The COVID-19 pandemic has rocked the world recently, but that doesn’t mean things stop for the care home industry. Businesses in this sector still require marketing. You won’t be marketing things in the same way as you have over the last few years, but you want your business to continue to thrive and serve all of your clients. So let’s take a look at the changes that are happening, and what you can do to stay ahead of the curve.
Planning is everything
We’re already in the middle of this pandemic and some countries are coming out the other side. But some smart care home owners were already well-prepared for this eventuality.
In January, some put systems in place to not only stock up on personal protective equipment (PPE) but they also activated a plan to accelerate their digital marketing and promotional activities, taking the lead in their marketplace.
They know what they will be doing over the coming months and what actions are to be taken once their area’s lockdown and shielding of vulnerable people is lifted.
The second-best position to be in is to start putting together a plan now. There might be restrictions in place right now on movement and vulnerable individuals in society, but it’s important to be able to adapt and change when things improve.
Those residential homes that don’t want to adapt, aren’t changing the way they attract new clients and don’t see promotional activities at a time like this won’t be around for long. Social distancing and other measures in place will affect things well into 2021. The time to take action on your marketing is now.
Throughout the housing and residential market in-person viewings have been stopped. With social distancing in place and protecting your residents’ well-being, you don’t want different people visiting the home.
That means virtual tours both inside and out. Record the different areas a prospective tenant might want to see. Some ideas may come from things people have commented on in the past.
This type of video can be recorded on a phone and then edited. There is no need for a photographer or videographer to come to the home. Also, if your clients are wealthy it might be worth investing in a quality DSLR camera.
What’s staying the same?
Communicating your brand and being seen as the best residential home in the local area. If you specialise in certain disabilities for older people, then this is the time to concentrate on it a little more in your marketing materials.
As always, it’s best to think about your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) and ask yourself:
- Why does our home give the best care?
- How are we better than the competition?
- How do we cater to clients’ needs?
Ratings are important
Older people won’t research on their own for a new home. They will probably be with a son, daughter or other family members, and it might be this person who shortlists a handful of homes to look through.
This means it’s important to seek feedback and reviews from current residents. Also, having a good CQC rating is imperative because more individuals are now funding their residential social care and they want the best quality and value for money.
Online presence is imperative
Residential homes need a website and other digital assets. Your website’s landing pages should be high converting ones, which means being visually appealing and having the functionality to convert visitors.
Some things that will continue to work:
- Including your USP above the fold
- Having clear call-to-action buttons
- Content on the page matching adverts
- Build trust through reviews
- Placing contact details in a prominent place
Also, if you choose to record a virtual video tour then include several calls to action on your website for people to watch this video.
What else can you do?
Smart residential homeowners understand that tried and tested marketing techniques still work.
Follow up – contact old leads and see if they have found somewhere. People have more time on their hands now and might be interested in a virtual tour.
Re-targeting visitors – individuals visiting your website can be retargeted with ads to remind them about your USP, values and care.
Invest in marketing materials – hire a designer and a copywriter to create new promotional materials. These can be digital, making it easier to email them to prospects. However, ensure you include information about COVID-19 and what precautions you are taking to quell any concerns.
Spread the word – use both online and offline contacts to promote the business. Your home should be mentioned in lots of places. Do you have volunteers phoning people who are lonely due to social distancing? Contact your local radio station and newspaper to tell everyone about it.
Use social media – there are tens of thousands of people in your local area who use social media. Maybe you’ve decided to record ten short videos for older people who are lonely. This could be your chance to become one of the best-known brands in the area.
Employing the use of tech/software – when it comes to actually providing care. Investing in a care management system might help streamline the business and make your processes more efficient if implemented correctly.
Now is the time to be smart. There has been an impact on senior residential homes across the world, but now is the time to take action to ensure the business grows.
First impressions are the most important, but if you are making no impression at all because no one knows about you then that is of no use at all. Take action on your marketing activities to grow your business in the coming months.