With the help of some industry experts we look at how to establish the perfect marketing strategy to increase your care home occupancy.

Marketing your care home can seem like a daunting task, especially if it’s not an area you are familiar with. The pressing factor is that a successful marketing strategy is what stands between you and the growth of your home, but it must be done in a smart and effective manner.

Someone who knows only too well about the importance of an effective approach is Senior Carer and Marketing Assistant at St. Brelades and The Cumberland Care Homes, Ellie Parker. With experience in testing out which kind of content gains a positive response online, Ellie revealed that it is indeed dogs and singing which people love to see from a care home’s social pages.

Our followers always respond to the interactive videos which feature our residents, including them singing. It evokes emotions amongst the people watching it and I think this is due to the more personal touch – life behind closed doors, if you like.”

Ellie explained that content surrounding general day-to-day activities creates a real buzz on social media too: “Our activities coordinator Freya often picks out a national day and we do an activity based around it. For example, a few weeks back we chose National Liquorice Allsorts Day and encouraged residents to paint pictures of the sweets which went down really well.”

Ellie explained that not only are these topical activities enjoyable for her residents, but it gives them something to talk about with their families and visitors: “One of our occupant’s daughters lives in Canada, she calls us on Skype daily and always mentions if she’s seen her mum on our social media page. She says things like ‘I’ve seen you painting’ or ‘I saw you went for a stroll along the beach’ etc., so it also offers her peace of mind all those miles away to know that her relative is being well looked after.”

Ellie revealed that based on her experience she has found that their website and social media platforms, such as Facebook and the ever-rising TikTok, have been the most beneficial outlets to showcase their marketing strategy.

“As our residents are of the older generation, their children are often in their 60s and 70s themselves. This is why Facebook works well for us as it’s has been around for a while and it is a platform they are familiar with.”

In any marketing strategy, it’s essential to find out where your customers ‘hang out’ for want of a better phrase. Tom Threadgill speaks on behalf of Marketing for Care Homes and explained how in the case of elderly care, if you take the most likely persona of the individual looking for care, it is often a man or woman in their 50s or 60s looking for a relative, likely their mother or mother-in-law, so you should seek to find the best places to find these people.

“Knowing who is looking for the care you provide is the single most effective thing a company can do to understand their market better and be as relevant to them as possible.” Added Tom.

Tom revealed that his clients will often say something like ‘I know Facebook is important but I’m not sure how and why; I don’t use it personally – does this matter?’  Facebook is great for showing off what you do.  “It’s the place a care home can prove that what they say in their advertising and marketing actually happens in real life.  It is also a great tool to remarket to people, through digital advertising.  We would always recommend a Facebook/social media strategy, but it has to work with the resources the home has.” Tom added.

In a group, or large home, there may be dedicated in-house people to do this, but where there isn’t, it is far better to simplify the output and be consistent. Tom believes that reception teams and event managers are normally the best people to oversee an in-house campaign.

“Most care home marketing focuses on those with an immediate need, but that only represents between 3 and 5% of the market.  So, we can nearly always help companies to improve this part of their content game, simply by understanding the groups of people who will be potential customers and what they need to see, hear and feel.

“For content to be truly useful, we always start with the question ‘what is authentic?’ It’s different for every company, but what we always try to avoid is talk about dignity, compassion and respect.  For us, and anyone looking for care, these are assumed to be a given, they are the bare minimum anyone expects of a care home and yet miles of copy exists talking about it. Talk about what makes your company different, what you do the best, and the difference it makes to people’s lives.”

So, what kind of topics should care homes be writing about in order to market themselves effectively and boost occupancy rates?

Tom sees that there are three categories which you should always try to get people thinking about. “First of all it’s the advisory stuff.  What do people want to know?  How are they feeling?  How can we help?  It may be articles about viewing a care home, funding for care, ways to have a conversation with relatives about care, or something else.” As long as it helps the reader on their journey, the article has done well.  They can be updated, used over long periods of time with minimal updating, and they affect the website’s organic ranking positively over time.

Secondly, Tom revealed that there are the ‘what happens here’ articles: “These act more like updates from within the home.  They might feature a special birthday, or focus on a resident’s interesting or unusual career (there are many, many of these – care home residents have often lived fantastic lives and are keen to share them).  These enable you to show off what makes your home or group special.  They also reassure relatives that their loved ones are in the best place.”

Thirdly, Tom places emphasis on the importance of talking about your care teams.  There is so much amazing work that goes on in care homes, by incredibly compassionate people from all different walks of life.

“The impact of seeing close-knit teams, working together for the good of their residents is extremely powerful for people looking for care.  It gives them reassurance about their loved ones, but also makes them feel good against the often-pessimistic narrative of care stories that appear in the news.”

SMART marketing is an approach that involves setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals for your marketing campaigns. The goal of SMART marketing is to ensure that your marketing efforts are effective, efficient, and focused on achieving measurable outcomes.

 

 

Marketing for Care Home’s tips for successful promotion with SMART marketing:

Specific goals:

Identify specific marketing goals that are aligned with your business objectives. For example, you may want to increase occupancy rates, generate more leads, improve your local reputation or recruit team members.

Measurable outcomes:

Define measurable outcomes for each marketing goal. For example, you may want to increase occupancy rates by 10%, generate 50 new leads per month, or increase your overall online rating by one star.

Achievable targets:

Achievable targets that are based on your resources and capabilities. For example, you may want to increase your occupancy rates by 50%, but this may not be achievable given your current staffing levels, and marketing budget.

Relevant messaging: Develop relevant messaging that resonates with your target audience. For example, you may want to emphasize the personalized care and attention that your care home provides, or highlight the amenities and services that set you apart from other care homes in the area.

Time-bound campaigns:

Set time-bound campaigns that are designed to achieve your marketing goals within a specific timeframe. For example, you may want to run a digital campaign for six months to generate leads, or offer a promotional discount to new residents who sign up within a certain timeframe.

 

By defining your target audience, building a strong brand, providing exceptional care, and utilising the right channels for your company, you can effectively market your care home and attract the right residents and their families.