MARKETING RETIREMENT COMMUNITIES DURING THE CORONA PANDEMIC MUST CONTINUE TO ENSURE A PIPELINE OF FUTURE RESIDENTS
While senior living operations is focused on keeping residents safe, independent and assisted living marketing and lead generation must continue in full force to ensure a solid pipeline of move ins post quarantine
In the digital age where distance rules, people crave physical proximity to one another. Now, with the Coronavirus in play, people are feeling more isolated than ever. Imagine how individuals will feel a month from now after enforced quarantines are lifted! Keep reading as we deep dive into Fanocracy, Chapter 4 about making personal connections.
As an independent or assisted living operator, now is your time to shine. The primary role of a senior living community is to help seniors prevent feelings of isolation and to care for them in their most vulnerable times. This is that moment, for you to deliver on this promise! While you must operate differently to sell, from doing virtual tours and putting new residents in quarantine, this is an incredible opportunity to market and sell your senior living community to people who do not want to find themselves in this situation again.
TRIBE: A Group or Number of Persons
We’re a tribe of sorts, people who like to get together with groups of friends, people that we feel safe with and with who we want to share our emotions. And, we are happiest when we’re in a social or personal space with people and we’re all experiencing emotion together just as we are right now during the Coronavirus pandemic. This explains why people are glued to their televisions and devouring social media; they want to share with others the emotions they are feeling in this time of great uncertainty because they can no longer do so in person.
Whether laughing together at a comedy show or crying at a movie (anyone see the Mister Rogers movie?) sharing emotions bonds us. Look at how people are responding to the Coronavirus where quarantines are in full effect; Italians are singing from their balconies and playing musical instruments to bridge the disconnect while here in America people are hosting intimate gatherings in their homes, cooking together, playing board games and connecting in a way they’ve not done in decades.
Despite the pandemic, people are bonding in new and unique ways. Those moments are being captured, shared on social media and as a result, bringing communities closer together, ultimately bridging the digital divide.
YOUR TIME TO SHINE
If you are a senior living operator with an independent or assisted living community, this is your moment. As an organization, your marketing efforts should be focused on uniting seniors, caregivers and those referral sources who are in front of your target resident right now. People you build bonds with today, during this time of uncertainty, will turn to you tomorrow as a resource. Trust will be established and a true connection, if done properly.
FACILIATE KINDESS IN YOUR LOCAL COMMUNITY
Nothing builds a fanocracy better than a business that steps up and serves their local community in a time of need. Here in Tampa, Florida where I live, Three Brothers Pizza is providing two free slices of cheese pizza to kids while schools are closed. They are looking out for those who are vulnerable and the community is rallying around them.
In Dunedin, a small Scottish town, Beauty on Broadway Salon & Spa shipped in multiple cases of toilet paper to give away in order to get people to stop calling 911 because they’ve run out. There is no purchase necessary, they only ask that you take a roll only if you need it with a maximum of two. Ordinary businesses doing extraordinary things. In both cases, these owners are providing small solutions to big problems, and their response is brilliant.
There are examples of this type of kindness across our communities and it’s these random acts that are endearing consumers to these businesses, creating incredible engagement, and most importantly, loyalty that will pay off in spades once the quarantine is lifted. Here are a few creative things you can do and expand upon as you brainstorm with your own team!
- Pick a city block and rally around people in need, over the age of 70, asking neighbors to pull together and drop a roll of toilet paper or a hand sanitizer in the mailbox as a random act of kindness. In this case you are uniting people around kindness and supporting the vulnerable. If both are unavailable, pick another item that is thoughtful and would be appreciated.
- Rally around truck delivery drivers who are delivering supplies at your community, local hospitals and grocery stores. Create a goodie bag with healthy things they can snack on, a notecard with words of thanks and encouragement and a gift card to purchase a cup of coffee on the road.
- Thank cashiers at your local supermarkets with something homemade from your chef that they can share from a hearty soup to a homemade loaf of bread.
These people will become your greatest champions as well as those involved in giving back. Striking up a conversation and rallying others in your community creates a common cause. These examples centered on gratitude and kindness show others who you really are. People want to be part of something, and they want to make a difference; you can be the facilitator to make it happen. Keeping in mind that you are most likely short staffed, consider a single effort to unite and rally your community once a week or every other week; whatever you can do to keep one eye on sales and marketing while the other is knee deep in operations.