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by Expert Contributor


by Expert Contributor

Articles and Webinars

FAQ Module on Listings Supports Senior Care Search — Use Partner Portal to Answer Prospects’ Common Senior Living Questions

FAQs You Can Include on Your Listing

When families search for senior living in your area and are narrowing their options, they have a variety of questions about your community that may or may not be currently answered on your listing. 

Determining which questions to include on your listing can seem overwhelming if you aren’t sure what the families are searching for. However, including an FAQ on your Caring listing can make a big difference to care seekers who are on the fence about which community they should tour. 

There is no standard set of FAQs a community should include on their listing. When considering questions to add, think about questions families may have asked on tours during the last year. Expanding on topics like ways to pay for care, what is located around your facility, safety measures and staff-to-resident ratios are good places to start. 

Best Practices for FAQs

Based on our data and interactions with care seekers, we do have a few best practices when it comes to FAQs on your listing. 

  1. Include between 2 to 4 questions – you don’t want to overwhelm with too much information upfront.

  2. Add some personalization to your answers to help set yourself apart from other listing FAQs

  3. Highlight what makes your community stand out among the competition. What is unique about your community? 

How To Add or Update FAQs in the New Caring Partner Portal

Our new Partner Portal makes it easy to add or update FAQs for your community. To adjust the FAQs within the Portal: 

  1. Click on the community in which you want to answer any questions about in Portal. 

  2. Go into Listing Types and select the listing type you wish to answer, such as assisted living. 

  3. Scroll down until you reach the FAQ section, where you’ll see the questions and answers.

  4. Once you’ve made the changes you want, scroll down to click save. 

Within Portal, you can add, remove and update FAQs for your listing. An important thing to note: As consumers are coming to your listing on Caring,com, you'llwant to paint as much of a picture or provide as much information as possible. This will help answer some of their big questions and help them determine if your community is a good fit. 

Any time you complete an update, the Caring team will also review and approve your changes. Please allow 48 to 72 hours for any new FAQ requests to be shown online. We have a video walking you through how to update FAQs in the new Partner Portal, which you can find here. 

A Fresh Look for Caring

Over the last year, we’ve proudly invested in a refresh of the Caring brand. 

When folks think of branding, they often think of logos, colors and imagery. While that is an important part of brand work, there are significant strategic elements that go on behind the scenes as well. We conducted user interviews, surveys and focus groups to help us get to where we are today — with even more to come in 2024. 

Our new brand, which began its rollout on December 5, is an exciting step in our roadmap over the next few years. Our goal is to bring warmth, clarity and hope into what can be a difficult process for families not only through the look and feel of our site, but also through the experience we offer in finding senior care. 

This takes place in addition to the significant replatforming effort that began in Summer 2022. Several page types are now live, including the pages that highlight your communities. We look forward to seeing all the ways these streamlined designs help add value to your business. 

We hope you’ll join us in January for a webinar as we share more about the strategy of the Caring rebrand and updates on all that’s to come. 

New Helpdesk for Home Care Partners

As of September 1st, our home care partners have access to a new helpdesk to improve the speed and quality of our partner support. Home care partners can now email for any of their account and business profile needs. 

What does this mean for our current home care partners?  Requests emailed to the new helpdesk will be directed to the best representative to assist. No more searching for your assigned account executive. Because the helpdesk will be closely monitored, you can expect faster, reliable response times.

These are the types of requests our partners can reach out to to complete:

  • Update your listing: Add images, change your description, revise your services

  • Edit your lead recipients: Ensure your current team is all eligible to receive leads

  • Request more leads: Adjust your lead cap to capture more volume as needed

As a note, any questions on reviews or about the Caring Stars award should still be directed to or (650) 762-8190.

For any questions related to our new customer service email or other account and business profile questions, reach out to If you are interested in learning more about partnering with, call (855) 590-8989 or complete this form to schedule a demo.

The Secret to Stronger, Faster Online Referrals

“My dad was up to going with us for the tour and was open minded about the idea of assisted living. The facility and staff seemed very nice and answered our questions. [Community A] was nice because it was close to his doctor’s, family and friends. He like the setting and felt comfortable because he was familiar with the area.”

Here at, we get notes like these from consumers on a regular basis. First impressions, feelings of doubt, and decisions pour into our call center every day as adult children and seniors search for the right senior community in the right area.

As you already know, it’s tough to get consumers on the phone. At, we’ve optimized our call center to call consumers within just one minute of their submitted request for information online so that we can increase the chance of reaching them. So once we get them on the phone, we vet that they’re a viable prospect, make the connection with your community, and try really hard to get them to your front door by scheduling a tour then and there.

The good news: New 2014 data from suggests all this hard work is worth it.

Tours drive more move-ins at a faster pace

3.5x more likely = Online referrals with tours are 3.5x more likely to move-in to a community than online referrals without tours. That’s not one, not two, but three and a half times better chance for a prospect to move in once they’ve seen and met the staff and community in person.

25% faster = Online referrals who had a tour scheduled moved in 25% faster than those without a tour scheduled — about 2 weeks faster than referrals without tours.

Who’s a viable prospect (aka “referral”)?

In January 2015, got over 55,000 online inquiries from consumers looking for senior housing. We screened out approximately 80% of these inquiries (e.g. customers who are not viable based on budget, age, care needs or individuals not seeking senior care services) before sending them to our partners, so that you can focus on customers who are a viable match for your community.

What can you do to get more tours?

What’s unique about your community? What amenities do you have? Are you paying attention to your star ratings? Make your directory listing attract great prospects by sharing your unique attributes, amenities, and pricing, while having great customer reviews too..

Bottom line: The more updated information you include on your listing, the better we can describe your community to prospects. If you haven’t already, tell us your community details. We’ll enhance your listing with any new information.

Customers vary: Get in touch quickly, and meet in person.

Whether a prospect is ready to move-in right away, or just browsing their options, it’s very important to let your community shine for each family with an in-person tour. Here are a few real examples of customers who have corresponded with us before making a decision about senior housing.

I’m still looking at my options, where else should I look? “Remember, this search is all proactive as I am not ready to make the move yet. And of course there is also the possibility that I will stay where I am, since I haven’t seen anything better yet, just different. I am just doing due diligence. I am looking for up scale, great food & environment. Any other possibilities?”

We got a terrible first impression. “You know what, it was a lovely place. However, the sales rep. was obnoxious … I found [] very helpful and it is too bad that we got such a self-serving and poor sales person. I do not intend to ever speak to this woman again. Someone needs to tell this lady that you always listen to and HEAR your customer. Your aim should be to always work toward meeting the needs of your customer first and foremost. That is how you make a sale.”

I’m ready to move-in. I’m tired of all the responsibility of running a home. “My son and I went today to tour and had lunch. I was so impressed with it compared to [Community B] … I saw the big one-bedroom, the normal size one bedroom, and the one-bedroom. I think that is all I need because I have a small two story and I live in the bottom and absolutely do not go upstairs at all … I think I would really like living there because I am tired of all the responsibility of running a home. That would be ideal.”

Learn more about the online referrals process and how to improve close ratios for Internet referrals.

How Do I Get More Leads from is driven by consumer choice. We never send a referral without getting permission from the family. So to get more leads from us, you need to make sure your community or agency really stands out.

Here are some ideas:

1.) Reviews: Actually, this should be numbers 1, 2, and 3. Senior living listings with any reviews (positive or negative) can get as many as 14X more leads than those with zero reviews. Reviews help with move-ins as well. For some of our referral partners: Community listings with 15 or more reviews have seen a five times higher conversion rate than similar communities with 1-2 reviews. And our home care directory is now sorted by review volume. Thus: Want more leads? Get more reviews.

