This year’s SMASH conference will provide key focus on digital marketing in the senior care space, kicking off with a workshop lead by Michael Brito, Senior VP of Digital Marketing with LEWIS. Digital TeamMichael is also the author of several books on digital marketing, including Participation Marketing set to release in 2016. The workshop is entitled, “Navigating the Digital Waters: A Playbook to Transform your Organization into a Digital Powerhouse.” Its goal is to help senior living communities untangle the confusion often associated with building a successful digital marketing strategy.

The workshop will explore four key areas that must be integrated before launching a digital marketing program. Here’s a brief rundown:

    1. Your Client Demographics – Digging Deeper

    You know who your clients are. That’s a given. Now it’s time to gather what Michael refers to as “audience intelligence.” That means taking a deep dive into two key areas:

    • Characteristics: What are their unique interests? Where, when and what device do they go online to research senior care and senior housing needs.
    • Conversational patterns: What is their vernacular? This is important in that it defines not only how your audience converses, but the words they are using in online conversations and transactions. What phrases are common to them? How do they abbreviate and what colloquialisms are common within their demographic group? This is critical for search purposes as well as content. Knowing all this will help you get the right message in front of them and responded to move to closing more quickly.

    “We now have the capability to index and use virtually every scrap of behavioral data,” says Michael. “The key is putting it into a structure that allows you to work with it,” he adds.

    2. Creating an Actionable Plan

    There is an enormous amount of intelligence moving through your organization and client communities. That’s why organization is so important. It is not something you just do every so often. It needs to be a steady stream of input, analysis and organization of the input into a format that can be managed. Once this “engine” is working within your marketing and sales organization and your client communities, you are ready to put an actionable digital marketing plan into play across all your media — free, paid, shared, etc. That also includes press releases, blogs, articles, advertising, and even your print media.

    “What your plan should do is to provide integrated storytelling that can be distributed across all your channels,” says Michael.

    3. Understanding Your Digital Needs and Finding Stars Within Your Organization

    Every individual within your community has the potential to become a valuable brand ambassador and/or a client research arm. Before you build out your marketing programs, tap into the pool of talent and industry awareness that lies within your own doors. “Your teams will form the foundation of any digital marketing campaigns you put together,” says Michael. Here are a few things you need to know:

    • Are your teams organized effectively? Are they integrated with each other or working in separate silos? Today’s younger workers are less boundary conscious and more willing to work in teams and share ideas. Use that to your advantage. Regular communications both inter- and intra-department are key to creating brand ambassadorship and customer demographic research. What are the talents and interests of each team member, not only in the marketing department, but throughout the organization? Create a process that will systematically bring their ideas to the marketing table. Include their input in major marketing initiatives, such as social media campaign, digital advertising, persona development and story telling. It will add freshness and dimension to your efforts.
    • What skill sets do you have on board? This should include not only operational skills such as social media, campaign creation and website skills; but include softer skill sets such as creativity and design ability. Make sure you are making use of untapped talents.
    • What skill sets are you in need of? Once you’ve taken inventory of what you have in house, the gaps should become evident. Then you can decide if you need to fill them through added training or hiring for the needed skills or increasing your agency criteria. Remember, if you use an agency, you still need to know these things. How is your agency’s team organized? Is their organizational approach compatible with reaching your goals?
    4. Measuring and Adjusting

    Of course you need to set your expectations and goals up front, as well as your desired ROI. It’s important to make sure your metrics reflect goals with clear actions attached. By doing so, you can measure and adjust your actions accordingly.

    “The bottom line is how well your programs convert to tours and, ultimately, move-ins,” says Michael. “If you can stay on top of trends, settle on an actionable strategy and take measurable movement forward, you are setting your community up for success.”

Visit the SMASH and LEWIS websites for more information on both organizations. Through August 30th, there is a special $600 savings offer (Use code: SMA600) for readers of this Caring.com industry blog.

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About The Author: Bailey Beeken
Bailey BeekenAs president of Validated Learnings, LLC, and managing director of SMASH, Bailey is a prolific content curator, expert gatherer and relationship alchemist who thrives when passion meets purpose. Relentlessly curious and innately intuitive, she sees patterns, connects the dots, and does what needs to be done to support great ideas and make really interesting things happen. She’s a super-connector advancing, brands, businesses, industry partnerships and careers. To learn more about her professional experience, please visit her LinkedIn profile.

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