Category Archive: News

  1. Solutions Advisors Group Celebrates 15 Years in Senior Living Sales and Marketing

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    Clearwater, Florida – Solutions Advisors Group (SAG) proudly announces its 15th anniversary as a leading force in senior living sales and marketing, marking a significant milestone in its commitment to serving communities nationwide.

    Founded in 2009, Solutions Advisors Group set out with a mission to revolutionize the way senior living communities connect with prospective residents and their families. Over the past 15 years, the company has exceeded expectations, providing tailored sales and marketing solutions to meet the evolving needs of clients in an ever-changing marketplace.

    President & CEO Lauren Messmer, also a founder of the company, has been instrumental in driving the company’s growth and success. “With her deep understanding of the senior living landscape, Lauren has led SAG to become a trusted partner for communities that want to maximize their potential and achieve sustainable growth,” said Chief Operating Officer Brad Clowney.

    Reflecting on the company’s journey, Lauren Messmer shared, “As we celebrate this milestone anniversary, I am incredibly proud of all that SAG has accomplished over the past 15 years. Our team’s passion for client service, combined with our innovative approach to sales and marketing, has positioned us as a leader in the industry. I am grateful for the opportunity to work alongside such talented professionals and look forward to continuing to help senior living communities thrive.”

    Throughout its history, Solutions Advisors Group has remained at the forefront of senior living sales and marketing, pioneering new strategies to deliver unparalleled results for clients. The company’s comprehensive suite of services includes sales consulting and marketing planning, lead generation, digital marketing, collateral development, branding, sales training, market research, and more, all tailored to the unique needs of senior living communities.

    “As we celebrate our 15th anniversary, the entire SAG team and I remain committed to driving innovation, fostering collaboration, and empowering senior living communities to succeed in an ever-evolving landscape,” Messmer concluded.

    For more information about Solutions Advisors Group and how we can help your community, read more about our senior living sales and marketing services.

  2. Sales and Marketing Assessments: An objective look at your sales and marketing strategies and KPIs

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    Often when we’re too close to something we’re heavily invested in, its challenging to objectively figure out ways to improve. This is certainly true when it comes to increasing occupancy at many senior living communities. Is it a sales’ process? Is it misaligned, or even incorrect, marketing messaging? Has the positioning of the community changed subtly or drastically? Is the general public’s perception of the community at odds with what we perceive to be the brand essence? Or is it something else?

    If these disconcerting thoughts are giving you restless sleep, anxiety or feelings of self-doubt, or all of the above, you owe it to yourself, your community and its stakeholders to solicit a third-party sales and marketing assessment.  Being willing to share metrics, materials and feedback on what is happening at your community can be the first step towards increased occupancy.

    Outside looking in

    One of the primary reasons to engage third-party providers for sales and marketing assessments is to remove the inherent bias and subjectiveness that may arise from internal audits. Once this subjectivity is removed, an organization can realize many benefits, including:

    • Valuation of sales team members for training purposes
    • Improvement of hiring process to procure future talented sales team members
    • Development of more effective processes and adherence to best practices
    • Fine tuning of the sales philosophy and tactics used to support it
    • An objective view of what makes your community better, different and special for marketing purposes

    As a senior-living industry leader in sales consulting, strategic marketing, operations consulting and digital marketing, Solutions Advisors Group (SAG) provides sales and marketing assessments as a core capability. For communities looking for reasons why their occupancy is being held back, or are planning an expansion of services, or simply looking to reengage their sales process, engagement with SAG for a sales and marketing assessment is the catalyst senior living leaders lean on for moving forward. Here’s how we do it…

    Step 1: Tour the community. It is important for SAG to see and feel what prospects would experience during a tour. With years of experience and an objective eye, it is easy for our consulting team to spot potential issues. “This is probably THE most important part of the assessment process,” explains Lauren Messmer, President of SAG. “If there is a disconnect between what the community is really like and what is being presented online and in collateral, that will always impact the sales and marketing process.”

