10 Low Cost Marketing Ideas: Promoting Your Home Care Services in Metro Markets

MetroMarkets Home Care

Promoting Your Services

Creating awareness. Educating prospective clients and referral sources. Staying top-of-mind. Promotion is the strategy for getting the word out about your business. And when it comes to promotion, you run the risk of wasting lots of money.

You could spend tens of thousands of dollars on talented sales and marketing professionals, only to turn them loose on the market armed with little more than a cell phone and a prospect list. It’s inefficient. It’s ineffective. And it’s a recipe for failure.

Before spending your time and hard earned money on marketing, make sure you understand your target market and put a strategy in place.

The Right Strategy + The Right Tools = The Most Cost-Effective Promotion

The key to a great promotional strategy is to integrate the right combination of marketing tools and strategy. And then taking the right approach to designing effective marketing programs.

Strategy Ideas

    • DIRECT MARKETING – Targeting well-qualified prospects with a direct promotion and a strong offer. Ideally, direct marketing is integrated with direct sales to maximize response.
    • BRANDING – Creating awareness and developing a reputation through advertising, PR and other online and offline media in an effort to attract the right clients.
    • RELATIONSHIP MARKETING – Nurturing prospective referral sources and clients to educate, build trust, and make your home care business desirable.
    • MARKETING TO INFLUENCERS – Focusing promotions on individuals who already have a relationship with the prospects you want to reach and using the influencer to create sales opportunities.
    • CONTENT MARKETING / INBOUND MARKETINGUsing educating, entertaining and thought-provoking content to attract clients – and caregivers – to your company. Content marketing can position your business as a thought leader while building a steady stream of leads for your team.

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Smart Marketing in Metro Markets: Key Considerations

  • Local Community – The large population size of metropolitan markets can make it difficult to build awareness with a large percentage of the people in your market. But it also means you can focus on a specific niche and reach enough people to hit your business goals, even when there are several competitors in the area.

  • Number of Competitors  Before investing in a specific marketing strategy, you want to know the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors. Determine how each competitor is viewed by the community. Observe the strategies and activities they use successfully. Look for ways to differentiate your message.

  • Population Density – In a metro market, tactics like outdoor advertising are likely to reach more people, at a lower cost per impression, than in a rural market (although the cost of the advertising itself may be much higher). Look for opportunities to be seen that also demonstrate your commitment to your customers. This will build awareness, and at the same time will show you are committed to helping your customers and their families.

  • Referral Sources  These are critical in any market. There is an abundance of opportunities in an urban market, so you must plan and develop a strategy for reaching the most productive referral sources. Strive to build strong and lasting relationships with the specific referral sources you choose to target.

  • SEO – Optimizing your website for search engines is always important. However, investing in professional SEO for a rural market should be kept in its proper place. There may be a smaller return on investment due to the smaller population. Strategies like Pay-Per-Click advertising may be more effective in reaching all the right people in a rural market since you can target specific demographics more cost-effectively.

Your Toolbox

Here are a few promotional tools you might incorporate into your marketing:

Online Marketing

  1. Websites
    • Company website
    • Campaign specific microsites
  2. Email
    • Newsletters
    • Caregiver spotlight email
    • Aging care topics
  3. Search Marketing
    • Search Engine Optimization – SEO
    • Pay Per Click Advertising – PPC
  4. Internet Lead & Reputation Management Sites
    • Caring.com
    • AgingCare.com
    • BestofHomeCare.com
  5. Social Media
    • LinkedIn
    • Twitter
    • Facebook
    • Instagram
    • Blogging
    • YouTube
    • Industry-specific forums
  6. Online PR

Direct Marketing

  1. Direct Sales
    • Cold Calls
    • Telemarketing
  2. Drop Offs
    • Sales collateral
    • Promotional products
    • Educational Materials
  3. Direct Mail
    • Sales letters
    • Postcards
    • Greeting cards
    • Mailers
    • Dimensional mail
  4. Direct Response Advertising
  5. Trade Shows
  6. Referrals
  7. Job Fairs
  8. Faxing
  9. Printed Directories

Branding

  1. Print Advertising
  2. Broadcast Advertising
  3. Outdoor Advertising
  4. Public Relations
    • PR Distribution
    • Speaking and webinars
    • Publishing
    • Sponsorships
  5. Market Research
  6. Event Marketing
  7. Professional Association Membership
  8. Community Volunteering
  9. Custom Publications

Changes in media are sparking evolution in home care marketing.

Learn what’s changed and how your business can benefit.