2. Unique and Special: Our Family Advisors do their best to encourage consumers to visit your community. You can help them by sharing with us what really makes you special. Does your chef make chocolate chip cookies on Tuesday? Do you have a therapy dog? Are you across the street from the hospital? Too often partners tell us that “Our caring staff” is what makes them unique. But for a family deciding which of three local communities to tour, that is more like table stakes. Chocolate chip cookies would be a reason to visit.

3. Care Capabilities: Did you recently add memory care services? Or build a new independent living wing? An independent living community that allows residents to bring in their own caregivers might want to request that we send them people in need of “light care assisted living”. Make sure has all the levels of service that you can provide.

4. Home Care Agencies - Request More Leads: For home care partners who pay per lead rather than per start of care, if you want more leads all you need to do is contact your account executive and sign up to purchase more.

To get more clarity on how Caring screens and qualifies families for our partners, how we choose which community or agency to refer them to, and how you can help us improve the matches we make to improve conversion rates, contact Partner Success. Data Shows Higher Move-In Rates for Senior Living When Adult Child Involved

If an adult child inquires for information about your senior community, make sure your sales teams jump!

At our recent Digital Marketing Academy webinar about Multi-Generational Marketing in Senior Living, we mentioned that after analyzing referrals made via our Senior Care Directory and senior housing helpline over the last four years, we found:

  • When the adult child fills out the online lead form and gets referred to a partner community on behalf of a parent or in-law, the move-in rate is three (3) times higher than if the prospective resident/older adult made the online inquiry.

  • For independent living, the move-in rate is even higher: specifically it’s 3.5 times higher if the adult child makes the inquiry on their parent’s or in-law’s behalf.

  • For assisted living, the move-in rate is 2.5x higher if the adult child is inquiring.

These numbers clearly highlight the importance of marketing your services to the adult child, and prioritizing marketing channels that reach the most of these family caregivers – since according to the American Seniors Housing Association (ASHA), they are involved in 73% of all senior housing decisions.

If you missed our recent webinar, watch the recording for specific ways that our expert speakers from Anthem Memory Care and Juniper Communities are successfully marketing to both the prospective resident and the adult children, as well as get data from Varsity Branding. Watch the recording now, and do let us know if you have any questions.

For “data geeks” among you, check out our previous post on the power of tours in driving move-ins from online referrals, similarly based on data from Caring’s referrals.

Get More Reviews of Your Senior Living Community via Partner Portal

If your senior living community is partnered with to receive prospective resident referrals, you know it is imperative to have many positive consumer reviews about your services on your listing(s). And you may also know that the fastest, easiest way to get more reviews is to share the dedicated review submission link from your listing(s) with cognitively-healthy residents and their family members.

With a tool in Partner Portal, we've made it even easier for you to circulate that review submission link and generate new reviews. Specifically, our senior living referral partners can use Partner Portal to create email campaigns to request reviews.

Here’s how to get started: From the Partner Portal homepage, you’ll see a feature called, “Marketing Resources” (see far right circle).

The review collection builder is the first marketing tool accessible via Caring’s Partner Portal which will eventually offer a full suite of marketing support resources for our partners.

Once you click on Marketing Resources, you’ll be taken to an easy step-by-step wizard that enables you to upload a CSV list of email addresses or manually enter email addresses for those happy customers you want to contact to request a review for your listing.

The email template allows some personalization too, including the ability to add a custom email signature for the senior living community sending the message. The email message is already pre-populated with text written to support all types of senior care communities and optimized according to insights we’ve gleaned from our extensive experience generating reviews for senior care businesses. The message includes a link to the listing’s review submission form, which is the fastest, easiest way for consumers to post their reviews on (and we process those submissions within 3 business days so they can appear on your listing quicker than postcards or phone reviews).

Once you've sent an email through Partner Portal to ask for reviews, it’s labeled a “campaign,” and we'll subsequently show you how many reviews each of your campaigns has generated. (See screenshot above and the link that says, “View past campaigns.”)

As always, our product team is open to your feedback about how we can further enhance the feature once to support your review generation needs. You can email that feedback and any questions you have about the feature to or call our reviews team at (650) 762-8190.

***This article was originally published on Sep 13, 2017.

Promote Move-in Specials With Your Community’s Listing

“Incredible move-in special on select apartments on the ground floor with outdoor space! Ask for details when you tour!”

“$1000 off first month’s rent when you sign by June 30th!”

“With a 12-month signed lease, we’ll waive the application fee (a $50 value) and offer FREE underground parking for 1 year.”

Move-in specials like these can be powerful motivators for families considering senior living for an elder loved one. It could help them get over indecision about taking a tour, and could even be a deciding factor in signing a lease sooner rather than later — if they know about the deal.

Through your partnership with, you can add these types of move-in specials to the top of your listing and leave related internal notes for our family advisors in making referrals too!

Communities of any size or service offering can take advantage of this free promotional feature for Caring partners. Here are a couple samples of what the promotion unit looks like on the listing:

To get a promotion featured on your listing, and help our family advisors in referring potential residents to your community, simply log into’s Partner Portal. Navigate to your community profile that is running the special. From there, you’ll see in the lower right “edit financial incentives” section. Click on the pencil to enter the details of your special:

Then click the green “Save” button to submit the promotional to our Partner Success staff for a quick review before it’s published on your listing and the notes are uploaded into our family advisors’ referral tool for identifying best-fit communities for the family caregivers and older adults they’re helping by phone daily.

It’s that simple!

Have questions? Need assistance getting into Partner Portal? Our Partner Success staff is available to support you:

Content Made Simple: Content Marketing Services for the Senior Care Industry

With 60% of the sales decision now done before a buyer ever contacts a vendor, increasing consumer blindness to ads, and longer decision cycles in senior care, “content marketing” should be a key element in your senior care marketing toolkit.

“You’ve got prospects who know very little about your services, it’s typically a long and emotional decision, and there are lots of different parties involved,” said a Caring sales expert. “You can bug people over and over with phone calls, or you can offer them information that really helps them get through the decision — and of course, presents what your senior care services have to offer in the best possible light.”

Content marketing doesn’t have to be hard and expensive.

Content Made Simple

Add a blog to your website (and update it regularly), ask your clients and residents to post online reviews, and send informative emails regularly to your lead bank – and you’re doing some content marketing!

Yet, as a marketing partner to the senior care industry, we at know that many senior living communities, home care agencies, and senior care service providers struggle with regularly generating great content that successfully builds customer relationships. They don’t have the time or resources to continually generate fresh, engaging articles or blog posts, and sometimes don’t even know where to begin or how to measure their efforts.

We can help.

In February 2016, as part of a content marketing webcast, we launched the “Content Made Simple” program to help senior care companies better reach and engage Baby Boomers and older adults cost-effectively through interesting, helpful, and timely content. The program has a range of services:

  • CONTENT SPARKS: We shared three (3) new thematic ideas monthly for a year that local senior care providers’ can turn into blog posts, website articles, and e-newsletter blurbs. The monthly content sparks are posted on this blog, and include a brief overview on the theme, as well as tips and resources to support production of the related content.

  • SOCIAL MARKETING & SEARCH TIPS: It’s not enough to create great content. Your content also needs be found, read, and shared widely to be effective in building customer relationships. Our Digital Marketing Academy and Content Made Simple programming regularly include tips to help you optimize your content for search engines and increase social reach.

