Websites are the most effective way for many senior living operators to conduct their marketing, according to industry professionals responding to a new survey. And when it comes to other marketing methods, they said, traditional print advertising and direct mail are more effective than efforts via social media, web advertisements or email marketing.

Sixty-eight percent of respondents to the online poll by the American Seniors Housing Association said their own website is their most effective marketing channel. Brooks Adams Research conducted the online survey for ASHA, seeking to benchmark digital marketing practices across the seniors housing and care industry. A total of 255 seniors housing and care providers who are members of ASHA or LeadingAge were polled.

“Among many fascinating insights, the results of this first-ever survey identified a wide range of key metrics to benchmark and compare digital marketing activities, which have become critical to seniors housing’s success,” ASHA President David Schless said.

The survey found, for example, that 81% of respondents use email marketing even though less than one-third of them believe it is effective. Also, according to the research, the lead-to-tour rate of conversion from digital marketing averages 20%, whereas the lead-to-sale rate of conversion from digital marketing averages 7%.

When comparing responses from professionals working for not-for-profit and for-profit organizations, the survey found that for-profit participants were 22% more likely to use a reputation management platform to help them respond promptly to online reviews and comments compared with not-for-profit participants.

Additional results are available in a special issue brief, “Digital Marketing Trends in the Senior Living and Care Field,” which can be purchased for $40 via ASHA’s website.