Home Care Marketing Trends for 2021 According to the Experts at corecubed
Marissa Snook, President/CEO and Stacie Gillespie, Director of Search Marketing at corecubed download major trends in digital marketing that home care owners need to take advantage of and watch out for in 2021.
Wecome to Vision | The Home Care Leaders Podcast. I’m Miriam Allred with Home Care Pulse. Today, I’m here with Marissa Snook and Stacie Gillespie, marketing experts at corecubed to discuss the top trends we’re seeing in home care marketing. Ladies, welcome to the show!
We’ve got a lot to talk about today. So we’re going to jump right in. We’ve gotten a lot of questions here at home care pulse about marketing trends moving into 2021. So today we’re going to focus on a lot of the digital marketing trends that we’re hearing and ask those questions that agencies are asking us. So let’s kick it off talking about SEO I’m going to open it up to you, Stacie, about some of the latest trends you’re seeing on SEO and Google ads. What, what are you seeing and hearing from agencies?
Yeah, so I think one of the biggest things that we’re seeing is just simply the fact that people are beginning to realize the power of SEO and PPC, because they’re not able to get out and network like they’re used to doing. Instead, they’re having to kind of sit behind their desk a little bit more and do what they can without having that face to face interaction. So because people are searching more online, they want to make sure that it’s their website that’s found in those search results and SEO and PPC, or how you make that happen. So as far as going into the new year there are a few things that we are really keeping pulse on and that’s one of those things is voice search. But obviously voice search has been around for a while, but people have been using, you know, voice capabilities on smartphones and devices, but now we’re seeing an increased use of voice powered, smart, smart speakers, like Google home, for instance.
And it’s actually estimated that by next year by 2022, one out of every two households will have at least one smart speaker. So that in itself is changing the search marketing game and really kind of changing the way we’re having to think about how we reach these people. Another kind of cool thing that we’re keeping an eye on is Google has this principle called EAT. E.A.T, and it stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness. And those are basically factors that Google is using to determine if a web page has useful quality content. And obviously the more that you can adhere to this principle and others, the better that you’re going to rank in search results. But this eat principle is very important, especially for businesses in the healthcare space, because you know, of course, people want to know that the information they’re getting related to their health is accurate and it’s reliable. So really what that comes down to is just making sure that you’re writing with your audience in mind that you’re backing up claims with statistics, facts, all that good stuff that you’re linking and using a reputable website, like.edu.gov and having those types of authoritative site linked back to yours. That’s another great way to prove to Google that you’re following this eat criteria and showing the authoritativeness of your website. And then semantic seach.
Right. It’s something we all love to do. So semantic search is something that you may also start hearing is kind of more of a buzz word. And again, it’s not necessarily a new concept, but it’s something that Google is becoming better and better at. So basically semantic search is if you search for, I need help caring for my mom, then through the use of semantic search algorithms, Google could interpret that as you know, you may be looking for home care services and then they’ll show results related to home care. So it’s really the intent behind the actual search. And so that kind of leads us over into the need for more long tail keywords and focusing more about topics. Not just keywords, you know, especially generic keywords when you’re writing content.
Yeah. Just in case people don’t know what a long tail keyword is. Keywords in the past people would focus on would be like home care. An example of a long term, a long tail keyword might be, I need help caring for my parent with Alzheimer’s, which is typically something that would be someone that would enter into a voice search.
Yep, exactly. And there’s lots of tools that can help you kind of develop that long tail keyword strategy. One of the simplest ways to do it is just you can search for home care or dementia care or whatever it may be, and then scroll all the way down to the bottom of the search results page. And there’s a section called searches related to, and so Google is automatically providing you with long tail keyword options and kind of directional thoughts you know, just by scrolling to the bottom of the page. So but that’s kind of a different, a little bit of a different way of thinking. And along those same lines is local search. And local search can very much be integrated into those long tail keywords. It could be, you know, that you’re searching for home care, but you specifically want home care, obviously where you’re located. So for me, it would be home care in Dallas or caring for parents in Dallas or whatever the term. But even if you offer services at a national or even a global level, people want to see content that’s tailored to them where they live, where they work, et cetera. So that’s very important.
One question kind of stemming from all of this is it’s really important, the content and the wording and the phrasiology on your website. So what are, what are some things that agencies need to focus on on their website to capitalize on all of this search? Does that make sense?
