Senior Living Internet Shoppers Are a New Breed
The Internet consumer is very different than other types of consumers and how senior communities interact with them should be well orchestrated, said experts at ALFA’s 2014 Conference & Expo in Phoenix last week.
An Internet-savvy consumer is going to search on Google for a senior living community well before they give one a call, said Caring.com founder Andy Cohen at a discussion titled Understanding the Internet Shopper.
He said even those companies that are savvy to the ways of search engine optimization or SEO, “are still probably not near the top of the Google search list” only because there are so many even savvier businesses out there.
Reviews are what are really important, he said, adding that consumers click on, read and consider reviews. Fellow presenter DJ Greenagel, Directravel’s director of business development, agreed. He said online consumers are educated consumers and reviews really matter to them.
“The average online shopper will know about your organization and do research online,” Greenagel said.
Today’s online senior living shopper is different from a few years ago, Caring.com also has found. For example, more than five years ago, the daughter of a prospective senior living resident generally would live in the market area of a community they contacted, would make decisions based on location and price and generally could visit a community during the week. Today’s Internet consumer lives out of town, starts a search on the Internet and researches those communities with online reviews first and likely prefers email communications rather than via phone.
Velocify Senior Vice President Josh Evans said his research has shown that most Fortune 100 sales representatives give up after one attempt, but six attempts over about 22 days has the highest success rate.
“In response time, a fast response has the greatest impact,” he said.
Caring.com’s research of online searches found that 15% of Internet shoppers looking for a senior living community search on a brand term, 29% search with the term “assisted living” and 20% conducted a general search and selected a familiar name.
Those factors highlight the need for an Internet presence and brand familiarity, Cohen said.
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