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PPC marketing can give you a competitive edge over paid referral sites. Paid referral sites are a necessary evil that has spread through a surprising number of industries. If your senior living community has felt the financial weight and social pressure to keep working with a paid referral site long after you outgrew the need, you’re not alone. These types of sites have become a parasitic necessary evil in a surprisingly wide range of industries. Hotels, restaurants, home repairs services, and even lawyers have to put up referral sites overspending to attract traffic, selling leads at a premium.

Senior Living Referral Sites are Selling Your Leads Back to You

Referral sites can be very useful to small and new businesses without an established audience. But once you have outgrown the need for them, you quickly realize that these sites are using their marketing power to effectively bogart leads and sell them back to you. And competing with them is a seemingly impossible uphill battle. But there is a way.

If your senior living community is ready to start winning leads directly through PPC, but you’ve run into roadblocks in bidding for the keywords you know are most powerful, this article is for you. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide and actionable tips to help you start competing and winning the local leads without the paid referral site middle-man.

How to Beat Senior Living Referral Site Marketing Tactics with PPC Marketing

First, let’s take a close look at how these paid referral sites work. By understanding their simple but overpowered tactics, we can build marketing strategies to simply route around them and reach your local leads more naturally and directly.

What You’re Competing With:

  • Massive Organic SEO Resources
    • First, these sites have all the organic SEO that money can buy. They have spent years and hundreds of thousands of dollars building up an archive of targeted articles and service pages. All expertly Search Engine Optimized with keywords and phrases.
  • Oversized PPC Budget for Top Keywords
    • In addition to organic SEO, these referral giants can also pour their marketing budget into out-bidding every local senior-living community on the top keywords like “Senior Living” “Retirement Home” “Retirement Community” “Senior Community” and so on. They will pretty much always win at the big keywords, and this is how referral sites in every industry roll.
  • PPC Keyword-Colonizing Your Business Name
    • The shadiest thing they do is colonize the actual company names of the businesses they represent. In fact, sometimes they specifically outbid community’s names who refuse to pay for referrals from them. But there are things you can do to beat this underhanded tactic.

What They’re Missing:

  • Google Maps and Local Extensions
    • Referral sites are not allowed to take your Google My Business listing. They can’t claim you as “their” business or put a pinpoint on Google Maps. Therefore, they lack all the uniquely localized PPC and organic marketing power that brings.
  • Intimate Knowledge of Your Neighborhoods and Communities
    • They do not know or care about the actual people or the local neighborhoods in your region. Referral sites are interested in attracting seniors and children of seniors in general, but won’t bother with highly localized content.
  • Attention to Long-Tail Keywords
    • Referral sites focus their PPC spend on the short-and-sweet top keywords, but the long-tails are available and many people search in whole or partial sentences. 


Actionable PPC Marketing Tips to Compete with Senior Living Referral Sites

1) Localize and Hyper-Localize

Start claiming keywords and titling your pages using your location. Instead of getting outbid for “Senior Living,” try for “Senior Living Grand Rapids” or “Senior Living in West Chicago.” Using your city and the localized way of referring to your region of the city can be much more powerful, especially to connect with leads who are tired of accidentally winding up on referral sites or sites for senior living facilities three states away.

But don’t stop there. Once you’ve taken the keywords for your city, hyper-localize. Start naming neighborhoods like “Senior Living near North Mountain Village Pheonix” or “Senior Living near Lake Tahoe.”  Referral sites never bother to target local neighborhoods, though they sometimes target big cities. But you know that neighborhood vicinity matters for locals because they want to be near family or the area they have always lived.

2) Use Local Extensions by Putting Yourself on the Map

Use your Google My Business powers to enhance your PPC marketing. If you haven’t put yourself on the map yet, do. And fill out all your business information. Note your address, hours, website, phone number, alternate phone number, and start building reviews.

Then connect that to your PPC marketing using local extensions. Local extensions add additional information to your paid listings at the top of each Google search. Underneath your landing page title, you can add your address, so leads can quickly see that you’re right down the road. Add your phone number, show that you’re open today and the hours you will be open in the future. The more localized your ad can be, the better. And referral sites cannot do this because they can’t claim your business on Google My Business or take your Google Maps pinpoint.

3) Encourage Direct Booking with Ad Extensions

Next, hook your ads up with Ad Extensions. Just like a hotel, you can make booking a tour or linking to your most relevant service pages a quick additional link underneath your PPC ad. Not only do these increase ad visibility, but they can significantly boost your instances of direct leads and instant conversions as leads click right to your page about the services they need and book a tour right away. Without the hassle to them or the cost to you of a paid referral site in between.

4) Go Long-Tail with Your Keywords

Most people search with sentences and partial sentences like “senior living with physical therapy” or “fun senior living community in Boulder.” Do your long-tail keyword research and claim these extended keywords that will snatch Ad supremacy from the more simple and over-bid keywords the referral sites are using. Know your audience and find the long-tail keywords your seniors and their adult children are searching for nearby. This way, leads who know what they are looking for are far more likely to find your ads than those of the referral sites.

5) Bid on Local Colloquial Phrases with PPC Marketing

Next, use your local knowledge like a pro. Do the people in your city talk about senior living or retirement activities using special colloquial words or phrases? Do they “go to the Bingo” instead of “play Bingo” or use phrases like “Oldster” or “Aging Care” instead of “Elder” or “Senior Care”? These little colloquialisms are pure gold because you’re trying to reach locals, not a general metropolitan population.

Claim keywords no one else knows are powerful because only people in your region would type them into the search bar.

6) Target Your Specific Audiences and Demographics

Finally, target the specific audiences and demographics you know make up your local senior population. Or the population of their children who often make the arrangements. If your area has a great deal of veterans who are reaching past retirement age, then be sure to target a portion of your content and PPC spend accordingly. Mention veteran-relevant financial options and activities that would appeal to veterans.

If your area has large populations of specific cultures, make welcoming content and PPC ads that emphasize how happy these specific demographics will be joining others who share their history in your senior living community.

It can sometimes feel like paid senior living referral sites hold all the cards when it comes to competing for online leads. But you’re not competing for a nation-wide audience. You’re marketing to a hyperlocal audience of seniors and families within your city, your state, and your local region. While referral sites are overspending to bid on the big keywords, narrow down your focus on connecting with your local clients through highly localized means. Contact us today to learn more about how to put these strategies into action and win back your direct leads.

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