Sometimes the best way to let people know what sets you apart from your competition is to invite people to “Come, see for yourself!” If you’re selling a commodity (think paperclips or laundry detergent) there really isn’t much point in trying to get people to “see for themselves.” If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.
But if you’re talking to people about something as personal as a retirement community, there is no substitute for an in-the-flesh visit. It’s the only way people can get a sense for your community and the facilities that support that community. That’s why promoting events at your site can be so powerful. While your buildings and equipment may be important, that’s not what’s going to sway people. They need to see your community in action: meet the people, and see how they interact with one another. And they can’t do that without visiting. So how can you get the word out—and get people to come?
Who should you invite? Obviously you’ll want to invite seniors who are considering retirement community living. But you’ll also want to consider the adult children of these seniors. Often they are extremely influential in the decision to move. But don’t stop there! Think about the professionals that can refer people to your facility. The better they know you and your operation the more likely they are to recommend you to their clientele. And don’t forget to invite people from the surrounding neighborhood. It helps reinforce that you’re part of the larger community. Here’s something else to consider: We know of one local retirement community that draws 40 percent of their clients from a 2-mile radius around their facility!
What kind of event should you have? You’ll want to do something that everyone—residents, families, professionals, and neighbors—can enjoy and participate in. Again, what you want people to experience the interaction of your community. If it happens to show off your facilities as well—that’s gravy.
How should you promote it? Different segments of your “audience” will probably respond better to different forms of invitations. You should definitely feature the event prominently on your website. A targeted invitation mailing to professionals, neighbors, and potential residents is also a good idea (and if it really looks like an invitation—it will get opened). But the invitation should also include a link to a landing page on your website that provides more details about the event (along with the ability to register). You can also use email—but use it sparingly and only to those with whom you have an existing relationship. Your email should be very short (maybe only a reminder of the invitation) and should also include a link back to the landing page.
An event that showcases what makes your community special is a great way to not only tell people about your community, but to give them the opportunity to experience it for themselves.