    Step 2: Meet with sales. By sitting with the sales team together and individually, we are able to review processes, sales techniques and more while looking for ways to improve detail and increase occupancy.

    Step 3: Review the database. One place that is often teeming with untapped leads is a community’s database. By reviewing your active and lost leads, we can help identify opportunities to reconnect with the most qualified prospects.

    Step 4: Conduct a review of digital assets. As we are on-site, our digital marketing consultants will be analyzing your website, social media accounts, SEM efforts and online reputation with an eye out for potential improvements and upgrades.

    Step 5: Review marketing collateral. To ensure your community’s branding and messaging is consistent across all platforms, we will also conduct a review of your brochures, flyers and invitations.

    Step 6: Conduct a competitive analysis. This could include a review of pricing and positioning in the market for competitors nearby.

    Step 7: Facilitate a SOAR session. Once the research and review has taken place, a SOAR (Strengths, Opportunities, Aspirations and Results) session will be conducted with the SAG team and key stakeholders from your community.

    Step 8: Put it all together. Once all the discovery is complete, the SAG team works to create a comprehensive assessment document that includes findings and recommendations. “It is exciting and challenging to be straightforward with community leaders when we suggest changes that should be made – often outside of the sales and marketing departments,” Messmer continued. “Some of our hardest conversations, however, have turned into long-term relationships we have to this day!”

    After the sales and marketing assessment, if you feel your community would like to implement the recommendations outlined, SAG can work with your team to formulate a strategic sales and marketing plan with measurable goals. Connect with SAG today to schedule an introductory call!

  3. There’s a NEW Right Way to Setup Your Community’s Facebook Account

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    Do you know who within your organization is the administrator for your Facebook account? Could it be an outside party? Could the administrator of your Facebook account be a former employee? Is there a Business Manager account set up to securely share access with multiple individuals and manage your ads account? If you’re having to ask these questions, then its time to gain control of your Facebook account to protect this important digital asset, your brand and your community’s advertising efforts.

    The first place to start is creation of Facebook Business Manager. This tool negates the need for managing Facebook pages from a personal account and provides a portal for communities to effectively manage access levels, including team members and advertising agencies.  Facebook Business Manager allows for the management of multiple Facebook Pages in instances where different living options or campuses have their own pages, as well as provides a single location for managing Facebook Ads and business assets.

    If your senior living community is working with a digital advertising partner, its a best practice to grant them access through Business Manager. From one central location, you can monitor your contracted partner’s advertising and posting performance without running the risk that your business assets will be accidently, or mistakenly, altered. And if the relationship with your advertising partner or a team member comes to a close, it’s very easy as owner of your Facebook Business Manager to revoke access to an individual or agency.

    “Accessing our communities’ accounts through Business Manager is considered win/win for both the client and our agency,” explained Angela Thompson, Senior Digital Account Manager at Solutions Advisors Group. “First, the client should be the only party in complete control of their Facebook account – particularly for Ads and accessibility reasons. Secondly, if we were to own our client Facebook accounts within our agency account, there’s a greater risk for unintended complications with multiple client accounts in a single location.”

    “And lastly, at Solutions Advisors, we work with many blue-sky communities. When they reach full occupancy and have the personnel required to manage their own social media efforts, it’s an easy hand-off from Solutions Advisors to the community team, all the while keeping  their historical digital data intact,” she continued.

    And that last piece of information may be the most important reason for establishing a Facebook Business Manager account for senior living communities. By setting up this important tool, communities retain full control of their Facebook accounts, including any historical data related to ad campaigns run in the past, performance, click spend and audience information. This securely keeps the community in the driver’s seat for all future Facebook endeavors.

