Senior care communities and in-home care agencies rely heavily on word-of-mouth, reputation and general marketing to maintain maximum occupancy rates and build their business. For better or worse, the Internet has changed the game, amplifying the power of reviews (both positive & negative) as well as increasing competition for eyeballs on a local level. This post about senior care search marketing explores six secrets to growing your revenue via local listings and online reviews.

Claim and Manage Local Listings
Over 20 percent of desktop and 50 percent of mobile searches have a local intent. Over 60 percent of mobile searches result in a purchase. Thus, your senior living organization is missing out on significant opportunity by not effectively managing business listings including Google My Business, Caring.com, Yahoo, Bing and other leading directories. The first step is to claim the listing to update and manage it. The second step is to ensure your business name, address and phone number (aka NAP) are all consistent across all directories. Finally, ensure all elements of your listing are properly optimized, including category, description, photos, hours of operation and ratings or reviews.

Train Your Team
Online ratings and reviews of your facility are the result of a customer experience. The customer journey always starts and ends with your employees. It is essential to train employees to provide a compelling experience which increases the likelihood residents (or in-home care clients) and their family members will write positive reviews. Train staff specifically to identify happy residents/family caregivers and encourage them to write reviews (not using any incentives or providing any specific guidance on what to say to avoid penalty). Set a goal of a 24-hour response time or less to negative reviews. Remember that positive reviews are excellent marketing opportunities; ask permission to utilize them as testimonials in your printed and online marketing materials.

Monitor Online Discussions
Caring.com research indicates most reviews are positive (over 75 percent), yet even the 25-30 percent that are negative reviews have offer tremendous opportunity, when managed proactively. To maximize the positive impact of existing content and discussions, invest time in monitoring social media, review sites and branded search results to identify unhappy residents, family caregivers, employees, partners and peers and respond in a timely manner. Acknowledging complaints is often the most important and effective step in resolving issues and repairing relationships. It all starts with the right keywords. The most common keywords relating to ORM include “organization” or “facility name” + “reviews”, “customer reviews,” “ratings” and “feedback.” Consider negative modifiers like “substandard care”, “poor service,” and employee or facilities issues. Also, evaluate situational modifiers like “accident,” “labor dispute,” “negligence,” etc. Search for these terms regularly in search engines and on review sites for issues and opportunities.

Utilize Monitoring Platforms
The key to driving lead volume is the quantity and quality of positive reviews. Per Caring.com, partner listings with 15 or more reviews can receive up to 8 times more move-ins or 5 times more inquiries than listings with two reviews or fewer. Securing positive reviews and monitoring for negative reviews requires commitment. Free and low-cost monitoring platforms can streamline review monitoring and management, however. A good place to start is free or low-cost tools like SocialMention and Mention.net. More robust organizations may want to leverage industry-specific platforms like ReviewPush, Reputation.com or Chatmeter to monitor and manage reviews and responses. Set up keyword alerts (mentioned earlier) for your company name, location name and key staff. Aggregate and analyze the data to look for trends in terms of facility or employee issues to address directly or publicly. Consider creating a monthly report that tracks results for branded searches over time to gauge sentiment and progress in mitigating less-desirable results.

Create Compelling Social Media Profiles
To proactively control your brand, both in search and on social media, it is essential to claim and optimize social media profiles. Embedding your community name into your social profile names will maximize the possibility of ranking for branded searches and push down other less desirable results (bad reviews, blog posts or articles). Create, optimize and syndicate compelling content for your website, blog and social media platforms to ensure they start and continue to rank well for branded search terms like “facility name” or “community name.” Utilize the platforms for customer service and support, as a subset of your customers will prefer to communicate via platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Remember to link to your social profiles from your website (and vice versa) and make sure all important pages of your website are shareable in social media using one of the many plugins available.

Kent Lewis of Anvil Media


Syndicate Content
While you have control over your senior living website and social profiles, they have limited credibility or influence over search rankings. Identify top-ranking senior care websites, publications and blogs on which to post your own content. Third party sites offer critical validation and often perform better in search results. Offer relevant high-profile senior care industry websites (like Caring.com) quality content including interviews, articles, images, videos and infographics in exchange for a link back to your website. The links will not only boost the ranking of your website and fill branded search results with favorable content, but the new content will drive direct traffic to your website that could turn into customers.

In the end, delighting customers is the single most effective strategy to grow your revenue and protect your brand online, but ensuring your business is visible in local directories and your happy residents/clients and their family members’ review you online leads to trust and new customers.

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Editor’s Note: See also our Digital Marketing Academy webinar archive for August 2017 to watch the recording of Kent’s local search marketing webinar for Caring.com, or peruse the slides.

Resources Shared in Kent’s Webinar for Caring.com:

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