It’s time. As Henry Kissinger once said: “The challenge for leaders is to manage the crisis while building the future.” That time is now.
This COVID-19 crisis certainly has challenged our industry, but in many ways, it has made us stronger.
The new communications strategy
And now it’s time to prepare for life after COVID, or as many would call it, “the new normal.” The new normal will be different for most aspects of the business, but my focus is on how we will communicate with:
- Residents and families
Our strategy must change because the mindset and habits of our audience have changed. May I suggest you look closely at 3 elements to adjust your strategy?
This may be the single most important part of your communication strategy that needs to be adjusted. Certainly your core brand messages should remain intact – or made stronger – but COVID has brought the element of safety into the spotlight for you, and the industry as a whole. Is communal living the best way to handle a future healthcare issue? There is a strong argument to say yes. You need to say “yes” and validate how and why.
The other element of messaging to consider is transparency. More than ever, trust will be a key component for potential residents and their families to choose you. Providing relevant information (solutions) in a straightforward, meaningful manner will help to build a relationship that will lead to trust.
Yes, traditional lead generation practices such as events, drive- bys, walk-ins and referrals will make a comeback. But without a doubt, this pandemic has hit the fast forward button on digital marketing. Smartphone use has increased by 73% and internet consumption has increased by 74%.
For the past three months, the best way to communicate has been to create a “digital pathway” for prospects and their families. Search started the journey, marketing automation tools created engagement, virtual tours and downloads provided information, emails (and calls) nurtured leads and maybe a digital agreement was signed using Docusign. It is important to review and strengthen your digital strategy to meet the needs of our “new” audience.
Social media continues to be an effective method to deliver content to a highly targeted audience. Content consumption spiked during this time as people spent time at home. This source of information is expected to continue to play an important role in the customer journey.
Motivation for more
For most providers, leads and move-ins have slowed during March and April. The needs of the aging population have not changed, though. If anything, families have come to realize that the need to plan for the future is even more important.
So the thought of pent-up demand is a strong possibility. You need to be visible, with a strong brand presence, in order to provide answers to key questions, and this will be more important than ever in the coming months.
Suggestion – be ready. COVID-19 has created challenges for the industry but it has also brought an opportunity. The opportunity that people will consider new options; the opportunity to reach the 88% of older adults who have never considered Senior Living.
Yes, it is time. The future is now.