  • MEASUREMENT GUIDANCE: After you’ve written excellent content, and optimized it for search and social, you need to track its impact. Our Content Made Simple programming includes the best tactics for measuring content-sourced outcomes, including expert insights and case studies. For instance, in April 2016, we’ll covered best practices for email nurture campaigns, including how to measure their effectiveness.

The Content Made Simple program also includes the following additional services for our referral partners (directory advertising clients) only:

  • “EXPERT ROLODEX” OPPORTUNITIES — We’re regularly contacted by journalists seeking interviews with senior care experts, and our writers also need to speak with experts for stories we’re publishing on a range of senior living and senior care topics. clients can submit their employees and experts for consideration when these content source opportunities arise. Learn more about Caring’s Expert Rolodex now.

  • CARING.COM ARTICLE REPRINTS — See an article on our site that is just perfect for your blog, website, or e-newsletter? Clients can work with our Editorial staff to make that same article available on your site, with proper attributions and usage permissions to ensure the collaboration is optimized for search and honors our copyrights.

Best Practices for Nurturing Internet Leads

More and more families are finding Assisted Living, In-Home care, and other senior services through the Internet. To help you make the most of your Internet leads, we’ve compiled some best practices:

Let families know you received their request.

Set up an auto-response e-mail confirmation to go out the instant you get a lead. Your message can be short — just “Thank you” and “We’ll be in touch” — but it needs to be immediate so the caregiver knows her request has been received.

Be sensitive to communication mode.

A lot of factors might affect a customer’s choice to submit an online lead form instead of picking up the phone to call you. For some, it’s just a matter of convenience — they’re not near a phone or are too busy to talk in depth.

For others, though, the online form offers a discreet way to reach out. Perhaps they’re researching while they’re at work. Or perhaps they don’t want their loved one to overhear the phone call.

To be safe, be sensitive when you reach out to the customer. Ask if it’s a convenient time to talk, and if it’s not, schedule a better time. And if the customer writes a note in her care request that specifically asks you to respond by e-mail only, respect that request.

Answer their questions — fast.

Make sure to send a thoughtful response to each lead or care request as quickly as you can — within the same day if at all possible. We’re not kidding about this. We’ve talked to several major partners who’ve done formal studies of their online leads, and they all say that there’s a major drop-off if you even wait one extra day to call. (One partner reports a 7X lift in connect rate for calls returned on Day One versus Day Two.)

In addition to that phone call, we recommend that you write a detailed follow-up e-mail to each care request. Personalize this e-mail and refer back to the information you’ve learned about them so far from their care request notes or from your phone conversation.

Did the customer tell you she has an 89-year-old father? Let her know how many of your clients are that age. Did your customer’s mother break her hip? Write a sentence or two about your amazing physical therapy program. To save time, draft a set of standard answers to the most common questions. Topics frequently mentioned in care requests on include:





Couples Living Together

Dressing, Bathing, Toileting, Personal Care

Walkers, Canes

Options, Amenities






Broken Hip

This first e-mail should also tell the customer what the next steps are. Help set expectations and move him or her forward in the decision-making process. You might say, “Call me to schedule a tour” or “Please come to our community picnic this weekend” or “I’ll be calling you tomorrow to schedule a time to talk more about your mother’s needs and our availability.”


In these initial communications with families, try to determine which ones are closest to making a decision. These are the families you’ll want to keep at the top of your priority list. Some will tell you their timing; other factors for you to watch for are:

  • Loved one is dealing with memory problems (if you provide memory care)

  • Loved one is taking large number of prescribed medications and/or requires help managing medications

  • Family is caring for loved one 10+ hours per week

  • Loved one has experienced a recent accident or incident

Check in.

Our partners at one major assisted living chain tell us they send a follow-up e-mail after one week. They send another one after three weeks. When you check in with your customers, revisit the topics you covered in your first e-mail and ask again, directly: Can you schedule a time to talk further? Would they like to take a tour? What other questions do they have?


If the lead hasn’t blossomed into a relationship from the first phone call and the first few e-mail messages, it’s time for your e-mail nurture campaign.

When to send: Send e-mails to prospective clients every 2 to 4 weeks.

How to send: If your business is small, you might manage your nurture campaign from your regular e-mail client — Outlook, Gmail, etc. As your list grows, you’ll want a tool to make sending e-mails easier. Tools such as Constant Contact, VerticalResponse, iContact, and others can help you manage your contacts, create e-mails, send and deliver e-mails, and monitor responses. Do some research to find out what option is best for you. (Many offer free trial periods.)

What to send: The best way to build a relationship is to deliver value. Make sure your message is useful and provides an immediate benefit to the family reading it. Good messages also convey the warmth and personality of your organization.

Here are a few of our favorite blog posts about effective writing for e-mail messages: HubSpot | copyblogger | MarketingProfs

If you’re still not sure what to write, here are some links that might spark ideas:

  • Check out to see resources families love. You can’t reprint our content without permission, but you can link to us. (Let us know if you’d like more guidance about linking to us.)

  • Set up a Google alert for keywords like “Alzheimer’s” or “elder care” — you’ll be notified whenever something new gets published. If you see something you think will interest your families, write a few sentences about it and provide a link.

  • The “New Old Age” blog in the New York Times has great articles. Again, if you see something you like, you can write a couple of sentences about it and share the link.

  • Keep an eye on your local news — is there anything happening near you that you can talk about? Are there special events for seniors in your town? If there’s a snowstorm, can you give tips for navigating snow in a wheelchair? Always be on the lookout for opportunities to share your expertise.

Not getting enough Internet leads?

Next to your own website, the best way to help families find you online is to set up your Enhanced Listing on To get your Enhanced Listing and begin receiving care requests, call your Caring Advisor at (866) 824-9209.

If you opt to buy leads from other vendors, make sure to do your homework. Know how they’re generating their leads: Search Engine Marketing? Online banners? Know what they’re doing with those leads — are they giving them to only a few providers, or to dozens? All this information can help you modulate your marketing efforts (and judge the quality of the leads you get).

Your to-do list:

  • Set up your auto-response confirmation for all Internet leads you receive

  • Schedule time each day (or several times a day) for follow-up phone calls and e-mails in response to incoming Internet leads

  • Schedule time each day for follow-up e-mails to families at the top of your priority list

  • Draft template responses for the most common topics in the inquiries you receive

  • Determine whether you need an e-mail campaign management tool, and select a vendor

  • Develop content for your nurture campaign

  • Make sure you’re getting enough Internet leads: Sign up to get automated care requests from

How to Improve Close Ratios for Internet Referrals

For more than a year, has been listening to your comments and questions about Internet leads.

  • Are these leads screened before you send them to a community or in-home care company?

  • If these leads are screened, what’s the best way to work them?

  • Why does it seem they are all so early in the buying cycle?

  • Why do you send us leads without a last name or a phone number?

We recognize that the confusion for many senior housing and care industry marketers is in identifying the differences between directories and lead-referral companies. Alas, it’s time to bring to light the myths and misconceptions about online referrals to help equip senior care operators with the tools to help improve close ratios for Internet referrals.

All Internet leads are the same, right?

The Internet is a big place,  and it makes sense that all digital leads would be perceived as being the same. But wait! There’s a part of Internet leads that makes them uniquely different from one another: screened leads versus unscreened referrals.