Yeah. Well, I think that local search is something that people often miss on the content on their website, because obviously you’re focused on getting the correct information out there. But if you don’t also include information about the locations that you service, the cities, the communities, then Google doesn’t have any clue where you offer services other than your physical address. So you have to sort of pepper those city words throughout your content in a natural sort of way to give Google the clue of where you service.
Yeah, absolutely. Which is really cool. But yeah, there may be agencies that are missing out on something as simple as that anything to add Marissa or Marissa or Stacie on what, you know, Stacie has walked us through already.
I think another thing that’s going to be well, I mean, it already is really important, but maybe even more important in 2021 is the use of video. People are, they have very short attention spans and not only do we just not want to read long pages of content, sometimes we don’t even have the patience to read some short content, but a video is more attractive. And if you can find creative ways to use video and it doesn’t have to be a super professionally made video every single time, it could be somebody who’s giving a testimonial through a video, it could be a Facebook live message that you’re doing. It’s just a very attractive option digitally.
Yeah. Video is King is what we hear a lot of the time and we’re only moving more and more in that direction. And I like what you said, it can be authentic. It can be selfie style. It can be a quick Facebook live on your way to work. It can really be anything, but that’s what people gravitate towards. So whatever you’re willing to do, you know, put that out there, which is great. Any other strategies or things you want to highlight on PPC? A lot of people are doing it, but people, you know, still are kind of figuring it out, but any specific strategies or trends in the PPC area.
I think the biggest mistake that agencies make is either trying to do it themselves or letting Google do it for them. You think that letting Google do PPC, be a fantastic at results, but they don’t know that target audience as sensitively as you do. So your results are not going to be what you expected versus if you worked with a company who not only knows PPC inside and out and all of the tricks that you can do to make it work for you, but also really understands that target audience and how to reach them through your content.
Yeah, we’re definitely in a niche market and we want to trust everything to Google, but in a niche market like this, you know, we are the experts or we need to trust a marketing expert that knows this industry and knows PBC well enough to make it happen. Obviously you guys are the experts and know a lot about this, but any resources or online training that people could turn to for even kind of a basic high-level understanding of PPC or Google ads,
There are so many sources out there for, for training. And I mean, I have a, a degree in digital marketing, so I there’s even, you know, schools that you can go to to get some training if you really want to dive into something like this, but at a high level. And probably the simplest way to get training is through Google. They ha they offer some great courses. And they’re in the form of short videos you know, in sections. So there may be 10 sections that you have to go through, but you can do it at your pace. And you can dig as deep as you want. But they’ve got videos and information about all of the tools and the services and things that they offer. So not only are you learning SEO or PPC, but you’re also kind of understanding it from Google’s eyes and understanding how to, how to apply that to your website, to get it ranking better on Google. So it’s kind of a, two-fold win right there.
A lot of agency owners listening probably are contracting out a lot of their marketing efforts, but I think it’s still good to have kind of a baseline understanding of what’s going on. So that even when you’re having conversations with your marketing agency or, you know, I think it’s just good to have kind of that understanding for every agency owner and their marketing team to make sure that they know what’s going on and know what’s working. So appreciate. What’s been said there let’s, let’s push into email trends. Obviously in 2020 so much has happened and I’d imagine you guys get the same feel, but there’s a lot of noise in on the internet, but really I think an email, the email department as well, but what, what are you seeing that’s working or what are some do’s and don’ts in email marketing right now that we want to carry into 2021?
Well, I think email, as far as communicating with clients and inquiries, it needs to be personalized and it needs to look professional. I still see a lot of home care agencies are sending emails from a Gmail address instead of an email address that has their company name at the end of it. I see companies who they don’t have an email signature, so it doesn’t look like it’s coming from a professional company. And those are simple things to change, to sort of bump up your professionalism with your email. But I think you’ve mentioned like, you know, emails kind of the buzz right now because that’s one of the few reaches ways we can reach the referral sources. The expectations have to be, you have to be realistic because right now, an open rate for e-newsletters, for example, in the healthcare field is only about 19.7% with a click to open rate.
That means the people who not only open your newsletter, but then click on things in it. That percentage is only 13.7%. So if you go into an expensive email marketing campaign thinking, Oh, you know, 75% of my audience is going to read this. It’s just not realistic and you’re going to be disappointed with the results, but I still swear by email marketing as a great way to reach people so long as the content is something that your audience is interested in, that it’s educational to them. It’s informative to them. And that is a mistake. I think a lot of agencies make is that their content is just not engaging their audience.
