Placing agencies, like, are the industry standard in getting independent living and assisted living leads to your senior living business. But, they are expensive!

What if you could cut your marketing budget in half, save thousands of dollars, and beat the placing agencies at their own game by implementing an effective digital marketing strategy? That’s the discussion of this week’s video. Enjoy!



How can you save, 5, 10 or maybe even $20,000 on the marketing efforts of your senior living home? Let’s talk about that.

Hey guys, welcome back to Marketplace Earth, where we help brands grow. My name is Eric Sztanyo, and I am super excited about this video today where we are talking about placing agencies – how you can save $5,000, $10,000 or $20,000 on your marketing efforts! Maybe even more! I’m going to show you exactly how we are going to do that.

Specializing in Assisted Living Marketing

I am so excited about this because this idea is basically the entire reason why Marketplace Earth has shifted into specializing in digital marketing efforts for the senior living, whether that is assisted living, independent care or home health care. Whatever it is, if you need help with your marketing efforts, please contact us because we are seeing tremendous results with our clients. I can’t wait to talk about this idea and show you guys how you can save a TON of money on your marketing efforts.

So, let’s dive into it. This video is part of a series, and we are in video #3 of our Top Ten Digital Marketing Strategies for your senior living or assisted living home. Today, we are talking about placing agencies. In a list of our 10 videos, we are on video #3. We’ve talked about branding, and we’ve talked about your website. Click the links to watch those videos and see how important it is to get your branding and your website going. But now, we want to talk about placing agencies, and how we can save you money.


So, here’s an overview of the video today.

  • First of all, placing agencies – what are they and who are they?
  • How much do they cost?
  • How do they get their leads? We’re going to show you exactly what they are doing with their digital marketing efforts.
  • How can you save literally thousands of dollars in your marketing costs? We’re going to map that out for you and show you exactly how to do it.

What Are Senior Placing or Referral Agencies?

First of all, what is a senior placing, or sometimes they are called senior referral agencies? These businesses occur in different industries, but specifically we are talking about the senior living industry.

Placement agencies provide a free referral service to assist in locating licensed residential care facilities for the elderly (assisted living facilities, board and care homes, demential care facilities.)

They will interview you and determine your level of care need, type of placement you desire, amount of income, etc. They may take you to homes for your inspection. The agency is paid by the facility (this is a key point) once a placement is made. The agencies do not assist in finding skilled nursing facilities, subsidized housing, or general properties. How much do they cost?

Who Are They?

Let’s take a look at who they are. You’ve probably seen these online. Some of the most common ones are,,, and

If you look right here, this is a little snapshot, they all basically look like this on their homepage. There’s an elderly person. You see a friendly person helping them. There’s a zip code search bar, and it’s basically a giant directory of the local senior living homes and businesses that can help those seniors.

How to save money with placing agencies - home page

Here’s another one, A Place for Mom. You’ve probably seen it. Very common and very popular. They get a lot of leads. A lot of people are visiting their website, and we’re going to talk about this one specifically today.

how to save money with your assisted living marketing - homepage

They do a great job and earn a ton of traffic. It leads to earning a ton of leads. But, are they the best choice for your assisted living marketing strategy. That’s what we are talking about.

How Much Do They Cost

Let’s keep moving along because the question is, how much do they cost? If you’ve done any research into this already, you might know how much a placing agency costs. Let’s run through the numbers.

First of all, as we read in the definition, placing agencies are free for the seniors or family members using the service. The reason why placing agencies have boomed and they get so much traction online is because a lot of people use them. Why? They’re free to use!

So basically, I call the number or fill out the lead form. I give you my information and the details of the person who needs placed. Then I say, go to work for me. That company goes to work and comes back with a list of senior homes in the area that might be a potential fit. From the consumer’s standpoint, it is a great value. It’s free. I don’t have to go out and do a lot of searching out there because you are doing the searching for me. Now, are you going to provide the right senior home for me? I don’t really know. But, for the families, they are free.

