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Willow Valley Retirement Communities

Willow Valley Digital Marketing Campaign

Willow Valley Digital Marketing Campaign

The Situation

Founded in 1984, Willow Valley is one of the nation’s largest continuing care retirement communities. With thirteen different communities across two campuses, and products ranging from luxury villas to independent apartments to memory care, their success depends on a steady stream of qualified leads.

For many years, their online goals were branding and awareness — not conversion — but they realized it was time to change tack and focus their marketing efforts on lead generation.

Willow Valley Digital Marketing Campaign-situation

The Strategy

Using a mix of online ad types — including behavioral, geotargeted, contextual and search — Creating Results developed a highly targeted, integrated digital marketing campaign with a mix of techniques/ad types all driving to a landing page with a simple, strong offer to motivate conversion.

Willow Valley Digital Marketing Campaign-strategy

The Solution

We began with research and analysis, identifying opportunities for geographically and contextually relevant display advertising. The media team prepared a plan that included online display advertising, placements in enewsletters and directories, and remarketing — a new tactic for Willow Valley. 

A key component of this effort was development of a custom dashboard to track daily performance of each ad buy. The resulting cost-per-click and cost-per-lead calculations were used to make weekly adjustments throughout the campaign to ensure best results. 

Creative elements for the three-month campaign included:

  • New display ads leading to a custom landing page
  • Rich media ads in the form of an expanding banner; another first for Willow Valley
  • A landing page with a simple offer for a downloadable “Retirement Planning Guide”
  • Search engine marketing
  • Scripting of a series of emails for confirming download and then nudging leads to a next step

Willow Valley Digital Marketing Campaign-solution

The Results

Projected online impressions = 4 million     
Actual online impressions generated = 5+ million

Willow Valley had traditionally seen a seasonal dip in web traffic during the fall. Knowing that, our goal was to launch the new campaign elements in time to boost leads during that period.

  • The Retirement Planning Guide campaign dramatically reversed the previous downward trend in website visits, with visits up 171% over the same time period in the previous year.
  • The rich media ad test was a success as well. The expansion rate averaged 6.56%, in contrast to the average interaction rate for expandable ads, which is 4.44% (Source: PointRoll). The click-through rate averaged .23%, well above the .13% average CTR for expandable ads (Source: PointRoll).
  • Search engine marketing delivered consistently and powerfully during the four-month trial, generating 435,000 impressions and a .11% click-through rate.
  • The big winner was the placement within an enewsletter with a high retiree readership, which boasted a whopping .74% CTR and 130 conversions.
  • The landing page averaged 28 conversions/downloads a week, with a total of 397 leads directly attributed to the offer in the three months of promotion and the subsequent month. 


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