Understand the Senior Living Decision Journey & Crafting Your Dream Resident

Navigating the intricate landscape of senior living marketing can be daunting, especially when it comes to understanding your audience and tailoring your approach to resonate with them. To simplify this process, we’ve drawn upon our extensive experience in the industry to map out the typical senior living consumer journey. This step-by-step guide will provide a clear understanding of the path your potential residents take when considering their senior living options.

However, a comprehensive understanding of this journey is not just about recognizing the path, but also about identifying who is traveling on it – your dream resident. So, as we move from the broad view of the typical senior living consumer journey, we begin to zoom in on a more precise target: your dream resident. This is the ideal person you want in your community, and we’ve devised a detailed, step-by-step process to help you identify and understand them better.

The relationship between understanding the consumer journey and identifying your dream resident is akin to the relationship between a map and its destination. While the consumer journey provides the route your potential residents might take, your dream resident is the destination you want to lead them to. By integrating these two concepts, you can create a powerful marketing strategy that not only charts the course but also ensures the destination is precisely where you want to be

Let’s get started.

The Consumer Journey

To save you some time, we’ve created a breakdown of this journey that your target audience takes, along with actionable strategies to identify your dream resident and guide them towards choosing your community.

Recognizing the Need: The first step in this journey is recognizing that a change in living situation is needed. The status quo isn’t sufficient anymore, triggering the need for a solution.

Gathering Information: Once they acknowledge the need for change, potential residents or their families start noticing senior living advertisements and begin to consider their options.

Exploring Options: As they form a mental list of possible solutions, they may consult with friends, seek expert advice, or conduct web searches. This is when they might encounter your community for the first time.

Comparing Alternatives: Next, they delve deeper into the available options. This could include considering in-home care, family care, senior living communities, or even maintaining the current situation.

Contacting Providers: After thorough evaluation, they start reaching out to prospective solution providers. This may include visiting your community’s website or landing on your page through an aggregator site.

Making Initial Contact: At this stage, they’re likely to reach out via a web form, phone call, email, or chatbot on your website. The experience at this point can significantly influence their decision.

Discovering the Community: Following initial contact, they typically arrange for a community tour. This is when they consider the lifestyle fit and economic feasibility.

Making the Decision: After weighing all considerations, they decide whether to move into your community.

Transitioning: Finally, they complete the paperwork, move in, and experience the first 90 days of occupancy.

Identifying Your Dream Resident

After laying out the senior living consumer journey, we can see how pivotal each decision-making step is. Each step presents an opportunity to appeal to the needs and desires of your potential residents. With this under your belt, now it’s time to identify your dream resident. But first…

Why You Should Identify Your Dream Resident

Understanding your dream resident is paramount to running a successful senior living community. While it might seem beneficial to cast a wide net and accept anyone who shows interest, especially in times of low occupancy, this approach can often lead to more harm than good.

Why? Simply put, not every resident is the right fit for your community. A community built for active, independent seniors won’t necessarily meet the needs of someone requiring constant care and assistance. Likewise, a person looking for a bustling community with ample social opportunities may not thrive in a quiet, laid-back environment. When residents’ needs don’t align with what your community offers, it can lead to dissatisfaction for the families and often early departure from your community.

Additionally, attempting to cater to all kinds of residents without a clear focus can strain your resources, leading to overworked staff and potential drops in service quality. Burnt-out caregivers are less capable of providing the quality of care your residents deserve, and this can further contribute to lower resident satisfaction.

Most importantly, having a revolving door of short-stay residents isn’t a sustainable or profitable business model. The process of onboarding new residents involves time, resources, and expense. High turnover leads to constant vacancies and less predictable income, disrupting the financial stability of your community.

Identifying your dream resident allows you to streamline your marketing efforts, ensuring you’re attracting individuals who are a good fit for your community. It allows you to build a community that’s harmonious, where everyone’s needs are aligned and can be met effectively. This leads to satisfied, long-term residents, a happier, less-stressed staff, and a more stable, successful business.