How Placing Agencies Afford Their Marketing Budgets

Now, let’s talk about how much they cost and figure out how they pay for all of this. Placing agencies make money when they place a resident in a home, and they get paid by the senior living facility. They get paid by you. So, how much does it cost?

I have some clients who are using, and this is the current rate they use, which is a pretty good benchmark for these referral agencies.

It’s a $3,000 fee just to get started. So, before you get a resident, you have to pay three thousand dollars. The, for every resident that they place in your home – for every bed, it’s a 120% referral fee. Whatever your monthly rate is for a senior living in your assisted living home, they are going to charge 120% on top of the $3,000.

Running the Math

Let’s run through the math.

An average assisted living home to stay in on a national level is $3,600 per month per resident. You’re monthly rate might be less or it might be more. Perhaps, you are targeting a higher rate with a Level 4 or Level 5 type of care. Your costs may be $4k, $5k, $6k per bed.

Looking at the average costs nationally, if you take $3,600 x 120%, that is $4,320.

Let’s say you have 10 beds in your residential assisted living home. If you use a placing agent to fill every bed in your home, that will cost you $43,200 + $3,000 for the original fee for a total of $46,200 to fill your home before any vacancies.

That’s a lot of money. I don’t know if you want to pay $46,000 to fill all your beds. Perhaps you feel like you can do better with your own marketing, but that is a lot of money.

Then, of course, you need to think about vacancy. So, you are looking at another $4,300 for every new resident. The average stay for assisted living is 28 months (21 months median). Most of your residents are elders, and they will either move on to skilled nursing, or they may pass away in your home. If you have ten beds, there’s a good chance you’re always going to have one vacancy in your home. Really easily, you are looking at $50,000 a year.

If you are at $5,000 per bed, 120% for the referral fee is $6,000 per resident lead. 10 beds x $6,000 = $60,000, not counting any vacancies. If you have $6,000 per bed, then you’re talking about $72,000 for marketing costs. Any give year, you are easily spending $50,000.

How much do placing agencies cost - assisted living marketing

That’s not an unrealistic number if you are only using placing agencies to fill your beds with residents. That’s how much they cost. It’s not cheap. I remember seeing this amount of spend going through Gene’s class thinking, “wow, that’s a lot of money to spend on marketing.”

How Do Placing Agencies Get Their Leads?

So, how are the assisted living placing agencies actually getting their leads? It’s not very complicated. It’s pretty simple actually. What they are doing is an ongoing, effective digital marketing strategy. They are spending tons of money on Google Adwords. They’re doing LOTS of content marketing, and they are doing SEO and Social Media. It’s simply the basic blocks of a good digital marketing strategy. It’s just that they are heavily invested in it.

how do placing agencies get their leads - digital marketing strategy

Let’s take a look.

If we go over and look at again, we’ll see that they are putting out consistent, quality, authoritative and relevant content that helps their users.

They are doing articles every single day where they are creating new content. The placing agencies are spending money on writers. They are spending money on digital marketers to create a space that tells Google, “hey, look! We are really relevant. We are really important for helping people find the best senior home, and we are constantly building content.”

aplaceformom blog - relevant assisted living content

If you go over to their Social Media side, they have 260,000 likes on their Facebook page. They are constantly putting out photos and videos. In their social media accounts, they are linking to their blog. They are sharing and communicating with people. It’s a great social presence.

Placing Agencies’ Google Results

Then, if you go to Google’s SERP pages, you’ll see that they are spending money on ads – lots and lots and lots of money. How are they going to get that money back? YOU are going to pay that money back when they charge you referral fees for their leads.

If you search on Google “assisted living” in virtually any city in the country, you’re going to find spending money on Adwords and getting those top SERP listings. They are like a huge vacuum sucking in all of these leads, so that they can charge you for them.

how placing agencies like aplaceformom get assisted living leads - adwords, seo, digital marketing strategy

They are spending money on Adwords and if you scroll down on Google, you’ll see that because they’ve built up such a high domain authority trust through their digital marketing efforts, they are ranking organically. Here’s a list of 50 assisted living facilities near Draper, UT, and they are ranking for that search of when someone searches “assisted living in Draper UT”.

