Thursday, January 16, 2014

5 Reasons Life Stories are Lost

1. You may not think anyone wants to know your life story. Sometimes, when I look back on my life I think, "Wow. I was so boring." We have to stop looking at ourselves negatively and start thinking about the fact that future generations will want to know about us. We've lived in a time that some people, especially teenagers, can't even imagine. What was life like before cell phones? You mean people actually talked to each other? However boring you think your life is, it will be endlessly fascinating to so many people, especially your children or grandchildren. You'll be surprised at how many people want to hear about the younger you.

2. You may think you'll do it someday-procrastination is not a good idea. Over the years, I've thought I was going to do a lot of things. I was going to ride in a hot air balloon, travel the country, and ride a horse into the sunset. Did I ever do any of those things? No. Do I regret them? Yes. Capturing your loved one's life stories may not seem important, but it is infinitely more important than you know. Yes, people have jobs and obligations, but make time for this activity. We don't live forever, so do it before it's too late.

3. You may think you have nothing to say. It may not seem like it from your perspective, but you do have something to say. With a little prompting and structured questions, you can pour out your wisdom and guidance for generations to come. You may be able to share insight into things no one has ever really thought about it. Each and every one of us is a creative individual with something new to say. Maybe your life stories can help someone else get through theirs.

4. You may think your family already knows you. Of course your family knows you! They know the person you are right this very second in time. But what about before? What about when you were growing up? Do they know about how you met the love of your life? What you did for your first job? Do they know your feelings and thoughts when they were first born? They probably don't. Your family will be so excited to learn about your life and the events that shaped you to be who you are today.

5. You may think that you're not a good writer. It doesn't matter if you haven't written the next Harry Potter series. Do what you can. If you can answer a question, you can write down your life stories. You don't have to sound eloquent and formal- your family will appreciate the natural sound of your "voice" coming through. Lifebio has tools that can help make the process easy and enjoyable. Just get it down on paper! Your life story will last for generations to come.

Go to lifebio.com for more information about how our tools can help make your life story become more than just memories!

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Getting Seniors & Adult Children's Attention with Storytelling in Retirement Communities

My friend, Kevin Williams, works with a lot of senior living providers (as www.lifebio.com/health
 does too).  I asked him to talk about storytelling from a marketing person's point of view as well as from a family member's point of view when they are seeking out GREAT service and care in their local area.  We discussed the fact that seniors in a retirement community are the BEST people to share the story of why they love living there---but another amazing thought is celebrating the life stories of the AMAZING people in your midst (tell THAT story).  That will certainly get the media's attention more than anything else.    Read on below.... --Beth Sanders    

By Guest Blogger.....Kevin Williams, President, www.SeniorMarketing.com

“I’ve got a story to tell you...”
Those words stop us in our tracks. When a family member or friend tells us they have a story to tell, we perk up. Evolution tells us stories are hardwired in our nature. We see this in drawings on cave walls. In today’s world, we see new stories from around the world, movies entertain us with elaborate stories of fantasy, drama and love. We see stories on our computers, tablets, and in what our friends share on social media.
Stories are everywhere and especially in good marketing. Even in marketing to seniors.

Let’s say you have an aging mother, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to care for her. You’re busy working and leading a professional life, and you worry because she just had a fall, only inches from tumbling down the stairs. You decide it’s time to start looking for a community that can make both your lives easier.

The first thing you do is go to the search engines and start searching for senior living in your area. You see ads and listings that say, “senior living your town”, “24 hour care”, “assisted living.” This is what you’re looking for, but it doesn’t speak to your heart.
Then you see a photo of a resident who your mother knows on the website of a community in town (better yet you read a story about her life experiences too!).  You click on the photo and you’re taken to a video of this woman. She’s telling a story about how she had some health issues and had a fall that broke her hip. She goes on about how she really couldn’t care for herself, and moved in with her daughter. Her daughter was a busy professional and wasn’t home very often. This lead her to becoming depressed and losing a lot of weight because she had no appetite.

Finally, with the help of her children, they decided to sell her house and move her into xyz community. She was initially very hesitant about moving to xyz community because she didn’t want to leave her home. She had been in the same house for 45 years, and wasn’t ready for the change.
Within 30 days of moving to the community, she said it was the best decision she ever made. She’s with a lot of friends from town, gets to socialize every day, and is getting care her daughter could never provide. This actually has strengthened her relationship with her daughter because her daughter is relieved from the burdens of being a caregiver. She was also putting on weight because she was eating regularly and her depression faded away.

How would you feel after hearing a similar story like this?
The typical advertisements and marketing materials in senior living are dry and boring and fall into the category of “me too” advertising. All you have to do is swap out the community name and they all sound the same. It’s not until you get to the sales coordinators and an actual tour of the community do you hear the stories that changed people’s lives. Stories that can help connect and sell senior living in many more powerful ways than any other form of selling possible could.

Marketing is an extension of sales and connecting with someone on a deep level needs to happen before a sale ever happens.  Asking about someone's past life experiences is one of the best ways to really and truly connect. 
Ask yourself, what are the frustrations and daily struggles your prospects have been through? What was it that finally set the trigger loose? Was it a fall or was it more of a gradual thing? 

If you’re continually talking and asking questions, you'll always understand your prospects. 

In this internet age, there are reviews of communities with gold mines of stories. You can learn what people liked about a community, what they didn't like, and you can reflect that in your marketing materials, too.
We're all emotional creatures, and stories have been part of our existence ever since we've been drawing pictures on the walls of caves. People see stories in our industry and say, “That person is just like me, and they trusted them and they went there? Oh, okay. Well, maybe I can trust them, too.” They identify with similar struggles and challenges. It's stories that drive us to take action, and stories that drive sales and marketing.

Kevin M. Williams is the President of SeniorMarketing.com™.  SeniorMarketing.com™ increases occupancy and income for senior living communities across the country. To schedule a free search engine marketing audit, please call (888) 523-3311 or visit: ww.SeniorMarketing.com.

Beth Sanders is Founder & CEO of LifeBio.com™.  LifeBio helps retirement communities to capture the amazing life stories of their residents.  We make it simple and fun for older adults to create a lasting legacy and to share their life stories.  Email info@lifebio.com  or call 866-LIFEBIO or 937-303-4576.   See more info at www.lifebio.com/health

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

New Year's Thoughts

As 2013 drifts to a close, people stop and think about how the year went, and how they can make 2014 the best year of their lives. Why not make your New Year's resolution something that will last forever, and is not only fun, but easy to accomplish? It sure beats dieting or exercising.

In 2014, make your New Year's resolution to record your life story. With the easy to use tools of lifebio.com, this task is not as daunting as it may seem. Have someone interview you, especially a younger loved one or grandchild. They will be fascinated to learn about your life. You've done some things they can't even fathom! Remember the dial telephones? You don't even have to be that old to remember them!

Once you complete your autobiography, your story will be printed out to last forever. Generations will be able to see what you accomplished and learned, even after you are long gone. Isn't that a great legacy?

As you pop open the champagne as the clock strikes twelve, don't only think about the future, but what you're going to leave behind.