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Customer-centric Marketing: How Sunrise Senior Living personalized for customers' individual needs to increase online leads by 12%

Abby See, Director of Online Marketing, Sunrise Senior Living

"Right out of the gate, for about 50% of our customers, it tends to be an emergency," said Abby See, Director of Online Marketing, Sunrise Senior Living. "It's not a situation anyone ever wants to face — it's very emotional, and we want to do our best to connect with them."

See's team, in the Readers' Choice winning campaign, realized that they could help their customers much more effectively if they educated them first on available care options, and then let customers lead the process themselves armed with relevant information.

It was from that sentiment that the Care Questionnaire was born. The Care Questionnaire was designed to ask questions that would help customers determine what type of care they need for themselves or a loved one.

"It might be the springboard to your research. There's so much information out there. If we could just point them in one clear direction, we felt like it was a supportive and resourceful type of thing to do for our customers," See said.

It began as a suggestion from customers that it would be nice for Sunrise to have some sort of survey or questionnaire to help them figure out the best type of care for their situation.

"We really were just answering their suggestion. This wasn't even our idea. It was our users' idea," See said.

Step #1. Design website to be responsive

Sunrise redesigned its website for responsive design in 2013.

It was a risk, according to See, but as the team was seeing mobile visits climb, they decided the site needed to be responsive if customers were going to start using tablets and mobile devices in greater quantity.

After adapting the site to be responsive, the team wanted to know how it was being received by customers, so they conducted a user test.

"In user testing, we selected our demographic [to be] our largest audience, which is the adult child who tends to be female, age 50 to 65," See said.

The team had this group use the website and share their thoughts about it, and the team asked questions as well.

According to See, examples of questions asked include: "How do you feel about it? Secondly, were you able to find the information you needed? Let's say you were shopping for your mom or dad or a loved one, did you find it easy to find what you needed?"

Step #2. Build based on customer response

The team also had to ensure that users understood the next step after getting their care results, which was to validate these results through a full assessment at a Sunrise community.

What helped with this concern was tapping into another Sunrise audience of medical professionals. There are many instances, See said, of patients being discharged after an incident — like a senior falling and breaking their hip — where that person's caretaker is suddenly overwhelmed by their need for full-time care.

This was a way to ensure that a large portion of people taking the questionnaire could truly benefit from an assessment and were getting information exactly when they needed it. Right then and there, someone can reach out, set up their appointment and have a tour scheduled for the next day, where Sunrise can fully assess the senior's needs, See said.

Step #3. Assess efforts with customers

Eventually, the team pushed it out on all paid search ads as a site link. They also added it to all community pages. That way, if a customer was at a specific touchpoint and wasn't sure if they needed Sunrise's services or not, they would have that immediate check.

The team also decided to follow up the Care Questionnaire with assisted living resources. To implement this, they sent out an email that gave specifics about what the journey might look like for each user. For instance, tips for downsizing and affording care.

They also offer assistance for the smaller percentage of people who qualify for independent living care, for which Sunrise has 12 to 13 communities that offer that.

Memory care is the service where Sunrise can be the most impactful, See said. It is especially helpful because many people don't know if their loved one needs this type of care or not.

"The email that we follow up with is chock-full of memory care resources. We've got things like a lot of great memory care videos. We also have top 10 warning signs of Alzheimer's disease. That happens to be one of the most trafficked pages on our entire website," she said.


With over 20,000 users completing the survey at a 63% completion rate, the results Sunrise achieved from this effort are:

  • A 5.8% conversion rate by questionnaire completers who submitted their information to be contacted by a Sunrise representative

  • An 8% lift in users to the site through targeted paid media campaigns that directed searchers to the questionnaire

  • The exit rate from the results page of the questionnaire is 65% lower than site average

  • A 12% lift in on-site leads

  • A 4% lift in total site conversion rate

For other marketers embarking on a similar journey, See said, "I think user testing is essential because analytics can't tell you everything."



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