In Japan, there is a manufacturing process called Kaizen. It is the simple idea of continuously improving functions within a particular area of business.

Whether it’s a manufacturing process or operations within the business itself, applying this principle of continuous improvement can yield exponential results and eliminate waste. What we’re concerned about today, is to apply this to our marketing and sales efforts to fully leverage our existing budgets.

Rarely have I seen a community that is fully leveraging their marketing budget. Hidden within their existing budget are gems that can lead to more residents that cost less to acquire and boost profits.

Following are five example of how to boost the performance of your existing print advertisements whether they’re yellow page ads, newspaper ads, or direct mail pieces.

1. A powerful headline is the most important part of all your marketing messages. It’s estimated that 80 percent to 90 percent of your marketing messages success relies on the headline. This is because it’s the part of the message that pulls the reader into your ad to learn more.

2. Using short paragraphs in our ads ensures the greatest amount of people will understand our message. Long paragraphs will distract caregivers, adult children, and seniors from reading your message. Just by making our ads easier on readers eyes can often boost response and further leverage the power of your marketing messages.

3. Include a strong call to action. The best ad in the world will get a terrible response if you don’t give people instructions on what to do. Is it to go to a website and download a free report, call within the next 30 days to inquire about a move-in incentive? Whatever the reason you need to give them a reason to take action now.

4. Give your readers multiple ways to contact you. As quick as it takes someone to read your message, they can quickly decide to not contact you because there’s not a website and email address to respond to. Some people want to research more before they call, and some people want to call right away. Giving people multiple ways to contact you casts the widest net possible to ensure the greatest response.

5. Track all your marketing efforts. Not tracking your marketing is like not tracking the performance of your investments. Whether you’re using promo codes, call tracking, special forms and pages on your website, you need to track your marketing efforts in order to make good decisions regarding your existing budget and where to allocate resources.

Follow those five points for any future advertisements and you can be sure to increase your response. We’ve scratched the surface on how to improve our existing marketing efforts, but what about our sales process?

Don't make these mistakes

Imagine a cup of hot coffee. It’s steaming hot, just asking to be sipped. You wrap your hands around it and can feel it’s warmth. What we don’t see however, is the coffee is losing temperature by the minute. You only have so long if you want to enjoy it hot. The same is for an incoming lead.

Being late on follow up can drastically reduce the performance of the existing phone calls coming into your community.

After a lead comes in, whether through the web or a missed call, you should be following up immediately. Every hour that passes decreases your chances of getting this prospect into your funnel and getting a new resident. Your marketing directors can’t be on call all the time. They’re out giving tours, talking to existing residents, and frankly they’re human.

If this is happening to your community then you need to come up with a system to have someone else answer the calls when the marketing director is not available.

Also, setting up the ability to take calls 24 hours can leverage urgent late night calls that have a very small window of opportunity. This also differentiates your community from the competition. You may have to rotate management to be on-call, but this is a great way to leverage the calls already being generated. If you’re there the critical moment this person needs you, then you’re going to get their business.

Converting prospects 

The last topic I want to talk about to further leverage existing marketing activities is to improve your tours at your community.

Are you preparing the rooms before giving tours? Removing any tape, fresh paint, and ensuring cleanliness of the display room. Is your Executive director coming to greet the prospect during a tour and showing genuine interest into their needs? Are you planning tours when activities are going on so they can get the feeling of community? Are you assuring your tour aligns with the criteria of your prospect. For example, if they like working out are you taking them to the gym, or if they’re artistic, are you designing the tour to show how your community will support their artistic abilities?

Spending more doesn’t mean producing more when it comes to marketing. If occupancy is down, and you already have a healthy marketing budget, then I encourage you to practice a little Kaizen in your business and see you can improve your senior living marketing efficiency.

Kevin M. Williams is the President of SeniorMarketing.com.