What is the first thing a potential resident will see when they Google your senior living community? They see the star ratings and reviews in your Google business page on the right, then they’ll see reviews from third party lead referral sites—like “A Place for Mom”—which are often gated and require the user to set up an account, and other review sites in their Google search. If you have a good overall star rating (4.5 or higher) and 50+ quality reviews in your Google business page, potential residents will be much more likely to visit your website. If they see only a few reviews (or poor reviews) on non-gated review website—like Google, Yelp or Facebook— they will instantly be drawn to a third-party lead referral site. Now your lead is being shared with 5-10 competitors in the area or, best care scenario, it’s eventually sold back to you in the form of a new resident.
Choosing the right senior care community can be a difficult process for both prospective seniors and their family advocates. But, if you have a great online presence and plenty of positive reviews, you will have a better chance of standing out amongst competitors in your area. Prospects are not only drawn to five-star reviews, but reviews that show the community worked to improve a situation for those who left negative reviews. So why are resident reviews so important? Let’s take a look.
Increased Visibility Online
The first step toward increasing occupancy is awareness. If you want to continue to attract seniors to your community it is important for them to know who you are and what you do. Yes traditional marketing and advertising efforts—like direct mail or local advertising— are all effective for getting noticed, but the Internet search is always part of every decision process. Dominating your “Branded” and “Local” search will guarantee you more leads, higher occupancy, and lower third-party referral fees.
Everything is online now, so seniors and their families are finding what they need with just the click of their mouse (or more often the tap of their finger). Online reviews begin to show up when prospects are actively looking for information on local senior living providers. They will either type the name of your facility into Google or they will conduct a “near me” search. To make sure your community shows up when people are conducting these searches, it is important to optimize your online presence for local search. If you don’t know how to do this, we can help.
One of the key components that make up Google’s local search algorithm (how information shows up in search results) is online reviews. This algorithm factors in how many reviews you have, what your overall star rating is, and if you are responding and engaging with reviews.
If seniors are finding your community online, this is where your star rating and number of reviews will come into play. A low star rating or a small amount of reviews might look bad to potential prospects. As a result, they might drop you off their list for consideration or use a third party referral site who has hundreds of reviews from local providers. On the other hand, if you have great star ratings and a good amount of reviews, it could push your community to the next step of the potential resident’s journey. Studies have even show that most customers trust online reviews just as much (if not more) than personal recommendations from their family and friends. If you want potential residents to even consider your community, it is important to get reviews and increased star ratings.
Once your community has increased visibility and interest, the next step is increased census for your senior care facility. Once a prospect chooses your residence, it’s time to work on creating loyalty to your brand. Online reviews play into your brand because they help your facility get found and chosen. Even though you already have reviews, it is important to keep your residents and family visitors involved and keep a steady flow of new, fresh reviews. With every new senior resident you have, there should be a new review. By talking to your new residents/family members and inviting them to share their experiences you can grow your overall online brand. By implementing a service for generating and maintaining up-to-date reviews from your community, you will continue to promote your brand into the future. And pushing those reviews to the major sites such as Google, Yelp and Facebook, you further protect yourself from the future bad review.