More senior living providers are choosing to use marketing automation platforms. Marketing automation platforms help drive and handle more leads, make it easier for prospects to book in-person and virtual tours, and make it easier for senior living providers to handle marketing for all locations. With automation handling the day-to-day, marketers have time for creative work. There are several marketing automation platforms used in senior living, so we thought we’d build a quick checklist to help senior living providers select a platform.

CRM Integration

By far, the most critical part of choosing a marketing automation platform for senior living is whether or not it integrates tightly with your CRM. Marketing drives leads to sales, and if the platforms aren’t tightly connected, prospects and information could fall through the cracks. There are several different classes of CRM integration:

Bidirectional, native integration is the gold standard. This form of CRM integration is usually the highest performance. Ensure that not only contact information can be synchronized, but check that task, related contacts, and deal information can be synchronized and that you can set fields.

3rd party connector: 3rd party connecting services like Zapier and LeadsBridge are great for connecting to platforms that don’t have native connections available. These platforms add an additional cost to the solution, but sometimes they’re necessary to hook things up. Sometimes these platforms will be contact-based and it might be tough to update other objects like tasks, deals, and other custom fields between platforms.

Manual CSV/daily batch uploads: At the very least, almost all platforms have some sort of CSV file download/upload capability to upload contacts. You don’t want to be in this spot because now you’re ADDING labor where this was supposed to SAVE labor.

Senior Living Marketing Automation Cost

The price of some automation systems may prove to be a show-stopper. There are a few things to consider when looking at price:

Is there a progression of commitment? Many platforms will have a “progression of commitment” where customers can move from free trial to monthly to yearly commitment. Some have no progression and ask for a yearly commitment upfront. In our opinion, progression is important because it reduces the risk of platform selection. Finding out that you picked the wrong platform or the wrong time to get into a platform when you’re only 2 months into a pre-paid 1-year contract sucks. There’s usually a discount for going yearly, but it’s nice to have the option to start on monthly while you get your feet wet.

How does pricing increase/decrease? Most platforms go off contact count, but some will go by the community or by feature sets. It’d be important to check how many contacts you’d need before shopping around because you’ll get a more accurate picture of the cost that way.

Are there onboarding or service costs? Some platforms have mandatory onboarding fees that add to the first-year cost, some are optional. Make sure you get a scope of work if the onboarding package is mandatory, as these charges might cover things you already get as a customer like access to support, onboarding videos and self-help supplies, etc. Ask what services costs there are if you want the platform provider to build your campaigns for you.

Important Senior Living Features

From a high level, there are a few feature categories where there are large differences between senior living marketing automation platforms:

Relationship support: For many prospects, their child, relative, or other trusted person may be involved in the choice of which senior living facility to move into. With support for these kinds of contact relationships, the automation is able to support more custom messaging that better touches on these relationships.

Appointment scheduling: Booking an appointment for an in-person, virtual tour, or consultation is usually the first major action in the sales process. If the marketing automation platform is able to perform appointment scheduling in the platform, it makes it easier to track which marketing is driving those appointments and automate reminders and other activities for the appointment. Ensure the platform natively integrates with your calendaring software: Google Workspace or Microsoft Office 365 usually.

Multi-community support: For senior living providers that use a centralized marketing team to market for multiple locations, community and multi-tenant support are crucial. The best marketing automation platforms will have time-saving features such as the ability to create new accounts from templates, cloning campaigns and automation between accounts, automatically applying branding at scale, etc.

Call tracking: Many prospects and their influencers will call in to book an appointment. Some marketing automation platforms offer built-in call tracking, recording, and transcribing that makes it easier to score leads, quality check sales calls, and determine what steps to take next with the prospect. Calls, recordings, and transcriptions should ideally integrate directly with the CRM as well so you can save the salespeople some time.

Text messaging: Texting is a great way to remind prospects about an upcoming meeting and works well in other campaigns where prospects or their influencers prefer text messaging to emails. Some marketing automation platforms have texting capabilities built-in.

Table Stakes

“Table stakes” refers to minimum offering: what you expect from ALL marketing automation platforms. Things like:

  • Single email campaigns
  • Drip/nurture campaigns
  • Posting to social
  • Workflow-based lead processing
  • Web forms
  • Autoresponders
  • Landing Pages
  • Gated files
  • Easy deployment to your website (WordPress plugin, tracking code, etc)
  • Google Ads, Analytics, Facebook Ads integration support
  • Support for relevant privacy legislation (CCPA, GDPR, etc.)

Still, these features are the ones most commonly used on a day-to-day basis. Take notes during your live demo. Does the feature look easy to use? Does the marketing automation provider use it themselves?

Checklist Template

Here’s a checklist to use as a starting point. Remove the parts you don’t care about, add other parts that are important, and use a checklist like this to compare providers against each other.

Provider 1 Provider 2
Integrates with our CRM
Monthly or yearly terms
Price for 5000 contacts
Price for 10000 contacts
Price per community?
Onboarding costs
Free trial available
Relationship support
Appointment Scheduling
Multi-community support
Call tracking
Text messaging
Live demo completed?
Demo -batch email usability
Demo -drip email usability
Demo -web forms
Demo -personalization
Demo -lead scoring
Demo -social posting
Demo -lead processing