Both demand generation and lead generation play an important — but different — role in increasing senior living occupancy.
While the emphasis for years has been placed on generating qualified leads, some providers are missing a key piece of the occupancy growth puzzle: demand generation. In some cases, the terms “lead generation” and “demand generation” have been used interchangeably, but the two serve different purposes.
What’s the difference? Demand generation and lead generation both play a role in increasing occupancy, but one generates interest for what you offer and the other directly generates leads.
A Deeper Look at Demand Generation
Demand generation gets people excited about what you have to offer. Even prior to COVID-19, some families who would have benefited from a loved one living in a senior living community had preconceived notions about what is offered or what life will be like. And that uphill battle has only gotten worse.
Herein enter demand generation. Demand generation raises awareness for your unique programs and services and why they matter. With demand generation, you share thought leadership content that demonstrates your expertise, distributing free resources and tools that show how useful senior living and your services and programs can be.
Unlike a lead generation campaign, demand generation campaigns do not require contact information or completion of a form to access your information. Your No. 1 goal with a demand generation campaign is to get as many relevant people as possible within your target market to engage with the content.
For example, you might generate a free report that families can download that outlines the steps senior living communities have taken to prevent the spread of disease from communicable diseases. Or, let’s say that you’ve decided to host a webinar for business professionals in your area that raises awareness about seniors and isolation at home. Maybe you develop a monthly educational event for families to attend that addresses caring for a loved one with memory loss or dealing with grief while supporting a parent who has lost a spouse. Interestingly enough, while many senior living providers host educational events, few have been successful in implementing lead gen campaigns post-event that have effectively converted attendees into prospects. This often stems from a lack of understanding of demand generation and lead generation strategies.
Regardless of which of the above strategies you use, as previously mentioned, the key with demand generation is that all of this content is ungated — provided for free and without asking for email or other contact information — in order to raise awareness and interest for what you offer.
One last note: Some choose to amplify the results of a demand generation campaign by using paid strategies such as social media or pay-per-click advertising.
So What Is Lead Generation?
Lead generation, as the name indicates, is the process of generating new sales leads with the hope of nurturing them throughout the buying process to convert them into paying customers.
Lead generation content is gated, which means that the reader must fill out a form with the required contact information to gain access to these resources. But the goal of lead generation isn’t just to generate more leads; it’s to generate high-quality leads.
The most effective lead generation campaigns match content to where leads are in the buyer’s journey. For example, you might create an educational guide that talks about your suite of signature programs in memory care for families searching for a memory care community. You might also create a case study on fall prevention that highlights the success of your fall prevention programs for families looking for an assisted living community for a loved one who has recently had several falls at home.
It is important to note that when talking about lead generation, we are talking about creating content that gives families a compelling reason to consider senior living now instead of later. Some strategies such as pay-per-click will help you capture those actively looking to buy before your competitor is on their radar, but for the purposes of this article, the goal is to influence families to search sooner. A healthy sales pipeline consists of both those ready to buy now and those considering buying in the future.
Retargeting campaigns can be a great way to drive traffic to lead generation campaigns after someone has viewed demand generation content. As mentioned before, the content needs to be relevant to the topic that initially interested them and wherein the buyer’s journey the family currently is (awareness, consideration, or decision).
How Demand Generation and Lead Generation Work Together
Successful senior living marketing strategies employ both demand generation and lead generation tactics and cater to the individual needs of both families in your target audience and referral sources who have the ability to refer to you.
By investing in both lead demand and lead generation campaigns, you create a healthy pipeline of high-quality prospects.
Are you ready to take your lead generation game to the next level? Check out our free Lead Generation Playbook. Whether you’re new to the concept of inbound content marketing to generate leads or you’re looking for a cost-effective approach, you’ll learn about the channels that are most likely to drive interest in your business.