Black Lab Digital

Marketing for Care Homes

Providing care for the elderly is an essential service that is core for the local community. Residential care is a growing industry becoming increasingly important as our population ages. However, having a robust marketing strategy for care home providers is vital to ensure that the right prospective residents are attracted, as high, or full occupancy levels are essential to ensure the book’s balance for business.

This article will answer some critical questions for care home providers regarding marketing in the care industry including:-
1.How Do You Market A Care Home
2.Search Engine Marketing For Care Homes
3.Google and Paid Ads
4.How do you promote your business in care?
5.What is the target market for a care home?
6.How can I improve my care home service?

1. How do you market a care home?

It’s safe to say that the adage ‘build it and they will come’ is an outdated phrase, especially in a market with so much competition. However, care homes must stand out from the crowd and have a unique selling point. Prospective residents’ relatives are often entirely new to the world of care homes; having never used residential care homes before, they can be unsure of where to turn and what standards they should look out for.

2. Search Engine Marketing for care homes

Most residents’ families start searching using Google in today’s modern world, often looking locally for care homes for their elderly relatives. This is your first opportunity to stand out. However, web searchers have a short attention span and often leap to make a decision. You, therefore, have to ensure that you are managing your search results properly to not only appear for the relevant key phrases but also that you communicate the messaging in search results. This process is called search engine optimisation, or SEO for short. Firstly, let’s deal with actually appearing for searches:

Search engines match users to search engine rankings based on the relevancy of a site’s content to the terminology they are searching for. It’s therefore essential when either creating your website or populating it with content to ensure that you do in-depth key search phrases research. This keyword research will show you the types of searches people use to find elderly care services. From this list, it’s possible to develop a strategy for website content that’s likely to capture this traffic. Naturally, once you have driven traffic to your site, you need to have a solid call to action to get the potential resident or their families to inquire or request a brochure often in exchange for contact details.

It’s also not just website content that helps drive traffic to a website. Technical optimisation of the website is vital as search engines rank websites based on their performance. Like any other website, a care business will suffer if its site does not meet core web vitals.

The next element to consider is how the search results appear on the search results page.

Page headings and descriptions are critical in grasping a searcher’s attention. These must be relevant to the content on the page and be clear and consistent with the rest of the website. So whilst search engines don’t use this as much to rank a website, this text is ultimately what a user digests to decide which link to click.

Search engine optimisation is a fantastic way of standing out, but it also works hand in hand with paid advertising both offline and online. Regarding offline, nursing homes have traditionally used local newspaper adverts, local events, local radio stations, branded and customised brochures, and word of mouth from positive personal experiences to help market your care homes. These are all good tools in the marketing mix, but unfortunately, they don’t provide any metrics for the activity’s success.

3. Google Ads & Paid Ads

So to market your care home, digital channels should be considered. Not only can this type of marketing reach a broader target audience, but it’s all trackable. Specifically, we’re talking about Pay Per Click search advertising, Display adverts (including video) and paid social media advertising.

Campaigns are based on keywords included in a targeted list and specific audiences and their behaviours, likes, genders, and age. Ads are tailored to resonate with potential residents or their family members and can be location specific advertising. Often campaigns are split into sub-campaigns to allow accurate tracking and analysis of the marketing performance. Naturally, there’s a lot of detail that goes into these campaigns, which we won’t go into here. However, it’s always recommended that a paid campaign be tested for three months to allow data to build up and effective adjustments to be made.

Unlike SEO, paid media can deliver results immediately.

4. How do you promote your business in care?

You have now got traffic landing on the site. You’ve got to ensure that your site fills the visitor with confidence. From a user experience perspective, it needs to be carefully laid out with menus and information easily navigable. The content (driven by the words built-in from your SEO research) needs to be informative and answer visitors’ questions. Making sure accreditations, testimonials and, importantly, contact details are easily accessible will help visitors decide and ultimately pick up the phone or complete an enquiry form.

This point might seem obvious, but quality photography will help with marketing material across your care home marketing. Professional shots of residents and staff will help visitors build a picture of your residential care home. Whether the photos show flower arranging, meal breaks or dementia care, these real-life examples will help communicate basic information quickly to potential residents or their families. Also, this content doesn’t just help create a good website, but it can be used on other parts of your marketing strategy such as customised brochures.

