An ageing population means that there will always be demand for high quality healthcare and social care. However, there are normally several care homes available in a single geographical setting, so competition is often high. Getting some effective marketing strategies in place can make all the difference between attracting enough interest to keep occupancy levels healthy and funds buoyant and falling into a trickier financial situation. So, how do you market a residential care home? Read on for some top tips.
Know your audience
Residential care homes cater for all kinds of people requiring help, from older people to children with learning disabilities or emotional support needs. So, it is important to understand who your target audience is, and how to engage with them. Often, it is the families and friends of the people who need residential care who do the research and make the final decisions. Especially when conditions like dementia are involved.
So, think about the questions they are likely to ask, and the things they will be looking for in a care home as well. Think about how you can showcase how you will take care of their relatives in terms of medical care, safety, independent living, entertainment and dignity.
Do your research
As well as looking into who to target, more research is required to work out how to reach them and get your message across. Start by looking at other care homes that appear to be successful, with high occupancy levels, excellent reviews, good visibility in the community etc. How are they marketing themselves? What messages are they promoting on their advertising materials, website, brochures etc.?
Some aspects would be out of your control to manages, such as location or specialist facilities that you may not offer yourselves. However, you will certainly also see other care homes promoting services and benefits to living ether that you also offer – and could even offer at a higher level.
Discover your USP
One of the secrets behind successful marketing is discovering what your unique selling point, or USP is. This is what sets you apart from the competition. For care homes, it could be the quality of medical care provided, the entertainment on offer or the excellent organisation that comes with using digital care management software to run your care home’s admin, residents’ records, HR functions and more.
Once you have decided what your USP is, put it at the heart of all your marketing messages to encourage relatives, or potential residents to get in touch with you to arrange a tour.
In this digital age, having a strong online presence its vital if you want to get noticed at all, let alone stand out as a winner in your field. A website is an absolute must have; however, it should be backed up by active social media. Your website and social media reflect who you are as a business, so they must be kept up to date and have enough useful information available for people to find out what they need to know about you.
Look into SEO, or the art of adding key words and phrases to your content that synch with what people type into search engines to find sites like yours. Remember, too, that what you put online tends to stay there – people can take screenshots, or unearth archive content. So never air any grievances or create unedifying or false content as this could come back to bite you later on.
Never dismiss the power of offline marketing methods, such as advertising posters in the local area, newspaper or magazine articles, sponsorship of local initiatives (e.g. football teams, village flower shows…), entering industry awards, printing brochures and flyers and more. Again, you can use your digital care management software to plan marketing campaigns, schedule staff meetings, set advertising budgets and more. Another way to spread the word is to attend events such as trade shows and exhibitions, as well as offer your managers as expert speakers at conferences and seminars. Finally, good, old-fashioned word of mouth can be extremely effective. Ask satisfied friends and relatives of residents who express their satisfaction to you about your care home to tell other people and leave online reviews giving positive feedback and recommendations.