By Susan Saldibar
I don’t know about you, but I think it’s pretty cool how intelligent technologies and apps, plugged into the internet, have disrupted marketing (as we knew it). I’m just glad I don’t have to figure all this stuff out. But if you’re marketing for senior living, you do have to figure it out. You can’t afford to just dabble in digital marketing anymore. You have to find a way to get your brand out there where people can find you, directly, without fighting your competitors for attention.
For those who get it right, there are rewards: a stronger brand, healthy engagement, and more and better leads generated directly, no strings attached. And, one way savvy marketers are getting it right is by using external resources to handle all the calculating, targeting, Google-navigating, and lead generation at the top of the funnel so that their sales teams can concentrate on the best qualified leads further down. What they’ve learned is that they can “go direct” without having to become digital geeks themselves.
Leveraging “search” to build a brand.
I spoke recently with Brock MacLean, SVP of Business Development for LeaseLabs®, which was acquired by RealPage® last fall. (RealPage is a Senior Housing Forum partner.) What LeaseLabs has brought to the table is a well-designed platform geared to help marketers shift away from indirect lead sources (you know who they are) and build a stronger lead generation machine through a direct digital marketing approach.
It’s called GoDirect Marketing and beneath it lies a tightly integrated infrastructure geared towards leveraging “search” in ways that help build a brand in front of a targeted audience. “We’re seeing changes in classic search in Google, how results and consumer experience with search has changed,” Brock explained to me. “Up until now, there has been heavy reliance on aggregators. I know that world. I spent a good portion of my career there. But Google rewards companies that invest in their brand and who create engaging experiences,” he adds.
In a nutshell, here are the key pieces of GoDirect:
GeoTargeter. Delivers mobile display ads, using popular mobile apps and websites. And it also retargets those who clicked on your ads.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Builds brand presence and works to increase organic search traffic from qualified visitors.
The Search Marketer. Enhances search engine presence through paid search and remarketing. Includes Gmail ads, call tracking and conversion-optimized landing pages.
Social Media Optimization. Works to increase engagement, traffic, and leads, using highly targeted social media campaigns.
Content Marketing. Uses their SEO copywriters to create hyper-local content on local events and trending topics.
PropertyPhotos. Provides a platform for creating high-quality 3-D floor plans, virtual tours, and an organized method to store and keep track of images.
Brock explained that what LeaseLabs achieves with GoDirect at the top of the funnel dovetails perfectly with the strengths of RealPage in terms of nurturing and developing qualified leads for sales to convert. Above all, it helps operators understand each piece of the digital marketing experience and what engages your audience. “It’s important to understand the drivers; understand how people search,” Brock says. “It helps you create a well thought out personalized experience.”
What I also like about the GoDirect approach is that they don’t just dump software on their clients, adding a lot of expensive training on the back end. It’s highly collaborative, starting with a discovery session during which they will ask questions to learn where your community is positioned and what your target residents and families want to see. Then they will come back with a set of targeted recommendations.
Leads come direct to you. So cost is less.
“Working with us is a very collaborative experience,” Brock says. “We facilitate, but always in lock step with our clients’ plans. Some companies will tell us, ‘We want you to handle everything,’ others want to be more interactive and involved. Either way works for us.”
I was curious about the cost factor, and I asked Brock how the GoDirect platform helps marketers generate leads at a lower cost. He explains that when you deploy a GoDirect philosophy, the net cost to generate leads will be less because they’re coming direct to you. You’re basically eliminating referral fees and/or placement service costs and so on. Given what I know about those fees, that makes sense.
Finally, I asked Brock what he wanted operators to understand about working with LeadsLabs and the GoDirect platform. For Brock, it’s all about control. “You control the experience,” Brock tells me. “You make the decisions. Then we pull the levers that work; dial them up, dial them down. But you have the control. Because the more savvy you become at driving your own lead volume, the more successful you will be.”
Brock will be speaking at the upcoming 2019 Argentum Conference on using the “go direct” approach to meet your occupancy goals. You can see a preview of his Info Session here.
You can learn more about getting your brand in front of your top prospects using GoDirect by downloading RealPage’s ebook.
For more information about GoDirect, please visit their website.
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