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5 Covert Ways to Increase Your Senior Housing Yellow Pages and Newspaper Ad Response without Spending Extra Money

If you’re anything like most senior living communities you know the importance of having a portion of your advertising budget reserved for yellow page and local newspaper ads. While seniors and their boomer adult children are catching on to the internet, Pew Research reports as of April 2012, only  just over 50% of seniors across the U.S. now are now online. This means many still use old fashioned books and newspapers as a resource instead of a booster seat for their grandchildren.

This is why it is important to maximize your marketing budget as much as possible. In this post, I show you how to maximize your yellow page and newspaper advertising, without spending any more money.

Running better performing senior living Yellow Page ads has a few benefits:

  1. More Contacts.  Better performing yellow page ads will undoubtedly provide more phone calls, appointments, and website visits than poor ads.
  2. Less Poor Quality Leads.  Poor quality leads are created by poor ads.  When a prospect doesn’t know what you can uniquely offer them in comparison to the competition, then you can’t qualify them as well with your ad. If you are generating poor quality phone calls, take a look at the source that generated the call and see if you can provide more differentiation in the ad.
  3. Higher Conversion Rate.  If you do a good sales and persuasion job in the ad, prospects will be more educated and prior to calling. You’ll notice less questions and an easier path to adding a new resident if your marketing is done properly.

To fully understand, put yourself in a potential resident or their adult child’s shoes when they pick up a yellow page book or are browsing a local newspaper.

What’s really special about the prospects reading the yellow pages is that they’re actively looking for senior living or senior care. This is a little different from the newspaper ad because they will happen to see it as they’re reading the paper. Although, If it is in a classified section they are actively looking for senior housing.

So for the sake of simplicity, let’s assume they are already researching senior living and are at a point of taking action to contact a community to learn more. This makes selling your community more important than selling the benefits of senior living. They are that much further the sales process.

Say your prospect picks up their yellow pages and flips to the assisted living section.  If they are in or near a major city, they probably see anywhere from 25-45 pages of ads just for assisted living. Similar for the local newspapers. Even if your market is less competitive your prospect is bombarded by ads. This puts them in a tough place to start researching.

It is not the amount of senior living ads that makes it a hard task, but rather it is how they all say virtually the same thing. And it does not matter where in the country your community is, the yellow pages is chuck full of overstated junk that doesn’t really differentiate one community from the next. You see statement after statement like these:

  • “Assisted Living”
  • “Friendly Staff”
  • “Delicious Meals”
  • “24 hour care”
  • “In Business For 25 Years”
  • "Peace of mind”
  • “Scheduled Transportation”

When everybody says the same thing, your prospects have a hard time determining which community is best for them or their parents.

This causes an increase in overwhelm when they are most likely already at their peak. Eventually, instead of picking up the phone or visiting the website to learn more, prospects will research other places, and you just lost the beginning of a potentially great relationship.

Everyone wants to increase the performance of their ads. Following are 5 ways to help generate more contacts, less poor quality leads and higher conversion rates:

  1. Distinguish Your Community!  Advertising great John Caples once said, “What you say is more important than how you say it”.  What he meant was, writing advertisements is infinitely easier if you have a great offer and something that uniquely separates you from your competitors. Find out what is important to your prospects and consider improving current offerings or adding services to make your community better than competitors in the area.
  1. Make it as easy as possible to respond. Offer prospects the option to respond a number or ways. For example, via extended telephone hours, email, or on your website. Some people are hesitant to pick up and call because they are afraid of being harassed by marketing directors or admissions people from the several communities they are researching. Giving them multiple ways to contact your community increases response.
  1. Make an offer that reduces risk. A good risk-reversing offer can sometimes be the thing to distinguish you from your competition. Make it as effortless and risk free as possible for seniors to move to your community. If you are a retirement community, you might want to try something like this: “Call 555-657-3467 And Ask About Our Special Offer. Get $10,000 Back, No Entrance Fee, and We’ll Even Pay For Your Moving.”  Sound too expensive? Factor in the lifetime value of each resident or community member and you’ll change your mind. Of course, your offer needs to make good business sense, but don’t be afraid to make bold offers. At the end of the day, you’ll have a lower cost per acquisition of your residents, higher occupancy and more money in your bank account.
  1. Capture every incoming lead. You need to try and answer every call or call back voicemails promptly. If not, you are leaving a losing out on a lot of money. I highly recommend hiring a third party phone call tracking company so you see how many calls convert to appointments.
  1. Sell to the heart not the mind. You might think that what you’re selling is your community or senior living but you’re not. What you really are selling is emotional benefits like: security for loved ones, elimination of hard to do daily tasks, constant care and monitoring, safety, relief for care givers, being part of a community and so on. Maybe you have heard the saying: People don’t buy a drill for the drill, they buy a drill for the hole it drills. The same is true for senior living.

If you use the response boosting techniques discussed in this article, you won’t be disappointed by your senior housing advertisements. Rediscover how to maximize advertising for your senior living community.

About the Author

Kevin Williams About Kevin Williams

Kevin Williams is the president of SeniorMarketing.com. At SeniorMarketing.com we have developed a system to help senior living communities and senior care services connect with seniors and caregivers who truly need their services and increase the company’s bottom-line profits with a lot more ease. We do this through utilizing Gorilla marketing tactics and technology to measure return on investment. To schedule a free 30-minute Marketing Tune-up, please call 1-888-523-3311


  1. Do you mind if I quote a couple of your articles as long as I provide credit and sources back to your blog? My website is in the very same niche as yours and my visitors would really benefit from a lot of the information you provide here. Please let me know if this alright with you. Cheers!|

  2. Very insightful information as always, Kevin.  Your articles stand out above the rest.

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