Growth Marketing for Startup Home Care Agencies

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Growth marketing first played a major role in tech and internet startups. But it’s now a critical tool for newer home care agencies seeking cost-effective marketing solutions that produce quick results.

Like it the old fashioned way?

New home care agencies have much to consider. From choosing comprehensive software solutions to developing HR protocols, the checklist of tasks that must be completed prior to opening the doors seems endless. However, all of this preparation is futile without the execution of a successful business development strategy.

The non-medical home care industry continues to grow in order to accommodate the needs of an estimated 117 million aging Americans by 2020. So baby-boomer seniors will ensure a steady stream of clients, in theory. However, industry experts know that fierce competition among thousands of agencies means that success is still far from guaranteed.

Enter “growth marketing.” There are many buzz phrases these days, and new home care agency owners can have trouble keeping up with the lingo. But growth marketing is one worth knowing.

Here’s an easy way to understand the concept: Growth marketing attempts to maximize client acquisition ROI by efficiently engaging large audiences via multiple outreach channels. These often include search engine optimization (SEO), social media outreach, creative/educational content publication, blog posts and email marketing campaigns. All of these activities are then tracked through analytics to determine relative success and further hone marketing efficiency.

Growth marketing first played a major role in tech and internet startups. But it’s now a critical tool for newer home care agencies seeking cost-effective marketing solutions that produce quick results.

Here are growth marketing techniques that will specifically benefit your home care agency startup:

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Monthly Newsletters

Newsletters are nothing new, but their modern-day cousins are sent via email and are highly-tracked to optimize results. Indeed, the days of sending letters via “snail mail” are mostly over, which has had both positive and negative affects on home care marketing. On one hand, companies save a fortune on postage, envelopes and labor costs. But on the other, many savvy email recipients are conditioned to instantly delete anything viewed as “solicitation.”

Today’s newsletter email campaigns prove successful when correctly executed and analyzed. Writers must focus heavily on creating compelling subject lines that pique curiosity but don’t over-promise. The bodies of the emails should be both educational/informative and subtly self-promoting. Newsletters that only “sell” the agency’s services are quickly viewed as advertisements and discarded.

As previously suggested, the right tools dramatically improve the success of email newsletter campaigns by providing detailed analytics. This information includes “open rate” and data that highlights how many folks are being directed to the home care company website. In other words, owners can determine if people are actually reading the email, and if the email itself is encouraging them to view the website. Email open rates of 20% or higher are generally considered acceptable, and agencies can experiment with techniques and subject lines to improve the percentage.

LinkedIn, Facebook and Social Media

It’s no secret that many companies across all industries now have social media profiles. While social media exposure is generally positive, agencies should make note of platforms that are especially advantageous in home care marketing and branding. The most important sites are probably LinkedIn and Facebook.

LinkedIn is great for home care agencies, since it’s professionally-oriented and useful for both marketing to referral sources and caregiver recruiting efforts. Savvy marketers can leverage the platform to “connect” with healthcare and community gatekeepers for new communication avenues. Home care recruiters can likewise achieve results in caregiver outreach by targeting specific prospects and executing general recruiting campaigns.

Facebook can also assist in general home care agency branding and caregiver outreach. However, the platform is usually less beneficial for actual client acquisition. It’s unlikely that a marketer will connect with a referral source via Facebook prospecting unless she already enjoys an established relationship. With that said, the service is great for crafting a positive community image by “sharing” positive company updates, charity efforts, etc.

Instagram, Twitter and other niche platforms are certainly worth exploring but don’t warrant the same efforts. Instagram is very lifestyle-focused and visual, which translates well in the retail and hospitality industries but is less effective in home care marketing. Likewise, Twitter is limited, since most healthcare professionals don’t have personal Twitter accounts.

Regular Blog Posts and Articles

A quick glance at home care agency websites reveals that many do not have regular blog and article posts. Many will have a “Blog” section with a handful of sporadic publications. These usually begin with more frequency and trail-off over time, and the content is often copy-and-paste brochure messaging regarding services, etc.

New agency owners must understand the importance of frequent, informative blogging. Companies that publish regular content drive traffic to their websites by linking updates on social media platforms and sharing through email newsletters. Moreover, they improve website traffic passively through improved SEO. Regular content publication is one of the best ways to optimize Google search results!

Subject Matter Expert (SME) Interviews, Video Posts and Podcasts

Forward-thinking home care agencies that are blessed with the right resources can implement additional growth marketing strategies to further distinguish their offerings from the competition. Some have effectively leveraged industry relationships to secure subject matter expert (SME) interviews for video posts and podcasts. For example, an agency may ask the local hospital “Director of Case Management” to sit-down for lunch and an interview. The resulting podcast or video can then be posted on the company website and social media platforms.

The nice thing about SME interviews is that they benefit home care marketing efforts on multiple fronts. First, they’re one of the best ways to build a brand and establish quick credibility within the community. Second, they solidify relationships with SMEs who are typically prime referral sources.

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SEO, Google Tools & Online Reviews

Certain growth marketing tools are more on the technical end of things, and home care leaders may need to consult with outside experts to maximize their benefits. Search engine optimization (SEO) is achieved through agency collaboration with consulting firms that help guide related marketing efforts such as blogging and social media engagement. Outside SEO specialists also engage in back-end technical activities—including analytics—that are usually beyond the scope of a typical home care agency owner.

With that said, there are other hands-on measures that can be exploited from within the organization. All agencies should ensure that they have updated “Google My Business” profiles. This Google service is free and essentially links a company’s online information and profile with Google Maps, Google Reviews and Google Search.

Speaking of reviews, online client feedback from Yelp and Google can have a dramatic affect on growth marketing efforts. A recent study from ReviewTrackers shows that over 50% of consumers regularly check online reviews when vetting businesses. Yelp, Google and other social media reviews can all influence potential home care clients. However, Google has emerged as the most critical given its search functions and suite of other services via Google My Business (see above).

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Charity & Community Collaboration

Savvy home care companies have worked with charity and community organizations long before the days of growth marketing strategy. However, the introduction of online marketing tools and social media has further compounded the benefits of these partnerships. An agency that collaborates with a national disease prevention and awareness organization, for example, can really leverage the relationship to improve branding courtesy of online exposure.

Collaborative efforts yield amazing results in the era of hashtags and hyperlinking. Agencies can publish blogs or articles on their partnerships and link the charity or community organization websites. Moreover, they can hashtag the organizations when posting updates on LinkedIn and Facebook for further social media influence and exposure.

Targeted Advertising

Television and radio advertisement may work well for large, national home care brands, but what about regional startups? Smaller companies focused on quick growth usually find limited ROI from these mediums. However, highly-targeted internet advertising that focuses on geographical proximity and demographics can prove very effective and affordable.

As with SEO efforts, targeted online advertising is best left to the technological experts and requires outside assistance. However, agencies may find that it’s well worth the investment. Modern online pay-per click ads are laser-beam-focused on user location and interests.

One can imagine a middle-aged professional searching “senior home care” for her mother. She receives an ad for a nearby home care agency, complete with contact information and client reviews. This person is probably inclined to make a call and is qualified in more ways than one based on search history and other data analytics!

Final Thoughts

As a new home care agency owner, you have plenty to think about. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information, but you need not worry about every new technology or resource. With that said, growth marketing is a proven strategy that warrants further exploration.

If you have a modest marketing budget and a spark of creativity, you’re more than capable of developing a results-driven growth marketing strategy. And the good news is there are experts that specialize in marketing for the home care industry available to assist in your quest!

To learn more about how Providentia Marketing helps home care agencies accelerate their growth, visit providentiamarketing.com.

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