The difference between an unscreened Internet lead and an Internet referral is that Internet leads are accumulated via directory sites and sent out without any screening. An Internet referral has been screened according to your community’s specifications. Internet referrals are therefore expensive to produce. For example, bids on 500,000 keywords every month and invests more than $500,000 per month on lead acquisition. We also spend heavily on fresh content for our website. Internet referrals come from companies such as, A Place for Mom, and, all of which have trained advisors answering phones 24/7 as part of their unique screening processes.

Another powerful myth is that all your company really needs is a great website to generate referrals. Not true. Of course you still need a great website, but getting people to it requires a digital marketing strategy that includes SEO (search engine optimization) and SEM (search engine marketing), plus some great Internet referral partners.

Are Internet referrals without a last name or phone number any good?

YES! In a recent study, found that nearly 15 percent of all Internet referrals that converted to move-ins were missing either a phone number or an e-mail address. In some cases, those leads are missing last names because many online consumers want to protect their privacy. Phone numbers are not given because the consumer may be searching the Web at work during breaks. You can still convert this kind of referral without a last name or email address or phone number to a move-in! True or false: You never share your pricing with an Internet referral up front.

Let’s talk about it. Is sharing your pricing with an Internet referral partner (or sending it via e-mail) going to hurt your chances of winning a prospect? Another big myth that affects your close ratios is that you should never share your pricing.

Think again. . . . Internet shoppers generally want respect for their time. They see an unwillingness to share a price or a rate as reason to distrust you. “You might lose an opportunity for a conversation with them,” says Katie Roper, VP of sales at “You don’t have to use absolutes when sharing pricing. You can say, ‘Our rates start at $X, but most people pay between $Y and $Z per month,’ or per hour if you are an in-home care company.”

Don’t underestimate your communication strategy when connecting with Internet referrals. Though Internet referrals are different from professional referrals from doctors, social workers, or gerontologists, they are still real people looking for care. Some quick tips:

  •  Get in touch — quickly.


    Call the Internet referral within the first five minutes and to mention the person and organization that referred you, even in your first voicemail message. For example, “Hello, Mrs. Smith, this is Kathy Jones calling from Avalon Senior Living. I’m calling regarding Judy Johnson, your Advisor from”

  •  Meet in person.


    Whether it’s a tour or a face-to-face consult (for home care operators), your strategic goal should always be a face-to-face meeting. According to Jeanine Aspen, president of DEI-Central, “The first provider to get a face-to-face meeting with the prospect has a five-times-greater chance of getting them to become a customer,” she says.

Senior Care Marketing: More are Searching and Vetting Services Online

As a senior care operator, a major part of your business is finding new leads each month — most likely through multiple sources to meet your goals: e.g., your website, residents’ family members, professionals, third-party websites.

But how are consumers finding YOU? In our most recent survey, we found that only 15% are typing in the actual name of a senior living community and 73% start their search with a general term.

How you can help consumers find and vet your community?

1. Don’t ignore third party websites and directories. Finding senior care is increasingly shifting to online sources. That means consumers are searching for care using general search terms and being funneled into third party websites and directories in their quest to find care. Addressing your customers’ questions and managing your reputation online will help your business adapt to the growing need in your region.

2. Continually add new content and information on your community’s website. Once people find you through general search terms, they want to see how you present yourself on the Web. Keep content on your website fresh and up to date to keep visitors coming back.

3. Encourage prospects to talk and ask questions. 56% said over-the-phone recommendations from a Family Advisor were important in their decision for choosing senior care. Be sure third party websites, like, have recent information and reviews so that your reputation on the Web is good and ready for new clients.

Look closely at the data from our 2014 survey results on reviews and senior care and learn how you can help consumers find and vet your community when they’re searching for senior care.

What do our survey results reveal? * Survey open: April 22 – May 7, 2014. Processed by Pretell Market Research.

2,274 = Total number of survey respondents 60%  Searched for senior care on the Web

Of the people who searched for Senior Care on the Web, this is how they conducted their Web search:

  • 15% searched on the community name and went straight to the website

  • 21% searched on a general term and started with a directory/comparison site

  • 23% searched on a general term and worked down

  • 29% searched on general term and started with a known name

  • 12% don’t remember the specifics of their search

81% went to the website of a specific operator once they found them via general search.

  • 39% wanted details on the community

  • 28% wanted general information on senior care

  • 7% wanted testimonials from residents

  • 7% wanted contact information for a community

** Tip: Make sure your website is easy to understand and kept up-to-date with correct information about your community.

Most important factors in choosing Senior Care providers

  • Location

  • Cost

  • Reputation

  • Services and amenities

  • Staff

Why does this matter to you, (the senior care operator)? Consumers are using multiple sources to find and vet senior care.

Who has the most dependable information about Senior Care?

  • 78% The company’s customers

  • 73% My trusted circle of family and friends

  • 68% Professionals (GCMs, doctors, social works, etc.)

  • 54% Neutral review websites

  • 26% The company itself

61% of respondents have read Senior Care reviews online.

Breakdown of trustworthy sources for Senior Care reviews:

  • 43% Senior Care review websites (,

  • 23% Individual community/home care agency website

  • 19% Other

  • 10% General review website (Yelp, Angie’s List)

  • 6% Social websites (Facebook, Google+)

**Past research has shown that listings with reviews get 14 times more leads than those without.

71% used a directory or recommendation service (like because they mainly wanted:

  • General information

  • Communities appropriate for their situation

From Stone Age to Digital: The Evolution of Senior Care Leads

Ten years ago, before smart phones, tablets and social media changed the world, senior housing and home care companies found 80% of their leads and move-ins coming from B2B professional referral sources – physicians, hospital case managers and discharge planners, physical therapists, financial managers, realtors, 55+ communities and senior centers. The other 20% came from B2C marketing and communications – street signage, advertising in the newspaper, directories and the Yellow Pages, special events, newsletters – plus word-of-mouth from friends and families of residents, and walk-ins.

Digital Selection and the Rise of the Internet Lead

The growth of the Internet and digital technology has dramatically changed the industry’s marketing mix, especially how companies get new leads. In much the same way we began using Priceline, HotWire, and Kayak to search travel deals and how we learned to research features and pricing online for the new cars we want to buy, we are now vetting our loved ones’ senior care possibilities via the Internet. Some leads still come from professional referral sources; but many, if not most, are now coming from the Internet.

How Do Internet Leads Differ from Traditional Referral Sources?

1. The lead, generally a Boomer woman who, as an adult child decision-maker, has done extensive research online and narrowed down a field of possibilities that may or may not include you.

2. She may be at one of four stages in the consumer buying cycle:

  • Considering future options for an aging loved one.

  • Experiencing behavior changes in a loved one who needs more care.

  • Dealing with a serious health diagnosis.

  • Needing care within a few weeks, days or hours because of an event involving a loved one — perhaps a fall, a fractured hip, a stroke or memory loss that causes wandering away from home.

3. She has researched her options without speaking to a doctor or hospital case manager, let alone anyone at your company.

4. She is hard to reach via phone and prefers communicating by email or text.

5. Because she is researching more than one Independent Living, Assisted Living, or Memory Care community or Home Care company, and she is likely interacting with online directories and referral sources, your sales cycle may seem longer now. And then again, maybe it’s not.

Will Internet Leads Progress?

According to a 2013 study by Ipsos and Google about reaching Boomers and seniors online, 83% of Boomers and seniors go to the Internet to learn about a topic of interest and 57% are now shopping online. Boomers and seniors were late adopters of mobile technology however today 60% have used a tablet to seek information and 58% have sought information via a smartphone.

