There are many challenges when advertising senior housing in today’s environment. Not only do you face increasing competition, overcoming obstacles and finding out if the potential resident is a good fit for your community, but you’re dealing with an aging audience whose senses and mind are not as sharp as they once were. Every communication your community has with seniors needs to keep this in mind.
Imagine this scenario. A 70 year old widowed woman living at home who is starting to have trouble taking care of their daily tasks. She stubborn and thinks she can take care of herself forever, but her family is worried about what her future holds.
She is starting to find that daily living is getting harder. Tasks like laundry, cooking, cleaning, yard work, and bathing. She is slowing down, but home life is not. Plus her vision and is going, and her mind is starting to slip a little.
Now imagine she opens her mail and sees a brochure that reads like the one described below:
Headline: Experience Life In Abundance.
Subhead [in small print]: Experience healthy living.
Picture: An elderly woman smiling in a garden.
What is this woman supposed to think when she sees the outside of this brochure? Is she going to become more abundant? Will she become healthier? If she sits in her garden will she then enjoy abundance?
The ad can cause confusion amongst readers. If your senior living ad is ambiguous in anyway, you’re reducing response before you even mail or place the ad.
It is crucial to use simple and easy to comprehend messages in your senior housing advertisements. When you do this, your ad becomes more efficient, and efficiency allows the greatest amount of seniors and caregivers to comprehend the ad.
Eight ways to increase power with seniors in your advertising:
1. Use Short Paragraphs
Big bulky paragraphs can overwhelm seniors and divert them away from reading. When you breakup the paragraphs the copy becomes more inviting to seniors and is easier on their eyes. You also separate thoughts and have the content flow more natural.
2. Use Short Sentences
Short sentences allow for the greatest understanding in an advertisement. Having long sentences confuses seniors and forces them to over think just to understand your message.
3. Use Short Words
Using short words is another way to cast the net as far as possible. The advertising legend John Caple’s writes of a story about a publisher wanting to know the secret to a popular children’s history book. The publisher questioned the author and the author said he had given the book to a ten year old to cross out words he did not understand.
4. Use A Large Readable Font
Most seniors have trouble reading and require glasses. Use a readable font and make it large. Do not force extra effort upon your readers. Comprehension and understanding is only possible when seniors and their adult children can see your ad.
5. Give A Good Call To Action
Once you have a senior’s attention, then give them an action to take. Is it to call for an appointment, discover more online, return a reply card, etc…
6. Read Aloud
Read you senior housing ad aloud and make sure it sounds conversational. If your ad sounds funny and notice a pause or stumble at certain areas then these are areas you can improve upon. You can take this a step further by recording yourself reading the ad. When you play it back you’ll be able to give it a further analysis.
7. Give To A Senior To Read
You can give your ad to a senior at your community and get great feedback. Do they understand the ad? Do they know what action to take after reading it? Do they find anything confusing, uninteresting, or boring in the ad? If they find something, then you know you need to work on it.
8. Multiple Ways To Contact
Give seniors and their adult children every way to contact you as possible. Phone, email, reply card, website address. People have their reasons for not wanting to use one way over the other. Maybe they just want to learn more and want to see the website, or maybe they want to speak to someone right away. Giving options gets a greater response.
A great way to test if you have an easy to comprehend ad is to keep your reading level low. In Microsoft word there is a function to check the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level of your ad. This is when you do a spelling and grammar check. If you keep the reading level below a 7.5 then you ad will be understood by a wide range of people and increase response.
Your ad is not a dissertation and it isn’t a place for beautiful poetry. The main purpose is to get a response and have someone take a next step. Not everyone out there is at the same intelligence, reading comprehension level, and can perceive things differently than they were intended. Making your senior living marketing easy to understand allows the most readers to comprehend your message.
When you place an ad or direct mail piece your ad is going to get seen by a specific number of seniors and caregivers. Your goal is to cast the widest net possible and connect with those who would be a great fit for your community or service. Having an ad that is simple and efficient ensures that when you cast the net you bring in the biggest catch possible.