From over a century ago up to a just a decade ago, the strategy to be found as a service business consisted of a mixture of what is now deemed “traditional media” – TV, radio, newspaper… with an ad in the yellow pages as an anchor to retain interested prospects once they came looking for you. You might still be using a phone book, but it’s important to understand the massive changes over the last 5 years when it comes to consumer behavior in areas of researching and selecting options. These shifts have nearly entirely replaced traditional media in ways that connect with consumers in a stronger and more personable way than ever before experienced.
Despite misconceptions, this shift in behavior isn’t just a Millennial or younger thing. Chances are, you aren’t a Millennial, yet have one of those smartphones which you frequently use to refer to Google or Siri when searching for anything from a plumber to a restaurant. You may even be reading this blog post on said smartphone. In fact, according to Pew Research Center, 42% of adults 65 and older and 74% of adults 50-64 have smartphones. If you think that’s impressive, 88% of adults between the ages 30 and 49 have smartphones. If you’re not making an effort to be mobile-friendly, you are missing out on significant opportunities to reach seniors and others in need of home care.
How many YouTube videos or video posts on Facebook or LinkedIn do you watch on your mobile device? Do you really wait until the scheduled air time to watch the local news, or are you already caught up with the happenings of the day in the news because it came across your social media feeds? Do you even have a subscription to a newspaper anymore? How close is your local newspaper to becoming completely online, anyway?
With the information this technology brings us, we’ve gone past trying to shape consumer behavior with our choice of medium and are now able to modify our messages to fit the medium the consumers are migrating to. Here are some examples of how modern marketing efforts are showing to be improvements over traditional marketing:
Video is still a powerful method in connecting with most consumer groups. However, running 30-60 commercials on traditional TV is becoming decreasingly effective as video consumption online via YouTube or other social media are experiencing exponential growth.
The ability to target your audience with online video is far superior to the level of targeting available through television advertising. Instead of choosing shows you think your target audience is most likely to enjoy, online video marketing gives you the ability to target potential consumers based on their online behavior. Rather than target 100% of viewers with the same ad, hoping the 2-3% who may be interested enough to act on your calls-to-action, you can directly target the 3% who are indeed interested. And, you don’t have to choose The Bachelorette, The Doctors, The View, the news hour, primetime, etc. as the time to run your ad. Online video is there for consumers to come across 24/7!
Remember searching the house for 5 minutes to find the phone book, then searching through various yellow pages categories to find a business to call? Now, if it takes more than 5 seconds for Google or Siri to produce exactly what you’re looking for, you’re frustrated.
When it comes to searching for businesses, fingers don’t walk anymore – they tap, click and scroll. As you consider your marketing strategy, it’s important to realize how people are searching for businesses. Having your business name, phone number, website address and some basic information available to appear in search results will go much further in finding prospective clients than ad space in yellow pages. Not having a Google+/My Business presence, along with other online listings today is comparable to not having an ad in the yellow pages in the 90s.
Let’s just combine billboards, newspaper ads, and magazine ads into this section. What if you could segment these to show your ads to only those drivers on the road or those reading the paper or magazine to people in your target audience?
Of course with print – and even the digital billboards – this technology cannot work. Online display ads, if setup properly, can start showing up on news websites, blog sites, on social media, and in apps as people in your target audience go about their normal days online. This is accomplished through remarketing or targeted marketing. You don’t schedule an ad to run in a certain section of the paper or on a specific street. Instead, you set your ad to target people based on searching for keywords or visiting websites relative to what you do.
Word of Mouth
While face-to-face word-of-mouth is still a force to be reckoned with, technology has added a few more layers and options to word-of-mouth marketing. Through Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram and the myriad other social media options, businesses are constantly being discussed – for good or bad. Online reviews through many of these platforms have been significant in shaping the opinion of potential consumers.
Industry relevant review sites, such as Caring.com and AgingCare.com, speak even stronger to the potential client in search of a home care provider. Having pages for your agency on these various platforms and encouraging as much positive discussion as you can helps promote a positive reputation of your business and builds confidence in those in search of a home care provider.
From website design to marketing efforts, the growing use of smartphones among all ages has been a significant game changer in promoting business. Look for opportunities to make connections big and small with your target audience. Whether you are able to have an employee take on efforts in promoting your home care agency or need to start small with an online marketing and web design company, being up to date with marketing standards will make a difference to how your business performs.
While some still go between mobile and desktop search, mobile is often where the final search takes place – leading to a convenient click-to-call from your web page. Optimizing properly for the potential client’s online experience gives you opportunities to reach them throughout their decisions making journey.
Where to start…
A solid foundation for a positive online experience includes the following:
- Mobile-Friendly Website – Content, images, menu, click-to-call phone number, etc. all optimized for the ideal smartphone experience
- Online Citations – Company Name, Address, Phone Number, URL, and basic descriptions across multiple online directories
- Social Media Presence – 2-4 posts (at least) per month
- Reputation Management – Encouraging positive online reviews
- Video – YouTube has a huge influence in online search
- Content – Become an authority in your area through posting on your website and social media
Making the transition from how things used to be to marketing your home care business online can be overwhelming if you try doing it all at once. Work toward a plan, setting goals and a strategy to start incorporating a stronger internet presence in your marketing efforts this year. Work to find partners in online marketing and in the home care industry who can help your website and other digital brands gain traction.
Through our satisfaction management program, we’ve collected hundreds of thousands of reviews for home care providers throughout America. As a benefit to agencies we work with, a percentage of those reviews have been published to Caring.com, making a significant impact in the efforts of reputation management and industry relevant online citations. You can read more about the services we provide to benefit home care providers on our Program Details page.
Kevin Hansen, Digital Communications Manager
Kevin has over a decade of experience in online marketing and web design with a multiple industries. He is one of our managers overseeing email and internet communications at Home Care Pulse.