The present predicament of the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the residential assisted living industry in a peculiar way.
While senior safety and care is of utmost importance, the continuance of the hard-established brand is facing a back seat, dismissed as unnecessary or mistimed activity.
However, this could not be more of an error. Why? Clarity is necessary.
The time, energy and costs associated with brand establishment demands continual attention.
The sheer work involved in brand establishment means that it is something that you wouldn’t want to simply toss aside because times are difficult.
In short, it is incredibly hard work.
However, once your brand is established, the service it provides to the community is invaluable. Your brand is more than a name, catch phrase or cool slogan.
Your brand is a statement of your existence, the catalyst to a service rendered or a product distributed.
Your community needs your brand.
Therefore, going dark, as a way of showing COVID-19 awareness, is self-destructive to the vitality of the continued existence of your business and brand.
BRANDING MUST GO ON
Arguably, the continued promotion of your brand is a bright light during these dark times. Your brand is an answer to the plaguing question of “What do we do about Mom or Dad?”
While COVID-19 continues in America, the aging process has not halted.
While COVID-19 spreads amongst hot spots, seniors are still experiencing other health issues, falls and need assistance with activities of daily living.
Many moms and dads are no longer able to live alone – they need a safe place to live during their golden years.
It is important to duly focus on the safety and well-being of your current residents.
However, owners and operators cannot afford to forget about the thousands of aging residents
experiencing other problematic circumstances who need the service your RAL business provides?
What about those who are in danger, not of COVID-19, but from falling down stairways? Who will answer these questions?
Your brand is the answer to dilemmas.
Therefore, it is of a necessity that your brand continues to shine bright in your community.
People need help, and you have an answer. Support and empathy will make the difference in the lives of families.
So, enhance the methods used in marketing in order to make your brand known. There are several things you should avoid:
- Do not ignore the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Do not be afraid to make adjustments, truthful adjustments that is.
- Do not manufacture digitally what you cannot produce realistically but operate effectively while in the midst of it.
Here are three professional tips as you push forward in your marketing efforts during this pandemic.
- Maintain and Increase Your Brand Awareness
- So often, marketers are accustomed to showing the return on investment in all strategic efforts. This is not that season. This is the season of information resource management. Make sure prospects know all there is to know about your residential assisted living home. Leave no stone uncovered. Get it all out there in a succinct and attractive way.
- Engage in The Absence of Tours
- The solution here is simple and artistic. Take a page out of the college playbook. GO VIRTUAL. Get a professionally done virtual experience that is uploaded to your website. It is not necessarily that someone may enroll their loved one to your home based on this virtual experience alone, but prospects will surely make a “bee line” to your senior living home as soon as the coast is clear of COVID-19. It works for colleges, and it will work for your home, too.
- Adopt Alternative Lead Generation Strategies
- Webinars work. Hold several at scheduled times. Be open and honest about the present times of COVID-19, but also explain the solutions of your home during this time and how your home is making the experience of the resident meaningful and engaging. It would also be a good idea to provide those tirelessly taking care of seniors with helpful advice. Therefore, do not be afraid to make adjustments, truthful adjustments that is. Do not manufacture digitally what you cannot produce realistically.
- Digital marketing. It’s cost-effective and guess what? It is very effective. The key decision makers for whether mom or dad need assisted living are digital people. They will find you on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. If your marketing is strong and professional on these platforms, you will get digital traffic, that is inquiries. This is also a good place to drive attendance for those webinars you’ll be hosting at scheduled times each week.
- Direct mail. The mail has not stopped running. While not as attractive as digital marketing, the seniors who might be prospects for residential assisted living are not the most digital folks. They go to their mailboxes every day. They may still chat with the mail carrier. Use inexpensive postcards so that you can increase frequency at an affordable price.
The COVID-19 pandemic will come to an end. The question remains, how will your community be positioned to continue to thrive when it does end?
You have worked tirelessly to establish your brand – do not cast it aside or put it on hold.
Push it forward in the midst of these times in a tasteful way. You will not meet disappointment by doing so.
WHO WILL WIN THIS WAR?
Successfully and safely operating a senior living home during this pandemic is a daily battle. These daily battles determine who will win the war.
What is the war?
Daily operation of your residential assisted living home is a battle. The various cleanings, safety measures, protocols for reporting, which all are in addition to the normal daily routine of care, create the sense of a battle.
The victor of the COVID-19 war will be the homes where battles have been managed systematically with a vision of the future.
In other words, residents, staff members and families have a vision of what life will look like when this pandemic is over.
In order to do this, owners and operators must foster an encouraging environment where communication is a lifestyle. Communication can be summarized as:
- Daily updates on digital platforms
- Create catchy phrases, and if possible, put some music in the background to create an ambiance that is calming, yet engaging.
- Periodical Newsletter (Print or Digital)
- Publish the activity calendar, exciting announcements such as birthdays, anniversaries of residents and staff. Remember, your senior living home is a community. Life continues amid the present pandemic.
- Consider Adding or Updating Resident Interviews
- Interview your residents and staff. Ask pertinent questions of them and have a discussion about those things which concern them most. Share this on your digital platform. It shows that your home is more than just a care center, but a vibrant place where discourse is happening.
This is how you win the war, by being proactive. The staff are your warriors and should be treated with the utmost respect and admiration.
Feature them in your communications. Make sure they know they are appreciated. The residents are your citizens who rely on you for safety and support.
Share this with the world at large and when this pandemic has passed your home will be a victor.
This is brand awareness at its best.
Beneath every newsletter, pictorial collage, and interview video, your brand should be featured.
This not only ensures that prospects will know your brand, but it guarantees that prospects will continually see your brand.
We exist in the age of social media – the key word is media.
People want to be well informed and see what you are doing. Decisions are made based upon what they read and see. Therefore, be sure to:
- Be consistent in your adjusted marketing activities.
- Communicate daily with your families and community at large.
- Provide meaningful and verifiable content on your website.
- Leverage every marketing channel available: digital and traditional.
RALNA IS A RESOURCE FOR WINNING
There is no reason for your home to be a casualty of this war – quite the contrary is true. Your home should be a victor of this war because your staff is fighting the daily battle.
Now, as owners, operators and investors, be the general your staff and residents need. Prepare them for the future of residential assisted living.
Get the education and training you need from the Residential Assisted Living National Association – visit www.RALNA.org.