  4. The 5 Top Benefits of Google Analytics 4 For Senior Living Community Websites

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    Most senior living marketers deserve a pass for being unaware that Google rolled out the next generation of analytics, Google Analytics 4, in October 2020. After all, the events surrounding the pandemic of 2020 commanded marketer’s full and undivided attention at developing and deploying all kinds of new digital channels to engage senior living prospects and their influencers. What was happening behind the scenes with Google was far from a primary concern.

    However, for those marketers, particularly digital marketers who follow Google’s moves closely, this was exciting and long overdue news. Google Analytics 4, affectionately known as GA4, is replacing Universal Analytics (UA), the long-running web traffic analytics program launched in 2005. As Andrew Miller; digital marketing industry expert, nationally-renowned speaker and founder of digital agency Workshop Digital; points out:

    Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is an entirely different product than the Universal Analytics that we all know and love. The transition period might be a bit daunting but the benefits of adding GA4 will be worth the extra effort in the short term. Companies that embrace the change now will gain a long term advantage as GA4 eventually becomes the standard.’

    At Solutions Advisors, we’ve already started the process of onboarding the next generation of Google Analytics and are seeing the unique benefits this platform will deliver for monitoring website performance. Here are our top 5 benefits of switching to GA4:

    1. No more using cookies for tracking. Due to constantly evolving privacy policies, cookies for tracking purposes will likely be a thing of the past soon. GA4 utilizes AI and machine learning to predicatively fill the data voids that cookies once provided.
    2. Event-based tracking versus session-based data modeling. Currently, UA collects information based on sessions users have with a website within a given time frame. GA4, in contrast, will now collect information as ‘events’ instead of ‘goals completions’. This change will allow for a greater collection of behavioral and demographic information which will allow for more complete metric comparisons.
    3. Tracking of more digital properties. UA has been a reliable platform for tracking website performance, but it wasn’t keeping up with new digital channels. GA4 allows marketers to track both websites and mobile apps, which allows for more clarity into consumer behavior across differing devices.
    4. You don’t have to give up UA. Both UA and GA4 can be set up for your properties and be collecting data for analysis and comparison without being in conflict. In fact, running both platforms concurrently is a smart move due to GA4’s inability to display historical data. You can continue utilizing UA until GA4 is fully developed and adopted.
    5. Enhanced visualizations. While a bit simple, the reporting visualizations in UA have become very familiar and comfortable for digital marketers. But it was a time for a change for the better. The new reporting visuals in GA4 are much more engaging, providing more insights, more quickly. The Analysis Hub provides stimulating representations of deep data dives in the areas of Exploration, Custom Funnels and Pathing.

    Is it time for your organization to switch to GA4? According to Marybeth Parker, SEO Specialist at Solutions Advisors,

    “There hasn’t been a timeline set by Google to sunset Universal Analytics. In fact, there are still a lot of important features, including the capture of historical data, that GA4 hasn’t made part of their platform. However, there’s no reason why you wouldn’t make the switch to GA4 as soon as you can, particularly since the two analytical tools can be run together without interfering with tracking of results.”

    If you would like more information about transitioning from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4, feel free to contact us to set up a time to discuss your unique situation.

  5. 5 Reasons Why Your Senior Living Website Needs a Pillar Page

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    How many times a day do you ‘Google’ something? Search queries on the internet can get very detailed. That’s why search engines like Google and Yahoo frequently update their algorithms — to accommodate the way users search today. Recent Google changes brought the concept of pillar pages to the forefront of website content strategies.

    A pillar page is a page on a website that covers a topic in great depth. One way to visualize pillar pages is to think of them as a book with several chapters. And the more detailed information you have within your book and its chapters, the more internal links you’ll be able to create on your website, which helps improve a visitor’s experience and can add a significant boost to SEO.

    Pillar pages have an important role to play in attracting prospective residents, their influencers and members to senior living community websites. “Pillar content should be all-encompassing and authoritative about a particular topic, particularly topics that can provide a solution to an individual or individuals researching senior living,” Jeff Felton, Vice President, Digital Marketing Services for Solutions Advisors Group explained. “Content that solves a problem for the visitor and answers potential questions can become your more visited area on the website and ascend to the top of search results.”

