Prioritizing Marketing Outreach: Using Professional Referral Sources to Generate Senior Housing Leads

July 29, 2019

According to a study published by Whittington Consulting, the overwhelming majority of senior care marketers cite lead generation as their biggest challenge. To help senior housing marketers, we put together some tips for engaging with and cultivating referral sources for lead generation purposes.

Second only to friends and family, referrals are one of the most important drivers of new senior living residents. Referred individuals are less costly to acquire as clients and, statistically, more likely to become residents.

With this in mind, developing a robust referral network should be a core component of your senior housing marketing outreach.

Developing your strategy

While inbound marketing is one of the most effective ways of marketing on the web, professional referral sources remain essential to the process. Seniors and their adult children can be reached through various methods online, but there are many other avenues to pursue, representing a significant influence in the lives of these decision-makers.

Given that referrals can generate better results without as much resource expenditure, some careful planning and strategizing is in order.

Next, we’ll discuss the steps you can take to hone your referral marketing strategies.

Data collection

Look at the state of your current referral network and make a note of the successes you have had with each, as well as how many move-ins have occurred versus the volume of lead flow. Looking at these metrics, you should be able to gain insight as to which sources are viable and which are non-productive.

Prioritize your top sources so you can optimize the time you spend on these activities, but make sure to regularly connect with new, potential referral sources as well to ensure your pipeline stays fresh.

Seek out new opportunities

Quite often, some of the most influential people in the senior care journey are not the most visible. Social services personnel, discharge planners, and facility case managers are often good referral sources to cultivate.

Other referral sources to connect with include:

  1. Senior day care centers
  2. Physicians, specialists, neurologists, and geriatric doctors
  3. Physical therapists
  4. Occupational therapists
  5. Alzheimer’s chapters
  6. Rehab centers
  7. Attorneys that specialize in estate planning
  8. Hospice managers
  9. Personal care workers
  10. Nurse practitioners
  11. Various clergymen and women
  12. Home care managers
  13. Church groups

Apply a multi-channel approach in your marketing strategies

No one marketing channel of approach will work for all people, all the time. Use a variety of outbound marketing strategies that includes online outreach as well as in-person visits, phone calls, and even hand-written cards of thanks when warranted.

Email is a great way to get in front of busy people. In the case of healthcare personnel, it allows them to digest your information on their own time, which may be scarce at best. Making it easy for a referral source to learn more about what you can offer goes a long way.

Content marketing, or inbound marketing, can be an excellent way to connect as well. Providing your referral prospects with invitations to events, seminars, or info sessions, or giving access to white papers or blogs on senior topics is a great way to demonstrate that you are in tune with the needs of today’s senior housing residents and the people who care for them.

Leverage your current residents and their families

Your happy, satisfied residents and their loved ones can be one of the most significant sources of referrals, and who better to take on an evangelistic role than someone who is already singing your praises?

If you have not yet done so, launching an internal referral program can help you harness the energy of this group. Offering rewards and incentives encourage active involvement and ensure you are tapping into the full potential of your audience.

Other ways to encourage referrals:

  1. Ensure your clients, residents, and their families are delighted with what you offer.
  2. Provide valuable, relevant, and informative content on your website and social media pages.
  3. Create content that is specific to each of your referral group categories.
  4. Collect emails by offering an exclusive piece of content like a tip sheet.
  5. Place a referral call-to-action on your website. Anchor it to the header or footer to be sure it appears on every page.
  6. Offer a way to schedule tours for families and potential residents on your website.
  7. Make it easy for them.
  8. Be grateful and give thanks.

Professional referrals are still among the top acquisition channels for senior housing, so it is critical that you reach out to them on their terms. Give them what they need, make the process easy, and you will never be at a loss for new referral business.

If you are looking for a way to optimize your referral source outreach process, reach out to us today and mention this blog post.

NIC MAP Vision gives operators, lenders, investors, developers, and owners unparalleled market data for the seniors housing and care sector.

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