Voices: Mark Ham, Vice President of Business Development and Senior Living, G5 and LeaseLabs

Dayana Jones

This article is sponsored by G5-LeaseLabs. In this Voices interview, Senior Housing News sits down with Mark Ham, Vice President of Business Development & Senior Living for G5 and LeaseLabs by RealPage, to learn why senior living marketing needs to shift to a local-first, mobile-first approach. He also shares the four items a marketing team must get right, along with new marketing data from the G5-LeaseLabs partnership, including this: G5-LeaseLabs’ clients have seen a 23% decrease in cost-per-conversion.

What are the key experiences that you most draw from in your role today?

Like many of you, I draw from my life experiences each and every day. I draw inspiration from my personal life story, and I’m sometimes surprised how life and profession come together to create inspiration.

In 2020, I unfortunately was the adult child looking for an assisted living facility for my ill father. I lived the adult child online customer journey firsthand: reading online reviews, scouring community websites, taking in all the information, looking for assisted living with speciality care services, all during a very emotional and taxing time.

This life experience verified for me that the strategies we use with our clients are not only essential to being found online, but the work we’re doing collectively has a greater impact on the larger community in these moments where adult children are desperately looking for a good, trusted home for their loved one.

You recently announced that G5 and LeaseLabs have come together to offer the best marketing solutions to the industry. What excites you most about this new combined marketing team?

At G5 and LeaseLabs, we’ve combined the forward design of LeaseLabs and the disruptive technology of G5. We’re extremely focused on reducing our clients’ overall marketing spend and increasing their quality of leads. I’m most excited about our digital advertising platform, which is unlike any pay-per-click advertising service I’ve seen in the industry.

Our custom-developed digital advertising strategies are AI-driven to truly maximize ROI, and our campaigns are super targeted geographically and by online behavior. The best part is that digital advertising is a quick setup with immediate, quantifiable results, and the ability to easily scale ad spend up and down.

Our clients have seen a 29% increase in qualified calls in just three months after turning it on and a 23% decrease in cost-per-conversion. AI-driven campaigns are the future of marketing and our team is proud to be leading the industry in this area.

Baby boomers are entering the senior market in unprecedented numbers and they’re more tech-savvy than their senior living predecessors. What strategies do G5 and LeaseLabs use to properly reach these seniors and their families?

Today’s tech-savvy senior prospects are not only looking for their new home on their mobile device or tablet, but they are also much better adapted to the mobile user experience, especially coming out of the pandemic. It’s more important than ever before to be on top of your marketing game with your digital advertising strategy, online review management and community website.

We provide our customers with market-specific competitor insights, such as how they are spending compared to their competitors, to ensure our campaigns are not only extremely targeted, but also budget-conscious. Our data shows us that digital advertising influences 32% of senior living prospects, so it’s important to ensure your marketing dollars are diversified across paid, social and organic channels.

As a result, operators are reaching the high-value prospect at each stage along their customer journey. To drive these results, we at G5 and LeaseLabs are extremely focused on our performance against industry benchmarks, and the ongoing trends with each of our product key performance indicators. We are using multi-touch attribution (MTA) in our reporting dashboards, where we can actually see the step-by-step prospect journey — from Google Business Profile (GBP) to paid advertising to organic search, and finally to the senior living operator’s community website.

These MTA reports are highly sought-after by leaders in the senior space, as gaining quantifiable visibility into which marketing sources are converting to leads has been a big pain point for marketers. This deep insight into the true online customer journey lets marketers regain their spending power.

We applied these digital advertising strategies with our partner MBK Senior Living, and they saw a 30% increase in qualified calls, a 23% decrease in cost-per-conversion and an 18% higher qualified call ratio than the industry average.

What can senior living marketers learn from other industries, such as multifamily, and how does G5 and LeaseLabs bring this expertise to the table?

We know that seniors and their loved ones are going online for just about everything these days — banking, ordering groceries, researching senior living, and so on. In the past, an operator did not necessarily have to put the brand’s best foot forward online, but those days are long gone. We know from G5 and LeaseLabs data that seniors and their loved ones are researching longer, and deeper, before they even reach out and contact a community.

In fact, according to our data, the typical senior and their family interact digitally with communities 16 times before picking up the phone to call or filling out a form online, which is approximately 23% more touchpoints than in 2019. If they’re not calling, what are they doing? They’re clicking ads, reading reviews and diving deep into your website. If everything online looks good, then they’ll call you.

In 2021, seniors did this research over 34 days on average, meaning they are essentially invisible to marketers for over a month. That’s where we come in. We can not only see what they are doing through our senior prospect journey data, but our technology finds the trends and gets operators in front of the right seniors and their families every day.

So, how does this compare to multifamily? Essentially, seniors and their families are engaging with half the touchpoints as multifamily prospects, but in double the time. They are taking information in at a slower rate, which makes sense considering how important and emotional this decision is for families. The goal for senior living marketing is to try at each moment to encourage a phone call because we know that this human touchpoint is extremely important for such a complicated decision.

Seniors and their loved ones care deeply about location, because feeling at home in the old neighborhood, or right around the corner from their adult children, is important to building their preferred lifestyle. With that said, marketing senior living communities is hyper-local and tied to place. What are the best stats that reveal the need to shift to a localized marketing strategy?

We believe it’s crucial to have a localized marketing approach because every community is different. When you boil it down, you have to get four things right: SEO, Google Business Profile, digital advertising and beautiful websites. These work in concert to bring the right families to senior living communities.

Our data shows that across millions of senior living journeys, over 35% engage with GBP, while 40% engage with the search page itself. As I mentioned earlier, 32% engage with digital advertising.

One interesting stat: GBP now accounts for 36% of the local pack’s ranking factor, which is up 140% from 2015, so we have a strong focus on GBP management with our client partners including updating their photos, keeping their hours updated and answering Q&As right on Google.

In addition, nearly four in five consumers say they trust the reviews they read online as much as personal recommendations, so it’s also important to monitor and respond to all reviews on your GBP.

We understand that marketing KPIs look different for different metro areas, so we don’t use a one-size-fits-all approach for marketing senior living communities. We work to achieve what success looks like for each senior living community.

What excites you about the future of senior living marketing?

The fact that this audience is getting more tech-savvy means we can orchestrate online experiences that not only help them make these important decisions, but that help marketers find the right families for their communities.

With advancements in technology moving faster and faster, we’ll be able to take the tactical guesswork out of marketing and give marketers the space to focus on higher level strategies and giving the best possible care to their residents.

Finish this sentence: “The senior housing industry in 2022 will be the year of…”

The year of… “I want it now.” With online, mobile-first shopping at an all-time high, the senior housing industry will see a demand for instant gratification online. Seniors will want their online home search experience to be that way as well: online, on their phone. It’s more important than ever to ensure your communities are being served up to these prospects first and fast. 

Editor’s note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Together, G5 and LeaseLabs is the leading digital marketing solutions platform for senior living communities, delivering seamless experiences to unlock hidden revenue for clients. Learn more at getg5.com and leaselabs.com.

The Voices Series is a sponsored content program featuring leading executives discussing trends, topics and more shaping their industry in a question-and-answer format. For more information on Voices, please contact [email protected]

Voices: Mark Ham, Vice President of Business Development and Senior Living, G5 and LeaseLabs

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