    For the senior living industry, pillar page development is an effective tool in the SEO toolbox that educates researchers about living options and can help to improve a website in Google’s rankings, which leads to higher visibility, more lead conversions and ultimately, more move-ins.

    Considering utilizing pillar content?  That’s a smart decision…and here’s why:

    1. Pillar pages create a better user experience.
    2. Pillar pages help with site and search engine optimization.
    3. Pillar pages can help with your content calendar.
    4. Pillar pages let readers binge on content.
    5. Pillar pages add to your credibility.

    With so much content online regarding any given topic, to ensure your website is favored by search engines, a detailed, well-written pillar page should be part of your senior living community’s content strategy.  If you would like help with your content strategy, contact Solutions Advisors Group today!

  6. Solutions Advisors Group Certified as a Google Ads Partner

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    Google Ads has honored Solutions Advisors Group with certification as a Google Ads Partner.

    How Solutions Advisors Group Became Google Partner Certified
    Google Ads evaluated our digital team’s certifications as well as our spend, client growth, client revenue growth and sustained client base.

    To become a certified Google Partner, Solutions Advisors Group’s digital team is required to take several courses and exams annually to stay up-to-date on all changes and updates made to Google Ads. The comprehensive exams are meant to allow participants to demonstrate their aptitude and mastery of the Google Adwords platform.

    Solutions Advisors Group earned its certifications in the search and display ad specializations. Search and display ads provide critical contributions to the success of clients’ and managed communities’ digital lead generation efforts as they typically deliver the most cost-effective results and highest qualified leads.

    What Google Partner Certification Means for Our Communities
    Along with the trust conveyed by display of the Google Partner Certification badge, this certification provides Solutions Advisors Group direct access to higher-level Google support, as well as opportunities for additional training and networking events. This ensures that our team is at the forefront of Google Ads’ latest trends, ensuring that our client’s digital campaigns are maximizing their performance, results and return on investment.

    Interested in learning more about our Google Ads expertise or how we can help your community attract more prospective residents through this digital platform? Contact us today.

  7. Grand Opening – The Villas at Buffalo Hill Independent Living Community

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    With today’s seniors living longer, healthier and livelier, Immanuel Lutheran Communities (ILC) is growing its campus. Designed to better serve the dynamic nature of senior living, The Villas at Buffalo Hill is part of an expansive project to increase Immanuel Lutheran’s offerings to include additional independent living options and a host of modern amenities, programming and services. ILC hosted a public Grand Opening celebration on Saturday, November 3rd in Kalispell, Montana.

    Historically focused on skilled nursing, memory support and rehabilitation, as well as independent living and assisted living, ILC is realizing its vision of further embracing an active senior lifestyle. The Villas is a multi-story, 58,000 square-foot structure.

    “We have been expanding and renovating in phases over the last few years, including the goal to significantly grow the number of our independent living residences to meet the evolving senior demographic,” said ILC CEO Jason Cronk. “Already with many active and independent individuals, ILC is looking forward to serving new residents in a vibrant, inspiring lifestyle with great amenities and services.”

    The only Life Plan and Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) in Northwest Montana, The Villas at Buffalo Hill and ILC campus are set in the heart of Montana’s spectacular Flathead Valley near Glacier National Park. The Villas’ 36 apartment residences will range in size from 900 to 1,600 square feet and are designed to maximize natural lighting. They feature a balcony, fireplace, full-size washer and dryer and granite countertops, with a range of flooring and cabinetry options. Amenities include a fully-equipped fitness center with personal trainers, a heated indoor pool with a hot tub, exercise studio and classes, salon and spa, an auditorium and chapel seating for 140 and under-building parking and storage. Residents will also have priority access to assisted living, memory support, rehabilitation services and skilled nursing care.

