Three Good Marketing Ideas for Assisted Living Homes

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Three Good (even Essential) Marketing Ideas for Assisted Living Homes

Summary:I highlight three good, even essential marketing ideas for residential assisted living homes, for both short and longer-term efforts. I’ve learned that so many assisted living administrators/owners are either unaware of these ideas, or have simply failed to act on them.

I focus this article towards the smaller, residential or neighborhood senior care home, since it is here that an empty bed(s) can cause severe financial distress on the home, and at times can lead to bad decisions or negligent care.

It became immediately clear that this lovely owner/administrator – although passionate about caregiving and helping seniors, had very little business or marketing sense.

She would spend what I would consider insane amounts of money on small, quarter page print ads in the back of a monthly mailer or local magazine. Who knows who will see it, or act on it, as those types of marketing efforts can be very expensive, hard to track, and questionably effective at best.

I know magazine salespeople will say they have a ‘reach’ of so many thousands of copies per timeframe, but if you’re like me, you’ll zip through a magazine on a treadmill, and then toss it aside.

This residential facility owner, as it turns out, had almost no presence online, and no clue about all of the other ‘offshoots’ of non-paper marketing that I believe is essential in today’s world.

I know a thing or two about marketing, search, and being “digitally visible.”

After all, I am a guy who has built Assisted Living Directory out of the basement of my home (I know, it’s sort of cliche), and in many ways, my site goes head-to-head (and at times outranks) with some of the large, national companies that employ hundreds of people.

So what’s important?

Here are three essential things any Residential Assisted Living Homeowner should be doing to compete with the big boys and girls (I don’t target this article towards the large, national companies, since they have the capital and resources to do just fine, in most cases).

The first two are longer term necessities, and keep in mind, there are an infinite number of marketing ideas and strategies out there. Here, I’ll focus on 3.

1) Establish Yourself As An Expert Through Your Website

an established expert with strong presence

Many of you, as I have discovered, and mentioned above, spend a lot of money on print ads every month.

Many of you also have a website for your facility that is likely not doing you much good, and is collecting ‘digital dust.’

Imagine if you spent half of your print budget and hired a very good content writer for your website. Someone who could hopefully manage your social presence, pages, and website’s blog (yes, you need one of these too).

Keep at this every month for a year.

You’ll likely notice, all of a sudden, that your inbox is getting more action, and your phone is ringing more. Your site is now organically ranking better, if not the best for your local market, and niche (assisted living).

Your articles are relevant to your industry, your site has grown, and you’ve gained google’s trust.

In short, you have established yourself as an expert. Living people, and search engines are very good at finding experts.

Be the expert in your city and market, and funnel that through your website and social pages. Above all, stay clean, and don’t ever be talked into doing anything questionable, or spammy.

2) Get a professionally-quality video of your facility, and put it on YouTube.

Video example for marketing and business for assisted living

I cannot stress enough how important YouTube is for any facility’s short and long-term marketing effor (see Assisted Living Directory’s YouTube channel).

A well done video put on a legitimate YouTube channel (if you have a gmail account, you automatically have a YouTube channel) can do wonders for your facility.

People love a video (a picture is worth a thousand…) and will often share, embed and bookmark videos. Additionally, once your video has been seen and is established on YouTube, it will likely rank above most other results, along with an eye-catching video thumbnail to draw people’s attention in the search results.

Additionally, if you embed your video on your website, that adds to “time on site” which is a ‘ranking signal’ for most of the search algorithms. The more time people spend on your site, the better it is likely to do.

If you think this might be expensive, compare that to a print-ad that ceases to exist after a short period of time. YouTube videos become more powerful as time goes on, and believe it or not, there are people who will do them very reasonably, or free. I’ve actually done several video tours for facilities, some of them I did at no charge, just so I could get out and meet facility owners, and network.

3) Google Local, or Google My Business

example of local business profile results

You must, must must make sure your facility and home is on “Google Local” or as it is called now, Google My Business, with accurate information, a website address, and any other information that they will allow.

These results, if you type in a search such as “assisted living facilities” or “assisted living facilities my town/city” will come up on top of all of the other organic search results.

You can’t ask for better exposure on the world’s most popular search engine (by far).

To ice the cake on this one, have any residents of your home that have positive things to say write a review within your google business page.

