Curating the right brand image for when seniors and their adult children search your community is necessary for holistic marketing success. While much of the internet is out of our everyday control, there are strategies to ensure your community is making a great first impression online for potential prospects and leads. This is where online reputation management comes in—helping a community put its best digital foot forward, so to speak, all while reaping the many benefits of a strong strategy.
When making purchasing decisions, most people hit the web first thing to deep dive into services, check reviews, or learn about the image of a company. Senior living is no different. In fact, “75% of senior living consumers research options on search engines,” and a vast majority of senior living buyers are undecided when beginning their senior living journey.
What Is Online Reputation Management?
Online reputation management (ORM) is the process of creating strategies that promote, protect, and defend the public perception and impression of a brand online.
The tactics involved in creating this strategy can vary depending on the needs of each community. Similar to other marketing needs, various channels of paid, earned, organic, and owned media work together to create your strategy and are most effective when used in conjunction with the others.
A necessary building block of this strategy is understanding your current online presence. This is done by monitoring online reviews, social media websites, and third-party review sites like A Place for Mom. ORM platforms make it easy to monitor and respond to your audience all in one convenient place.
Tactics such as blogs, search engine optimization (SEO), and public relations also contribute to an effective ORM strategy. These tactics provide ways to proactively influence your online presence through organic content, backlinks, and specific industry-related keywords.
Here are several reasons to focus on an ORM strategy for your community:
85% Of People Trust Online Reviews As Much As Personal Recommendations.
In this day and age, checking for reviews or seeking product recommendations is second nature to many of us, whether it’s asking a friend or searching for Amazon reviews. A majority of people trust the experiences of others—even strangers. It’s clear that word of mouth reviews (even online word of mouth) can make or break a buyer’s decision.
It’s not just the word of friends and strangers that people trust. It’s also search engines. Approximately 65% of consumers trust online search engines the most when conducting research on a business. Despite whether the information people find on Google is positive or negative, a majority of people consider Google a trustworthy source to find information, and what they find will impact their decision-making process.
Leaving bad reviews unaddressed can also have negative consequences. For 60% of consumers, negative reviews made them take their business elsewhere. People will take negative reviews or news articles at face value and likely not give a community a second chance. However, monitoring your community’s online brand reputation, creating a response strategy to address all types of reviews, and actively asking for reviews will help counteract any potential negative press.
Only 5% Of People Look Past The First Page Of Google.
A good first impression is vital for your marketing needs. Without it, your other marketing tactics aren’t nearly as effective. Ensuring that a strong SEO strategy is in place is pivotal for a community’s online reputation.
SEO is the process of driving traffic to your website through organic tactics. Fortunately, SEO and ORM go hand-in-hand and will both increase in effectiveness if used together.
One way to do this is through a fully optimized and updated Google My Business listing. Google allows businesses to create a business profile that appears in local results provided by Google Search and Google Maps. Also included is a way for consumers to leave reviews. These reviews, in turn, affect your SEO as Google’s algorithm takes this into account.
A buyer exploring potential senior living communities is likely not going to browse past the first page of Google or dig for more information past what is readily available. Being easily found on the first page of search results with positive brand interaction is why a well-optimized website, blog page, and Google My Business listing, among others, will help your community in the long run.
Strategically Placed Reviews Build Trust In Your Brand & Increase Inquiries.
A 2016 study by BrightLocal demonstrates the impact of reviews on consumer buying decisions. More than 6,000 North American consumers were asked to participate in a study aimed at the trustworthiness of a business. They were shown two landing pages for a local business—one highlighting an actual customer’s review on the page and the second with a banner that states the business was dependable without a review.
– 83% of participants deemed the business with user-generated reviews as trustworthy.
– 15% of participants deemed the business without reviews as untrustworthy.
– 74% said they would contact the business with the reviews.
In an industry like senior living—where care directly impacts loved ones—it’s increasingly important to show the community as a trustworthy brand. While every online brand should practice ORM, the impact on senior living cannot be understated. Even without a pandemic like COVID-19, these factors are top-of-mind for seniors, or loved ones, looking for a new home. Most senior living communities must already overcome the inherent distrust of marketers and negative perceptions of nursing homes or facilities.
Displaying reviews differentiates you from competitors, as this directly provides buyers with positive experiences from their peers. They’re much more likely to reach out for more information, a tour, or a meeting with a marketing or sales representative.
An Increase In Positive Reviews Equals Revenue Growth.
Reputation.com found in a study that an increase in reputation score of 150 points or more led to a 6% increase in average sales, showing a direct correlation between a positive online presence and an increase in revenue.
– High search rankings allow consumers to find a community easier and more often.
– Positive reviews lead to more engagement and conversions.
– Positive word-of-mouth acts as an endorsement to your community.
An effective ORM strategy will also help clarify product offerings, attract qualified leads and, ultimately, conversions. For example, clarifying that a Life Plan community offers a full spectrum of services of independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing, and often memory care. Or if a community routinely receives inquiries for memory care but only offers independent living and assisted living, an ORM strategy can clarify this confusion and generate more appropriate inquiries.
How Can Angell Marketing Help?
Angell Marketing understands senior living target audiences and what they’re hoping to achieve online. We also know that your digital presence says everything about your community, and we’re here to help create an ORM strategy that meets your unique needs and situation. Contact us!