start bidding on keywords that will bring you the exact type of move-in you are looking for. Maybe even allocate your budget from your assisted living efforts into your memory care efforts in order to get the boost you need!
3. Your Competitor is Using Paid Search Ads
If you aren't using paid search ads, there is a chance that your competitor is. This is the equivalent of your community being on an off-street while your competitor is right on the main drag with a giant sign blocking yours.
Today, more people are searching online for a senior living community than ever before. Think about how you would do it. You would pull out your phone, search "nursing home" or "senior living" and then click through a few of the links. If your competitor is right at the top, they are more likely to get a call, even if your senior living community has great SEO.
4. Aggregators are Using Paid Search Ads 💯
There is also a 100% chance that companies like "A Place For Mom" and "Caring.com" are. This is a situation that every community is facing no matter what. This is because the big aggregators understand the power of paid search ads and they are willing to spend the money to funnel users to your site, because they know that you'll be paying for it from the first month of rent. Instead, try to put your own efforts towards paid search and grab the users before the big aggregators do!
Google does a great job of offering educational courses on how to set up your own campaigns or you can work with a marketing company with paid search ad experience in senior living - that way you can know you are getting the best possible results for your senior living community.