Lead generation is only the beginning. If you don’t know how to nurture and convert those leads, your efforts to gain awareness and draw attention to your senior living facility will not mean much.
Leads may be interested family members who are just beginning to explore facilities like yours. They could be months or even years away from becoming immediately relevant to you. They might still be in the research phase, comparing you to others in your area as the best possible solutions. In reality, less than 50% of your new leads are actually ready for any type of sales message.
That’s why generating digital leads without lead nurturing won’t lead to effective patient recruitment. The two go in concert, working together to build a comprehensive strategy designed to engage your audience from first touch all the way to occupying a room in your community.
What is Lead Nurturing?
First things first. In digital marketing, lead nurturing describes the effort of taking leads in your database, and taking strategic actions that are specifically designed to nudge them closer to becoming customers. Most commonly, these actions are emails; they can also include anything from phone calls to social media ads.
In this industry’s context, it means taking anyone who is interested but doesn’t yet actually have a place in your community to convince them that going with your community is the best choice for them or their loved ones. To get there, you need to know exactly how you can build a lead nurturing campaign designed to succeed.
5 Best Practices in Lead Nurturing
Books have been written about the best lead nurturing campaigns. When they work right, you don’t even know you’re part of the flow. It’s relevant messages, sent at the right time, and from the right person. We’re not asking you to read those books; these 5 best lead nurturing practices can get you started in the right direction.
1) Focus on Your Audience
In other words, every decision you make in this flow–whether it’s the timing of an email or the content of the email itself–should start with your audience in mind. What type of content are they looking for? What do they expect, and what information could help them in their buyer’s journey?
Answering these questions might require some research. Don’t worry; it will be worth the effort. The more you know about your audience, whether that’s future residents or their families, the more you can target your lead nurturing. The result is a relevant flow of messages, optimized for a specific demographic in an even more specific life situation.
2) Build a Multi-Channel Approach
Even for companies that embrace lead nurturing, it often seems synonymous with email. It doesn’t have to be. In fact, the best nurturing campaigns tend to run on more than just one channel.
On social media, for instance, you can upload lists of your leads to target ads specifically towards them. That allows for more specific, relevant, and timely messaging for anyone already interested in your senior living community. You can also write blogs for leads, send a lead-only newsletter, or schedule some informational calls for inquiries who have opted into phone conversations with you.
3) Stay Away From Sales Pitches
Especially the call option above almost screams for a sales call. Don’t allow it to. Lead nurturing, at its best, can never be a sales pitch. Instead, it’s a value-adding, informational tool designed to educate your users and build your credibility, rather than overtly selling your residential community.
That’s where the first best practice above once again becomes crucial. You need to know your audience’s pain points, and the types of content that can satisfy them. Then, focus on those types. For instance, an email or social ad designed to help your audience evaluate their various options in finding the right community for their loved ones.
4) Personalize Your Outreach
Through various industries, marketers who personalize their lead nurturing efforts convert a greater number of them into customers. The same could be true for your community. Wherever possible, add a personal touch to your messages that helps your audience feel you’re talking to them individually, not a mass of email addresses in a database.
That means using an actual person as your email sender, and addressing recipients by their names. It also means making sure you gather as much information about a lead before calling them, so you can reference their specific pain points. The more personal, the better.
5) Improve Your Efforts Over Time
The best lead nurturing experts never stand still. They use every email, call, and digital ad as an opportunity for improvement. They track the exposure of these messages, along with typical jumping-off points and the spots in which their audience is most likely to actually convert to a customer.
It pays to take that same approach. With a philosophy of constant improvement, you can make your individual messages more effective, your leads happier, and your lead nurturing flow more successful. Fewer leads drop off, and more convert to help your community grow.
How to Build a Lead Nurturing Strategy to Help Your Community Thrive
Traditionally, and at its core, building a lead nurturing strategy means building a linear flow in various channels that takes new leads, and guides them through the sales funnel. It doesn’t have to be that straightforward.
In one experiment, HubSpot took a ‘choose your own adventure’ path that grew engagement by more than 1,000%. Simply by asking their audience about their biggest need or pain point in the first email after a new lead entered the database, the company achieved massive click-through and conversion rates. Every email after that could be much more customized to focus on exactly what that segment of the audience wanted to see.
You can take a similar approach in marketing your senior living community. In your first lead nurturing email, ask about their most important question about searching for the right home. Then, build out a nurturing path for each potential answer that speaks directly to that portion of the audience.
Lead nurturing has the potential for immense success. Unfortunately, it can also be complex to build. That’s where 408 Marketing comes in. For more information on what we do or for a free consultation, give us a call at (844) 408-4081.