Certain age groups will research care homes differently, from digital channels such as Facebook groups and online searches to picking up the local newspapers or listening to the local radio station; care home marketing must appeal to a broad audience. Remember, the customer often isn’t the consumer in the care industry.

5. What is the target market for a care home?

The care home sector has a target audience from various age groups. As referenced above, there’s a difference between the consumer and the customer of elderly care. Many potential residents begin their journey to find a nursing home when they cannot care for themselves. The reasons are varied, and no one circumstance initiates the process. However, medical reasons such as requiring dementia care or becoming physically unable to look after themselves could be a reason. However, some people move to nursing homes to become part of a community after becoming isolated from family or society.

Based on the above, care home marketing needs to appeal to a wide range of people, reaching them where they consume media. Often the prospective resident is no longer capable of deciding to move into a care home, meaning a friend or relative starts the process of finding residential care. Although it’s worth remembering, it will be a consideration that the potential resident may also be involved. In some instances, the local authority or charity may be involved with placing the individual; there are numerous real-life examples of these organisations supporting elderly people who have no other support.

In all the potential scenarios, care home providers need to ensure they’re reaching their audience where they are likely to consume their messaging. Younger family members, such as the children of the person requiring care, are likely to rely on a search online. Quickly narrowing down a shortlist based on reviews and the imagery used on a website. This highlights the importance of having a good website for your care home. Additionally, people will also rely on word of mouth and recommendations from trusted sources such as doctors, surgeries, community centres and local authorities who may carry a list of approved providers. Visibility is vital; aside from being online, a certain age group may rely on traditional media such as local newspapers, brochures and sponsoring local events. Before spending money on reaching your audience, consider who you want to connect with and where they are likely to consume your messaging and tailor it to that audience.

6. How can I improve my care home service?

Care home providers have many challenges when running a care setting. Residents will have a variety of needs which need to be catered for. At the centre of any care home should be a caring attitude toward the residents; a consistent approach to providing the best level of service will help spread the word of mouth referrals locally for prospective clients.

Strong leadership and a clear vision from management will help guide staff and team members. In addition, this approach will help foster a positive culture that will help staff listen to care home residents and provide the highest care delivered with compassion.

Another way a care setting can improve their care home services is to facilitate staff and leadership to observe and listen to care residents. Understanding their ideas and thoughts will help an older adult care setting cater to their requirements and understand the elements they see as important. This ‘market research will provide a unique insight into the residents’ lives and allow management to proactively make changes that will benefit residents and show that the business cares.

As referenced above, clients’ needs are individual and evolve. Care providers need to be flexible to adapt to deliver a comfortable and reassuring service. Additionally, if this is blended with compassion, carers can make a real difference. Finding the little things that make a difference to residents, however seemingly small, will make a real difference. Listening to a resident often is enough to pick up on something that will deliver ‘surprise and delight.’ People love being heard, and the fact that someone has taken the time to think of them will add a lot of value to a care business.

Training and support for staff are often overlooked. Providing a solid, structured process for growing staff’s skills and meeting with them to give feedback on their performance and listen to them will not only allow management to make positive changes, but the individual will feel valued and listened to. Recruitment is complex, so it is imperative to retain staff and enhance them over time. Also, remember to give staff time to do their job correctly and develop relationships with care residents. After all, staff and residents are people, all with needs, wants and wishes that need to be heard. By working closely with all parties, care home providers can create a harmonious environment and one of which people enjoy being part of.

7. Be Inspired

Finally, it’s worth remembering to take inspiration from the wider market. Consider what your local competitors are doing regarding their care facilities, care standards, and marketing materials. By reviewing their activity, you can help identify your unique selling point in counterbalance to theirs. And in some cases, you will be able to enhance your USPs. Certain age groups will also want to interact with your business to ensure you have various touchpoints available, from email to social media. This will help with your more comprehensive care home marketing strategy, but it will provide a broader range of ways for people to interact with your care home.

The marketing mix for care homes is often locally focused and will benefit from various tools employed optimised to target the audience with the right messaging in an appropriate location. This, coupled with a form of continuous improvement aimed at both staff and residents in a care home will develop a care business with high occupancy levels with content residents and staff.

If you would like further advice and consultancy for marketing your care home, why not get in touch today?

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