Marketing Your Home Care Business: The Difference Between Consumer and Referral Marketing

Home Care Office Staff Hiring Tips

In the home care industry, we focus on two types of marketing: consumer and referral. It’s important to understand the difference.

In the home care industry, in order to have a successful, profitable business, you need to have a steady stream of new clients. With this in mind, wise business owners put time and effort into marketing. Marketing doesn’t need to be a difficult, daunting task—but you do need to have a focus and a plan. Throughout the month of June, we will explore various marketing strategies for your home care business, arming you with some tried and true marketing methods you can implement or improve on in your business.

Home Care Staffing Strategy

Learn How to Get More Professional Referrals

View “Building Mutual Relationships with Professional Referral Sources”
Watch Now

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

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

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

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.

Analyze your current consumer and referral marketing strategies. Are your methods bringing in enough new clients? Check back this month for more in-depth articles about the top marketing methods you can implement to see better results and gain new clients.

Home Care Staffing Strategy

Build an Effective Marketing Strategy

Get the Home Care Marketing Checklist
Download Now

Join more than 20,000 home care professionals on our mailing list.

Get the latest updates from the blog and free resources to help you grow your home care business. 

About the Author:


  1. Marilyn Smith April 25, 2016 at 12:56 pm - Reply

    I loved your article from June 2014. I’m new in the In Home Care arena and getting clients is very challenging to say the least. Your suggestions are very helpful. Do you have more information on recruiting clients that you can direct me to????

  2. Darrell Neal July 19, 2016 at 9:12 am - Reply

    I’m in Huntsville AL. I’m needing to know who to contact to get referrals to build new in home care business.

  3. Amy Selle November 4, 2016 at 10:25 am - Reply

    Search Engine Optimization is the top consumer marketing tactic for acquiring new home care clients, and is an essential part of a home care agency’s overall marketing strategy. Research shows that health information is the single most searched internet topic. When families need help maintaining the health of an older loved one, they go online to research not only caregiving companies that can assist but also articles with information that can help the family provide better care. Having practical, helpful information for family caregivers on a home care agency’s website site allows agencies to be found earlier in the consumer’s online journey, and also builds trust in the agency. For more, read:

  4. care professionals July 15, 2017 at 3:06 am - Reply

    You can find affordable medical insurance online tߋ find the гight
    coverage of health fоr any᧐ne within yоur family.
    It is alѕߋ weⅼl tolerated Ьy individuals սsing a highly sensitive stomach.

    Τһere are many products around the market that claim to prevent baldness іn it’s tracks, maкing amazing claims.

  5. Zara adam May 11, 2018 at 2:20 am - Reply

    We are intetested to use your services in the coming future.

Leave A Comment