Home health care is a relationship business. While you are providing health care services to people who want to age at home, building your client roster depends primarily on the relationships you forge in your community.
Therefore, your home health care marketing efforts should emphasize relationship-building with two demographics – referral sources and clients and their families. Referral sources may consist of hospital discharge planners, social workers, assisted living facilities, case managers and more.[i] Referral sources should also include current clients and their families, who can provide first-person testimonials.
Let’s take a look at how you can market your home care business to the right demographics.
Network Your Way to Professional Referral Sources
In order to assemble your stable of professional referral sources for your home health care agency, you will begin by networking in your community. To obtain help reaching sources associated with senior care, begin by starting relationships with people at local senior centers and in senior organizations, your Chamber of Commerce, churches and more.
You never know where a lead will come from, so take time to develop strong relationships with each person. The better they know you, the more likely they are to refer you to someone working in the senior care field or even a potential client.
When you do start meeting with potential referral sources in the field, be sure to thoroughly educate them on the expertise and services your business provides. Inform them of what differentiates your home care business from the competition. For example, as a BrightStar Care owner, you can explain the benefits of being part of a franchise concept that offers a full continuum of care so as to make aging a little easier for clients. You can also mention that BrightStar Care is consistently accredited by The Joint Commission. Never leave without giving your referral source a business card, which will help jog their memory about BrightStar Care’s differentiators.
Because you want your sources to continuously refer potential clients to your business, it’s important to maintain communication with them. Be sure to keep referral sources in the loop, and inform them of any changes that take place at your home care agency. Let them know if a referral becomes a new client and always thank them for the help.
Target Your Client Demographic
There are many avenues to use to target your client demographic – through print and digital media, by hosting informative events and many other means. Although it may not seem like relationship building, it does set you up for one-on-one conversations and developing the foundation of personal relationships. But before you begin home health care marketing, you must know who your target audience is.
BrightStar Care has already identified who our key client demographic is, which frees up our franchisees from conducting research and provides more time for them to focus on the business and allow their salesperson to do the actual marketing of their agency. Our target audience is the Sandwich Generation, family caregivers juggling multiple responsibilities and dependents. She is driven to make an emotional decision about her aging parents, who should no longer live alone. With little or no information on home health care companies, she desires to find a caregiver she can trust from an organization that values safety and that has a good reputation.
Our client demographic’s emotional state is made up of several negative feelings triggered by an event that makes the need for home care unmistakable. She is feeling anger, guilt, anxiety and exhaustion.
In order to help our target demographic, your agency’s marketing materials must be easy to find, informative yet engaging and appealing to her emotional state. It should encourage her to trust you, highlighting your agency’s differentiators, capabilities and quality standards.
We provide franchisees with marketing collateral, too, such as ads and videos that can be shared with potential clients and their families[ii]. Videos on the BrightStar Care YouTube channel feature interviews with nurses and other caregivers, our founder Shelly Sun and franchise owners. Franchisees can also run a blog article on their website about a BrightStar Care caregiver who had a particularly special client experience. This marketing collateral can help generate trust for BrightStar Care agency owners and their caregivers and may help allay some fears of handing over care to another person.
But, when the time comes for the family caregiver to make the call about handing over the responsibility to a person outside the family, agency owners have to be ready to start developing a relationship with them. When that relationship is forged, the likelihood of that client or family referring and recommending your agency to others is high.
Ultimately, the key to marketing your home care franchise to the right demographics is networking and building strong relationships throughout the process.