Have you ever tried searching on Google for information about senior living or local senior living communities? What results did you get? Chances are that if you clicked on one of the top paid or organic search results you were clicking into a paid referral site or "s such as A Place for Mom or Caring.com.
The feedback we’ve heard from many senior living communities is that they view these sites a somewhat of a necessary evil. They rely on these sites for a large amount of their online leads, however are frustrated with both the user experience of these sites as well as paying large fees for every move-in. While it might not be possible to outbid or outrank these large websites in some search results there are certain things you can do in order to compete on a local level with your senior living PPC campaigns.
Competing with Paid Referral Sites Part 1 (Senior living PPC)
What are Online Referral Sites?
Directory sites, online referral sites, or "senior placement services" are websites that provide a listing of sites covering a particular subject matter, industry or type of service. The listing is usually based on categories, location or other parameters. For example, there are directory sites for private schools, food businesses, car dealerships and hospitals. These types of sites can potentially help people wanting to search and compare services as many of the directories offer reviews and a way to compare multiple options at once.
In the senior living industry paid referral services offer certain communities a way to generate leads and move-ins by partnering with their website. In exchange for being sent leads that are interested in a senior living community in their area the senior living community is required to pay a fee should that lead results in a new resident at their location. While this is a great service for small communities starting out many larger communities want to reduce their dependency on paid referral sites and feel they can achieve a lower cost-per-move-in rate doing online marketing themselves.
Can your senior living PPC compete with their ads?
In all honesty it’s not easy for smaller senior living companies to compete “head to head” with large senior living referral websites like a Place for Mom. Large sites like theirs have tons of content that’s attracting organic search traffic as well as large PPC budgets in order to bid on the top target keywords. This makes it very difficult for a company with a small budget and resources to compete. It's known that these companies can also bid on branded terms for your community - so they show up ahead of you - even for your own community name!
While we’ll cover how reduce dependency on paid referral services in other blog posts we’ll cover a few things you can do to your senior living PPC ads to help them convert better and stand out from online directory listings. Let’s see now how your PPC ads can attract more clicks and reach more prospects compared to directory site ads. Here are 4 simple tactics you can use:
Tips for Localized PPC for Senior Living Communities
Add the location of your Community
If you specify in your ad where your local community may be found, prospects would be able to differentiate it from a directory site. You can add the location qualifier in your headline or in the ad description. For example, the ad can say
Use location extensions
A location extension in ads will show the community’s address, the operation hours and a map. It emphasizes that it is for a specific community and not a directory listing of communities. Only individual communities that own the physical locations can use this information.
Use local keywords in your ads
Local keywords refer to local modifiers such as the names of the neighborhood, city, region and state. Using local keywords have been found to improve CTR and conversion rates of ads. For example, the ad can use “Peabody nursing home” instead of simply "nursing home."
"75% of people who find local, helpful information in search results are more likely to visit the physical stores."
Use ad extensions
Ad extensions are the extra information you can add about your senior living facility, which helps to highlight its local nature and improve ad visibility. You can use ad extensions like your community’s phone number or a specific URL on your website. Ad extensions are a great way to make your ads stand out and direct links to more relevant pages within your website. For example, a “Book a Personal Visit” ad extension could link directly to a page on your site to book a community tour.
Bid on Long-Tailed Keywords
Clearly the large directories have the budget to outbid you on the main terms you’d like to rank for. Competing on a term like “assisted living” may be completely out of your reach when going up against the paid advertising budgets of sites with more resources. However bidding on a term like “assisted living communities near Peabody Ma” might be a term you have the budget and ad score to compete with.
The above tactics will help your PPC campaigns to get a higher CTR and conversion rate. However they won’t eliminate the need for paid online directories completely – not by a long shot. What you need to do is find a combination of strategies that work on a small scale and then slowly allocate more resources to the channels that are effective. In our post on increasing CRO to combat online referral websites we’ll discuss other ways you can improve your online marketing to reduce the dependency on paid referral sites.