The Marketing Smoothie Recipe for Older Adult Services

The Marketing Smoothie Recipe for Older Adult Services

Take your direct mail, your advertising, your website, Facebook page, special events and put them all in a blender.  Combine, mix on high and serve immediately.  The rich flavors will create a marketing masterpiece worthy of your finest efforts.  Yields:  New customers.  Will keep for at least one year.

It’s true, every ingredient you add to your marketing mix is going to enhance the effectiveness of your campaign especially when you combine them and let them work together to support each other.  This is especially true when appealing to older adults.  Seniors usually read direct mail and watch or listen to commercials, hence the expiration date for these mediums is further out than say, print advertising.  That .5% response rate you get with direct mail may bring people to your community, your store or your website.  Use it wisely because it is quite expensive; however, it can boost interest and awareness about your organization when you promote your website, blog, Facebook, etc., in the mailed piece (email or snail mail).

Special events are a great place to have people sign up with their email addresses.  Offer something for free, or an opportunity to win cash or a give-away and you’ll get more email addresses.  Take your online magazine or website on the road — to senior fairs, to trade events, anywhere you can.  Then let people see what they can learn, enjoy and gain value from by participating in your online activities.

Of course there’s a menu of options for those folks who like to consume the latest communications trends of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and blogs,  too.  First, connect your Facebook page, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn accounts via any one of a number of new social media management services that are often free.  Then link all of that to your website.  Connect the paths among all these accounts to your blog or online magazine, to reputable referral sites and of course, your RSS Feed.  Promote your events on your site, within these accounts, offer special discounts, etc. via these mediums.  You can even try pay-per-click advertising on search engines and referral sites.

In your monthly statements or newsletters, provide links and special advantages to using your organization’s online tools.  Use signage throughout your venue to promote your online and make it worth a prospect’s while to seek out your business on the Internet.

Online strategies are far less expensive overall and are proving to be about 60% less per lead than traditional tactics.  However, a slow but steady shift of funds and efforts away from the traditional methods into the online is a far more successful way to reach the older adult market.  Use the next year or two to change your lead-generating diet to mostly online.

How To Create Your Online Newsroom

How To Create Your Online Newsroom

Sample online newsroom courtesy of Press-Feed.

Nearly 80% of people access an organization’s website before engaging further with a company.  The numbers are even higher for media journalists and producers.

In a Norman/Nielson Study, over 99% of journalists and producers search your website first, before calling you, asking for quotes to include in their aritcles or publishing your press releases.  Not only are journalists seriously time crunched, they have been very direct and specific about the way they want to be able to gain initial access and information about your organizaiton — through your website, according to Sally Falkow, president of Press-Feed.

From your home or landing page,media and other people wanting to know about your organization, its leadership, mission, position, etc. should be able to access your online newsroom.  Press-Feed has designed a news room that looks and feels like your website but allows the media,customers and prospects to access the background, facts, news and philosophical informaiton about our organization from a single page.

Your news room should have these individual sections accessible from the news page in an easily readable format:

Media Contact Information with the name, all phone numbers and email addresss with the best times to readh the contact, if needed.

Current Articles prominently displayed with complete facts in bullet points:

  • Quotes from outside the organization pertaining to the article subject (including contact information so comments can be verified)
  • Photos pertaining to the aritcle subject
  • Video (if possible and appropriate) pertai8ning to the aritcle subject

 

A full background of your organization in bullet points:

  • Date established
  • Address of the main headquarters and business extensions
  • Comapny affiliations
  • Governing structure
  • Organizational management (at least names, photos and contact information for the Executive Committee)
  • Board of Directors (names, company names, email addresses)

 

Photos that define your services and graphics that can be downloaded, such as your logo

 

Who You Serve

  • By industry
  • By geography
  • By demographics
  • Any other relevant identifier

 

A list of your articles and White Papers

  • Possible video of the CEO talking about the industry and hos his-her organization is making a difference

 

 

Online Fundraising The Good, the Bad and the Basics

Online Fundraising The Good, the Bad and the Basics

Haiti after the earthquake. Photo by News Hawker.

The recent disaster in Haiti caused an out-pouring of philanthropy.  According to Philanthropy.com, American groups have raised more than $644-million—marking the first big fund-raising test for collecting charitable gifts via text messaging. More than $37 million so far has been contributed, usually in increments of $5 or $10, using a cellphone.

Does this mark the beginning of fundraising via technology?  We heard from the experts… (Click here to read more)
According to a discussion with Scott Henderson (RallytheCause.com) and hosted by philanthropy.com, social media is a good source of fundraising for a timely project.  It allows donors to see that the organization is providing good stewardship of their contributions and that the donors themselves are appreciated.  Henderson cautions though that social media is a long-term strategy amidst the tried and true personal contact with donors.

There are many instances of fundraising successes in the digital world such as Obama’s campaign, Lance Armstrong, the Humane Society and “Twestival” a campaign to raise money to drill water wells in Africa.  But the actual results of lining the coffers with online donations is yet to show overall success and commonly results in 2 to 3% of the annual giving.  Still, online fundraising has yet to hit its maturity.