    “We all share a bond of strong values rooted in faith and our staff carries through those values,” Cronk said. “The Villas is a place where you can create your next chapter, express your spirituality and experience fellowship every day. We offer a life of abundance surrounded by the great expanse of Montana.”

    The Grand Opening of The Villas at Buffalo Hill welcomed the public and was held from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, November 3rd. The event featured opening remarks by Immanuel Lutheran’s CEO Jason Cronk and Board President Linda Conners, followed by a celebration with an executive chef-prepared buffet that offered delicacies at stations throughout the community. There was live entertainment and attendees were welcome to take tours of The Villas.

    The new community also features the Wooden Nickel Bistro and Lounge with coffee bar and outdoor café dining, the Claremont Restaurant, twenty-four-hour staffing, complimentary scheduled transportation, a full-time chaplain and pastoral care staff. The Villas will have an initial entrance fee with a monthly service fee. Deposits are being accepted.

    The developer of The Villas of Buffalo Hill is ILC and constructed by Swank Enterprises, with four offices throughout Montana. The architectural firm is MMW, based in Missoula, Montana and CJMW Architects located in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Sales and marketing services are provided by Solutions Advisors, the marketing, advertising and sales division of St. Petersburg, Florida-based Solutions Advisors Group. Sawgrass Partners out of Glenview, IL provided development advisory and financial planning services for the expansion.

  8. Our Engagement with The Clare Takes on a Fresh Look in 2018

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    If you’ve worked in senior living for any span of time, you may be familiar with the story behind The Clare. Developed in 2008 by the Franciscan Sisters, the 53-story high rise in the heart of Chicago’s famed Gold Coast district defaulted on their loan and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. At the time of the bankruptcy, occupancy was stuck at 35%. In 2012, the distressed community was acquired by an affiliate of Senior Care Development and its financial partners and was financially restructured. Fast forward to July 2014 when the Solutions Advisors team was brought in to partner with the on-site team to drive sales and marketing. The first order of business was to strengthen the sales team, implement 7-day a week sales coverage and deploy a “team selling” model along with creative messaging and strategic event planning targeting educated, affluent retirees in downtown Chicago and surrounding neighborhoods. Quarterly marketing planning was initiated to evaluate past strategies and to plan for future initiatives. Continual coaching kept the sales team motivated while other innovative sales tools like creative follow up techniques and prospect case studies helped move the team closer to their goals.

    Members of the Solutions Advisors team, Marilyn Hoffman, Lauren Messmer, Jeff Felton and Courtney Sweasy, in close partnership with the Clare sales team, focused on improving key indicators.  Move-ins increased to just over 4 per month in 2017 and new inquiries increased to over 80 per month. The Solutions Advisors creative team dug deep in order to gain a full understanding of the Clare’s prospect audience and develop targeted messaging and to capture the upscale and energetic feel of The Clare. Strategic events kept prospects engaged by demonstrating the unique lifestyle and location of The Clare. Engaging digital strategies were deployed to capture web traffic and to drive lead generation. At the same time, ownership committed over $11 million dollars in capital improvements to the lobby, dining areas and resident common spaces which, in turn, helped increase sales even more as word got out about the “new” Clare. At the end of 2017, occupancy was over 95%.

    As for Solutions Advisors, our engagement with The Clare continues, but will focus less on sales in 2018 and instead will hone in on lead generation, marketing strategy and digital initiatives to keep The Clare brand front and center. We feel privileged to continue to work side by side with such a remarkable team. Truly, our work with The Clare has helped us live our mission of creating value-driven, innovating solutions for our senior living partners.

  9. Meet Mike Brindley – our expert Vice President with a passion for story-telling and colorful socks!

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    Mike brings more than 23 years’ experience in operations, sales and marketing. He joined Solutions Advisors in 2013 after having served as Regional Director of Operations for both Sunrise Senior Living and Holiday Retirement, two giants of the senior living industry. Mike works with clients across the country to imbue a sales culture throughout the organization, from leadership to line staff, not just to increase occupancy but also to instill a greater sense of enthusiasm, pride and achievement. Mike works collaboratively with the sales team, helping them become more strategic in the sales process while at the same time inspiring them to learn about prospects through their stories and to develop meaningful and creative follow up. Most recently Mike has helped Concordia Life Care Community achieve remarkable success in just a short time through coaching and collaboration.