Boomers are also making purchases via mobile apps — 40% have bought something with a smartphone and 49% made a purchase via tablet.

News flash: Your consumer is using the Internet to learn about and eventually purchase the things she needs. Senior care is one of the things she may need. Digital is now a primary ingredient in a successful marketing mix.

Survival of the Quickest: Use Phone, Text, and Email to Lock in Leads

Digital referrals do behave differently than referrals from the hospital or rehab because they are generally not faced with an immediate need to move.  Not every senior housing community can rely solely on hospital case managers and discharge planners to fill their census. Internet leads are viable but you simply can’t handle them the same way you handle walk-ins and professional referrals.

A quick response to the lead, aka “speed to lead” via phone, text or email is extremely critical. It may take three or four contacts to reach them, so sticking with communication outreach is also important. And finally, your sales team will take good advantage of their Internet leads, moving them through the system to move-ins, if and when they are fairly measured and compensated for their efforts. and New Hope Valley: Partnering for Quality Assisted Living Services

Rumi Shahzad, part owner at New Hope Valley Assisted Living Saginaw, Michigan, truly believes in the philosophy that each person’s life is a unique journey. He and the team of dedicated professionals who own New Hope Valley believe that life does not have to stop once a person has moved to an assisted living community. They want their residents to continue to live fulfilled lives. In an attempt to learn more about providing top-quality care to residents, Rumi researched and went to national trade show events. A meeting with at a trade show and a follow-up phone call by a member of the team later started Rumi, New Hope Valley Assisted Living, and on a lasting partnership.’s Online Reviews Are the “Key Difference” Among Other Referral Agencies

There are many things about the website and membership with that Rumi feels are invaluable. For one, online reviews make stand out among other referral agencies, in Rumi’s opinion. “It is the key difference,” he says. One of the main reasons Rumi has been very happy working with is because he believes testimonials from residents and family members about their experiences with his facility help potential clients see New Hope Valley’s true character and attributes. Anyone can write a positive write-up of their own business, but to have personal evaluations from clients makes the reviews authentic.

Great, Trustworthy Marketing at a Reasonable Cost

New Hope Valley Assisted Living hasn’t had to do a lot of marketing outside of their listing with Rumi believes that provides great, trustworthy marketing at a reasonable cost. With’s one-time yearly membership fee, more money can be spent on making a better quality of life for residents than on many different marketing avenues. Other facilities spend more money on marketing with the same result as one membership with Rumi and his team have been able to use their money in more direct ways, such as paying for enrichment programs and a highly popular community dinner event with the families and friends of residents.

Reviews Help Inform Prospective Clients About Their Options’s Senior Care Directory can also be a great tool to use in discussions with potential residents and their families. Rumi likes to reference and encourage prospective clients to go online and check out reviews of his facility as well as others. He wants people to be well informed on every decision they make for themselves and their loved ones. New Hope Valley Assisted Living’s website even has a link directing online research about assisted living to’s website. Brings New Business and Creates a Reliable Feedback Loop With Customers

“I highly recommend it, with no reservation,” says Rumi. He believes his facility’s partnership with has brought in more business and also improved the quality of life at New Hope Valley Assisted Living. He encourages anyone who is trying to decide whether to partner with to see it not only as a place for families to leave reviews for other prospective residents but also as a tool to improve facility management and workings. He advises signing up with, “if for no other reason than to create independent feedback so you can improve your business.” He would love to talk to anyone about his positive experience with

About New Hope Assisted Living

New Hope offers a wholesome assisted living alternative in a brand-new, 27,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art community spread over ten acres. Its mission is to create an energetic yet safe and comfortable environment. We honor the security, independence, and dignity of our residents. We believe that each person has his or her own panorama of rich life experiences, and a nurturing environment will celebrate the continuation of this panorama.

5 Tips to Transform Phone Calls Into Customers

How you and your staff can use phone lead nurturing to turn phone inquiries into paying customers.

1. Respect the Customer’s Preferred Contact Method

Our research shows that about 20% of people searching the Internet for senior services don’t want providers to call them. Instead, these customers request information using online forms (and they don’t provide their phone numbers).

We also know that 20% of Internet searchers won’t ask for information online or by e-mail — they will only call.

Take that first contact as a hint. If she calls you, you call back. If she e-mails you, respond by e-mail.

Respecting the customer’s preferred communication helps to build trust. You’re providing her the information in a way that’s most convenient to her — which makes her research and decision-making process easier and faster.

2. Be Certain Your Team Is Answering Phones Well.

We see complaints about poor phone service in consumers’ negative reviews on Here are a few excerpts from some one- and two-star reviews posted on our site right now:

” . . . customer service is seriously lacking. On hold for a while and then passed back and forth until I finally hung up and called another Home Care Agency.”


“The director could use a refresher course in training workers to act professional and have insight as to what is going on in his facility. Maybe he should make a call to the center incognito and ask for information about the services provided and see if he can get an answer. I couldn’t even get the address to the web site. “


 ” . . . good luck trying to reach your loved one by phone; you’ll get a recording or a fax machine to answer your call. I’ve called Karen 11 times and she’s never returned my phone calls.”

We hope this customer feedback is enough to convince you: Answering the phone well can be hugely important to the success of your business. Give your team clear guidance about how you’d like the phones answered.

You may not need to develop a formal script, but you can gather your marketing staff together to talk about what’s most important to the business. What do you want to learn about the caller? What do you want the caller to learn about your business? Ask your team members how they’re answering phones now, and what works — then encourage everyone else on the team to follow those practices.

By routinely brushing up on your team’s phone answering skills, you’ll be able to ensure that you’re making the best possible first impression on potential customers.

3. Turn Message Taking Into Sales Generation.

You’ve trained your marketing team — but what about after-hours calls, when you and your marketing team aren’t available? Even if they don’t usually work with new inquiries, everyone who answers your company’s phone should know these basics:

When transferring calls:

  • In case we get disconnected, can I have your name, phone number, and e-mail?

When taking messages:

  • What’s your name?

  • What type of service are you interested in?

  • What’s your timing — when are you looking to move in (or hire a service)?

  • What’s the best way to reach you? (Even if a customer prefers to be called, get his or her e-mail address if you can; more about that later.)

  • When’s a good time for us to call you back?

And here’s the one thing your team should avoid: Never ask the customer to call you back.

4. How Much Time Do You Have to Return Calls?

A major national chain (and partner) conducted a study of its inbound phone inquiries. They found that if they called the customers back within 24 hours, they were 40 times more likely to connect with the customer than if they waited until the second day.

When customers are searching online, they expect to connect with you immediately. Especially if they’re picking up the phone — they want help now. If you don’t return that call quickly enough, your potential customer may forget about you.

Worse yet, if you wait too long, by the time you reach her she may have already talked to your competitors. Or, if you’re too slow, she may already be talking to a lead service that’ll charge you a huge referral bounty.

Our recommendation: Return all calls within 24 hours, minimum. Ideally, return calls within an hour or two.

5. Don’t Badger! Instead: Nurture.

This is a tough one. You want to convince the customer to work with you, but he’s not calling you back. What do you do?

Stop calling.

As you know, choosing senior care services is often a long process. Sometimes customers start their research months before they actually need services. If they’re not calling you back after two or three messages, chances are they’re not ready to talk further at this time. But that doesn’t mean they won’t choose your services down the road.

Remember how we suggested that you ask your customers for an e-mail address?  This is why.  That e-mail address gives you a chance to keep in touch with your customers in a gentle way — a “nurture campaign.”