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  • Social Media & Reputation Management

    Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Blogging and dozens of other social media tools remain a hot topic in the world of marketing. The ability to connect with individual customers, share ideas, stream live video, have genuine conversations, build networks, special interest groups, and even fan clubs is forever changing the way companies market. Thanks to social media, the customer has a stronger voice than ever before, and companies better start listening! For home care firms, social networks provide an unprecedented opportunity to engage clients, prospects and even job candidates into meaningful dialogs that yield tremendous results in terms of referrals, feedback on services and new business concepts, improved customer service, and building your reputation.

    Blogging and microblogging tools offer you the ability to position yourself as an expert and demonstrate you’re caring about individual clients. And best of all, most social media tools are free to use (although you may need a little guidance to know how to use the best).

    Do not underestimate the power and importance of online reviews. Be sure you are monitoring your online reputation and requesting reviews to measure (and publicize) the “customer experience”. Yelp, Google, and Facebook collect reviews about your business, which are then prominently displayed in search results. Make sure those reviews are positive and accurate. Caring.com and Agingcare.com, both leading online destinations for those seeking information and support as they care for aging loved ones, receive reviews and refer prospective clients to home care businesses that maintain positive reputations. Make sure to get the most out of these great resources.

    What you should know: Families searching for senior care online find it easier to identify the best care providers for their loved ones thanks to Home Care Pulse’s partnership with Caring.com and AgingCare.com. Home Care Pulse will post authentic consumer feedback from surveys they perform for their customers on Caring.com’s and AgingCare.com’s home care agency web directories. This can help your home care agency stand out as a top quality service provider.

    Best uses: Networking, prospective client and caregiver research, market research, delivering company news and service announcements, distributing content, personalizing and humanizing your business, increasing referrals and monitoring your company’s reputation, building trust.

  • Public Relations

    PR experts have long known that a good story in the news is worth more than dozens of paid advertisements. And thanks to the Internet, there are more PR options open than ever before. The challenge with PR is to find “newsworthy” events, and then get your story written and distributed.  In terms of events, your PR can include news about changes at your company, stories about ways you are helping local clients, how you are putting people to work, and other contributions you are making to the community. Stories can also be educational information that you share, such as a column in a newspaper, or a presentation you give on an aging care related topic. For distribution, you can submit articles to the editors of business and trade publications, develop relationships with writers as the go-to expert for home care, and take advantage of free and paid PR distribution services like PR Web and PR.com.

    Best uses: Building your company image as a community supporter or thought leader, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), name recognition. 

     

  • Affiliate Networks & Partnerships

    If you have a large number of people or organizations who might be able to send you referrals, consider setting up a formal affiliate or referral network. An affiliate network is a formal referral incentive program in which you share a percentage of your sales with anyone who refers business. Your affiliates can help you market by including links to your website on their websites, incorporating information about your services in their marketing, agreeing to distribute your marketing materials (this works particularly well if you can offer them educational information to share), or in some cases, directly selling your services.

    Who else is trying to reach the same target market that you are? Would partnering with them increase your probability of success? Partnering can be an effective way to reach more prospects and open doors with people you ordinarily could not get to see. But, it can also dilute your sales message. This technique works best when you partner with organizations that offer complementary services. For example, a home care firm could partner with an elder law attorney or assisted living facility, or a financial planner to offer a wider variety of solutions.

    Best uses: Lead generation, selling to larger referral sources who want to deal with fewer vendors, creating solutions for smaller firms, increasing referrals.

  • Give away information

    Are there things you know how to do that your clients and referral sources don’t? Is there information you have that others would value? If so, you have a great opportunity to position yourself as an expert and generate new prospects by giving away your expertise. Consider publishing an email newsletter, creating a blog, writing a column for a local newspaper, and submitting regular articles for trade magazines or your local Chamber of Commerce newsletter. Turn your expertise into your competitive advantage!

    Best uses: Developing credibility, positioning yourself as an expert, building trust, nurturing relationships, creating reasons to make follow-up calls, keeping yourself top-of-mind.

  • Market to decision influencers

    While getting to the decision-maker may be the most intelligent sales approach, it’s not always the best marketing strategy. Sometimes, the shortest (and least expensive) path to a new customer is a decision influencer – a person who has direct access to, and influence over,  the decision-maker.

    For example:
    Market to gatekeepers to get appointments with decision-makers
    Market to subordinates of decision-makers to develop internal champions
    Market to peers to get referrals
    Market to other vendors to get referrals or create strategic alliances

    Best uses: Warm up cold calls, nurturing relationships, researching and developing a specific sales strategy

  • Surveys

    Whether in written or verbal form, surveys offer a powerful way to develop new sales opportunities. They can help you quickly collect feedback from your customers, prospects, and even employees.

