When you made the sale, have you made success? When you have someone move into your senior living or residential community, completed everything with success? To some people, as soon as they received the check in the mail, it is a success. However, stopping at that point is only a very little at-the-moment kind of success. In reality, the sales part is just a small part of a larger machine. If you stop at the first sale, your business is losing out on potential revenue and marketing opportunities through customer avocation.
Reasons Why the Sale Itself Isn’t Enough
The meaning of success in a business shouldn’t stop at the moment you are handed a check and you hand your new residents the keys to their new home. The true meaning of success is making the sale, and then having the customer bringing more things of value. These extra things of value could be actions like opting into your extra premium services (for a fee) or telling their friends and family about your communities offering.
For example, while you see success from the sale, you can see a better form of success when they take the extra step. As soon as they move in and pay, they could tell their friends how awesome a community you run and/or buy a premium service that is offered. As a result, you make more money and more potential customers.
Getting the most value from your residents should be your main focus of success. It should not be limited to a one-time transaction and negotiation. For good, quality success, you have to make the best or optimize your customer’s interactions with your business. In simpler terms, you have to make the most out of their journey of the sale. This method is called “value optimization” and the entirety of it is called a “resident value journey”.
The Importance of the Resident Value Journey
Like stated earlier, obtaining success is achieved through doing a number of steps. Each step is important and relies on the previous steps. Skipping out on one can end up in failure. In a way, it’s like a house of cards, you need to place everything in the right order or everything else topples over. Follow the journey above (which is based on a template from Digital Marketer), your community will see success.
That being stated, you now need to do the right steps in guiding your ideal customers through the process. Both seamlessly and subtly, so that you can optimize their resident value journey.
Step 1 of the Resident Value Journey – Awareness
Making the public aware of your residential properties and communities is a good way to draw attention. You can use various channels (like social media and organic SEO) to reach out to them and make them aware of your offerings.
Regarding awareness, there are four types of awareness you will experience from your target audience.
- Unaware – Your potential prospects don’t know they need to become a part of your senior living communities.
- Problem Aware – Your prospects have a problem (like being in a subpar living situation) but they are unable to fix it.
- Solution Aware – Your potential prospects know they have a problem (they are aware of their subpar living situation) and are looking for a solution to it (like joining your community)
- Product Aware – Your potential prospects know they the solution they need for the problematic situation they are in.
Let’s put these four types of awareness into an example regarding a senior living community.
A senior living community called McDougall Senior Lofts wants the public (mainly their target audience) become aware of their residential community. First, they would need to identify the types of channels they want their reach out and have their potential residents come through. Since they identified their target market’s majority is composed of (senior individuals/couples and children of senior-aged parents), they know they should use the appropriate channels. For senior individuals and couples, they would use retargeting through paid ads. For the children of senior-aged parents, they would use social media like Facebook.
Through research, McDougall finds out that the children of senior-aged parents know that they are looking for a fitting senior residential community for their parents, hence they are product aware. Because of this, they would use Facebook to inform those individuals on how their community is the solution to their situation. In addition they would reach out to those children who are problem aware by having posts about them having difficulty dealing with senior-aged parents with subpar living conditions.
As for senior individuals/couples, McDougall would make retargeting-oriented paid advertisements that draw attention of those who are unaware and solution aware. They would conduct retargeting adverts to those who are of senior age but have not had any thought of joining a senior living residential community (these people are unaware). In the meantime, they’d also make the same type of campaign but it would be focus on retargeting seniors who have visited their sites and social media pages but didn’t do much. Those individuals are solution aware.
Step 2 of the Resident value journey – Engage
Engaging your target audience is, in a way, making them look at you longer by grabbing their full attention. This can be achieved through educating and entertaining them through content you create and post on social media, your site or through any of the viable channels. This step is used in conjunction with the awareness step and its four types.
- Unware – Using useful and educational content to grab your prospecting audience’s attention. In simpler terms, using content that would make them stop in their tracts and read more into it, since they weren’t not seeking it out in the first place.
EXAMPLE: MacDougall Senior Lofts creates a Facebook content piece that tells of how people around the world retire and how they differ from senior communities in America, like MacDougall’s.
- Problem Aware – Using informative content posts to let seniors notice a rising problem related to senior living. Afterwards, engaging those potential residents to know that your senior living community is the solution.
EXAMPLE: Making posts on Facebook about the rise of senior living communities with subpar conditions. After the content’s message is displayed, assure readers that MacDougall’s would never have subpar living conditions for its residents. In addition, talk on how people with those problems can move to MacDougall’s and live a better life.
- Solution Aware – Raising awareness of a problem through content. Immediately turning the content’s message to let readers know that your solution (your senior living community) is the best choice overall.
EXAMPLE: MacDougall’s management creates a post about how children of senior-aged parents are choosing senior living communities that are small houses within a close knit community. MacDougall would then tell them that their style of senior living is better because their lofts were repurposed from luxury hotels while keeping a resort style within their community.
- Product Aware – Showing that your residential community you offer is better than the competition.
EXAMPLE: MacDougall’s Senior Lofts makes a post that their residents are more happy and have a more fulfilled living lifestyle than the other senior living communities in the area.
Step 3 of Resident Value Journey –Subscribe
Now that you have your target audience’s attention, you want them to subscribe to you so that they can hear more about your community’s offerings. That way, they can eventually be converted into actual residents in the next part of the journey. To put in simpler terms, you want to gather contact information from interested individuals in your target audience so that they can be converted. This is known as lead generation.