Send messages every month or so — not too often.  Make sure every e-mail provides value for your customer. Include tips and suggestions to help with caregiving. You can invite caregivers and loved ones to have a free lunch and tour, or to help celebrate a special event in your community. If you have a special offer or discount, include that information, too.

The Key to Financially-Qualified Senior Living Referrals: Update Your Rates on File with

With’s Partner Portal, you can quickly and easily ensure we have the most accurate rate information for your senior living community(ies). Current and accurate rate information is the key to enabling our Family Advisors to identify financially appropriate referrals for you.

Whether you’re a new partner, or have been getting leads from us for years, we understand that your senior living community rates may change periodically. We want our family advisors to have the most up-to-date rate information when speaking to families researching their senior living options — to help us match the right prospects for your community.

How to Update Your Community’s Rates in the Partner Portal:

If you’re not already using the Partner Portal, please get in touch with our Partner Success staff for help accessing this valuable tool to track your leads and move-ins, and manage your referral account with us.

Once you’ve logged in, it takes only a few clicks to input revised rates for one or more of your senior living communities. Enter the “Community Profiles” section, select the community you’re confirming or updating rates for, then read or edit the existing rate info on file for that community, and click save. That’s it.

Our team will then review the rate information you submitted, let you know if we have questions, and publish the info to our family advisor database and/or your public listing on (for example: minimum costs appear on the public listing, while average costs appear only for our family advisors). Please allow 24-48 hours for processing of rate changes.

Here’s a 3-minute video that takes you step by step through the Portal to update your rates on file with As discussed in the video, there are three rate areas we like to know about:

  • Minimum rent (single occupancy) — This is a required field because the majority of inquiries we receive for senior living are for private, single occupancy rooms or apartments.

  • Average cost (rent + care) — This helps give our family advisors a more well-rounded view of the range of rate and care costs at your community.

  • Minimum Memory Care Cost (shared occupancy) — If your community offers memory care, please let us know the minimum care cost for shared occupancy rooms (the most common request we get for this type of care).

Once the new rates are entered, be sure to click “save”. A date stamp will be placed on the update, to help you track the last time you or others on your team notified of any rate changes at your community.

Remember: the more accurate and timely the information we have about your rates, the better we are able to financially qualify prospective resident referrals for your community.

Have questions, suggestions or feedback for us? We’d love to hear from you! Contact Partner Success now.

How to Use Partner Portal for Monthly Move-In Reporting

Reporting move-ins each month is an integral part of your senior living referral partnership with To support you: sends reminder emails with quick links so you can let us know about move-ins — whether you’ve had 100 or none yet from the qualified leads we’ve sent you.

Our partners agree to complete monthly move-in reporting within five (5) business days after the end of each calendar month. makes it easy to report move-ins via our Partner Portal and the monthly email reminders.

How to Report Your Community’s Move-Ins in the Partner Portal If you’re not already using’s Partner Portal, please get in touch with our Partner Success staff for help accessing this valuable pipeline management tool that helps you manage your referrals, report move-ins, and gain valuable market share insights.

Once you’ve logged into the Portal, click on the middle icon located above the word “Referrals”. Next, click the green “Report Move-Ins” button in the upper right hand corner of the page. From there, a pop-up window will appear with two buttons — one to “Report No Move-Ins” and one to “Report Move-Ins”. Select the one matched to your reporting that month, and proceed to follow the prompts.

Here is a brief video tutorial to take you through these steps and provide further detail on the options you’re presented and how to best report your move-in details.

There is also a “Move-in Reporting Guide” in the Partner Portal that’s accessible from the Move-in Reporting page (see upper right hand corner). This guide answers the most frequently-asked questions about the move-in reporting process.

Have questions of your own? Need assistance? We value your partnership and are here to help. Contact Partner Success now.

SEO: 3 Common Misconceptions

Since it’s now widely known that everybody who seeks information on the Internet starts at Google, any business whose clients are online — or every business — spends time worrying about how to be at the top of the search results. A big challenge, though, is that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is constantly evolving, as search engine companies (such as Google or Bing) look for better ways to decide which content is the most valuable (for consumers) and most profitable (for them). To keep up with these ongoing changes and meet the objective of being high on Page 1 of search results, marketers must constantly re-visit their assumptions and refine their approaches.

SEO expert AJ Kohn of Blind Five Year Old recently joined Caring’s Digital Marketing Academy for a deep dive into the latest thinking on SEO. He focused on three common SEO assumptions that have changed significantly over time.

Misconception #1: Content is king While this adage still holds true, it’s not enough just to write great articles – you need to promote and market them, too. As AJ said during the webcast, “Content alone isn’t going to work. If you publish content, they will not come to it magically.” People need to see and engage with your content, to “like” and “share” it on social media, and to post comments in order for the content to help you rank for SEO. In fact, AJ advised spending as much time promoting content as you do creating it.

Content promotion tips he provided include:

• Find Q&A forums, such as’s Ask and Answer platform, to find consumer questions you can answer, provide information that helps them, and as relevant, link to your related content.

• Join the conversation in comments on other websites’ articles, particularly if there aren’t a lot of comments already on the page and it’s high in search engine rankings for a term that’s relevant to your business. Make sure that your comments are interesting and helpful, not sales focused.

• Write content that attracts “true fans”. It may only take 1,000 really engaged people to help a blog post ‘go viral’ or get noticed by Google, as discussed in a blog post AJ shared.

• Consider and try paid social (for instance, Facebook’s Promoted Post program) to jump-start likes and shares.

One final, important thought about content marketing: Don’t expect results to appear overnight. “Think years, not months,” AJ said.

How We Can Help Caring’s social media team is a great resource for senior care providers to share content with the tens of thousands of people who engage with us via social networks. Our team keeps a close eye on who’s sharing Caring’s content, and often reciprocates. We also regularly share information on social media from winners of the annual Caring Stars award. If you’re working with us directly, our client services team can connect you with the social folks.

Misconception #2: Links to other sites are to be avoided. A prevailing thought used to be that outlinks detracted from your domain authority – but this has changed. Nowadays, a smart linking strategy, both in and out, can help establish your “neighborhood,” providing valuable context for your content and boosting your site’s authority and rankings. That’s why it’s key to link out to quality sites (including, which often appears in top search results for industry keywords).

Another important reason to link out – prominently – is that it keeps people from clicking through to your page, getting their question answered, and then returning to Google with a follow-up question. AJ described this bouncing back to Google as a “pogo stick” situation. Instead, he says, you should aim for a “Bow Tie” strategy. Think about the related information people might commonly search for after they read your content, and link to those resources. That way, instead of bouncing back to Google from your page, people continue on to other sites. Your site then becomes the “knot” in the bow tie.

And, since they haven’t just bounced back to Google to address these follow-up questions, Google views your site as a place people go and stay for a while – a great signal that you’ve got a valuable resource that deserves to rank high.

Some simple things you can do: • Link to reputable, high-quality content that helps answer readers’ additional questions. Let’s say you have a senior living community in Mesa, AZ. You obviously want to rank for searches for your name, and also for assisted living in Mesa, AZ. But once people find your community website, what are their next questions? They might want to know how to pay for senior housing, so you could link to resources like a local veteran’s benefits company, or Caring’s great article on how to pay for assisted living.

