“Our web experience wasn’t meeting the need of our new consumers. The adult child and seniors were starting their research on the internet first and they couldn’t find our community. If they did, they didn’t find what they were seeking.”
These were the problems The Esquiline, a Life Plan Community in Illinois, was facing when we teamed up with them as a strategic partner. They were losing leads to competitors with more robust websites and were finding it difficult to generate leads from digital marketing.
Does this sound familiar? If you’re in the senior living industry and are struggling to deliver quality leads or maintain your census/occupancy goals, here are 5 steps to building a successful digital marketing strategy — with real-world examples that got results.
Creating an Inbound Digital Marketing Strategy That Delivers Results
Step 1: Data, Data, Data
Ready to dive into digital marketing? Not so fast.
Before you do anything, you’ll need to analyze important data points and conduct a digital audit. After all, how can you fix something if you don’t know how it’s broken?
A digital audit involves an analysis of all pieces of existing digital content, from website performance to social media to search engine optimization. Important data points include website traffic, lead conversion rates, audience demographics and more.
For The Esquiline (formerly known as The Apartment Community), their main concerns were that they didn’t have a good understanding of what their persona (or target audience) needed, what their competitors were doing for online marketing and what sort of ROI they were capturing with marketing investments.
To address those concerns, the audit research we conducted included (among other things):
- Review of previous year’s performance
- Assessment of competitive landscape
- List of major business goals
- List of major marketing goals
This ultimately led to an outline of their strategy — but we’ll get to that in a second.
The digital audit is crucial for evaluating inbound marketing conversions (or sales funnel). Without that, it’s impossible to tell where to direct your digital marketing efforts.
Step 2: Create a Strategy
Every decision made in this step should be based on what you found in step one. It should be tailored to your goals, with clearly defined tactics for each stage of the sales funnel.
Additionally, it should also be tailored to your persona and buyer’s journey. You can read more about those here:
What did that strategy look like for The Esquiline? Well, one of their roadblocks was getting traffic at the top of the funnel, which meant no top-of-funnel leads to convert. Their website wasn’t responsive and mobile-friendly, their social channels didn’t see a lot of engagement and their website lacked clear calls-to-action to guide the user through the sales funnel.
When it came to their middle-of-funnel leads, they were missing lead-generating aspects on their website. By contrast, every one of their competitors had some form of lead generation on their websites. It was a missed opportunity — one that their competitors were taking advantage of.
Based on that analysis, it became clear that a website redesign was needed, as well as an overhauled social media plan. They needed a way to drive traffic to their website, then convert that traffic into leads. Their strategy was developed with that in mind, which leads us to step 3.
Step 3: Implementation
After you have a clearly defined strategy, it’s time for implementation. At this point, you should have an idea of what each piece of the puzzle entails, from content types to design ideas to optimization.
Within your team, you’ll need to have clearly defined roles to make the digital strategy a reality. It’s also a good idea to establish a review process. No matter how good the implementer is, things are bound to slip through the cracks.
As The Esquiline’s strategic partner, we were able to take care of most of the implementation for them. This included:
- A performance-based website that leveraged search engine optimization (SEO) to rank higher in search results
- A comprehensive social media strategy that included both organic posts and paid advertising to increase engagement
- Campaign pieces such as eBooks and whitepapers to provide conversion points within the website
Step 4: Measurement and Analysis
For some, this step is an afterthought. But that’s a big mistake. You should always monitor the results of your strategy based on the goals you set. This helps you to establish a clearly defined ROI for your digital marketing efforts.
Depending on your goals, you could look at traffic increase, how many tours were scheduled, the conversion rate of visitors to leads, etc. Ideally, if you’ve outlined your funnel and are monitoring leads at each stage, you’ll be able to track month over month sales opportunities at every stage of the buying cycle.
After implementation, we monitored data relevant to The Esquiline’s goals and held regular strategy sessions to discuss what was working and what wasn’t. That allowed us to fine-tune their program in order to get the best ROI possible.
Step 5: Continuous Improvement
The process for this step boils down to:
- Evaluate your goals
- Determine what worked and what didn’t work
- Ask why
- Make adjustments
For Esquiline, we saw some pretty great results. After we implemented their digital marketing program, this is what happened:
- Website converted over 225 leads in the first year.
- Website has a 1.2% visitor-to-lead conversion rate.
- Social media alone converted 70 new leads.
- Organic traffic (search engines) increased over 25% in the first year.
Transform Your Marketing Performance
Inbound digital marketing has the ability to completely transform your overall marketing performance and ROI. As a strategic partner, we’re here to help. If you’d like to learn more, schedule a free 30-minute consultation to get 3 ways to improve the performance of your company’s inbound marketing.