A Checklist for Choosing a Marketing Automation Platform for Seniors

The number of retirement home providers using marketing automation platforms is growing, and whether starting from scratch or re-evaluating their current platform, every operator benefits from following a checklist . The stakes couldn’t be higher.

Marketing automation platforms help generate and manage more leads, making it easier for prospects to book in-person and virtual tours, and for senior living providers to more easily manage the work of marketing for all sites.

Operators who use automation for their day-to-day marketing tasks are opening the door for their marketing teams to think critically and embrace creative work. There are several marketing automation platforms used in retirement homes. Here’s a quick checklist to help retirement home providers select a platform, with a full checklist available at the end of this article.

The main consideration: integration with your CRM

By far, the most critical part of choosing a retirement home marketing automation platform is whether it integrates tightly with your CRM. Marketing drives sales, and if platforms aren’t tightly connected, leads and information can slip through the cracks.

There are several different classes of CRM integration. Three keys:

  • Two-way native integration. It’s the gold standard. Two-way native integration ensures that contact information can be shared between the marketing automation platform and the CRM. The system then verifies this task and the associated contacts, with the transaction information being synchronized so that the user can define fields.
  • Third party connector. Third-party login services like Zapier and LeadsBridge are great for connecting to platforms that don’t have native logins. And if these platforms add an extra cost to the solution, operators often need them to connect their CRM to their marketing software in order to capture all the data. These platforms will sometimes be contact-based, so it may be difficult to update other objects such as tasks, offers, and custom fields between platforms.
  • Daily CSV/batch manual downloads. At the very least, almost every platform has some sort of CSV file upload/download capability to manage contacts. You don’t wanna be in this place, cause now you are add labor where it was supposed to save labor.

How to Avoid Sticker Shock: Two Key Questions to Ask

Some automation systems can be expensive. There are two key questions to ask when looking at price.

Is there a progression of engagement?

Many platforms will have a “commitment progression” where customers can upgrade from a free trial to a monthly or yearly commitment. Some have no progression and require an initial annual commitment.

“In our view, the progression is important because it reduces platform selection risk,” says Adriel Michaud, vice president of sales and marketing at ActiveDEMAND. “It hurts to find out you picked the wrong platform or the wrong time to log into a platform when you’re only two months away from a one-year prepaid contract. There’s usually a discount for an annual commitment, but it’s nice to have the option to start with a monthly commitment while you get your feet wet.

How do prices increase/decrease?

Most platforms don’t count contacts, but some will go through community or feature sets. It is important to check how many contacts you need before shopping. You’ll get a more accurate picture of the cost this way.

As for onboarding or service costs, some platforms have mandatory onboarding fees that are added to the cost for the first year, while others are optional. Be sure to get a scope of work if the onboarding package is required, as this fee may cover things you already get as a customer, such as access to support, onboarding videos, and self-help supplies.

If you want the platform provider to build your campaigns for you, ask about service costs.

5 key features of senior life

Generally speaking, there are several categories of features that offer big differences between retirement home marketing automation platforms. Five are:

  • Relationship support. For many prospects, their child, a parent, or another support person may be involved in choosing the seniors’ residence. With support for these contact relationships, the automation is able to support more personalized messages that better affect these relationships.
  • Making appointments. For senior living prospects, the first major action in the sales process is usually scheduling an appointment for an in-person visit, virtual visit, or consultation. If the marketing automation platform can schedule appointments on the platform, operators have an easier path to tracking the marketing efforts that generate those appointments. They can then automate reminders and other activities for the appointment. Operators should ensure that the platform natively integrates with calendaring software, such as Google Workspace or Microsoft Office 365.
  • Multi-community support. For vendors using a centralized marketing team to market multiple sites, community and multi-tenant support is crucial. The best marketing automation platforms will have time-saving features, such as the ability to create new accounts from templates, clone campaigns, and automate between accounts, which automatically applies marketing strategy. large-scale brand.
  • Call tracking. Since many prospects and their influencers will be calling to book an appointment, some marketing automation platforms offer built-in call tracking, recording, and transcription. These features make it easy to assess leads, check the quality of sales calls, and determine next steps. Calls, recordings and transcripts should ideally integrate directly with the CRM as well, to save time for the sales team.
  • Text messaging. Texting is a great way to remind prospects of an upcoming meeting and works well in other campaigns where prospects or their influencers prefer text messaging over email. Some marketing automation platforms incorporate SMS sending functionality.

“Marketing automation is taking the retirement living industry by storm in 2022, search volume for retirement living communities is increasing, and with that, more leads are being directed to the communities,” says Joe van Kampen, Vice President of Business Development at CITIZEN Marketing.

“Integrating all your campaigns with the CRM also helps the marketing team know where the best places to spend their marketing dollars are. It’s a small price to pay and there’s a lot to gain.

This article is sponsored by ActiveDEMAND. For a list of 11 marketing automation platform items you should consider table stakes, along with a comprehensive checklist template, please visit us at activedemand.com.