According to the Small Business Development Center, one millions Americans reside in senior care facilities. This industry generates $178 billion dollars annually and the competition for residents is fierce. The four largest assisted living companies, Brookdale Senior Living, Sunrise Senior Living, Emeritus, Senior Living, and Atria Senior Living, account for only 13% of the revenue. The remaining 87% is made up of more than 13,000 small and mid-sized communities including Scarborough Terrace in the Portland, Maine area. To compete successfully in this crowded business category, Scarborough Terrace turned-up the radio...and it's working!
"I think consistency is the bottom line," says Elizabeth Simonds, Marketing Director for Scarborough Terrace. "You really don't look for an assisted living community until you need one. So when you're in the market, [Scarborough Terrace] needs to be top-of-mind. So [radio advertising] needs to be a long term commitment." This is the same marketing strategy championed by Kevin Kaserman of Dunbar Water in our previous article: Effective Small Business Advertising: Consistency is Critical; and by Cathy Manchester of Keller-Willams Realty in the article: Local Real Estate Agent Doubles Sales Using Radio Advertising.
"We Know Radio Is Effective"
As part of Scarborough's consistency philosophy, commercials had always been voiced by the community's Executive Director, Terry Huntley. But, according to Elizabeth, "Terry was out of town two years ago, so I went to record the radio ad. The ad starting running the next day while Terry was still away. Terry got something like 20 or 30 calls from people saying: have you left? Who is this Elizabeth person talking on the radio? So we knew right away that the radio [advertising] was having a tremendous amount of impact." This is similar response described by Michael Major of Cunningham Security Systems who said in a previous article, "When I'm Not On The Radio, My Phones Don't Ring."
Listen to Scarborough Terrace's current radio commercial:
Station Selection Is Critical
According to The Small Business Development Center, the cost of living in a community like Scarborough Terrace ranges from $3000-$4500 per month. "Because of the hefty price tag," says the SBDC, "only individuals with a fairly large disposable income are typically able to afford these services." To reach these consumers, Scarborough Terrace relies on Big Hits Y100.9 (WYNZ) and WGAN (AM560). According to Media Audit, these stations, compared to the general population, are
- 20% more likely to earn $100,000 per year
- 33% more likely to have liquid assets valued at $250,000+
- 18% more likely to be retired
Scarborough Terrace's formula for achieving success is right out of the Small Business Guide To Effective Radio Advertising:
Radio Success = The Right Message+The Right Audience+The Right Time
To sustain its success, Scarborough Terrace adds in a healthy dose of consistency in station selection, messaging, and most importlantly, visibility.
Listen to the complete interview with Elizabeth Simonds of Scarborough Terrace:
Here are other articles we recommend that highlight other small businesses in Maine who have had success using radio advertising:
- Maine Window Company Achieves Goal In 6 Weeks Using Radio
- Radio Helps Maine Landscaping Company Grow 45% in One Year
- Radio Contributes To Success of Maine Non-Profit Organization
- Radio In The Mix: Maine Entrepreneur Makes Dollars From Doughnuts
- Business Owner "Likes" Radio And Increases Facebook Followers By 571%