To begin with, let’s talk about the basics. In the home care industry, we focus on two types of marketing: consumer and referral. It’s important to understand the difference, so here is a quick overview:
Consumer marketing refers to your marketing efforts that are aimed directly at your potential clients. As with all marketing, the goal of consumer marketing is to let people know you exist and help them understand the services you provide, hopefully converting these prospects into new clients.
Some examples of consumer marketing are newspaper ads, TV ads, radio ads, billboards, a sign on your car door, your website and SEO (search engine optimization), speaking at senior events or attending health fairs, and having a listing on a consumer outreach website, like a franchise website or BestofHomeCare.com.
Depending on your location and your business goals, some consumer marketing methods may work better than others, but there are some methods that seem to work better than others for most home care businesses. According to the “2014 Private Duty Benchmarking Study,” an annual study of the home care industry conducted by Home Care Pulse, the top consumer marketing method is SEO, which refers to methods used to help consumers find your business online. We will discuss this method and other top consumer marketing methods later this month.
Referral marketing includes all marketing efforts aimed directly at current clients, doctor’s offices and other referral sources, as opposed to potential new clients themselves. By reaching out to these referral sources and building a relationship of trust with them, they are happy to recommend your services to those they know who are in need of home care services.
According the “2014 Private Duty Benchmarking Study,” the top referral marketing source for home care businesses is current and past clients. Customer service is not always viewed as a marketing opportunity, but in reality your clients should be so happy with your services that they want to recommend your company to everyone they know. Even after they’ve stopped needing your services, they will keep recommending your company to their family and friends if their experience warrants it.
Referrals can also come from those who work closest with seniors, including healthcare professionals, hospital discharge planners, hospice employees, state agencies, etc. The point is to network and build professional relationships with these sources, so they are familiar with your business and the services you provide. When these professionals know and trust your company, they will be more likely to refer potential clients to you.