• Link to pages that demonstrate your expertise or connect consumers to other relevant organizations. They might want to make sure you’re an ethical company, and you could link to your local Chamber of Commerce, or third-party sites with consumer reviews. Or maybe they’ll want to know how close you are to great healthcare, so you’d link to your local hospital’s website.

• Reach out to sites you link to, and build reciprocal relationships. They’ll be pleased to know you linked to their great content, they may share some of yours, and they may link back to your site. Avoid trading or buying links though. “Inbound links are the result, not the goal. Build a resource that people in your community love. When you earn links, good things happen,” AJ said.

Misconception #3: You must work hard to rank for “root” terms. Of course, situations vary. In general, though, a single community will struggle to rank high for a so-called root term like “Assisted Living” or even “Assisted Living in Los Angeles,” because search algorithms favor sites that cover the area broadly (like rather than the site for a single community that happens to be located in Los Angeles. If you’re not ranking first for your community name, though, you’re really in trouble.

“If someone’s looking for your brand, your property, or name, you better capture that customer because they’re further down the purchase funnel,” AJ said.

His tips for simple things you can do: • Make sure your name and physical address is featured everywhere on your site, using consistent terms, which will help ensure that you rank high for local searches and brand-oriented searches.

• Claim your Google My Business page. “Google My Business isn’t easy, but it’s essential for any business that has a physical location, and at the end of the day, it’s worth it,” AJ said.

Above all, it was clear from the session that ranking high in organic search results requires a consistent, dedicated, multi-year initiative that could easily run you $5,000 per month or more. AJ noted that his own blog,, got almost no traffic for its first two and a half years! It was only in Year 3 that he started to rank in critical areas, and consequently to get inbound traffic from search engines.

DON’T WANT TO WAIT? If you need business NOW, there is another option. AJ called it the “barnacle strategy”. Like a barnacle attaching itself to a ship, you can hitch onto sites that do invest the time and money into SEO ranking. is one of these sites, and many partners have used our pages to get found in search results. Call us at (866) 824-9209 and press 1 to speak with a Membership Advisor who can help you execute this SEO strategy.

Additional Info • Read more of what AJ said during this webcast via our Digital Marketing Academy stream @CaringInsights.

• Watch the webcast recording on YouTube.

• Visit and subscribe to AJ’s blog. Research Reveals Senior Living Tours Exceed Expectations, Speed Up Move-in Times

When you tour a family through your community, do you ever wonder what they’re really thinking? surveyed 1,181 family caregivers and older adults who searched for a senior community in the last year, and we asked for their candid comments on their tour experience. What we gleaned:

  • People who tour are seriously searching: 1/3 of respondents toured four or more communities, and only 17% visited just one.

  • Despite seeing flattering pictures and descriptions posted online, 68% of people who toured a senior community reported being “surprised at how nice it was.”

  • People matter! Almost all tour takers (91%) commented on their favorable impression of the staff, and 10% specifically mentioned observing staff interaction as an important reason to visit in person.

  • Almost half the people who had taken at least one tour had either already moved in (40%) or were scheduled to do so (8%). sees this same result in broader visitor data. Families who schedule a tour through our senior housing help line move in at 3.5 times the rate of others we speak with, and also 25% faster than those who decline to tour right away.

While most visitors had a good experience during their tours, noticeable minorities said they had not been contacted prior to a scheduled tour to confirm it (12%), and almost one in five people (18%) reported no contact at all from the community after they went home from the tour. A further 26% had been contacted only once post-tour.

In addition, 20% of people said their tour was too much of a sales pitch.

Over half of survey respondents took the time to provide open-ended comments, and the single most common category of negative comments was dissatisfaction with the way the community handled pricing discussions (13%). Most people resented the fact that they could not get pricing information before taking a tour.

“That approach may have been fine for previous generations, but this next generation is mainly email and text messaging, and we need our information on line” was one verbatim comment.

The single most common positive comment was that the tour allowed them to get a “feel” for the community. Comments like, “I found the feeling of hominess was not evident until I visited,” or “Meeting the people, talking with them, eating with them was very nice and gave me a ‘home’ feeling” underscore the importance of real-world visits in addition to online research.

About 1/3 of people who were invited to tour declined to do so. The most common reason was that they were “too early in their search” (46%) or “not sure loved one is ready” (21%). But 9% of those who declined did so because they had no transportation to get there. If your community is willing to pick someone up, be sure to let people know. And three-quarters of the people who declined to tour initially would be open to scheduling a visit now. Are you still in touch with them to invite them in?

Caring can help you get people to your door! If you’d like our Family Advisors to schedule more tours for you, here are some easy things you can do:

  1. Tell us something good.

     Give us an exciting, compelling tidbit about your community that we can use to sell families on coming in for a visit.

  2. Update your rates.

     Make sure we have accurate pricing information — not just your starting rates but what your average resident can expect to pay.

  3. Reviews, reviews, reviews!

     Encourage your happy residents and their families to review your community on

  4. Call right away.

     When we do schedule a tour for you, call or email to introduce yourself and welcome them to your community. Then call again the day before, just to remind them (we will, too!). Then, once they take the tour, call them to see what they thought.

Questions? Please contact Partner Success.

What Do You Know About ROI and Lost Revenue?

If you’re in sales and marketing, you should know your company’s ROI — return on investment. Many of us know our rates and our sales goals, but we don’t understand the ROI, which in easy terms is defined as “How much you spend to do something versus how much you get from doing it.” It’s measured as percent.

What About Lost Revenue?

For senior living operators: How do you calculate the cost of an empty bed at your community? This important formula can help you bring the bigger picture of revenue goals into focus so you can see why they are more important than simply meeting your occupancy goals.

  • What’s the long-term value of a resident?

  • What makes sense to pay for a referral fee, if my option is to leave the bed empty?

  • When should I use discounts to fill my empty beds?

  • What if someone for whom I’ve paid a referral fee dies after just a few months?

For home care agencies: Unlike senior living operators, calculating ROI is not as much of a focus. In-home care agencies have higher variable and lower fixed costs. However, take into account the following elements when considering each client:

  • Geographic elements: Drive time, proximity of clients to caregivers, and gas mileage are all costs.

  • Care providers: Full use (4 work hours versus 8 work hours).

  • Management costs: Is the overhead worth it if a client wants only a few hours of care?

We held a webinar on “How to Calculate Your ROI on Internet Referrals” on October 20, 2014. It has proven to be one of our best webinars yet. It gives you mathematical tools to answer questions like. We recorded the webinar so you can take this opportunity to enlighten or refresh your perspective on ROI and lost revenue.

Pricing: The Elephant in the Senior Housing Living Room

There’s a big discrepancy between consumer expectations for pricing and senior housing operator practices.

In a recent survey on senior housing tours, we found that 15% of the free-form comments mentioned prospective residents’ dissatisfaction with their access to pricing information.

“The cost is the most important aspect of this search and no one would give me approximate costs. I want that before I visit,” one complaint read.

“With my wife sitting right beside me, it is hard to answer price questions over the phone,” another commenter wrote, citing a bad experience during his pre-tour interaction with a community.

A third commenter put it more bluntly: “Doesn’t matter how nice a place it is or how well it meets your needs, if you can’t afford it, that’s it. Period. Stop wasting my time.”

Yet, in a recent webinar on pricing, we found that 14% of senior housing communities won’t share any price information with prospective residents until the family takes a tour. Little more than half of communities (58%) reported emailing pricing information before a tour, but only 21% post even approximate pricing on their websites.

In the age of the Internet, we’ve gotten used to having every bit of information at our fingertips. You can find out the price of a barrel of oil in 1979, the cost of a new Mercedes, or how much a haircut will run you in London – all without leaving your dining room table.