Yeah. And I think that right there is key. Just with SEO or PPC or really anything that you’re doing, if your content isn’t written with your audience in mind to engage them and you know, topics that are top of mind and relevant for them. And what’s important to them, you have to know your audience. And if you can’t communicate with them at their level, whatever level they’re at, whether they’re just learning about home care or it’s something that they have been in this world for a long time, you’ve got to know that. And you’ve got to know, you know, the buzzwords, what kind of phrases and things resonate with them. And how do you make them understand very quickly what you’re trying to communicate
Love what’s been said! There two things I want to hit on the importance of CRMs. Most agencies are using them, but some still may not. The power of email comes from organization content, obviously like you said, quality content, but also just the organization and consistency. So talk to me a little bit about CRMs. You know, which ones are people using, any of anything else you want to add on the value of using a CRM?
I think that people definitely are not using CRMs as well as they should be to track their inquiries, referral sources. So many wonderful ways that you can use the CRMs. I don’t have a recommendation, a on a particular CRM that a lot of people are using, because right now it’s kind of all over the map and it’s like Coke versus Pepsi. You swear by your brand. And that it’s the best brand. So how do you know which one is the best? It’s really what works best for you, but you have to maintain it because, you know, Miriam, you mentioned the organization, so many people who have that CRM it’s so out of date and so disorganized, and they’ve got duplicate emails and people with, you know, four different emails and they don’t know which one is the right one. So you have to invest in keeping that as clean as possible.
I think is a great takeaway for the new year. It’s a lot of work on the front end to, to organize a CRM like that. But the, the value in the organization will go such a long way in, in your communication. So I think that’s key. One other thing I wanted to hit on is email nurturing. I think what we see a lot is agency sending kind of one-off emails. You know, they may have a weekly newsletter, but what, what would work or what’s working in terms of email nurturing, you know, kind of consistent long-term campaigns, what do you recommend there? What are we seeing there?
I think you can build some great nurture campaigns not only on inquiries so that they get something right away from you. But also on the follow-up for inquiries, as well as information on specific diseases. Like if you know that a certain group of your contact database is interested in information on dementia, you could send them a series of nurture campaigns about dementia care same with Parkinson’s and you know, a lot of the different chronic diseases that you could build. Wonderful nurture campaigns around with educational information, with information. People are really hungry for
No, I mean, I think Marissa has hit the nail on the head. It’s really about keeping your list clean, knowing your audience, really knowing the, I mean, everybody talks about the buying process, but home care, so different it’s, there’s not this buying process that people go through so to speak, but there is a process that people go through as far as learning about home care and what are my options and staying informed and you know, just knowing what’s going on in the industry so that they can get the best help that they that’s available to them. So it’s really about knowing your audience. And like Marissa said, keeping everything clean because it’s going to change constantly, but you have to stay on top of that.
Yeah. And if you want to set up a nurture campaign, be prepared for a lot of work. It’s not simple. A lot of people go into it with thinking, Oh, I’m just going to create this landing page. And they will come and out automatically emails will just come out of the air and be delivered to them. But you have to write those, that content. You have to make sure that people are getting into those funnels and then that if they need to get out of those funnels, there’s you know, you’re keeping that database maintained. So if an inquiry turns into a client, for example, they’re no longer getting those sales messages, because that would be really irritating cause they’re already a client. So you’ve got to maintain that and build the content, which does take some time and effort. But once you got it set up, it is a wonderful, wonderful tool.
So accurate. When it comes to content production and you know, both on maybe a blogging site and also emails, how often should this communication, or should an agency producing all of this content and publishing it?
Well, I always like to think that you should market across multiple channels because not everybody is going to consume content the same way. Some people are going to enjoy your blog. Some people are going to enjoy your e-newsletters and some people are going to be just on social media. So I’d say it hit as many of them. As often as you can, without overdoing it, if you’re sending out a weekly email, for example, and you start seeing that fewer and fewer people are opening that email every week, that’s a good indication that you’re sending content a little too often. If your open rate remains the same or increases, then you know, you’re on a good track. So definitely measure
Yeah. Keeping track of what’s working. What’s not for sure. Let’s, let’s move into social. Social media has been around for a while now, but I feel like we’re learning new things and new tactics with social so frequently. So talk to me a little bit about paid versus organic social. What, what are your recommendations there on, on a variety of channels to Facebook, LinkedIn? You know, which channels should they be focusing on and what should they be doing on both the paid and organic side?
