Combat Negative Senior Living Misconceptions With Generational Marketing

A man and woman viewing a tablet

It’s no secret that senior living communities are shrouded in myth. To some, they are “a nursing home in a different guise,” “a social club for retirees,” or even “a move towards loss of independence.” While these myths are not true, perception can be powerful, and entrenched negativity towards senior living communities can make it difficult to market your community to potential new residents.

As the next generation prepares for life after retirement, senior living communities stand ready for them. However, they must first overcome negative perceptions by understanding candidates’ concerns and specific needs and then highlighting relevant benefits to improve their image before seniors find an alternative and pass them by. To answer the question “What are senior living communities really like,” you can start with targeted marketing.

The next generation to consider senior living communities is a huge opportunity. Incoming baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) have been the biggest cohort in the country since they were born. With 72 million people commanding $548 billion a year (or approximately 70% of the current disposable income in the U.S.), they are also one of marketers’ most coveted. While it’s important to consider this group as an amalgamation of separate individuals with different goals and lives, you can also find important commonalities based on their shared life experiences. By taking the time to get to know this group, you can address their concerns and their unique needs more effectively, both through your services and your marketing efforts. After reading this article, you will have all the necessary facts on how to market senior living communities.

This is a generation that defined themselves by doing things differently, and they’re not going to stop now. They’re working past the typical retirement age of 65 and have a fresh perspective on aging. They enjoy staying active and healthy, and don’t count themselves as “old,” even into their 70s. They look forward to the freedoms and adventures that come with retirement. In fact, many forward-looking senior living communities are capitalizing on these attitudes and have proactively transformed their environments with luxury amenities, enriching activities, and spaces dedicated to time with family and friends.

They’re changing the game when it comes to senior living communities, and it’s important to update their marketing to reflect these changes.

What Generational Marketing Strategies Work (and which don’t)?

To address common misconceptions among this generation and others, it’s key to promote awareness and education in your use of language. There are a number of effective generational marketing strategies that accomplish this. They help to dispel destructive misconceptions and attract eager candidates:

  1. Be Mindful of Language and Presentation: Don’t use slang in your marketing. It doesn’t resonate and can often alienate any age group, especially if it’s not from their generation. Instead, use simple, clear language. Use bullet points to make your copy skimmable and easy to grasp. Talk to the candidates’ needs directly by explaining how you’ll benefit their lives. For instance, a state-of-the-art fitness center is attractive. However, the benefits of good health and an even better lifestyle are more compelling. Use a larger font size (16 point is good) for ease of reading, and employ contrast between backgrounds and text. As with all of your communications, keep them accessible and transparent.
  2. Try Facebook: It’s this group’s favorite social media platform. Since only 2-4% of organic traffic reaches your intended audience, you’ll want to look beyond just posting on your page. Facebook ads are a targeted and effective way to reach more prospects. With advanced targeting, you can even pinpoint specific geographies, ages, genders, and even interests.
  3. Post Videos: These are an engaging, compelling medium. Featuring captivating photos and music with captions, videos are also very persuasive. They play well on Facebook too. Just remember to use actors that are about ten years younger than your target audience since we all think we’re younger than we are! To that end, ditch the words “old,” “elderly,” and “aging.” No one wants to hear it.
  4. Find Them on Their Phones: Every generation seems to be glued to their phones, and this group spends almost as much as the millennials (5.5+ hours) with five hours of phone time per day, scrolling through email, Facebook, news apps, and more. You can consider running display ads on all or some of these platforms. You can also reach prospects through email marketing too.
  5. Reach Them in Their Preferred Mode: Offer email and phone options for connecting with you, since many prefer to talk to a real person.

As with all marketing, the cardinal rule is know thy consumer. Take the time to understand your target audience and your senior living marketing will pay dividends. When it comes to the next generation considering senior living communities, this is especially important given the negative perceptions embedded into their group-think. However, you can turn these into positives with the strategies outlined here. Smart, targeted marketing will be critical in turning the tides for this next group, so make sure you take the time to get to know them, and you’ll get it right.

Contact us for more ideas on welcoming the next generation.