How can your organization use online donation and social media?

1)  First, make certain that your website can take donations on a one-time or planned giving basis.  If you don’t accept credit cards, consider other service providers who will likely accept the donations for you at a rate of 5 to 7% and send a check to you when your collected funds meet $25.
2)  Use many photos on your site and Facebook to show that people are benefitting by the donations being made.  Use this venue to thank the donors as well.
3)  Make certain the message for your appeal is timely and has a strategy that combines your website, donor pages, Facebook and Twitter messages.
4)  It’s important to get as many people involved in the campaign as possible:  management, employees, volunteers, board members and special donors.  Ask them to create challenge donations with their “friends.”  Involve your vendors as well.
5)  Remember you cannot control the message.  Word is being spread by your supporters.  While this is unsettling to some organizations, the only way to grow is to let go.  Allowing the message to come from the community’s voice of supporters is by far stronger and ultimately more effective.
6) Use video when you are able.  Or direct people to someone else’s video that is your story, too.  Consider how this video could help raise funds for your art therapy program (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RW-a3SLnj_w)
Small not-for-profits may want to check out the services of Grassroots.org.  This organization donates free technology related to web development to other not-for-profits.  The services are donated by 2,000 volunteers and 10 companies.

Currently, Grassroots has 1,900 not-for-profit clients who are using programs from their menu of 13 services that are valued at the for-profit price of $26,000.

Like all digital communications, the techniques for success fundraising are evolving.  Now is the time to consider if your organization can benefit by exploring the options.

It’s addicting!  The fast-paced, ever changing world of public relations and marketing captures your interest and keeps you charged up to learn more everyday.  I love to find the best ways to tell our client’s stories and man, they have awesome stories!

It’s my job to discover our client’s goals and then match the best processes to achieve them, within their budgets, of course.  I get to explore traditional, digital and every manner of communication to determine which tactics, whether it is direct mail or TV advertising, a new website or PPC (to name just a few) will efficiently and effectively capture the attention of prospects. 

I also get to work with great people at IVY – they’re creative, fun, caring and super smart.  We’ve all been around the industry a while so there is not a novice among us.  Our clients are very cool too and totally passionate about the services they offer.  We’ve been working with most of them for years so we know they truly care about being innovative and responsible to the markets they service.  I have great admiration for all of them and look forward to every day. 

It’s true what “they” say, if you love what you do, you won’t work a day of your life!

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IVY was established in 1990 with a basic premise to offer professional, ethical and highly creative marketing, advertising and public relations services. We have successfully maintained our core values and have been part of many amazing projects, client growth and changes in the world of marketing that continue to happen at lightening speed. Most of our clients serve older adults in some capacity so we keep abreast of the opportunities and challenges they face.   Each day, we keep it real and fun and consistently deliver positive results to our clients and their markets.

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As a hybrid graphic and digital designer/web developer with over 17 years of experience, I am always on the lookout for innovative digital and print visual communications. IVY Marketing Group’s broad range of projects keeps my job challenging and rewarding, as each campaign is a new and exciting opportunity to effectively communicate our clients’ messages and help them achieve their goals. It’s my passion!

My body of work encompasses a diverse design style and wide base of clients, ranging from national associations, small businesses and big name brands like Hyatt and LiftMaster. I firmly believe that form follows function and highly value the communicative power of simplicity. 

Areas of professional expertise include Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Word Press, Responsive Design, CSS3, and HTML5. The industries I’ve served include senior living, health care, hospitality and finance.

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All my life, I have loved writing. As a child, I could often be found in my room “writing a book.” While “novelist” is not (yet) on my resume, I am a storyteller. I believe that everyone and everything has a great story, and it is my joy to find that story and share it with the world.

After earning my bachelor’s degree in journalism and completing my master’s studies in the same field, I joined a small advertising agency with powerhouse clients in the hospitality industry, such as Hyatt, Hilton International and Carnival Cruise Lines. I began as a proofreader and achieved the position of senior copy writer within a year.

After my first son was born, followed by two more, I started a freelance writing business that included (among several others) such clients as Advocate Health Care and Coldwell-Banker Realty. Clients in the education arena included DeVry University’s Becker CPA and Stalla CFA Reviews, DePaul University, and Naperville School District 203, for which I won two state public relations awards.

For nine years, I was employed as Communications Director for a large faith community, where I managed all aspects of internal and external communications. I was writer, editor, designer, web master, and content manager.

As such, I am experienced and comfortable writing multimedia for a broad variety of industries, products and services.

I joined IVY Marketing Group in 2013, when I began writing client press releases on a freelance basis. I loved the work—and my teammates—so much, I was thrilled when I was invited to come on board in a greater capacity.

I have immensely enjoyed getting to know our valued clients in the senior housing industry, the people they serve, and telling the many wonderful stories that come out of content marketing done right—with the love and care our IVY teams puts into everything we do.