Well, Facebook is still King. The stats are showing that as the second, as of the second quarter of 2020 Facebook had over 2.7 billion active monthly users. So it is the biggest social network in the world right now. Having said that it is getting more difficult for businesses to be seen organically on Facebook. It’s more of a pay to play platform for businesses now, because I think it was around 2017 or 2018 that Facebook changed their algorithms. So that friends and family posts were being seen more often than business posts. So I don’t know if businesses have really caught up with this because I still hear people obsessing over how many likes and follows that they have on Facebook thinking, you know, that’s going to bring them in business. And it’s just, it’s just not the case because right now studies are showing that only about 6% of your posts are being seen by your likes and follows.
If you get engagement on those posts, people are commenting, liking, sharing that post. Then Facebook sort of shows it to more people, but oftentimes to get that engagement, you’re going to have to boost that post or advertise that post to get more paid eyes, seeing it, and then you can organically get more people to see it as well. So I think that’s probably the, the biggest thing to understand with Facebook is it’s still a great platform to be on. I would say for home care, it’s probably where the bulk of your target audience is going to be in the way of social media, but you’re going to have to advertise and be savvy about your advertising. And if you are, it’s, it’s still a great platform to use, but it’s like an engagement and relationships.
Yeah, yeah. Along those same lines. And Marissa, you’re exactly right. It’s very much a pay to play space, but it’s almost kind of a double-edged sword because you want those likes and followers. But in order to get them a lot of times, you do have to kind of pay for them. But once you get them, you don’t want to just get followers just to have a big number of followers because Google will actually penalize you for that. If those followers aren’t engaging with your content, they’re just basically going to see your content as it’s kind of worthless, nobody really cares about it because nobody’s clicking on it. Nobody likes it, nobody shares it. So it, like I said, kind of that double-edged sword of you want people to like your, your, your page, but you also want them to engage with your content high level.
What should a posting strategy look like for an agency? I think having posts that lead back to your website is a great idea. And the easiest way to do this is if you blog, you can post a little something about that blog and link the post back to your website, where people can read the entire blog. We’ve had a lot of success with clients who have boosted those posts, that link back to blogs and, and Google sees that as a referral, which means, Oh, look, this website is popular. People are going to it. So then your rankings boost I also think you should include some more personal things of pictures of your clients. Obviously you have to get permission for anything that’s client or caregiver related, but everyone loves to see pictures. It adds to the personality. It makes you feel more homey and real as an agency. And obviously the warmer you can look as an agency, the more people are going to come to you.
Yeah, absolutely. I think as an industry, we’re S we’re still figuring out social. I think there is engagement happening on social, but we’ve still got a ways to go. And I almost think we need to work together kind of as an industry to keep the buzz going and to keep the engagement inside the industry. Because it’s tricky, you know, social is such a tricky game right now, but I think we need to almost work together in a way. Any other thoughts on what really is driving ROI? Obviously we’ve said it’s kind of a play pay to play concept right now, but anything or any other specific tactics that are driving ROI on social in general.
I think that you can get people to call your agency and check out your agency more through social media. I know a lot of people say, Oh, why should I do Facebook or social media? Because it doesn’t actually bring me any business. It does often in a roundabout way, but through those advertising channels on social media, I think you can have a faster way to get people to call you for services. So advertising is going to drive more ROI than spending a ton of time on trying to get more likes and followers. Like Staie said, I don’t want to discount that. But if you have limited time, you should first look at Facebook advertising or advertising on LinkedIn, which is a whole different prospect, but it does work for brand recognition, I think. And then look at, you know, what are my posts and can I get more engagement and can I get more followers,
Any more thoughts on LinkedIn? What we seen is a lot of agencies using it to connect with referral sources, but any other recommendations on using LinkedIn, maybe for, yeah, for referral sources, but also potentially for client, client inquiries.
I think the main benefit of LinkedIn is brand recognition. Getting your name repeatedly out there, which with referral sources is very important. Are you going to get somebody who refers your agency just from LinkedIn posts? Maybe not, but it could put your name into the back of their minds. So, you know, it could in a round about way lead to business. I have heard of some agencies who swear by LinkedIn, as you know, they do a lot of spend a lot of advertising money with LinkedIn because they swear it brings them referral source traffic. So I, it, it does work. I just know it’s much more expensive than Facebook.