It’s not rocket science. That’s how they are getting their leads. They are doing digital marketing, and you are paying for their digital marketing efforts.  

Should You Use Placing Agencies?

Here’s the next question. Should you use them? Should you use placing agencies, or are they not worth it? I would say this. Yes!

If you go back to our Top 10 list of marketing efforts for your residential assisted living home, we have placing agencies on the list. Why? Because, they are effective. You will get leads. However, they are expensive. So, what I would say is why not keep them as a tool in your tool belt. At the same time, build up a digital marketing effort up yourself so that you can save money in the long term.

How Can You Save Thousands of Marketing Dollars?

Some of you may know Gene Guarino and his Residential Assisted Living Academy. I went through his class, and it was phenomenal teaching. Gene is awesome. If you want to get in this business, I highly recommend you go check out his website. Get out to Phoenix and go through his class. It is so worth it!

One of the things I saw in that class was a pro forma of a residential assisted living home. And, one of the line items was the marketing budget for getting residents into your home. He had 4 or 5 grand per month, actually double that, because you are ramping up and trying to get your beds filled in your home. He had a line item for paying placing agencies. I looked at that and thought, “$50,000? $60,000? That’s a ton of money! I can beat that!”, because I’ve been doing digital marketing for 10 years. I know I can get leads and fill those beds for cheaper than that.

So, for me personally, as I was looking at doing my own residential assisted living home, I was thinking, “oh, this is great” because I knew we could save money on our marketing efforts.

I knew I could beat those numbers not only for the short term, but also for the long term. This is a hunting vs farming effort. I knew that I would be able to farm those leads continually for my home year after year. And, every year, I’d be able to fill it up because I would have strong rankings and a good digital marketing presence.

Helping Others

Then, I thought, “I can help other people with that!”

I knew this could save other residential assisted living owners a lot of money, and that’s a big reason why we started specializing in this space. At the RALA academy, I sat in the room with 50 or 60 other people who all wanted to start their own home, and I thought to myself, “I can help these people. I can save them a lot of money both now and in the future.”

One other question, and we’re not going to get into it on this video is this. If APlaceforMom and all of these national brands like Brookdale and Emeritus are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars into their digital marketing efforts, can you catch up to them? Is it even worth it, or is it a waste of money to spend on my own digital marketing strategy. We’ll talk about that in another video.

 How Much Can I Save?

So, how much can you actually save with your own digital marketing? Well, if your annual budget is $50,000 to fill ten beds, then if you just save 10%, you are saving $5,000. Is it worth it to you to try to save 10%?

If you save 20%, you are 10 grand. 40% is $20,000. What if you could save 60% or $30,000 on your marketing budget for the first year? That’s what I’m talking about! That would be really good!

save money with a digital marketing strategy to get assisted living leads

And, I mentioned previously, but I look at this as farming, not hunting. If you’re going to invest in your own digital marketing efforts for your senior home, what you are doing is sowing seed. I like to reap fruit from seed that grows as opposed to hunting for every single new lead. I consider using placing agencies as hunting. You might need them from time to time, but it’s a one time kill (no pun intended). But, you’re hunting and only getting one resident at at time. To me, that’s not a good long term marketing strategy.

Get The Leads Yourself! Cut Out The Middle Man.

I say, get the leads yourself and cut out the middle man because really, that’s what these placing agencies are. They are a glorified middle man … that is really good at digital marketing. And, I wish I had created years ago, because I would be a millionaire. But, I didn’t. So, instead, what I’m going to do is help you save money, so that you don’t have to pay their expensive referral fees.

So, what should you do?