So, how do you actually identify your dream residents? Well, it’s pretty easy. You just follow these steps!

How to Identify Your Dream Resident

Step 1: Understand Your Community’s Unique Strengths

Begin by taking stock of what your community does best. Are you renowned for your comprehensive care services? Do you offer a vast range of engaging activities? Or is your facility known for its modern amenities and tech-forward approach? 

In other words, you need to determine what your Disruptive Value Proposition is. What does your community do that is different, better, or new? Is it a method of your care? A set of values that guides your approach? Or a piece of technology or services completely unique to the industry?

Identifying your Disruptive Value Proposition will help you understand the type of resident that would most appreciate and benefit from what your community has to offer, which will help you perfectly curate your marketing strategies to appeal to them.

Step 2: Analyze Your Current Residents

Take a look at your existing residents. What do they have in common? What attracted them to your community, and why have they chosen to stay? Surveys and interviews can be a great way to gather this information. You may notice patterns that can help you create a more precise profile of your dream resident.

Step 3: Use Demographic and Psychographic Data

In addition to age, consider other demographic factors such as marital status, income level, and geographical location. However, don’t stop there. Delve deeper into psychographic factors—your dream residents’ values, interests, and lifestyles. This will allow you to create a holistic view of who your dream resident is, both in terms of their practical needs and their personal aspirations.

Step 4: Identify Their Challenges and Concerns

What are some of the common challenges your dream residents face when considering senior living options? Are they concerned about the level of medical care, worried about losing their independence, or maybe unsure about the financial implications? By identifying these issues, you can better tailor your services and messaging to address these concerns head-on.

Step 5: Get Specific: Create a Resident Avatar

Now that you’ve defined the broad characteristics of your dream resident, it’s time to bring them to life with a Resident Avatar. Think of this as creating a comprehensive, detailed profile of your perfect resident.

For example, let’s call this resident Jane Doe.

Give Jane a backstory: Where did she grow up? What was her career? What are her hobbies and interests? This helps you understand the life she’s used to and what she might be looking for in a senior living community.

Next, delve into Jane’s reasons for considering senior living. Has she started to struggle with certain tasks at home? Does she want to enjoy her retirement without the burden of maintaining a property? Is she seeking a community of peers for social interactions and events?

Consider Jane’s financial situation. What is her budget for this transition? This information is crucial in determining if she can afford your community and the type of lifestyle you offer.

Is Jane making this decision alone, or does she have children or friends assisting her? Understanding the decision-making process and who else is involved will help you know who else to reach and communicate with during your marketing efforts.

While creating this avatar may seem a bit unconventional or even strange, it’s a powerful exercise that helps to humanize your marketing efforts and gives you a clear vision of who you’re trying to attract. This process allows you to tailor your messaging, positioning, and strategies to speak directly to your ‘Jane Doe,’ making your marketing efforts more effective and your community more appealing to the people you want to attract most.

Step 6: Regularly Review and Refine Your Dream Resident Profile

The senior living market is not static. Preferences change, new trends emerge, and economic factors shift. Regularly reviewing and updating your dream resident profile will help you stay ahead of these changes and ensure your community continues to attract the residents who are the best fit.

Now Get to Work!

Identifying your dream resident is the first and crucial step in transforming your senior living community’s marketing approach. This process involves lots of introspection and a deep understanding of your prospective residents’ needs and wants. But you don’t have to do this alone.

At ConversionFormula, we bring years of experience and proven success in helping senior living communities identify their dream residents and craft effective digital marketing strategies tailored specifically to them. We understand that each community is unique, with its own set of strengths, challenges, and goals. That’s why we’re committed to providing personalized strategies that reflect your community’s uniqueness and drive real, measurable results.

Don’t wait to start this transformative journey. Schedule a free consultation with us today. Let’s work together to better understand your target audience, to communicate your community’s unique value proposition effectively, and to ultimately increase your occupancy rates. We’re excited to partner with you to help your community thrive.

Let’s make your dream resident a reality. Reach out to us today to schedule your consultation and let’s start transforming your business together.