Posted by Denise Graab, Caring.com
There’s been a bit of buzz lately among home care providers and industry bloggers about online lead generation and whether or not it works. As with any strategic business decision directly impacting the bottom line, it’s important to weigh any anecdotes you’re hearing against factual, data-driven information. This may seem daunting for small businesses (and old hat for seasoned executives at well-resourced chains), but these actionable metrics can advance your business faster than a gut feeling fueled by ill-informed rumors.
To help home care businesses of all sizes more carefully consider the Internet as part of their marketing mix, Caring.com’s Vishal Shroff recently joined corecubed’s Merrily Orsini in presenting the first in a series of free webinars focused on strategic partnerships for home care marketing.
Among the topics discussed:
- The opportunity of online leads for home care service providers
- Actual costs involved in this type of online marketing
- The ROI-positive outcomes achieved by some providers, and how other businesses could reasonably expect the same or similar results
Meet Your Market Where It Is
The discussion began with one simple fact: Your prospective customers are going online in greater numbers than ever before, including on social networks. Among these socially savvy baby boomers, 68% have searched online for more information when their loved one was diagnosed with a health condition, and 58% consider themselves expert Internet users. They’re using search engines, online directories, and consumer reviews to drive their research and find the best senior care resources for aging loved ones. As a home care business owner, if you’re not advertising online, you’re missing a significant and growing segment of your target market.
But how to make the most of any investment you make in Internet referrals and leads?
Take an Active Role in the Process
“This is a partnership. You have to do your part. We will do our part,” said Shroff, Caring.com’s manager of inside sales, who’s been producing online marketing results for home care providers for nearly three years.
An Internet referral site like Caring.com generates traffic to your directory listing, refers potential customers, and can help you with online reputation management as well. However, it’s up to you and your staff to create a compelling online profile, follow up on leads in a timely manner, nurture them through the sales cycle, manage phone calls well, deliver quality service, and get reviews from your happy clients – to drive more inquiries about your services.
Multiple surveys across industries have found that online reviews do influence consumers’ purchasing decisions, and senior care is not an exception. In fact, on Caring.com, reviews have even changed the way family caregivers begin the search for local providers. Several years ago, before Caring.com had more than 40,000 senior care reviews, when consumers searched for providers in their area, they clicked listings from top to bottom of the search results page in the Senior Care Directory. Now they’re clicking on the listings with reviews – no matter where those listings appear in the search results – and skipping the listings without reviews. As a result, providers with reviews are getting noticeably more leads than those without reviews, including up to 2-5 times more leads than providers without reviews in the same geographic region.
Ultimately, though, any discussion about Internet home health care leads has to include the cost of generating those leads and the revenue generated – the return on investment.
Calculate Your ROI
Before you do the math on your investment in online marketing, be sure that you’re accurately tracking the source of each lead. Caring.com enables family caregivers to contact home care providers via phone and an online form, and Caring.com also systemically tracks leads per client across both of these methods. The idea behind this is to make the process as transparent as possible, allowing you to track results and ROI.
Looking at aggregate data across all providers in the home care directory, acquiring a client via Caring.com costs $400 on average. According to a benchmarking report from HomeCare Pulse, the average lifetime value of a home care client is $3,000-$9,000. With an average cost of $400 to acquire that client, you could realize an ROI of up to 2,150%!
These numbers will vary, of course, depending on the cost of your listing, how well you’ve optimized your online profile (including generating reviews), how well you nurture associated leads, and how many clients you sign. Caring.com can provide you an ROI calculation specific to your home care business and its listing, with estimates from other Internet lead referral sources and actuals from ours. Caring.com also offers its clients monthly leads reporting to help you fully maximize the investment throughout the year.
Have more questions about online marketing, or want to take advantage of a special offer from Caring.com (through October 17, 2013) for senior care providers who were on the webinar and/or watched the home care marketing webinar? Call Vishal Shroff today: 650-312-8008. You can also get started with marketing your home care business on Caring.com immediately by setting up a free listing while you explore more of the lead generation services offered for enhanced listing customers and get more home health care leads.