5 Ways to Grow Community Census

At Heartland Pharmacy, we look to the future and offer hopeful ideas to experience census growth in communities and redevelop confidence in the quality senior living industry. We met with our trusted partner, Fuel Marketing, to discuss development strategies for our partners in the industry. Together, we quantified five steps to help move forward toward an optimistic future.

1. Identify your core (and unique) value points.

  • Take an objective view of your community. Are you providing what your current patients need? Have you faltered in providing specific needs, or have you been able to develop new offerings?
  • Get an outside perspective. How do your residents and their families view you? Do they see you as a cutting-edge community or an affordable advantage? Why did they choose you?
  • Pinpoint the shifts in decision-making. Two years ago, residents may have picked your community based on desires over needs, but the deciding factors may be driven more by safety than luxury during the pandemic. Are you able to provide both? What procedures were implemented over the past 18 months that set you above your competitors?

2. Prepare to market said value points.

  • Understand your audience and know how to reach them. Your audience somewhat depends on your unique value points. You may find it more successful in delivering a digital message or a printed brochure, or even the newspaper.
  • Relate (positively) with the public. The recent past hasn’t seen much positive press when it comes to communities, so it’s time to get back out in the limelight. Create an image that reflects your value points through community events, the media, or word of mouth. Show them that your community is where they want to be.
  • Always have a voice. Even if you are at capacity, it’s essential to maintain your marketing presence. A continual presence in the minds of potential residents, and their families, help your community maintain a better position in the decision-making catalog.

3. Ready the sales team.

  • Show appreciation first and foremost. Continue to understand what the sales team members are up against when introducing the community and building relationships. Many sales staffers have struggled to convince people to trust communities this past year. While the pandemic challenges have begun to ease, the sales team still has a “tough sell.”
  • Provide the right tools for your team. You’ve evaluated your (new) core and unique value points, so make sure your sales team is aware of the changes. Let them know what has been learned, what innovative ideas and plans have been implemented, and help them tell your story.
  • Instill a growth philosophy. Without the same ideals in mind, your growth will falter. Help your team understand that capacity is not the end goal; instead, it is a variable target.

4. Excite the entire team.

  • Again, show appreciation. This year has been rough, to say the least. Help your assistants, nurses, and even the maintenance crew realize how much you value them. When you have a strong team who feels appreciated, they are better prepared to help grow census.
  • Preserve quality team members. Implement incentive programs to maintain a quality staff that are eager to demonstrate the qualities of your community. We know your team does the job because they love helping people, but let’s face it, giving them a little love goes a long way too.
  • Continually communicate your growth plans. Consistent communication helps both the administration and the organization stay on track.

5. Create quality partnerships.

  • Find quality vendors. Working with vendors who have equally high standards takes a load off your shoulders. Their value helps lift your overall value.
  • Find sister communities. You may specialize in Alzheimer care, while your sister company emphasizes independent living. Having relationships within the senior living community helps broaden your voice.
  • Seek out innovation. Today, many companies are looking outside the traditional assisted living box and offering new programs and products to help in the overall care continuum. Be open to those opportunities and allow your community to grow and change with those opportunities.     

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