How to Prioritize Online Directories in Your Marketing Budget 

Online directories are an important component of today’s senior living marketing mix, and it’s important to understand the role they can play when marketing your community.

These directories can be used to target an adult child influencer (ACI) who is involved in the search for retirement options or health care services for a parent, or a senior who is beginning to search for independent living.

While we know online directories are important and give communities additional presence when individuals are researching retirement options on the Internet, we don’t recommend making them your first priority.

Here are 3 recommendations for prioritizing your marketing budget online:

  1. Website. Having your website up and running properly with organic search should be your first priority. According to Pew Research, using search engines is the second most-common Internet use among seniors and boomers (2011). It’s very likely that your first opportunity to make an impression on someone will be with your website. Providing just the right amount of relevant information to get them to contact you — and doing it in the easiest and simplest way — is key.

  2. Paid Search. We recommend that you allocate your budget dollars first to paid search, and if you have budget remaining, supplement with online directories. Paid search takes precedence over online directories for each client’s marketing dollars. A smart way to increase the chance of someone visiting your website is to decrease the number of steps they have to go through to get to the information they’re looking for. Online directories usually have an on-site conversion rate that’s higher than paid search, but paid search ultimately generates more visits and leads, because it brings people directly to the website.

  3. Online Directories. Wisely distributing budget dollars gives you a great synergy between paid search, your website and online directory listings. Listings on online directories give you the advantage of reaching leads who could have potentially been leads for your competitors. When people are comparison-shopping, it gives them the opportunity to match up your services with their needs. It’s important to be listed there to help them make the decision to include your community in their search. Because they have so much invested in this comparison, by the time they get to your website, they’ll typically have a higher conversion rate to become a lead than paid search.

As you begin planning for your 2013 budgets, keep in mind these three priorities and be sure to allocate your budget resources accordingly.

4 Tips for Maximizing Online Directory Advertising 

I want to follow up with some thoughts on managing these directories. If you’re interested in having a presence and want to maximize your efforts, but don’t know where to start, here are four tips to help you get started.


  1. Be transparent. Transparency of listings can improve the qualifications of each lead received. We strongly recommend listing pricing information — even if it’s “Pricing beginning at $X.” — and care level availability, to ensure that you speak to only qualified leads. Although doing so may result in a lower lead count, we believe in quality over quantity, and we guarantee you’ll notice leads who submit information requests will be a better fit for your community.

  2. Remember online directory leads are just beginning their research. Online directory leads are different than other leads, and even different than other online leads. Typically, the potential resident or ACI is in the early stage of researching, and is in a comparison or shopping mode. It’s important to follow these best practices when responding to online directory leads:

    • Respond to each inquiry within 3 hours, if not immediately.
    • Include a personal greeting and be sure to answer their questions, keeping the e-mail short and concise.
    • Always include a relevant personalized subject line.
    • Check e-mail for new leads at least 4 times per day, attempt to make a personal connection on your first follow-up, and always sell the tour or appointment.
    • Make at least 3 follow-up attempts – 1st within 24 hours, 2nd within 48 hours and 3rd one week later.
    • Include a personal signature in your e-mail, along with a link to your website and a list of upcoming events.

  3. Understand why paid listings offer more data and control. The benefit of advertising in a paid listing vs. a free listing is that you have access to greater data about the leads you receive, and you have more control over the accuracy of your online directory listing.

  4. Choose directories that best align with the services you want to promote. While most online directories offer listings for all services and options, some are better for independent living and others for assisted living.


Strongest Alignment with Assisted Living 


Strongest Alignment with Independent Living 


For more insights, see the GlynnDevins blog.