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It all starts with one idea. Working with the Ivy creative team for over two decades has always meant taking one great idea and bringing it to life to help our clients meet their goals. We enjoy the challenges offered with every creative opportunity and try to make the design process itself enjoyable for our clients.

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Making certain that the projects IVY produces are word- and picture-perfect is my specialty. But I also love implementing marketing campaigns and programs that bring our clients success. Details are my thing, so it is a pleasure to have worked with IVY twice now, first after college four years ago and, recently, for the past two years.

The IVY Group is a terrific team of creative, positive and talented professionals that I love working with and, judging from the length of stay of our clients, I think they love our team, too!

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Rock-climbing, training for an 80-floor stair climb event, running a 5K…This is just a tiny peek into what people 20 and even 30 years older than I am, are doing on a fairly regular basis at some of the retirement communities that IVY represents.

I’m of the generation that still has reoccurring nightmares about what the next step looked like when my grandmother could no longer live by herself. The very best option at that time was living at a “facility” and  included eating rubbery chicken and playing an occasional game of BINGO. Period. That’s why my parent’s generation begged us not to ever put them into “one of those places.”

I am so proud that IVY’s clients are at the very forefront of an industry that creates opportunities, challenges, and most of all freedom for seniors, allowing them to explore hobbies, interests, passions…the next chapter of their very full lives.

I feel reassured for my own future. Even more, I feel honored to be able to share the impactful stories about this paradigm shift in the world of senior housing. What we hear and see at our clients’ communities is fascinating and inspiring!

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Keeping up to date on new public relations strategies, online engagement tactics, and promotional tools is my passion.

With my hospitality background in marketing top Chicago restaurants and hotels, I was eager to bring fresh concepts and communication strategies to our clients and have really enjoyed learning various industries.

Our clients have such exciting and unique events and programs, which really makes it motivating for me to make the most of their content.  Results like increased sales leads, website visits and social media connections make everyday rewarding and interesting.

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I oversee, plan and implement projects and processes at IVY.  Often,  I am the conduit between our writers and designers, with printers, and other vendors to fulfill the marketing needs for our clients. I also manage media buys and coordinate production of advertisements.

Working for a flexible and fluid company that is constantly growing, changing and evolving is fun and rewarding. There is always something new to learn.

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My bio has a big blank in the beginning—Mom and Dad rescued me in Wisconsin, and no one really knows my origins. They were probably ruff. What matters though is where I am now, running IVY Marketing Group. There are humans here who think they’re in charge. In truth, they do actually have amazing experience in content marketing and public relations, but I’m super important and the center of attention. I mean, look at this face. Right? And I know I’m the top dog because honestly, I’m the only one allowed to sleep through staff meetings and eat things that people drop on the floor.

The fact is though that I truly love staying awake at staff meetings. Everyone talks and laughs and they’re always excited. That surprises me a little because it’s not like anyone has thrown a ball to play fetch or anything. But I guess what gets my pack of peoples’ tails wagging is their work and their clients. I don’t know what a website or a blog is, but I do know that my pack must be good at them because they’ve earned all sorts of awards for these and other things. My bed had to be moved because the framed certificates were taking up so much room. Despite the inconvenience, I’m proud of these awards!

I serve several important purposes at IVY. I always let Mom (and the world) know when the mailman is here. When people come into the office, just one (usually) quick non-invasive (usually) sniff, allows me to determine important characteristics…like if they had anything good for breakfast, own any pets (pet owners are the best!) or if they stepped in anything on the way in. (It’s sort of like me conducting a first job interview.) I generously share my tummy because I know people like to give it a good scratch. I always give kisses, whether one is feeling lonely or not. And I’m always happy to share someone’s meal, especially if they’re trying to lose weight. My pack describes me as being engaging, amusing, and entertaining. (When I hear a siren, I “sing” along and it makes them laugh.) NPR talks about the benefits of having a pet at the workplace. Studies show pets lower stress hormones and improve morale and productivity. I wholeheartedly agree that a dog in the workplace is the best thing since rawhide bones.

As for my pack of people at IVY…they are amazing and always make my tail wag!

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I could not be more thrilled to work alongside the IVY team.

For over 25 years, I have been employed in top executive positions across the Chicago area and have consistently built profitable businesses, generated sales, and developed and launched new product lines.

Strategically positioning companies and commodities for growth is a strong suit I’m eager to bring to ResponderHub™, IVY’s new crisis communications solution. I’m also excited to help expand IVY’s reach in the senior marketing industry.

I believe people are more open than ever to thinking outside the box and looking at new ways to reach their customer base, while at the same time reducing their cost of sale. The senior industry is exploding, and IVY is perfectly positioned to respond to the need for innovative, quality content marketing services and effective crisis communications.

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I love being able to use my skills to help improve other people’s lives, and with a growing elderly population, it’s important to create meaningful and user-friendly digital solutions to aid the senior living industry.I have a wide range of technology and design skills with a deep interest in Human-Computer Interaction– helping IVY provide outstanding web design and print design services. IVY has a long-proven track record of excellence, and I’m proud to be able to help carry on that tradition. 

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