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!