Most senior living marketers would agree that we are all happy to say goodbye to 2020. By now, you have your 2021 budgets in gear and probably even have some programs rolling out.

If you’re smart, however, you have included room for some tweaks and budget adjustments along the way. Because this year, you’re going to need them.

2021 promises to be a year of transition. Our surveys tell us many of the initiatives that have worked in past years may need to be revamped to fit new marketing models that reflect the changing needs of your prospects. For example, while we are all eager to leave the pandemic behind, some of the technology developed for things like virtual meetings and webinars isn’t going anywhere.

Allocate marketing dollars strategically

So, where should you be putting some of your budget this year? Focusing on the following three areas we’ve identified for minor budget adjustments can help you successfully navigate a more dynamic 2021 environment.

1. Webinars

Make sure you know the best days and times to host a live webinar. With live webinars, create an interactive experience for the viewer to drive a stronger conversion rate. And as webinar network BigMarker explains, a growing number of webinar attendees are signing up to watch after registration ends, so you should record and replay your webinars to maximize results.

2. Direct mail

We’re seeing average direct mail response rates of over 1%. Pre-Covid, they were 2.3%, which we anticipate will continue to normalize into 2021. (Typically, 1% to 3% is considered successful.) But you need to make sure your direct mail programs are highly targeted.

3. Other systems

This may involve trying a new piece of technology such as a webinar platform designed for the 55+ audience, or some digital marketing programs offering a guarantee on your investment. Perhaps you want to experiment with programs that reach out to the broader community, such as surveys. Flexibility will be rewarded in 2021.

If you haven’t already allocated budget to the above areas, consider peeling off 5-10% of your existing budget to invest in them. It doesn’t necessarily take a major budget adjustment to realize a significant uptick in your conversion rates.  

Do an audit and make minor budget adjustments

Where to find that 5-10%? There are undoubtedly savings to be had within your current mix of marketing/sales campaigns. Consider doing a quick audit by calculating your cost per acquisition for each campaign you run. Which ones are working? Which ones are costing you more than you are getting in return?

Be sure to share the results with your team. And be prepared to walk away from lead sources that don’t show a strong conversion rate.

Above all, don’t fall into the trap of re-using old marketing and sales plans. It can be especially dangerous to do so now. The pandemic has changed the journey for many of your prospects, so make sure you understand how it has changed. Senior living marketers who take the time to listen to their prospects and adjust their programs accordingly will be rewarded in 2021. Make sure you’re one of them!

Get more information about how LeadingResponse works with senior living communities to boost move-ins and increase occupancy.