How to Market Your Senior Center in 2021: A Guide for Senior Center Communities
Marketing is part of every organization’s business plan, but for senior centers, it’s especially important to focus on various marketing tactics to increase membership and attendance at your senior center activities.
Luckily, there are a few sure-fire ways to enhance your marketing efforts at your senior center.
This is why older adults and their adult children will be turning to the Internet to learn more about what senior centers can offer, and why your senior center marketing is so important!
The Importance of Marketing for Senior Centers
There are more seniors than ever before. Already the United States has more than 9.2 million citizens 80 and older. And over the past 10 years, the population age 65 and older increased from 38.8 million in 2008 to 52.4 million in 2018 (a 35% increase) and is projected to reach 94.7 million in 2060.
In the United States, 65+ aged consumers are the most affluent of any age segment, with many having multiple income sources. In fact, consumers over 50 account for almost half the total consumer spending in the United States, as well as nearly half of the market share in personal insurance and pensions, transportation, health, housing and food.
While these statistics are impressive, tapping effectively into the continuously growing 50+ markets isn't always easy. While currently traditional methods of advertising and marketing are working, there are going to be increasingly new ways to get in front of an older demographic, and a lot of that will include technology.
Adults that are 65+ began using computers in their 20s and 30s, and as the population ages, more and more are becoming comfortable using technology.
Plus, the caregivers and families of these older adults will have grown up with tech, which means that your senior center marketing should be increasingly moving into the digital realm in 2021, with these five ways.
1. Local SEO
Like almost every other organization in the modern world, if you’re caring for older adults, you need to know how to do SEO, particularly local SEO. Over 80% of US adults use the Internet for healthcare-related queries, and you want to be the one providing the answers!
If your local senior center isn’t on the first page of Google search, it’s going to be challenging for searchers to find you when they’re googling “senior center near me” or “senior center for my parents.”
Why? The top position in the search results receives 32% of all search clicks. The 7th position around 4%: And the bottom position? Around 2%. That’s a huge difference! Ranking in the top positions on Google means you can reach more customers searching for your senior center and senior center services.
SEO is a long term game: if you’re able to rank highly for specific keywords your key clients are searching for, you’re going to be able to get leads without spending money on paid advertisement. Investing in Local SEO can provide ROI for years into the future, but it can take some time, so it’s important to get started now!
Check here for a great guide on Local SEO.
One of the most important parts of SEO is content creation. Good, quality content (that searchers can find) will have people coming to you for your expertise and authority on a topic.
SEO content marketing is the strategy of creating discoverable and relevant content through optimizing for search engines. Content isn’t just a well-written blog post, though that is important. It could be a case study, an infographic, images, or even a fun video of your members.
As long as it’s something valuable that people are searching for, it’s going to help bring potential customers to your site. A good example can come from the search we talked about above: “senior center for my parents near me.” Some ways to create content for that:
Write a blog post about the top 5 senior centers in your area
Write a blog post about the benefits of older adults belonging to a senior center
Create a video with quotes from your members about why they love your senior center/all senior centers
No matter what the content is, try to answer people’s questions with helpful, factual information.
Note: you need to write blog posts and other content for SEO, so that all your hard work will get in front of searchers and potential customers or clients! Great content is great, but if no one sees it, it’s not going to help your website’s traffic or revenue.
3. Be Covid-Proof
Of course, this is easier said than done, but by taking what you learned this past year and applying it to your senior center, you’ll be able to market yourself as pandemic-proof--a potentially huge differentiator in the senior center market.
The best way to do this is by being able to carry on with as many services as possible during the midst of any shutdowns. For example, hosting hybrid activities—where classes and events can be attended both in person and online—can increase your attendance, reach, and engagement.
Plus, this accessibility is beneficial even when the world isn't in lock down: if you include hybrid and virtual events on your senior center activity calendar, it’s possible to reach more individuals than with traditional in person events. Hybrid events allow for in-person activity, while also including unlimited other online.
For many businesses, an email list or CRM database is one of the best ways to market yourself. Everyone on your email list has already interacted with your company in one way or another, and have found you valuable enough to give you their email address. This makes them “warm” leads, because they know of your organization.
The size and quality of that list can be correlated with revenue, because the more email leads you have, then the more opportunities you have to get a new customer or client at your senior center.
When you have someone’s email, that means you can reach them whenever you want, and for free. But how do you get these emails?
Usually it’s by giving web visitors amazing content and enriching their lives!… and then getting them to give you their email address along the way. Some email content ideas might include:
Blogs you’ve been writing
Don’t be afraid to add all the amazing SEO content you created above!
5. Update Your Website
Web UX (user experience) is another important aspect of building the best senior center site!
SEO is impacted by how navigable, responsive, and easy-to-use your site is. You could have the best information from the most authoritative senior center expert in the world, but if the font is too small or your site loads slowly, it will be very tough to rank well on Google.
A few things to focus on when updating your senior center’s website:
Make it easy to use: Current and potential customers will be using your site to find you, contact you, sign up for your email marketing list (hopefully) and more. Making it easier to do this makes it more likely people will do it!
Site speed: Site speed is an important part of any good web experience. If your site takes longer than 5 seconds to load, you can lose 40% of your traffic. You can check your site loading speeds for free, and then make any edits suggested, like compressing images for example.
User interface: Your UI (user interface) should be both clean and functional in order to maximize your website’s SEO value. Websites that are both easy on the eyes and easy to navigate keep users on your page longer. Just think of your experiences with websites you’ve used: have you ever been frustrated after using a site? You want to avoid that!
Mobile-friendliness: Have you ever clicked on a site from your phone and half the page is off the screen, the buttons are too small to click, or you can’t find the nav bar? It’s frustrating right? This is why it’s so important to have a website design that’s optimized for mobile usage. You can check it for free with Google’s free mobile-friendly checking tool.
Clear CTAs: When people get to your site, what do you want them to do? Call you? Email you? Make a purchase? Come visit? You need to identify the most important actions a potential customer might take, and optimize for that. This means having clear calls to action and using important keywords in your headings to direct them. If interested residents or families can’t contact you from your website, you might never hear from them at all!
Conclusion: Market Your Senior Center Like It’s 2021!