Great article this morning by Michael Wolff about changes in push marketing (advertising), and the resistance it meets (ability to block ads). Since I have been in marketing for the last 17 years now, I have such an intrinsic understanding of how things work, and how things are changing (have changed). Digital marketing (content marketing) is really more educational, enticing and engaging because of those ad blocking technologies, and the changes that access to information have brought in the buyer’s search for products and services. This is all fairly complicated theory, but is continuing to be proven.
“Always ahead of the curve” has been my blessing and my curse. Seeing the future as if it were today, and envisioning it is easy for me. I will come back to marketing and technology disrupts technology, but first I want to discuss elder care, and “being ahead of the curve”.
In the elder care industry, I was one of the first to discover that care managed home care was the model that worked best. You see, I created it from the customers’ requests. The model evolved from what worked, and I just did more of that. Dr. Eric Rackhow, from Humana at Home, spoke at the Alliance for Home Health Quality and Innovation Symposium this past week in NYC, and he said the model that Humana at Home is finding provides the best level of service (better patient outcomes) for the lowest cost is:
1) Have a Nurse Practitioner/physician as the lead
2) Care management and coordination
3) Some type of in-home, remote monitoring
4) Post-acute skilled services
5) Ongoing caregiving support at home
This is a fine example of technology allowing the disruption of a model: the home health model.
And Humana at Home’s model of care? Guess where it came from? Larry Sosnow, the founder of SeniorBridge, hired me in 1997 to help him create that model. The cookbook for how it is done we still sell (update as technology changes, but the same basic point-by-point model on how to create the best home care model). The two differences are the remote telemonitoring advancements and the NP as one of the leads. Humana bought SeniorBridge and it is now Humana at Home.
Rona Bartelstone, one of the early geriatric care managers, and another who offered up the same care managed home care model that I created, sold her business to SeniorBridge. She just reemerged as a board member on home care model HomeTeam business, doing business nationwide, but located in NYC. That model is technology disrupting home care. They are using the same model Rona and I created, but have added an Uber-esque software component that truly allows for the care team to work in tandem. It is everyone’s dream- no staffing issues as staff has control over where and when they work, and complete transparency with care in the home. An iPad in every home. That one bears watching. It is taking the Honor and Home Heros concepts, but employing and monitoring the care.
So, back to digital marketing and technology disrupting technology. That same HomeTeam business has a website that is not SEO friendly, and that does not make one feel “warm and fuzzy” or even feel that this group will take good care of your loved one. The buyer psychology in home care is one that is needy, in quest of information on the best solution, guilty for even seeking out care and highly emotional. The smart agency will use technology in their favor and educate that seeker. The person seeking home care has to be met where they are in the cycle. They have to find the information they are seeking in their searches, and, only then will they pick up that phone and call. Join me tomorrow on our sales webinar for our MOST Program, where I discuss that psychology and do sort of a primer for the HCAOA workshop on the same topic.
And, contact us at corecubed if you want to reach either the consumer, the referral sources, or sell into the industry.
Regardless of the situation, the holidays are trying times. This is especially so for all who work in in-home care. Because of increased holiday duties or more travel, clients and families request more care. And, because caregivers are usually giving and not receiving, the holidays are a time that more caregivers want time off to be with family. So, not only is the agency filling new requests, and trying to start new clients, but also having to fill regular schedules that usually do not need extra staff. So, you might ask yourself, why would an agency WANT to market over the holidays?
#1 Reason: The holidays provide an opportunity to help those adult children who are surprised by the condition in which their parents are living. So, in addition to being unusually stressful, the holidays are also the perfect time to engage the family about care needs that are just now being discovered. The family comes to visit and cannot help but notice the changes in Mom or Dad. Perhaps the mail has not been opened, and bills not paid. Or, the front lawn may need cutting and there are limbs down all over the place that have not been removed. Or, there is a noticeable weight loss and a quick survey of the pantry shows it bare. Perhaps the ability to live alone is coming into question.
Whatever the issue, upon discovering there are some care needs, or that more care is needed, the opportunity is ripe for adding in home care so the family can feel some peace of mind when returning to home in a distant place. The key to turning a hectic time of the year into a golden opportunity to increase your business is to plan ahead, both in marketing for home care clients and for new staff to cover the needs.
First, let’s discuss having the services to sell. You really have to start ramping up for staffing for the holidays in October. Consider it takes 4-6 weeks to orient, train, and test out new caregivers. Staffing specifically for the holidays needs to provide adequate staff to cover all existing clients, and to pick up some new clients when their holiday care plans fall through.
Secondly, you need a plan so that workflow can continue uninterrupted during this most stressful time. That plan would be to start now and execute a holiday marketing and communications plan. Creating a branded theme and using it across all communication possibilities for a visual impact, will bring you lots of results for not much money. Your normal communication should include blogging, an eNewsletter and social media, so, creating a design that incorporates your logo, your messaging and your look and feel you can have the same design repurposed to cover all your usual channels and then some. A personalized, branded holiday card is especially appreciated over the holidays.
Use the media! Take advantage of the media’s need to know how to best serve seniors who are homebound when the season is merry. This is a great example of getting started early so you get coverage. Issues that arise over the holidays warrant good media coverage on how to cope, such as:
- Activities to create a feeling of worthiness in the holiday festivities
- Depression amongst the elderly who have lost loved ones, which is cause for concern, and exacerbated over the holidays.
- How to include a frail senior in family activities.
- Lists of gifts that are appropriate for seniors or those who are frail.
The media also LOVES visuals, so think about those marketing moments that lend themselves to a visual. Is your agency sponsoring any baskets for the needy, or working on any homebound projects? Remember to take photos and upload to social media. Use that visual and follow-up on a press release and add in those photos.
Another media opportunity is to tout the training that you have created to train your caregivers on ways to make the holidays special for your clients. Some ideas include:
- Get them to find family recipes that they and the client can make together.
- Have them help the client shop (online or in stores) for gifts for the family, and get all the ribbon and paper ready so gifts can be wrapped and ready.
- Put on their listening ears to be a good recipient of stories from holidays past.
The very best way to get more clients from within is to provide a great service. This can best be accomplished by being prepared for the holidays, benefitting your clients as well as your caregivers. Taking advantage of the special times that surround the holidays by increasing your marketing efforts and targeting those who may need your services will make your holidays brighter as well.
Want branding, content writing or SEO for your website? Contact us at corecubed and we will be glad to help you get started in quality marketing. The holidays might be a good place to start!
Need a resource for marketing that is unlike any other in the industry, and that has all the components mentioned above? Check out corecubed’s MOST program, a turnkey marketing program specifically for home care that is affordable, remarkable, and works. Join us on September 11th as we talk more about holiday marketing and how it is not too soon to start!