Just try finding prices for your local assisted living community.

Of course, the amount you’ll pay for senior care depends on a lot of variables, most of which you can’t see from a few clicks online. And most people haven’t really worked out the true cost of living in their own home and compared it to an all-inclusive senior living experience. But making it nearly impossible for prospects to get any idea of how much you’ll charge them gets your relationship off to an uncomfortable start.

So what to do? Here are a few ideas for how to start a conversation around pricing early in the sales cycle.

1. Give people a range. “Our least-expensive apartment is $2,300, but there’s a range depending on what amenities and other services you’re looking for. For instance, some of our units have full kitchens in them, and those cost a little more – I’d love to show you a few options, would you be available on Thursday afternoon?

2. Use care charges as a selling tool. “We charge around $3,000 per month for rent, but depending on your mom’s needs for assistance with things like medication or housekeeping, there’s often an additional charge for care. It’s hard for me to give you exact pricing without knowing a little more about her situation – would you be available to come in for a meeting where I could ask you some questions and help you figure out a specifically what it would cost? How about Thursday?”

3. Become their expert helper. “Our prices start at $4,000 per month, but that includes all meals, housekeeping, and full laundry service, and of course you no longer have household maintenance, utilities, and property taxes, so it often ends up being less than it actually costs to live in a large home, especially for a single person. One thing I could help you with is working out what your parents’ actual budget might be. Would you like to schedule some time Thursday to go over everything?

Here’s another idea: let your referral partner broach this topic on your behalf.

At, our family advisors talk to families about the cost of senior housing (in fact, it’s the #1 question families ask us). They help explain rent and care charges, entrance fees and community fees, and discuss strategies to cover the cost. This means the elephant in the living room has already been mentioned, and your sales teams don’t have to cover that first.

It’s good business, too. Communities that share their pricing with our family advisors get three times as many referrals as those that don’t. Consumers are much more open to continuing a conversation when they have a sense of how much it will cost them. After all, research has shown that two-thirds of a typical purchasing decision is made before ever talking to a seller. (See info on a related study in this great post).

Finally, consider posting at least your starting-at prices on your web site. You’ll be the only community in your town that does so, which will give you a jump on your competitors. And don’t worry – people understand that the starting price of $35,000 for a Mercedes Benz is just that — a starting place. That starting point helps, though, to figure out whether they should be talking to the Mercedes guy or to the Volkswagen dealer across the street.

If you’d like to hear more, listen to the full recording of our pricing webinar, including a discussion of variable prices from Prorize.

And if you’ve changed your pricing recently but haven’t notified Caring’s advisors, take 30 seconds to let us know.

Caring Stars of 2015: Meet the “Caring Super Stars”

Each year, compiles a list of the top-rated assisted living and memory care communities in our Senior Care Directory — the communities earning the highest praise in reviews from families, residents, and senior care experts. In January 2015, we were so pleased to begin honoring 805 assisted living and memory care communities in 43 states across the country as “Caring Stars of 2015”.

The annual Caring Stars list originally launched in January 2012 as the premier senior living reviews award program, helping family caregivers and older adults narrow their senior living options to the best of the best, and quickly find the right assisted living or Alzheimer’s care community for aging parents and other loved ones. To further highlight the most-acclaimed assisted living communities, this year added a new category of winners, the Caring Super Stars, celebrating 33 communities that have won the award at least three of the years the program has been in place.

Congratulations to these Caring Super Stars of 2015:

Best Practices: Marketing Senior Care to Boomers

Most marketers in senior care, both housing and care services, understand the critical role that adult children play in their elderly parents’ care decisions. Industry surveys show 70-75% of move-in decisions to both assisted living and independent living communities are influenced by adult children–mostly baby boomers in their 50s and 60s.

And most adult children now start their buying decision making process online. So how do you reach this valuable audience?

Alayna Allen of marketing agency Immersion Active shared five strategies to use when marketing to boomers:

  1. Leverage the social graph.


    Reach them; their elderly loved ones, the medical professionals they trust, their siblings and other family members. These people don’t make their decisions in a vacuum.

  2. Share their feedback.


    Boomers get asked for their opinions more than 90 times each year, and they provide their opinions more than 90% of the time! The majority of senior care reviews are written by boomers, and they are the fastest growing demographic on Facebook. Make your content easy to share, and monitor your reviews.

  3. Send e-mail.


    This is still the best way to reach a boomer audience. But make sure you can read your emails on a smart phone!

  4. Be available to inbound communication.


    Boomers prefer to be in the driver’s seat when it comes to making decisions. Focus on making it easy for them to find you, rather than bombarding them with unsolicited contacts.

  5. Create video content.


    Boomers now watch more Internet video than TV. Use it to engage them!

Competitive Intelligence Gathering: Resources You Can Use

A thorough understanding of your competitors is vital for success in sales. In our recent webinar on competitive intelligence gathering for senior housing companies, our two co-presenters Lana Peck from NIC and Scott Townsley from Trilogy Consulting shared ideas of specific resources salespeople can use to ethically and legally gather competitive intelligence.

Lana and Scott had great ideas, and it’s worth your time to listen to the full webinar. But here’s a quick overview of the resources they mentioned to help you gather intel:

  • Google: (You knew this would be first!) Type in community name, but also try searching on the corporate name, the name of an ownership group, or the license number of the specific community. Another tip Lana shared was using the “Advanced Search” option and selecting “File Type” such as .xls or .ppt to find marketing presentations, internal analysis, and other documents that your competitor may have forgotten were publicly accessible. She also suggested doing a search for “CCRC disclosure statement” and/or doing a search with those words and the competitor community’s name.

Lana Peck of NIC

  • EMMA: The Electronic Municipal Market Access database contains a wealth of disclosure documents required if a company raises money from public sources. You’ll find information about new construction, remodels, acquisitions, or other events that trigger financing needs.

  • State or Local Websites: In a regulated industry like senior housing, every state has a way to access licensing data, construction permit information, and other required disclosures. Here’s a link to the website for California, for example, but your state has one, too.

  • Pubic Job Boards: Troll the popular job listing sites in your area (like, MyCNAJobs, or Craigslist) to find out what your competitors are up to, including what services or features they’re preparing to roll out.

  • Glassdoor: This website for employee reviews gives you the inside scoop on what it’s like to work for any company including your competition – although many of these reviews are posted by people on their way out the door in a huff, so you need to take them with a big grain of salt.

Scott Townsley of Trilogy Consulting

  • Caring’s Partner Portal: If you get leads from, you can log into your custom version of the Partner Portal to see which people we sent you actually moved into one of your competitor’s community. This gives you insight into trends like whether you’re losing memory care prospects to Community X, or high-net worth clients to Community Y. Need Portal access? Contact Partner Success.

  • NIC MAP: This fee-for-access database is the gold standard for competitive intelligence in senior housing, and will make your life easy. Check with your corporate office to see if you already have a subscription – we don’t have one here at, but I wish we did!

  • Trilogy Consulting: I was so impressed with Scott’s insights, based on over 20 years of experience with senior housing strategy. If you don’t know where to begin with your competitive intelligence gathering, Scott can help.

We’ve also posted Lana’s slides and Scott’s slides for you to peruse:

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Caring is a portfolio of senior living and senior care websites helping millions of seniors and their families research and connect to the most appropriate services and support for their specific situations. Our mission is to help as many seniors as possible through empathetic, expert guidance.

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