    Popular uses of surveys include:

    • Customer satisfaction audits: Identify ways to improve your services and pinpoint problems before they occur.
    • New service evaluations: Test the marketability of new concepts.
    • Industry trend surveys: Gather statistical data that will help you become a greater expert on your clients’ needs.
    • Employee Engagement: Identify areas of improvement to design solutions, assess the impact of training and staff development initiatives to see if they are working, monitor problem areas, compare results over time and across departments and locations
    • Challenges surveys: Determine areas where your clients will need your help in the future.
    • Instant polls: Quick one-question surveys to share perceptions or develop a better understanding of specific issues.

    Best uses: Reach a specific audience, update service offerings, build social media strategies and campaigns, research and analyze a target market, measure brand awareness, generate customer feedback for testimonials and reports

  • Seminars & Webinars

    Whether in written or verbal form, surveys offer a powerful way to develop new sales opportunities. They can help you quickly collect feedback from your customers, prospects, and even employees.

     Popular uses of surveys include:

    • Customer satisfaction audits: Identify ways to improve your services and pinpoint problems before they occur.
    • New service evaluations: Test the marketability of new concepts.
    • Industry trend surveys: Gather statistical data that will help you become a greater expert on your clients’ needs.
    • Employee Engagement: Identify areas of improvement to design solutions, assess the impact of training and staff development initiatives to see if they are working, monitor problem areas, compare results over time and across departments and locations
    • Challenges surveys: Determine areas where your clients will need your help in the future.
    • Instant polls: Quick one-question surveys to share perceptions or develop a better understanding of specific issues.

    Best uses: Reach a specific audience, update service offerings, build social media strategies and campaigns, research and analyze a target market, measure brand awareness, generate customer feedback for testimonials and reports.

  • Upgrade your website

    How does your website position you? As an expert? As a leader? As a high-quality home care provider? Or as someone who’s nephew threw together a website on a budget…9 years ago? While a website upgrade may not necessarily be low-cost, it can be one of the best investments you can make to build credibility and enhance your company’s image. And when combined with valuable content and an email newsletter, your website can become a cornerstone of a low-cost marketing campaign. Upgrading your website can be one of the best investments you can make.

    Best uses: Lead capture, providing customer service, branding, recruiting, build foundation for all marketing efforts

  • Interns

    Most colleges can provide low-cost or no cost interns to your company. Some schools can even provide MBA-level students for specific consulting projects. Of course, without planning you may get what you pay for with interns.

    Here are a few examples of projects that are ideally suited to using interns:

    • Market research: conduct surveys, gather industry data for you.
    • Competitive studies: do analyses of your top competitors.
    • Develop prospect lists: research target companies and develop profiles.
    • Website development: some schools can provide talented techs at low-cost.

    Best uses: Complete important projects, increase staff at low or no cost, generate new ideas, outside the box thinking.

  • Improve your service process

    Companies often overlook one of the most critical aspects of their marketing, and that’s their service process. Making improvements that increase quality, improve consistency, and enhance your customer’s experience can be among the best marketing investments you can make. As a start, look at the characteristics of your service that your customers like least. Then figure out how to eliminate those negatives. Next, look at the areas of your service that are most valued and find ways to further enhance your customer’s’ experience. Your goal is to create a defined, repeatable process that consistently delivers the greatest experience that your customer is willing to pay for. Companies like Home Care Pulse, the home care industry’s leading satisfaction management firm, can help you with powerful insights, resources, and data that allow you to provide better care to those you serve.

    Best uses: Develop your value proposition, build consistency into service delivery, increase client satisfaction, increase client and professional referrals, increase caregiver satisfaction

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Ideas are easy. Implementation is tough.

The challenge to low-cost marketing isn’t just coming up with ideas. The real challenge is creating a process to ensure that you’re marketing on a consistent basis.

Our recommendation:

  • Put together a strategy
  • Define your “product”
  • Define your target client
  • Determine your positioning message
  • Define potential referral sources
  • Figure out how you will get your message to your prospects
  • Plan your tactics
  • Select the tactics that fit your goals and budget
  • Develop a repeatable process for marketing
  • Create a marketing calendar
  • Get help
  • Assign ownership to every tactic
  • Bring in outside help where needed to ensure you look great, communicate effectively, and implement consistently.

Need help? Speak with a marketing expert at Providentia Marketing by calling 888-229-8057 or send an email to jason@providentiamarketing.com. Or visit providentiamarketing.com.

Author

Providentia marketingProvidentia Marketing At Providentia Marketing, we are home care industry specialists. We offer a range of services to satisfy the marketing needs and fit the budgets of all kinds of home care agencies.

We founded our company with the mission to help home care businesses with great, affordable marketing. Whether you’re looking for an effective way to stand out from the competition or you just need a new website or brochure, we can help.

Our services include: Website design and maintenance, email marketing, blog writing, social media marketing, marketing strategy and creative services.

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