A month or so ago I sat down with Andy Cohen the CEO of Caring.com a Senior Housing Forum Partner to talk about the world of senior living and online lead generation. That conversation resulted in an article titled If You Were Starting From Scratch How Would You Market Your Community?. As we were talking very specifically about how Caring.com fits in the senior living lead generation ecosystem he said this.
“Caring.com is the eHarmony of senior living.”
A Changed World
One of the spectacular benefits of the Internet is the way it has empowered consumers to make better, more informed choices.
- When you hear about a new restaurant, off you go to Yelp to see what others have to say.
- Going on a cruise to Alaska? You wouldn’t dare give up a credit card number to a tour or travel company without going to TripAdvisor or Cruise Critic to see what kind of experiences others have had.
- Looking for a new refrigerator, stove, microwave, camera or computer? The reviews are critical in narrowing your choices.
Too Many Choices
In the world of senior living, most marketplaces provide dozens of options to choose from. It can be difficult to tell which communities provide the right services and at what prices. Even a web search turns up a dizzying number of choices.
I did a search for assisted living Citrus Heights (where I live) and Google provided me 133,000 links. I might click through to a page or two of those . . . maybe. I would likely be more confused than before I started. A search for assisted living, Citrus Heights at Caring.com yielded 265 results which is still pretty overwhelming. What makes it a lot better is the very first choice is a link to a list of 22 assisted living communities that have consumer reviews. This is still a daunting list, particularly since as a consumer I may not even be sure my loved one needs assisted living.
Who Should I Date
As Andy explained, the reason Caring.com is like eHarmony is that people use eHarmony's services as a starting point to figure out who is worth further investigation. They look at dozens of potential dates or mates and select a few individuals who seem worthy of further investigation. Then comes the dating period, which ultimately means a further narrowing to a single choice for a lifelong commitment. It is the same thing when someone starts looking for senior living.
Often what happens is that a site user thinks 22 communities with consumer ratings is pretty overwhelming so they call or email caring.com, which then allows an expert to help the prospect further narrow the dating field to 3-5 communities that are worth further investigation.
Closing the Sale
As senior communities compete to be “the one,” it is still a bit like eHarmony. A quick response suggests a high degree of interest and a not so quick response suggests a low level of caring.
You Have To Be There
The final piece of the puzzle is that if you are looking for a mate but don’t have a profile on eHarmony or another dating site, your chances of being found drop dramatically. It is not to say that you won’t find Mr. or Mrs. Right. It just becomes a lot tougher.