Merrily Orsini's Thought Leadership

Homecare Marketing Strategy 2011: Channel

Picking the “channel” for communication is one of the harder items to do. Communicating often in channels that reach the target is the next step in creating an effective home care marketing strategy. You have differentiated, selected an appropriate target(s), created messages, effectively designed so that the visual is also carrying the message, and now you have to decide how that message is delivered.

Delivery is specific to the target. McDonalds uses billboards because on highways hungry people see the billboard, the familiarity of McDonalds resonates with them, and they pull off the Interstate. Home care, on the other extreme, is a niche market service. Plus, home care is a misunderstood service. Plus home care only becomes important to the purchaser or the seeker of home care when the need for it arises. There is an education component, and a timing component, and, for private duty, a financial consideration that  may determine services needed and appropriate.

For private duty home care, deciding the market and the channel, is like a needle in a haystack. Anyone who becomes frail and needs some assistance is a potential target. Actually it is more like anyone who has the need for care or anyone who knows anyone with the need. So the key is being where people looking for care are bound to look when they need care.

This means that the channel will vary according to geography, competition, demographics to name a few. The one thing certain about the channel, is that, there are many options and a home care agency must make hard financial decisions about where to spend marketing dollars that bring in the most results.

Having a good, informative, helpful, easy to navigate website that is optimized for search engines is the one most powerful tool in the homecare market planning toolkit. Networking is essential in marketing home care, so tools that better facilitate networking are also incredible important. The smart agency uses educational information on the website that is also useful for networking. Helpful resources and community educational presentations are the best bets to keep an agency out in front of as many people as possible who have expressed an interest and who might have a need in the future.

Media relations is the next best thing to use, so that people can read about how an in-home care agency met a need, kept a frail person at home, created a positive and safe environment for that person, and served to be the “family” when family could not be there.

There are many other channels for marketing, both external and internal that an agency can use to get to potential customers or referral sources. However, to start with, these three should be at the top of the list.

If you have not already checked out our MOST program that offers franchise level support for independent agencies, do so. The websites we build for home care are unsurpassable for design, quality, ease of use and optimization for search engines. We also provide strategy and support for home care agencies in all areas of marketing.