How to Do Marketing for a Care Home
Care homes need to market their services as being friendly, welcoming, warm and caring to make sure that rooms are always filled and there is plenty of interest from care seekers and potential residents.
Whatever business you run, you will nearly always need to market it to ensure you continue to attract new customers - and a care home is no exception.
Marketing is a worthwhile investment and can be extremely valuable for your business in the long run. So, how do you market a care home? Read on to learn more...
Target Audience and Market Research
Before you start marketing, it is vital to understand your target audience. Care homes usually target one of two audiences: the elderly person who will actually be living in your care home, or the family members of the elderly person, who will be responsible for selecting a care home for their loved one.
In most cases, it will be the latter, so you’ll want to create marketing material that explains why choosing your care home is the best decision that person can make to protect their loved one’s dignity and independence and provide the right care they need, especially if their loved one has a condition like dementia.
Once you have decided on your target audience, you can start on the market research. Look at top-rated care homes, or care homes with full occupancy to work out what features people find the most attractive.
Often it’s things like location, price, facilities and care options. Look at which care homes rank highly on Google for further ideas.
Analyse your Competition
Next, it’s time to look at what your competitors are doing. There are lots of different care groups out there, so take a look at their websites, try to identify any marketing techniques they’re using - and don’t be afraid to take inspiration from them! After all, if it works for one care home, it’ll likely work for yours.
Look at the way your competitors market themselves - are they using emails or social media? Do they run events at the home and invite the press to attend? Take note of the techniques you think you have the budget and resources to use.
Create a Great Website
In the digital age we live in, a care home’s website is often the first thing people see on their care journey, so your website should be one of your biggest assets. If you don’t have one, you need one.
Setting up a domain and hosting doesn’t cost much, and once your website is up and running, it does most of the hard work for you.
Make sure that all the most important information is present on the site and is easy to find - things like the types of room available, the address and FAQs are good to include. Keep information regularly updated and add links to your social media pages, too.
Websites that use lots of images tend to look better, so if you can use some high-quality photos of the care home and its residents, you’re already halfway there.
You will also need to make sure that your care home lists your CQC rating, highlighting any special certifications and awards your care home has achieved, which will build consumer trust.
Digital Marketing Strategy
Once your website is sorted, it’s time to look at your digital marketing. To have a successful digital marketing strategy, you need to really know your brand and stick to your brand’s tone of voice across all marketing channels.
Consumers respond best to a uniform style - mixed messages will just confuse people. Decide what kind of care home you are and what you most want to portray to people - is it the high standard of medical care you provide, or the range of different activities and fun events on offer?
Social media is a fantastic way to market your company - and once you get the hang of it, fairly simple. Of course, everyone knows the main platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), but if you’re feeling brave, why not venture into the realms of TikTok or YouTube?
There are lots of books and online materials with tips on how to get started with social media if you’re not sure which platforms you want to use.
This guide is a good place to start with social media marketing.
SEO and Paid Search
Good SEO will ensure that your care home’s website is searchable and ranks for the right search terms.
You don’t need to be an expert to put some solid SEO practices in place, such as researching what users typically Google when looking for info on care homes, creating a keyword list and using those keywords in the content on your website.
Likewise, some simple PPC (Pay Per Click) techniques can boost your marketing strategy and attract people to your website.
Once on your site, make sure they don’t leave by giving them lots of contact options, including a Live Chat service.
You can enlist the services of a digital marketing agency to help you with SEO and Paid Search if you have the budget or you can learn everything you need to know to get started with this guide to SEO and this one for PPC.
Emails are a good way to stay in touch with your userbase and including a newsletter sign-up link somewhere on your site is the first step towards email marketing. You don’t want to overload subscribers, so consider a bi-weekly or monthly email containing care home news, updates and exciting upcoming events.
Make sure that you have a prominent email sign up CTA (call to action) on your site and try to funnel visitors towards this.
Once you have someone on your mailing list you can send them marketing emails and even if they are not looking for a care home straight away they may be later down the line.
If you use an outbound marketing tool like Hubspot, you can track email metrics to see how many people have opened it and which links they have clicked on!
This article can help you get started with email marketing.
Directories and Comparison Sites
To build your online reputation, you can search for industry-relevant directories online and list your care home in the main ones, then ask residents’ friends and family to leave positive reviews there.
Care home comparison sites are becoming more prevalent, transforming the care industry and providing personalised recommendations for care homes and care professionals that have the relevant skills and experience to meet your unique needs.
To ensure your care home website is getting as many eyes on it as possible, appearing on these comparison websites is a must, as a minimum get in touch with Carehome.co.uk, Lottie.org and the Care Quality Commission to get your care home listed.
Once your care home has been established for some time, you may find that it gets a few mentions in your local press. If these mentions are positive, this is another great way to market your care home. You could also look to invite the press to care home events and special occasions.
You can also proactively contact journalists if anything interesting is happening with your care home. This works particularly well with the local press.
Word of Mouth
Word of mouth is one of the most effective ways to market a product or a business - plus, it’s totally free! The best way to give people a good reason to speak favourably about your care home is to provide a stellar care experience for existing residents.
Well-trained, polite staff, clean and attractive facilities, a good activities programme and top-drawer healthcare can all work wonders and help to get you some glowing reviews; both online and in person. If you’re going to ask people to leave a review or endorsement, it’s a good idea to ask at a special care home event, where there are lots of people around.
Just because we live in a digital age, it doesn’t mean that traditional marketing methods aren’t still effective. In fact, a lot of care seekers might prefer to look through a physical brochure rather than browse the web.
However, if you’re going to market your care home using brochures, they still need to look modern and up-to-date. High-quality images, clear information and good paper all go towards creating an impressive care home info pack.
Digital media like video marketing is on the rise, and it’s relatively cheap and easy to make your own videos these days.
For example, 3D virtual tours are a great way to show potential care seekers around the building from the comfort of their own home, while video interviews with existing residents can help to give a flavour of what care home life is like.
Remember that high-quality videos perform best - a video filmed on an old camera or phone won’t be as effective. Meet the team-style content is also effective, so why not film a Q&A with your care home manager and staff to give future residents all the info they need to know.
Taking inspiration from competitors is one thing but copying and pasting is another. To make sure your marketing strategy stands out, you’ll need a Unique Selling Point, or USP - what does your care home offer that’s different to all the others?
Take the time to really personalise your communication and tailor it to your chosen audience. Can you dig up any key insights to make your content more interesting? Could you try a new style of video that no one else has used?
There are many ways you can market your care home; the best strategy is to select a few techniques from the ones mentioned above. Test things out and stick with whatever works best for you. Good luck with your marketing efforts!