Direct mail is one of the oldest known forms of advertising. Cheesy postcards crammed with offers and obvious sales talk have become so cliche they almost carry themselves from the mailbox to the recycling bin. However, with the right design and messaging, direct mail is still one of the most impactful marketing channels available, producing significantly better response rates than email and other digital strategies. This is especially true if the target audience is in the senior age-range. That’s why businesses in the senior housing and assisted living industry use direct mail as an essential part of their overall marketing strategy; it’s the best way to reach the senior market in a way that engages and moves them to take action.
Here are some tips for creating effective direct mail for senior living communities:
- Target and personalize
Advertising is always more effective when it’s specifically relevant to the person viewing it. Thankfully, it’s easy to get a highly-targeted mailing list, so you shouldn’t have to worry about wasting money mailing to the wrong households. One of the best ways to create your mailing list is to use the demographic information of your current residents and create a “look-alike” list based on that data. Using the age, previous residence, income, marital status, ethnicity, etc. of your residents, you can create an image of your most-likely-to-convert prospect, which your marketing agency/list provider will use to create your mailing list.
- Choose a format that aligns with your goal
Direct mail comes in various formats and there’s no answer for, “Which works best?” Postcards and small brochures tend to be the most commonly used direct mail format for senior living communities. Choose a format that aligns with the goal of your campaign. For example, if you wanted prospects to attend a free lunch with an informational presentation, consider using a postcard invitation or a flyer. If your campaign goal is to showcase your community and sell prospects on the benefits of living there, a brochure might be a better choice because it provides more room for images and written content.
- Focus your content on lifestyle
The financial benefits of living in your community are probably an effective selling point, but not on a postcard. At this stage of the selling process you can’t focus on why your product is sensible, but rather why it’s desirable. Focus on social events and activities that your residents enjoy. Give prospects a taste of the lifestyle and then get into the less emotionally engaging details once they express interest.
- Make your message crystal clear
Keep your messaging clear and focused so that prospects aren’t confused and use a strong call-to-action to lead them to the next step. You don’t want a jumbled mess of pictures and bullet points about why your community is so great with no explanation of what you want the prospect to do. If you want them to call today to schedule a free tour, say that explicitly.
- Utilize your current residents
In order to drive the highest possible response, your senior living community’s direct mail campaign needs to appeal to your prospects’ emotions. One of the best ways to do that is to include stories from your current residents about how they transitioned into your community and why they love their lives there. This shows your prospects that your community is actually full of real, genuine people who they can relate to. Also, by asking residents what they love about your community, you may find out some selling points that you hadn’t considered before!
- Offer something for free
It’s no secret; seniors love the word “free”. Offering a free meal is always a surefire way to up your response rate and get people to visit your community. Just make sure your campaign is well-targeted so you don’t end up with a bunch of freeloaders who aren’t really interested.
- Consider including a magnet
Senior housing is a long-sell. It takes time for seniors and their families to make a decision, so building brand recognition during that time is essential. One way to do this is to include a fridge magnet with your logo and contact information in your mailer. Not only will this improve open-rates because the extra weight generates curiosity, it also gives them something to keep so that they still have your contact information when they decide they are ready to move forward weeks or months down the road.
- Be consistent
Consistency is the ultimate key to successful direct mail for senior living communities. Don’t give up after one mailing; building trust and familiarity with your brand takes multiple touches. If you stay consistent, you’ll see your responses steadily increase as time goes on.
Thanks for reading, we hope this article was useful and informative. Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter for more updates and marketing tips! If you ever have a marketing-related question or want a comprehensive analysis of your senior living community’s marketing strategy, feel free to give us a call at 1-800-992-9663. You can also find more information about our services on our website. Get in touch with us and find out how we can help you grow your business!