    Mike is known for many things: his love for his family, attending Notre Dame sporting events with his son and brother, his zany sense of humor, his willingness to hop on a plane on short notice, but mostly for his colorful sock collection!

  10. We Celebrate… Concordia Lifecare Community!

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    Hard work, collaboration, creativity and partnership…all describe what’s behind the tremendous success at Concordia Life Care Community on the western edge of Oklahoma City. Following a sales and marketing assessment in April 2016, Solutions Advisors was retained to provide on-site sales consultation for this faith-based life plan community, with a focus on increasing qualified lead generation through strategic marketing efforts as well as on sales coaching to increase tours and ultimately increase move-ins.  With occupancy stalled at 84%, Concordia was faced with a low number of inquiries, sluggish sales and move-outs exceeding move-ins.  Fortunately, both leadership and the sales team were open to new ideas and eager to initiate a true sales culture to take them from ordinary to extraordinary.  Armed with new selling tools and techniques, the sales team showed improvements in nearly all key performance indicators:

    • Initial Inquiries – from 18 to 27 per month
    • Initial Tours –  from 7 to 15 per month
    • Inquiries to Tours – from 38% to 55%
    • Inquiries to Move-Ins – from 6% to 8%

    Most impressively, time in the selling zone as measured by the Sherpa CRM, soared from 20% to 45%, a clear indication of the team’s new enthusiasm and dedication to sales.  As of July, occupancy was at 95.8% with the remaining vacancies expected to full by year-end.

    “Solutions Advisors has been an amazing partner for Concordia as we have seen tremendous results since our relationship with them began.  They came in at a time when we had multiple vacancies in our Independent Living and as we began to implement their recommendations for new strategies, our sales began to increase.  Over the past year, our sales have been over double what they were the 2 years prior to working with Solutions Advisors.  We are very pleased with this partnership and look forward to continued sales success.”
    Danny Eischen, Executive Director, Concordia Life Care Community

  11. Why does an organization with 98% occupancy want sales training?

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    Schlegel Villages, a Canadian-owned group of 17 communities in Ontario, Canada, is the newest Solutions Advisors’ client to come on board. Founded in 1953 by Wilfred Schlegel, this family-run organization consists of independent, assisted living and long-term care communities. In April, Solutions Advisors was hired to develop and conduct a customized sales platform for the organization. This was to be no ordinary sales training, however, as the Villages boast 98% occupancy across the board. Instead, Schlegel Villages requested a sales platform incorporating the company’s values of deep respect for the customer, passion for customer service and doing the right thing. Solutions Advisors’ President and CEO Kristin Ward worked with leadership to develop content and to introduce the organization’s Sales Values at their annual sales summit in June. The next exciting step is a more in-depth sales workshop slated for September including a full sales manual based on the organization’s values and brand. We congratulate Schlegel Villages for its goal of going from good to great!

  12. Get to know… Paul O’Brien

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    Paul joined Solutions Advisors in 2011 after working in human services for nearly 27 years, focused primarily on older adults. Paul has done it all in senior living sales, from working the phones to developing strategic marketing plans to on-site mentoring and coaching of sales teams. He has crossed off many items on his personal bucket list, the most fascinating of which is performing as a stand-up comedian after studying comedy for several years. (He’s also really good at karaoke!) His focus, however, is his family, wife Denise and daughter Bridget, and contributing his time and talents to his family friends and community. Famous for his sense of humor, Paul takes seriously the business of sales, developing sales strategies to help clients achieve their occupancy goals.

    Look for Paul at Leading Age New Jersey and Leading Age Pennsylvania.