Lead generation is often done through a lead magnet. A lead magnet is offering your attracted target audience with a small bit of value for their contact information that can be used later. While it may sound easy, creating an effective lead magnet is requires some thought. Your computer needs to have something that makes a promise, leads by example, or offers an answer to a problem in your life. What you need to do is be in your potential prospect’s mind in a positive way.
Going back to our example, MacDougall Senior Lofts runs a Facebook ad campaign for lead generating purposes. Their campaign promotes a downloadable PDF file that shows how seniors in retirement communities live better lives than those who live on their own or with extended family homes. In order to download this material, potential residents would have to give their contact information. In transition, they go from someone in the target audience to a prospect.
Step 4 of the Resident Value Journey – Convert
With the leads you have acquired, you want to convert them into actual resident. This process is called “conversion”. It’s not a sale but more of a small commitment to have them become more loyal to the brand you represent. Commitment can be either two things: time or money.
An example of conversion with time for a senior live residential community would be tour scheduling. When you have enticed a prospect to the point that they want to schedule a tour, you have converted them, because they are spending their time.
An example of converting through money is actually having a lead turn into an actual resident of the community.
Step 5 of the Resident Value Journey – Excite
In this part of the residential value journey, your company needs take your residents to the next level by exciting them so they can get to the next step, ascension. At this step, your current residents might think that they’re done and don’t need anything else. This step is done to make sure they don’t think of such things.
To prevent that line of thinking, you need to show your converts the “little victories” they achieved since their conversion. These “little victories” are advancements they have made and how better their lives have become since becoming a part of the community.
To put in example of MacDougall’s Senior Lofts, as soon as a resident moved in and settled down in the community, management should reach out to that resident to see how they are doing. They can ask them questions on how their quality of life has changed since joining. If the new resident mentions any small but noticeable signs (like eating or sleeping better), management would note those changes as little victories. Because of this, the residents would be excited and management would tell them they will continue to enjoy living in the community. This in turn would grow the relationship between the company/community and the resident.
Step 6 of the Resident Value Journey – Ascend
We have generated leads, we converted leads into actual residents, now it’s time for ascending the residents. This step should be easy to implement if you have followed the value journey properly. If you didn’t, then it’ll be a bit more difficult.
This step focuses on upselling additional services to your residents, whether they are recently converted or have been an ongoing supporter for some time. Since both types are hooked onto your offerings, they are likely to take up on the ascending offers your business can offer.
Going back to our example community, MacDougall’s Senior Lofts excited converts with little victories. At that time, management can tell them on how their victories can become even better if they partake in other services that are offered by the community. This can be paid services like monthly dry cleaning, tai chi lessons in the community gym, and many others.
Ascension offers don’t have to be products or services that your community offers. These kinds of offers can come from affiliations or joint ventures where you take a good put of the profits. For our example community, if MacDougall had a joint venture with a local acupuncturist service, they can have them sign up and MacDougall would receive 20% of the profit from each session.
Step 7 of the Resident Value Journey – Advocate
After conversion and upselling, most people would think it’s the end of it all. The step is to increase the customer’s value by having them become an advocate for your business. What your community should do is to have the most value customers spread news of your business and its offerings. This can be done through by having them providing information that you can use for promotional reasons.
In our example community of MacDougall Senior Lofts, MacDougal is promoting a new addition to their community, a new residential building with more lofts for incoming seniors. They would then produce content in the channels they are active in. Contained in that promotional content are testimonials from current residents, who agreed to give their experiences living in the community. As a result, they are now advocates of business. This type of content can generate leads, upsell services, and/or attract awareness.
Step 8 of the Resident Value Journey – Promote
Now that you have acquired advocates of your business, you can have them take another step by having them turn into a full-fledged promoter. Being a promoter is a bit different from being an advocate. Advocating is spreading information about a business through content, testimonials, and other means. Being a promoter can range from being a vocal promoter of a brand (like telling friends and family of the community) to being a certified partner of a business.
To express this final step of the Resident Value Journey through example, MacDougall’s has taken notice that a lot of its rising success is that those customers who they have acquired from the resident value journey have told their friends about the community’s offerings. The rising amount of revenue has come through organically through current residents promoting through word of mouth.
Regarding Repeated Steps of the Value Journey
Not every person going through the Residential Value Journey is going to automatically take on the next step. Some individuals are likely to be engaged, subscribe and be converted multiple times before they can be excited. While the Residential Value Journey looks linear, it has some flexibility on certain parts.
- Conversion Step Back to Engagement and Subscription EXAMPLE: A lead might have to be engage and subscribe multiple times before conversion and getting excited.
- Excite Stepping Back to Engagement, Subscription, and Conversion EXAMPLE: A convert might be told of little victories, but might need to be re-engaged before they can continue again and eventually move onto being upsold.
- Ascension Stepping Back to Excitement EXAMPLE: During the upsell process, a customer or resident might need to be reminded of little victories or be given moments of excitement before they can complete the upsell ascension process.
- Advocate Stepping into Excitement and Ascension EXAMPLE: An advocating resident or customer might do a continuous loop of getting excited and then partaking in other upselling offers the business or community has to offer.
Now that you understand the sequence and versatility of the Resident Value Journey, you should be able to know how to get the most value from your residents, whether they are ongoing, recently converted or prospecting leads. As long as you follow the steps and understand the journey, you should see success grow over time.