Home Care Marketing: Traditional Morphs into Digital

As we all know, marketing techniques that have been tried and true for generations are taking on new manifestations as the digital world expands. But does that mean that there aren’t any worthwhile traditional approaches left that work? Not at all. I believe that many of the old dogs of marketing can still be used to effectively promote agencies, and the integration of these techniques with newer digital marketing efforts can only make your marketing strategy stronger. So how exactly do traditional and digital merge?

Your Website
Today, a home care agency’s website should be the hub for all of its marketing efforts. A well designed and helpful website is the one medium needed to reach the largest number of clients in today’s market. It can display pertinent company information as well as press releases, news clips, and informative videos while directing users to upcoming events and taking inquiries for service, or even getting admissions from physicians.

Because your website is so integral to your marketing plan, you’ll want to make certain that you are starting with good branding that is carried through in everything you do. That would include a careful examination of  your message, used artfully while creating the content. If your message is compelling and valuable, new marketing techniques give your home care agency an opportunity to get the most out of your efforts by leveraging information in a variety of ways. All of your marketing opportunities should be enhanced to fit in an online format.

For example, press releases and news clips are no longer strictly for publication in print. Post these items to their own page within your website, or include links to where they live on other websites—the local newspaper’s site, local TV station’s site, etc. Many agencies also send them in a print newsletter, or e-newsletter, which have become more popular, to their clients.

Video is also a new technology that agencies should employ within their site. YouTube is one of the most popular search engines today, and anyone with a video camera, or cell phone for that matter, can be an Internet star. And while your agency videos might not become the next Internet sensation, the opportunity for marketing your business on sites like YouTube and Vimeo is great. Digital testimonials from family or referral sources can be much more powerful than the written word, and videos that introduce your staff and caregivers can give potential clients and their families a good look at who will be taking care of them. These videos can be embedded directly on your website or sent to your mailing list via an email blast.

With all these elements included, your website becomes the hub of your marketing plan and should be a focal point that directs users to your other efforts. Here are a few examples of how you can enhance your agency’s site to get the most for your marketing:

  • Make sure your website is being used as a sales tool. In other words, always capture information and have a call to action on each page of your site, just as you would with a traditional sales call.
  • Include the URL in all marketing efforts (print, business cards, logo wear for caregivers, etc.).
  • Use your URL as your actual email address. Instead of homecare@gmail.com make it John.Smith@MyAgency.com so you are spreading brand awareness with every email. Give all your staff agency-specific email addresses as well.

New & Old: Let’s Work Together
Online marketing may be the growing trend in today’s marketing arena, but that doesn’t mean that digital and traditional can’t work well—quite well, actually—together. Let’s consider some of the strengths and weaknesses of digital and traditional marketing that Lee W. Frederiksen, Ph.D., of Hinge Marketing recently addressed in a blog.

Strengths of Traditional Marketing:

  • Most people are comfortable with it
  • Locally oriented
  • Mostly built on face-to-face interactions so you can learn a lot about potential clients

Weaknesses of Traditional Marketing

  • Limited access to distant markets
  • Long business development cycles
  • Hard to measure and project results

Strengths of Digital Marketing

  • Geography is less important; can go national or global more easily
  • Very scalable
  • Costs per opportunity decrease with scale
  • Shorter business development cycles are possible
  • Easier to measure and project results

Weaknesses of Digital Marketing

  • Global reach equals global competition
  • No local familiarity
  • Need to invest over time to see success
  • No face-to-face contact to read the prospect or reassure

According to Frederiksen, “If you line up the strengths and limitations of traditional vs. digital marketing you see almost a mirror image. The strength of one approach offsets the limitations of the other. Combining elements of both you can develop a balanced business development plan.” Thus, cross promotion between the two seems to cover all marketing bases.

There are many other examples and ideas for integrating your traditional marketing with ever-evolving applications, but remember to stay true to your agency’s brand and message. Keep marketing activity cohesive across mediums. Follow this cardinal rule and your integration will seem smooth and flawless.

Merrily Orsini, MSSW, is Managing Director of corecubed, a marketing communications company that specializes in web, print and marketing for the home care and home health industries. She has been active in Internet marketing since its inception. Ms. Orsini now has  30 years of experience in home care with 18-years as a private duty business owner and geriatric care manager, and 13 years in marketing home care. She is the immediate past Chair of the Private Duty Homecare Association, was recently on the board of the National Association for Home Care and Hospice where she currently serves as Chief Strategic Officer for Private Duty. She is a frequent national speaker, and for further marketing tips, can be followed on her blog at www.MerrilyOrsini.com or on Twitter @MerrilyO.