The secret to success for any business is to scale it up. Unless you are able to scale up your business, it will be very difficult for you to cover your costs that you are going to incur in any case, irrespective of the number of customers you are serving.
And if scaling up means acquiring many new customers, an effective marketing plan is indispensable for your business.
The same is true for a home care business where your clients are elderly or disabled people. In this article, we will discuss the marketing plan that will make your home care business a successful one and some of the best ways to get clients for a home care agency.
As per the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we are in the middle of a spike in the aging population that is going to last for a while and therefore, home care agencies will have a larger demand pie to fulfill. The elderly would ideally want to stay in their homes for as long as possible and this would lead to them requiring home care services beyond a point.
Marketing Plan for a Home Care Agency
The first step to getting new clients for your home care agency is to devise a great marketing plan. The first step to devising a great marketing plan is to understand who you should appeal to for selling your service – it may not be the same as the principal user of your service.
The same is true for a home care business. While the users of services are often the disabled and the elderly, the decision-maker on hiring home care is often a close family member, most likely children in the case of elderly people and parents or siblings in case of disabled but young people. Seldom is it true that the elderly themselves go about looking for home or residential care for themselves.
Your marketing plan should ideally encompass all channels of advertising and creating goodwill and relevant content, though it must be restricted within your budget. The following ways are some of the best methods to attract more customers to your business – those that seldom fail.
Since, in your home care business, it is likely that you will attract a large percentage of customers from your immediate catchment areas, physical marketing channels are as important as digital marketing channels in attracting new clients.
#1 Quality of Service & Word of Mouth
The main goal of your business, apart from profitability, must be to create reputation capital – and reputation capital can only be built over the medium to long term through exceptional care and service. It is important to remember that once you create a reputation of exceptional value – you will always enjoy the tailwind of positive recommendations from your customers, something which will gather momentum with your increasing customer base. The best part of reputation capital is, once built, it works tirelessly for your business without you having to spend a single dollar.
#2 Referral program
Referral programs are a way of reinforcing your customer base through positive reputation – it is a kind of “bring-your-friend” program where both the existing customer and the new customer are incentivized through monetary means. For example, your referral scheme can offer a 10 per cent discount to a customer who will bring in another customer and the new customer is also incentivized through a 10 per cent discount. Referral programs are very effective in adding to your customer base, but you should remember that it comes at a cost of decreased revenue.
#3 Community Events & Community Marketing
Community events are a great place for B2C marketing options – you are very likely to meet a population who are very relevant to your service offering. It is a great way to meet potential clients in your neighborhood – people who are decision makers on using your services. For example, you may think of participating in events (by setting up a stall) like a rally for the specially abled where participants on wheelchairs ‘walk’ a mile – your brand’s visibility in these events creates a lasting impression on the minds of people who are most likely to pay for your services. If you have the budget for it, it is a great branding exercise to hand out a branded water bottle to participants or branded stationery.
Community events are great opportunities to strike up conversations with people who you meet, enquirers at your stall and is a great way of generating hot leads which you can subsequently follow up for generating paid business. Setting up a stall in these events will surely cost you some money. Having said this, you will generate leads which are likely to convert to paid customers with much higher probability than through any other channel.
#4 Volunteering Work
In a lot of businesses, you may have seen a trial period in which the user tests out the product or service without having to pay for it. While in home care this is not possible, volunteer work will let you build out a reputation for yourself with potential clients who are yet to become your paid customers. It is a good idea to volunteer and help out in community care centers for the specially abled or help centers or dedicated care centers for the elderly.
If you can demonstrate your ability of caring for people, it will go a long way in helping you to get more clients. Volunteer work requires serious time commitment and may or may not give you any returns in the short term. But in the long term, if you become active enough in your community, it will help you build the right relationships which will help you gain access to new paid customers.
#5 Strategic Tie Ups
Often seen as one of the more expensive channels of marketing your business, strategic tie ups are also likely to give you leads with the highest conversion percentage to paid customers. You may choose to tie up with a few hospitals or clinics, schools for the specially abled, pharmacies and even doctors in the immediate neighborhood who will agree to refer patients to your home care agency if any patient has the need for it.
Sometimes multiple home care agencies trying to tie up with the same hospitals may lead to unhealthy competition – something that you should avoid getting into. You must also remember that once you set up a channel like this – it is extremely important to continue to maintain your reputation capital to keep receiving referrals through these channels.
If you have the budget for it, sponsorship in relevant events is another way of driving new clients to you home care agency. These events may include gatherings organized for the elderly like quarter marathons, walking races, exercise classes or board game competitions. However, this is an expensive way of advertising your business and you should give other methods a try before this one.
Digital Marketing Methods
Digital marketing methods are new age web-based advertising methods which are expected to target your actual audience – people of middle age who make the decision of hiring home care. It is of utmost importance to have a website with good and updated content, to be able to take advantage of digital marketing methods.
#7 Google Ads
Google Ads is a pay-per-click advertisement program that drives relevant traffic to your website. It is now common practice for everybody to search on google, if you need more information about any topic, even if it is about local businesses and services. The topmost results for any search is generally the sponsored ads which are nothing but ads of companies who have subscribed to the Google Ads program and are into similar business as to the search string that you had typed into the search bar.
Innumerable websites also participate in the Google Ads program and the user who searched for relevant content will continue to see relevant ads (of your business or a similar business) while visiting other unrelated websites, while he is casually surfing the web. This has proved to be a very effective way of driving hot leads to your website, from where it depends on your website, whether the potential customer converts or not.
#8 Social Media Advertising
Any social media website which has a substantial user base like Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, will have an advertising program of its own. However, all of these may or may not be most relevant to the decision maker who will buy your services. For your kind of business, most likely Facebook will be the most relevant place to post your ads. Depending on your budget, you can be aggressive in your social media advertising campaigns which also consider the users’ online footprint to display the most relevant ads.
#9 Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the collective name for the web content optimization techniques which help your content to rise up the ranks and be displayed over other content, when a user searches for any relevant piece of information.
Many website builders provide their own SEO tools. You may use them and further hone your website’s SEO metrics, as the competition to come up in the top 10 search results in Google is very tough.
We would recommend you avail the services of a professional to optimize your content, as good content and good SEO is a great combination to drive quality traffic to your website.
#10 Creative marketing ideas for home health care
- Conduct health drives free of cost: Although it will cost you some money, however, free health drives are a great way to engage with your customer base and build brand equity
- Start and sustain a newsletter: A newsletter with content which is relevant to the specially abled or the elderly is a great way to build brand equity in the minds of your users and their families. Once you start your newsletter, the most important step is to distribute it optimally in the local area of your presence – in old age clubs, retirement homes, schools for the specially abled and so on
- Become a go-to for senior issues & build an informative website which would provide information sought by users of this category
Advertising is an essential tool in order to be able to increase your client base. As the population in North America is aging, going ahead, if you have the right marketing and brand building strategy, you will be able to set up a strong pipeline of customers for your business.
However, the one golden rule which always helps to get more out of your marketing strategy is consistent delivery of quality services and building a reputation capital in an industry which specializes in giving care to the people who need it the most – this will stand you in good stead in many years to come.
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