Note: Anyone wanting to make inroads with google in any way, shape or form needs to have a gmail e-mail address. It’s required, and to me, a gmail address looks much more professional than something like aol or yahoo.

I’ll even throw in a fourth, for shorter (and longer) term purposes.

Don’t underestimate using Google Adwords to get your facility some attention immediately.

It’s expensive from some points of view (you can spend 4,5 10 or more dollars per click). But, if you set your budget at an affordable rate per month, and the results are producing phone calls and ultimately residents, that thousand-dollar expenditure to get a bed filled is not so expensive after all.

We all know, an empty bed(s) in a small residential assisted living facility can cause severe financial distress, and can ultimately lead to bad decisions based on fear of going under.

People also ask me about all of those social media pages and how important they are, or aren’t.

In my experience, the most important one to focus on is Google+. After all, this is google’s ‘bat and ball’ and I am sure they pay more attention to the signals happening on that than they do on Facebook, Twitter and all the rest.

For my site, Assisted Living Directory, I all-but-ignore Facebook and Twitter. G+ has served my site, and it’s users well, and has led to innumerable contacts, networking opportunities, and professional introductions.

The only other outlier that I am starting to warm up to is LinkedIn. I think it’s worthwhile having a robust profile here, tagged with the proper words “assisted living,” your website, photos and all the rest.

If you think the any or all of the ideas presented here are stating the obvious – most facility owners have neglected to act on any of them.

Responses to this article:

Steve Wrote:

David, I whole-heartedly agree with you. I hope readers don’t discount what you say because of its simplicity. There is a ton of marketing strategy in your three essentials – positioning, buying process, cost cutting and budgeting, consistency and continuity, search engine optimization.

Here are things we do that support your three essentials and I feel your readers can put to use, as well.


To establish expertise, create a Caregiver Tips page because it shares experience and knowledge. (Also, caregiver is a valuable search keyword.) Our clients send us video snippets or a photo that shows them in action. We polish the Tip with a caption, edit the video and often add transitions to keep good pacing.

Post the video on your youtube page and embed it in your Caregiver Tips page. I encourage our clients not to stop there. They should then add posts (with the backlink to the Tip) on their social network pages, and send e-mails/texts (with the backlink to the Tip) to their three key lists – inquiries, families/friends/staff, and professionals who serve seniors.

Here’s a sample of a photo-based Caregiver Tip:


As for professional videos, an economical option we use is to record clients (over the phone) talking about their love of seniors, their services, their staff, etc. Audio is easier to edit than video. And we believe it is critical to hear their passion of senior care. We then have the client listen to the edited audio and ask them to send us photos and/or video to match what they said in the audio. Then we combine the photos/videos with the audio, and add professional transitions and layout. Next, we post them on youtube and embed them into their website.

This process allows for more videos (1-2 minutes each) covering specific topics on related pages. And they are easy to update.

In addition, clients send us video snippets of their activities, we edit and add transitions, post them on youtube and embed them on their Activity Scrapbook page.

Here’s a sample of a video-based Activity Scrapbook entry:

This process is within the realm of anyone who is comfortable with computers.


Google can be a pain in the neck, they seem to make changes often and can be hard to navigate – personal page, company/map page, brand page can be confusing. But Google Local/Google My Business is absolutely worth the effort. And so is Google+. They improve search results.


I hope our experience helps your readers. If they would like to see more examples of Caregiver Tips pages and Activity Scrapbooks, just click on links located on:

(562) 430-9488 Steve

27 January 2017 at 12:29 pm

Douglas Wrote:

Great suggestions, I have been in this field for 29 yrs and just opened my second facility. You are correct that people use google to start their search. the biggest challenge is helping people understand the cost benefit analysis of ALF versus home care. Douglas

27 January 2017 at 11:26 am

Kris Wrote:

Good insight David. As a Realtor marketing a 2,500 sf home with 5 bedrooms and 3 baths (3 separate living spaces) I have the vision of selling it as an ALF due to its close proximity to local hospital. Listing this house as an ALF potential is a first for me. With this being your area of expertise, any advice you can give me on marketing this unique home with ALF potential would be greatly appreciated. Kris

21 September 2016 at 11:24 am

Sarah Wrote:

So many assisted living home owners just ‘call it done’ when their website is finished and wonder why people aren’t finding them. Great tips, David.

19 January 2016 at 4:54 am