COVID-19 has become a fact of life for everyone and that includes those of us in senior living. For decades, senior living has provided a lifestyle for aging adults that offered the best in socialization, activities and amenities all within a single age-restricted community. The marketing message for senior living relied heavily on lifestyle while sales depended on tours to allow prospects to experience everything they have to offer; then came COVID-19 and social distancing and restrictions on visitors, and everything changed.

The best sales and marketing teams quickly realized that they had to find new ways to communicate to people and sell directly to prospective residents. Over the past 5 months, the most successful sales and marketing teams have added or double-downed on the following areas:

  • Digital sales – marketing has been increasing their digital presence for the past decade. Many providers had virtual tours of apartments available online for prospects starting their search and wanting more information on a community.

Now, digital has become a normal part of the sales process with guided virtual tours and video conferencing being used as not only the beginning of the sales process but as a closing tool as well.

  • Online information sessions – Events were another key for marketing in bringing new people to the community and seeing it for themselves. It also positioned the communities as experts in all topics and issues surrounding aging well. Webinars saw growth among businesses and working individuals as a quick and easy way to educate and learn.

Today, senior living providers are leveraging that technology to provide the same quality events and activities for both their prospects and current residents and their families.

  • Websites and social media – while marketing has been utilizing these communication venues, their importance has moved even more front and center as a main way for people to stay in contact with or learn about a community. Virtual tours, videos and continuous content are key ways to keep everyone connected.

Eventually, we expect events, tours and open visits to return to senior living. However, the value that digital has provided and the familiarity that current adult children and families have with the technologies means that these will remain a key component to marketing and sales of senior living during the pandemic and beyond.