It wasn’t long ago that a recommendation from a doctor, social worker, discharge planner, friend or other trusted advisor was considered the equivalent of the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval, and consumers looked no further. Because these recommendations were given by trustworthy people within your network, their endorsement of a business was taken as assurance of a high-quality service. While word of mouth recommendations and referrals are still important, increasingly, these “Good Housekeeping Seals of Approval” are coupled with independent online research by consumers, making an agency’s digital marketing strategy more important now than ever before.
For home care agencies, word-of-mouth referrals have traditionally been a major source of business. Current and former clients, their loved ones, healthcare professionals, and hospital systems all drive a large amount of business to home care agencies based on first-hand experience and their assurance that clients are well cared for. In fact, according to the 2020 Home Care Pulse Benchmarking Study, which surveyed more than 800 agencies across North America, as much as 73% of 2019 revenue was generated based on referrals from past and current clients and their loved ones. So, while word-of-mouth referrals still hold tremendous weight, the shift amongst consumers is to vet those recommendations with their own independent online research.
Why Digital Marketing Matters
Because of this shift, home care digital marketing is a must for any agency that wants to continue to grow its business. According to Google Trends, searches for terms like “home care agency” and “caregiver” have surged by more than 58% over the last five years, and home care agencies’ online presence is becoming increasingly vital to the long-term health of their business; and this includes all types of agencies with various revenue sources.
Partnering with corecubed, an experienced home care marketing agency with deep knowledge of the industry, to oversee and execute digital marketing strategies not only allows agency owners to focus on the most important parts of their business – their caregivers and clients – but it also helps by building a professional online presence that reinforces word-of-mouth recommendations.
What Does Your Agency’s Online Presence Say About Your Business?
When a consumer types your agency’s name into a search engine, they are looking for opportunities to validate the information they’ve been told offline. For home care agencies, this is the chance to make a first impression. Consider what search results might be delivered and the importance each has in convincing an inquiry to pick up the phone and call or to fill out an online form.
- Website: Is your website easy to navigate with engaging text and photos that show older adults and/or differently abled people who are happy and enjoying life? Can consumers easily find your phone number, address, and contact form? Does your website provide details about the types of services your agency offers, as well as frequently asked questions and details about how your care team is trained and vetted? A well-designed website is not only appealing to the eye and easy to navigate, but it should also highlight what makes your agency unique. A strong brand coupled with educational information about home care helps consumers make informed decisions.
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization): When consumers search for home care in your city, does your agency appear in search results? Having a beautiful website is only part of the battle. Without keyword research, an understanding of your competition, and strategically placed keywords on your site, it may be difficult for consumers to find your agency. Ongoing SEO work and strategy are vital in helping to ensure your agency is found by people looking for home care services to meet their needs.
- PPC (Pay-Per-Click Advertising): PPC campaigns can help agencies rank higher in search results. With customized ad campaigns, information about your agency can be delivered to targeted consumers based upon key search terms. PPC campaigns are a cost-effective way to drive qualified traffic to your site based on the types of services you provide and the payment sources your agency accepts.
- Online Business Listings: When consumers search for your agency, does it show up along with a map? Claiming your business profile with Google, Yelp and others helps search engines deliver the desired information to those searching for a particular product or service. For Google business listings, in addition to a map of where your agency is located, contact information, a link to your website, reviews, and an overview of your business is also provided to consumers.
- Online Reviews: With as many of 92% of consumers reading online reviews, reputation management is key in today’s highly competitive home care market. Online reviews not only help tell consumers how others feel about your business, but the reviews and ratings also help improve domain authority, which translates to a higher search ranking.
- Social Media: Social media platforms continue to be a low-cost way to reach consumers, referral sources and job seekers. Use social media platforms to provide educational information, post job openings, and interact with referral sources to help build your agency’s following and reputation.
Digital Marketing: Complementing Offline Recommendations
A home care agency’s website, client reviews, social media and SEO/PPC strategies each play vitally important roles in reinforcing offline, word-of-mouth recommendations. Taken together, digital marketing and word-of-mouth referrals are powerful tools that complement one another and provide consumers with a more highly detailed understanding of your agency – from the services provided to the vetting of care staff. Home care agencies that prioritize both their online and offline reputation are better positioned to increase revenue and meet the expectations of well-informed consumers.