Solve Your Retirement Community's Immediate Occupancy Needs

Statistics show that the time from a prospective resident’s initial inquiry to move-in is 18 months to three years. But, suppose you can’t wait that long—you need those empty units filled yesterday. What can you do to speed up the sales cycle and solve your most pressing occupancy issues? The secret is right in your database.

That’s because the leads in your database have already started the sales cycle. These potential residents have already expressed an interest in your community, so the clock has already begun to tick. 

With the right tactics, you can use information that’s already in your database to breathe new life into those hibernating leads. Here are some of my favorite strategies.

Six Strategies for Marketing to Your Database



1. To more effectively target your database, conduct a data append for age, income, assets, homeowner and marital status. A data append uses technology to match email and snail mail addresses in your database with demographic and lifestyle information. If you need a list of companies that provide this service, feel free to contact me.

2. Include the existing database in all direct mail efforts, even when sending to a purchased list. This will allow you to target leads based on your available inventory. For example:

  • One bedroom—Send a targeted direct mail piece to leads with the marital status and income level best suited for that type of inventory. 
  • Cottage/villa—Organize a specific event tailored to the needs of people most likely to prefer a larger living space. 
  • Assisted living or skilled nursing residences—Send a mailing to adult children who are shopping for a community on behalf of their parents. 

3. Review the “notes” section of your database to gather more information on existing leads, and cater your mailings to their particular interests and needs. For instance:

  • If the prospect enjoys exercise, mail a listing of exercise classes.
  • If the prospect is a golfer, send a voucher for a round at a local golf course.
  • If the prospect’s decision will be need-based, send a mailing specifically about assisted living services.

4. Take attractive pictures of your model apartment homes, cottages and villas. Print the photos and mail them to the appropriate leads along with a personal invitation to come for a visit. 

5. If you’re using incentives to move inventory, target your mailings to the people who would find those incentives most appealing. 

6. Potential residents will feel more comfortable making a move if they have formed friendships with other residents-to-be. By hosting inventory-specific events for attendees who share similar criteria and interests, you can bring them together and spark new relationships. Here are a few ideas: 

  • Host an intimate cottage/villa dinner for ten prospective residents.
  • Host a morning coffee or afternoon tea in a cozy corner of the dining room or a small common area in an apartment building.
  • At the beginning of the month, mail a voucher for a special meal at your community that is only valid for that month. (Example: “Come for lunch or dinner during the month of July.”)
  • Offer a promotion for a night’s stay in a model apartment rather than in a guest room.

Now that you’ve been exposed to a few thought starters, it’s time to start brainstorming your own ideas. You’ll think of tactics that align the specific interests and demographics of your database leads with the offerings and personality of your community. So, don’t wait for that perfect customer to walk in the door and sign a contract. Start mining the valuable leads in your database today.

1 comment about "Solve Your Retirement Community's Immediate Occupancy Needs".
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  1. Katie Roper from, May 27, 2014 at 1:52 p.m.

    These are great ideas - and while you're in the process of implementing them, you can get immediate move-ins right away with just one phone call to (or one of the other third-party web sites that generate Internet leads).

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