Evaluating Marketing Efforts: Advertising Effectively to Seniors, Families and Referral Sources
Marketing is an essential element in any successful business plan. How, and where, you market your company can dramatically affect
your bottom line. Finding places to advertise is never a challenge; however, evaluating your marketing efforts can be much more difficult.
How do you know if an advertisement is working? And how do you keep the customers coming? While trying to evaluate marketing efforts can be complicated, some unique solutions are making it easier for businesses to identify what works—ultimately leading to more effective marketing and a higher volume of new customers.
In the senior living industry, finding marketing solutions that offer quantitative results can be particularly difficult. Many organizations, publications, services and businesses claim to target the senior demographic. They may focus their marketing efforts on locations that seniors are assumed to frequent. Unfortunately, this approach to marketing fails to take into account the dramatic shifts that have taken place in the lifestyles of seniors in the last few decades.
With the increase in life expectancies and the massive wave of Baby Boomers retiring, retirement living looks a lot different than it did several years ago. You can no longer rely on your message reaching active adults and busy seniors through these traditional means, since they may not be in seniorcize classes or at the hospital.
These traditional methods of marketing also fail to reach the appropriate audience on the other end of the senior living spectrum. For older seniors or those who are sick or frail, adult children are often the decision makers who select care and services. Reaching these adult children, who are generally both busy and overwhelmed, can be difficult. They want andneed information, but they want it in the form of helpful advice, not marketing.
Both active seniors and adult children want information, services and assistance. In fact, they may need the exact service that you provide. But how will they discover your business? And, even more importantly, how will you know when your marketing efforts are working?
One of the best ways to track the success of any advertising effort is with call tracking numbers. These unique toll-free numbers are published in an advertisement and then redirected to the main phone number of the business. In addition to call tracking, these numbers also offer analytics. Advertisers receive detailed information on the amount of calls received; duration of calls; and originating time, number and location.
Senior-serving professionals and businesses can now harness this technology to accurately evaluate their marketing efforts and
focus on what works. Guide to Retirement Living SourceBook, a leading resource for information on senior housing, home care and related businesses for nearly 23 years, has used this technology to demonstrate that the publication generates calls and has a long shelf life.
A trusted resource for readers throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, SourceBook in print and online distributes high-quality objective content to readers free of charge with the support of advertisers. “It’s because we provide quality information and list every senior housing
option that readers trust us and organizations want to advertise with us,” said Steve Gurney, publisher and founder.
For years, professionals ranging from social workers to realtors have turned to SourceBook for valuable information about senior living options—information that they use to help their clients find services. SourceBook advertisers reach these professionals, as well as seniors and their families who turn to the magazine. SourceBook advertisers also benefit from the expertise of staff members, who help them design result-producing presentations and messages, review administrative and call tracking procedures, and develop overall marketing strategies.
However, from time to time, advertisers will question whether SourceBook is delivering results and providing a return on investment (ROI). In response to these questions, SourceBook has utilized call tracking numbers to provide quantitative proof of results.
One representative case included a home care company that was reviewing all their marketing efforts and questioned whether SourceBook delivered results. After an audit of their call-tracking systems, the advertiser still felt that they could not justify responses coming from SourceBook. Because the publication was such a valuable tool for their staff to locate services for clients, they agreed to test their marketing message using a call tracking number.
Since this number would only be published in SourceBook, it would provide concrete documentation of the advertisement’s effectiveness. It was immediately clear that the advertising in SourceBook was delivering results. The volume of calls per month was around 3-5, with several of these
originating from hospitals and nursing and rehabilitation centers. This enabled the home care agency to confirm that SourceBook was an exceptional resource for connecting with prospective customers and important referral sources. After a full year of using the tracking and analytics service, the home care agency renewed its agreement and has remained a loyal advertiser.
In December 2010, SourceBook removed the number but kept the call tracking and analytics going in case any residual calls came in from older editions. Impressively, the system has shown that SourceBook continues to generate 3-5 calls a month from the old advertisements. Nearly 30 calls have been tracked to the number in 2011 and 2012. In July 2012, the home care agency received five calls—more than 19 months after the special phone number last ran in print.
“We have always known that SourceBook had a long-shelf life, but when we saw these results it was a bit amazing to us,” said Gurney. “This shows how many of our readers are studying the SourceBook and delaying contacting resources until they have fully researched their options. This is in alignment with our annual reader surveys, and it demonstrates that we have a very targeted readership.”
In the last three years, SourceBook has harnessed call tracking technology for 12 customers representing a wide range of senior-serving businesses, including home care, senior living communities, assisted living and a variety of other companies. Each of these instances demonstrated that SourceBook delivers results, even 8-12 months after publication. During the tracking period, SourceBook generated more than 900 calls for these 12 customers, with call lengths averaging three minutes. Since most of the companies participating in these case studies were long-time advertisers, this tracking does not account for the calls that came in from previous advertising in SourceBook, which is substantial based on the documented results.
For advertisers who want to ensure that their limited marketing dollars are well used, these results are both impressive and promising. Knowing that you have the potential to reach a targeted and motivated audience makes marketing planning much easier. When you feel confident that your marketing dollars are generating leads, you can focus your efforts on other areas—like running a successful business.
Guide to Retirement Living SourceBook has been a leading resource for information on senior housing, home care and related businesses in the Mid-Atlantic region for nearly 23 years For more information on advertising in SourceBook, visit www.retirement-living.com or call 1-800-394-9990 to speak with your local marketing representative.