How To Start Building An Effective Inbound Marketing Campaign for Assisted Living Facilities
You’re in luck. Inbound marketing and assisted living facilities are a perfect match. They fit like a glove and a strategic inbound marketing effort will work very well in driving many highly qualified leads for your assisted living facility.
The reason they will work so well together is that the person searching for assisted living facilities is usually starting with very little knowledge of how they work or what’s involved. This allows and supports a great opportunity for your content marketing to answer their questions. And content marketing is a major part of inbound marketing.
So let’s start at the beginning.
Define Your Personas
The first step of any inbound marketing strategy is to define and build your personas. Your personas are a description of your ideal customer. We use the personas so that we can picture the target prospect and find out what motivates them and more importantly what problems they have that we can solve with our content and then later with our products and services.
Different personas will have different questions and different needs. In order to market to them effectively, you’ll need to answer their specific questions and needs.
Are your personas male or female? Are they the sole decision makers in regards to assisted living questions? What is their age and income? Etc.
The personas are living, breathing documents. You will make changes and tweak them over time. They are not locked down. So do your best guess work up front but be sure to review and modify them at least quarterly.
Developing your assisted living content strategy is a key part of your inbound marketing campaign planning. You not only need to create content for each persona, but also for each stage of the buyer’s journey.
The buyer’s journey is an active research process and at each stage you can gauge the buyer’s interest by using content. If they consumer that content it’s a great indicator that they are a qualified prospect. If they’re not qualified then you don’t have to waste time pursuing them.
There are three stages of a buyer’s journey.
The Awareness Stage – This is where the buyer experiences symptoms of a problem but they don’t know what the problem is yet. They may know that their parent is no longer able to live alone but they’re not sure what their options are.
Consideration Stage – Here they did some research, named the problem and are looking at solutions and strategies that are available to solve that problem, but they are not yet talking to vendors. So they have probably identified several options for their aging parent and they are weighing the various routes they could take.
Decision Stage – At this stage they are actively building a list of vendors, making comparisons and ultimately making a purchase decision. Here they are probably listing the various assisted living facilities they are considering and comparing their features and probably doing a pros and cons analysis of the contenders.
PRO TIP: The trick to success with content marketing is to marry the format and tone for your content to the proper stages of the buyers journey.
So for the awareness stage you could use eBooks, whitepapers or any kind of educational type of content. Consider using issue or opportunity type terms like “optimize”, “prevent”, “risk” or “improve” in the content for this stage.
For the consideration stage the format of content could be webcasts, video, expert guides, anything that requires more of a time commitment by the prospect. If a person isn’t willing to put in two minutes to watch a video they’re probably not worth pursuing because they really aren’t in the consideration stage.
For the consideration stage use solution type terms in your content, like “solution”, “provider” and “tool”.
When you get down to the decision stage of the buyer’s journey you’re in the home stretch. Here your content can be case studies, demos, trials, or even pricing.
In the decision stage be sure to use relevant words in your content that are comparison or review type terms – “Pros & cons”, “Benchmarks”, “vs. or comparisons”, “review” or “test”.
Content marketing requires a steady flow of educational or helpful content to be effective. In order to keep things organized and flowing well, it is best to use a content calendar.
So what goes in a content calendar? It’s where you plan out what your content will be and when you will publish it.
We use a simple spreadsheet at Peak Inbound Marketing for our and our clients’ content calendars. We like to break up the weeks with a header row before each week. This makes it easy to visualize a week as a snapshot.
Our first column is the date. PRO TIP: Include the day of the week first. So for example our dates look like this Monday October 6. This makes it much easier to pick out the day of the week quickly.
We then have columns for content type, i.e. Blog post, video, infographic; and for the persona the post is targeted for.
Next up is the post title, which we also recommend using as the HTML Title tag. Next we have a column that shows the length of the Title. This way we can easily see if this title will be too long so that it gets cut off in the Google search engine results. Then we can tighten it up so it fits well.
The next column we include is a keywords column that shows which keywords we are targeting with this content. Then comes the URL of the actual blog post or video and a URL column for the main image that we’re using so that we can include that image in our social posts about the content.
Next is a column where we indicate if the content has been scheduled to publish.
After that we include a series of columns that we use for our social media promotion of this content. So there’s a column for any hashtags we want to include, and then a column for the text of the posts for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+. We also have a column that counts the characters and spaces for the twitter post. And finally a column to indicate if the social posts have been scheduled.
Our workflow goes like this. We brainstorm content titles for three months at a time. Once you can get those titles approved everything else can flow easily. So every quarter we have a list of titles that are slotted into the content calendar for each client. Sometimes the titles do change or get tweaked, but for the most part the work can flow once those titles are decided.
We wait until the content is final before we schedule the social posts, but we do have those social posts generally all scheduled for the week by end of the previous week.
Once you have this content calendar in place it’s much easier to manage the process of creating, publishing and promoting all of this content.
So that’s the beginnings of building an effective inbound marketing campaign for an assisted living facility. Of course there is more to inbound marketing but you need a solid foundation to make it all work.