THE DIGITAL CUSTOMER
The digital customer is distinctly different from the human customer. The digital customer determines your ranking during a query so it is imperative to adhere to the demands of this customer. Since Google is the most frequently used search engine, the web site should follow as many of Google’s guidelines as possible. The primary demands of the digital customer are:
- Write significant copy for each page (around 500 words is suggested)
- Do not duplicate copy or information on pages
- Keep your content fresh by posting new information
- Utilize products that Google is fond of, such as You Tube
- Be sure that your site is responsive to desktop, laptop, tablet, and mobile devices.
THE HUMAN CUSTOMER
Most frequently, the human customer is an adult child, a single older adult or an older adult who is a member of a couple. The adult child is usually a reactive shopper whereas, the older adult may be reactive or proactive. Our web sites must appeal to each. To engage all of these customers, our web sites should:
- Be informative
- Provide as much specificity as possible
- Suggest a solution to problems/situations that are common to senior adults
- Be attractive and reflect an engaging lifestyle
- Be easy to navigate
- Indicate the value the relocation offers the new resident
- Offer reviews to validate choosing your community.
THE BALANCING ACT
It can be quite a challenge to deliver to two distinct customers since their objectives are entirely different. The greatest challenge is the creation of an attractive, engaging page that is pleasant to the eye and appealing to our human consumer while creating 500 words per page for Google’s ranking algorithms. It is important to have good ranking so that the site can be found, but once found, we need our customers to be compelled to stay and look for further information. Therefore, when writing copy, be intentional in your word choices. Intersperse key words or terms our human customers use throughout your copy. Key word are still important to site ranking.
To balance the heaviness of the copy, be sure to break up text on the page. Use pictures, images, and white space throughout to create visual interest. Utilize headline and subtitles in order to assist your customer in easily locating relevant information. Videos and testimonials further engage the visitor while on your site – and don’t forget that Google likes videos, too. Since online customers click quickly, consider breaking up a longer video into segments and placing the shorter versions on different web pages.
It is true that a picture can be worth a thousand words so be very careful in the selection of your imagery. Be sure that your pictures are a true reflection of your message. If you want to relay the impression of a vital, active community, DO NOT post head shots of residents sitting around in an obvious pose. Catch them in action or create action vignettes during your photo shoots. Done well, your photos and videos will make visitors picture themselves living in your community.
THE RIGHT BALANCE
Once you are comfortable that you have met Google guidelines, share your virtual site with a focus group comprised of staff members, current residents, family members and wait list members in order to gain their opinions and suggestions. Craft a short survey that lists your messaging objectives and ask focus group members to rank the success of each message. Be sure to leave opportunity for open-ended responses in order to gain further comments and suggestions.
Once your site goes live, follow up with analytics. Keep checking your ranking during a search for typical terms such as independent living, retirement living, senior living, assisted living, nursing etc., since these terms are the most often queried (be sure to clear your cookies and history or you will get false positive results). Expect to see a change in about three months – higher ranking and more customers on your site.
If you would be interested in a Digital Analysis to ascertain how well your site interacts with both digital and human customers, please call Retirement DYNAMICS. 888-897-7768.
To read more about this topic, read our two prior blog entries:
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About the Author
Patty Scotten is a consultant with Retirement DYNAMICS® and serves as their marketing manager. Patty has over twenty five years’ experience in the senior living industry and has led several communities in preselling expansions or increasing occupancy levels. She graduated from Elon University and holds a Masters Degree from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Patty is licensed as both an assisted living and nursing home administrator.