Well, that’s what this web series and the Top 10 list has been all about. Get your website up. Take care of your branding. Do SEO. Build content regularly. Get your social media out there regularly. Have an Adwords strategy.

This screenshot here is from one of our clients. When you look up “assisted living Draper, UT”, you’ll see them ranking both on mobile and desktop.

#1 Ranking On Google

If you look at the Google Maps results, you will see our client’s business, They are ranking #1, and if I look at the “more places” on the Google results, they are number one.

our client ranked #1 on Google for assisted living draper utah

When someone is on their phone, and they need to find a place for their Mom or Dad to live. And, they’re searching for assisted living, guess what pops up? Our client! Because they have an effective digital marketing strategy.

Not only are they ranking on the local maps results, but they are ranking in the national organic results as well right by

When people search for “assisted living” in Draper, our client’s address and phone number pops up on desktop. And on mobile, Google gives a result with a simple button to call. That’s what I’m talking about!

That’s going to save you money because leads are coming organically to you if you’ve sown the right seeds for your digital marketing efforts. You’ve built content. You are earning domain trust. You’ve got social. You spend money on Adwords from time to time when you need to, but you are doing an effective digital marketing campaign to get the leads yourself.

That’s how you save thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars every year.

How Much Do You Want To Save?

The question now is how much do you want to save, or how much can you save? Looking at our $50,000 marketing budget from early, let’s look at a few examples.

Save $8,000

Let’s say you put in $2,500 a month into a digital marketing campaign and that was your website, branding, content, SEO, Local SEO, and Social Media. Then, let’s say you put another $1,000 into Adwords for direct ad spend to jump the line on the search engine results page. If you add that up annually, that comes to $42,000 per year. Off a $50k budget, you are saving $8,000, which equals a 16% savings.

The client we showed you previously, we helped them maintain their rankings. There was a transition where you had to be very careful with what you were doing on the SEO side to keep them ranking #1. However, with our other client, we helped them build their rankings from scratch. They had no website. No branding. No anything. And within a bit over 6 months, they were ranking on the first page of Google.

Now, in the time you are trying to rank, it makes sense to use Adwords to jump the line. Maybe you even need to use placing agencies to get some cash flow in the door. But at the same time, you can be investing into your own rankings as part of your overall marketing strategy.

Save $14,000

Ok, let’s look at an example of if you were to spend $2,000 a month on your digital marketing and $1,000 on Adwords. Total spend annually would be $36,000, and you are saving $14,000, or 28%!

Save $26,000!

Let’s say you are in a situation where you invested in your SEO. You are ranking alongside your competitors, and you can hold off on your Adwords spend. However, you need to maintain your rankings. So, you continue to build content, social media, etc. Now, your annual budget is $24,000. You’re not having to spend on Adwords because you are generating leads from Google Maps. Against a $50,ooo budget, you are saving $26,000 or 52%!

how much is digital marketing for my assisted living business and how much can I save by not paying placing agencies

I don’t feel like I am being unrealistic here. I am trying to be conservative. These numbers are from an example where your beds are only $3,600 a month. These marketing spend dollars are pretty much the same no matter how many beds you may have. So, if you have a home that charges $4k, $5k, or $6k per bed, the percentages and numbers are going to look even better.


This is why I’m so excited about all of this! You can save a lot of money on your marketing, and we want to help you do it!

We’ve zeroed in on this kind of marketing and are specializing in this senior living industry. Besides building the content, knowing how to do Local SEO, branding, and Adwords, we are gaining insights every single day. We are getting results for our clients. We are getting first page rankings on Google. And, we’re specializing in this space because we realize there is a better way – and we can save senior living business owners a lot of money for their business. We want your assisted living home to outperform the numbers in your pro forma.

Again, we’re Check out our other videos. If this video was helpful for you, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to our channel. That will help us out and encourage me to keep making these videos for you.

If you want to reach out, here’s our contact info. We’d love to talk to you and help you save a lot of money on your assisted living home. Thanks a lot guys. We’ll see you next time.