The 3 Big Trends an Agency Director Learned at the 2024 Senior Housing News Sales & Marketing Conference

Discussing ‘email fatigue’, personalization, and automation with strategies applicable to today’s world and beyond.

Blair Burney | Craft & Communicate
Blair Burney,
Director of Communications

Walking into the Senior Housing News Sales & Marketing Conference in Tampa, FL, the butterflies weren’t just fluttering – they seemed to be practicing synchronized aerobatics in my stomach!

As the Communications Director for Craft & Communicate (C&C), it was my first venture into face-to-face industry conferences. Usually confined to the world of emails, Slack messages, and Zoom calls, the sudden burst into facetime was nerve-wracking.

However, as the first afternoon unfolded, the senior living industry’s warm, insightful, and collaborative spirit embraced me. Conversations flowed with the editors of Senior Housing News, operators, marketing VPs, and even our friendly competitors. The day went by in a whirl of shared knowledge and networking, offering a rich perspective on the industry we serve.

With all of the information shared, I wanted to delve into what this eventful experience taught me. Get settled with a cup of coffee or tea – there’s a lot to unpack!

Craft and Communicate | Pen, pad, and coffee
Discussing ‘email fatigue’, personalization, and marketing automation with strategies applicable to today’s world and beyond.

Trend 1: Email Fatigue

Senior living is experiencing ‘email fatigue.’ This is a formidable obstacle for marketers and sales folks who want to distinguish their communities amidst the overwhelming clutter of leads’ inboxes.

At C&C, we strongly emphasize crafting engaging and persuasive content for our clients that not only captures attention but also motivates action—encouraging families to click on the email and potentially make a life-changing decision. (The ‘compassionately aggressive’ approach from Artis Senior Living’s Amy Beth DePreker comes to mind!)

To fight the fatigue, here are some email strategies we employ:

  • Storytelling Approach: We believe in the power of stories. They have the ability to engage, inspire, and motivate. Our emails don’t just convey information; they tell a story, painting a vivid picture of what life could be like in your community.
  • Personalization: People are not one-size-fits-all, and neither should emails. We strive for personalization, tailoring each email to meet the specific needs and interests of the recipient. This shows our gratitude for their engagement, fosters trust, and encourages further interaction. (More on this further in the blog!)
  • Emotional Connection: We aim to touch the hearts of our readers, sparking an emotional connection that goes beyond the standard transactional relationship. Whether through sharing success stories or highlighting the community’s warmth and support, our emails evoke feelings of comfort, security, and belonging.
  • Clear Call To Action (CTA): Each email has a clear and compelling CTA, encouraging recipients to take the next step. Whether they click on a link, sign up for a tour, or reach out for more information, we make it easy for them to move forward in their journey.
  • Consistent Results: Time and again, we’ve found that our email campaigns have outperformed those in the hospitality industry with higher open and click rates. Email still works!

With the right strategies in place, email marketing can still play a crucial role in connecting communities with potential residents, fostering relationships, and ultimately making a difference in people’s lives.

Let’s get personal with another hot topic discussed at the conference.

Trend 2: Personalization

After hearing it repeatedly, personalization felt like a catch-all phrase that could be misconstrued if not properly explained.

Here’s a breakdown of what we mean by “personalization” and how we strive to implement it in our approach:

  • Misconceptions: Some might see personalization as a means to dig deep into a person’s private interests, but that’s not how we do things at C&C. We believe in a balanced approach where we consider the information given to us by the user voluntarily. Over-personalization can feel intrusive and often backfires, as I experienced when a salesperson tried to connect with me using my hobby – a detail I had never shared with them!
  • Our Approach to Personalization: We focus on answering the user’s specific question based on the information they’ve provided on our website, social media, email, etc. This could range from inquiries about services, costs, location, staff, or any other aspects of the community. Our goal is to tailor our digital marketing content and imagery to provide clear and relevant answers to these questions.
  • Collaborative Personalization: Our team works closely with our clients to ensure that the personalized response truly addresses what the user needs. This collaboration ensures consistency and accuracy in the information we provide.
  • Honoring User Trust: We consider it an honor when a user visits our clients’ sites with queries or concerns about senior living. They could have sought information anywhere else, but chose us. We are committed to making their experience beneficial, accessible, and helpful.

In essence, personalization should be about making the user feel understood and respected, rather than overwhelmed or intruded upon. It’s about providing the right answers at the right time, in a way that feels natural and genuine.

It sure does seem like a lot of work to personalize every piece of content. That’s where the next hot topic comes in: Automation.

Trend 3: Automation

Automation is becoming increasingly prevalent in today’s digital age, and it’s a trend I definitely took notice of at the conference. It’s about using cutting-edge tools to streamline marketing tasks, making jobs easier and more efficient for human marketers.

Defining Automation in Marketing: In the context of this post, when we talk about automation, we’re referring to the software and tools that make marketing tasks seamless and easy. By automating these tasks, marketing teams can focus on their creative pursuits and drive better results for their clients.

  1. Our Tools of Trade: At C&C, we use various automation tools to handle mundane tasks. This allows us to focus on strategic planning and proactive initiatives for our clients.
  2. The Joy of Proactivity: While we love responding to client requests, there’s a unique joy in being able to step back, evaluate our work, and identify areas for improvement. This proactive approach helps us generate more leads for our clients.
  3. The Role of Automation Tools: Our ability to brainstorm proactively wouldn’t be possible without our automation tools. They free up our time, enabling us to focus on optimizing our strategies and delivering even better results for our clients.

Automation is not just about making tasks easier; it’s about enhancing our ability to innovate, strategize, and deliver exceptional value to our clients.

A Last Note

I was blown away by the conference panels, speakers, attendees, location … just about everything! A very big thank you to Senior Housing News for providing this opportunity for us to meet so many insightful and kind people. We will pen down next year’s conference in our calendars!

P.S. For those who were asking, yes, Co-Founder and CEO Jen Malloy will join the fun and attend the next conference with me! She is excited to see everyone in person and talk about how we can change lives amidst the changing landscape of sales and marketing in senior living.

P.P.S. If you are searching for the right marketing partner, feel free to contact us for a quick consultation. We’re happy to see how we can help you build your leads, tours, and move-ins. We know first-hand that digital marketing is a doozy without the right strategy. Our full-service team is happy to help operators reach their goals by doing the ‘marketing busywork,’ including the planning, execution, reporting, and follow-up. Although we aren’t in-house, we partner with multiple clients of various sizes to provide different perspectives, from CCRCs to stand-alone memory care communities, and everything in-between.

Let’s talk!

Jen Malloy | Craft & Communicate

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