Yes, definitely. Yeah. Which will be interesting to see how that ebbs, ebbs and flows. I think LinkedIn is an evolving platform and is making a lot of updates and changes. So I think we all just need to keep a pulse on what’s happening there and continue to utilize it in the ways that we can. Yeah.
Yeah. Oh, and one thing I don’t want to forget to mention, because recruitment obviously is a huge problem right now, Facebook now has Facebook jobs, which is a wonderful, really easy way to recruit caregivers. You can even have a short job application directly on Facebook and you can boost those job posts as well. So it gets, it gets posted on your Facebook feed. It also goes on Facebook’s jobs page for, I think about two weeks. And then you can also bump it to go to a larger audience if you pay Facebook. So something to keep in mind.
Yeah. Glad you hit on that. Both on Facebook and LinkedIn, I think more and more people are using social to find jobs. So I’m glad you hit on that. There’s a lot of opportunities there. It still is kind of a pay to play. You know, you want to boost those posts to get as many eyes and applications coming in on those. So, so glad you hit on that. This has been great a lot going on and a lot to talk about on the digital side. I just wanted to open up, obviously we focused on digital today, but any other traditional advertising methods that people should keep on their radar. I know we’ve heard some about direct mail. There are agencies that use radio and use other kind of local marketing tactics, but anything you think we should keep our eyes on moving into this new year?
I think direct mail is still an underrated. I mean, it’s expensive. So nobody wants to invest in it when there’s cheaper digital options, but because fewer and fewer people are doing direct mail, you know, it might be the way to get your toe in the door, especially for an audience that isn’t super active on social media or the web. So I don’t want to discount that it may be something you want to dip your toe into in 2021.
I agree with Marissa direct mail is, I mean, this audience can very much, you know, be very traditional in the way that they approach things and the way that they gather their information, not everybody has joined the digital world yet, and that’s fine, but you’ve got to be able to reach them as well. So I’m very much with Marissa on this one.
I think in 2021, we’re really just going to have to diversify. I there’s just a lot of noise online and we’ve got to do everything that we can to stand out and do what we can online. But I think it’s always good to try a variety of, of marketing or advertising tactics and see what sticks, especially in your local market, because there is a lot of opportunities on the local front that you want to test out and see what works
Absolutely. Yeah. That’s a, that’s a really good point. So, and to add to that, measuring your results doesn’t mean just how many, I mean, I’m kind of going back to digital here, but how many clicks did I get to the website, measure your conversions? How many people called you? How many people filled out a form after they, you know, saw this touch point or whatever the situation may be, but go a step further and really understand your conversions. What are they and how to measure them?
Absolutely, preaching to the choir here! I mean, we, we love data and we are huge proponents for tracking everything, especially the ROI on your marketing, because I know in the summit, we’ll talk more about marketing budgets, but people ask, you know, what should my marketing budget be or where should I be investing my dollars? Those are, those are common questions, but it really depends on what you’ve tried and what’s working and what you’re, what results you’re seeing at an agency level. There’s no silver bullet for the industry to market in one specific way, but you’ve got to try and test and track those results. Yes. Well, that’s really all, we’ve got time for today. Any other thoughts or, or things you want to say before we wrap up?
Just, don’t be afraid to jump into that digital world. It’s really not as mystifying as some companies try to make it out to be and throw a lot of buzzwords around there’s resources out there and including at core cubed, all sorts of resources to help you understand how to do it.
Yeah. And don’t forget to ask, don’t be afraid to ask questions, even if you feel like it’s a dumb question. You know, if you’re working, especially if you’re working with an agency or you’re looking for an agency, ask those questions, they should be a partner for you. Anyone that’s in the digital world should be very willing to teach you and help you to learn. And don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Absolutely. Ladies, thank you so much. We’re excited to have you on the Growth Summit here in a couple of months. I know Marissa will be joining us with Erica to talk in depth about marketing budgets. So I think a lot of people will be anxious to hear what you have to say there as always we’ll have related resources on our website. Ladies, thank you so much for joining me on the show today!
Thanks for listening to this episode of Vision. Tune in next week for my conversation with Amy Selle and Erica Horner from corecubed, as we talk about home care sales. We’ll answer top questions providers are asking and look at up and coming trends to watch for in 2021. Thanks again and we’ll see you next time!