Marketing healthcare living options is a complex undertaking because there are many audiences to reach. Each audience – assisted living and memory care prospects, adult children, long-term care prospects, rehab guests, and skilled nursing referral sources – needs a different message. Keeping this in mind, here are the 10 necessities of healthcare marketing.
1. Word-of-mouth marketing
Word-of-mouth marketing is the most relied-upon and trusted method that adult children and prospects ultimately use in their initial review process. Providing supreme customer service to residents and their families helps to assure that your community is at the top of their list.
2. Digital marketing
We know adult children do their homework online first and then follow-up for that one-on-one conversation when looking at options for assisted living, memory care and sometimes, long-term care. Digital marketing can also be used to promote rehab. Banner ads should steer prospects to a squeeze page where you can provide an inducement to keep them interested in learning more (with collateral such as a consumer’s guide to moving, a white paper on memory care, or just an information kit).
3. Managing digital leads
Unlike traditional lead generation, assisted living and memory care digital leads need to be nurtured and therefore managed differently. People looking online want to gather information and compare options before they are ready to have a conversation and agree to a tour. We are seeing the sales cycle for assisted living extended to as far as nine months compared to what we saw just a few years ago.
4. Social marketing
Facebook is becoming an effective way to share the lifestyle of a community, but only when using the right photos and messaging. For example, photos of residents enjoying a visiting pet, seeing their great grandchildren, baking cookies or enjoying an outdoor activity all show examples of wellness-focused senior living. Photos of people sitting at a table eating or passively listening to music do not show the emotion you need to capture to accurately represent the lifestyle within the community.
5. Content marketing
Using content marketing tactics such as blogs and e-newsletters is another way to share the lifestyle of a community. Remember that once you start writing blogs, you need to be consistent so that people get into the habit of searching for the community’s next new blog post on a regular basis. The primary concern I hear in adult child focus groups is that they want to know that Mom and/or Dad are engaged in all elements of wellness on a regular basis, and content marketing helps accomplish that.
6. Marketing on the website
While digital marketing tactics steer prospects to a squeeze page for a targeted campaign, the website is also where people go to learn more about the community and the people who work there. This is also a good place to showcase any awards, stories about your staff, photos of staff and residents interacting, etc. People looking for healthcare want to know who is taking care of the residents, so an insight into your staff should provide reassurance that your team has the training and expertise to care for seniors.
7. Traditional advertising
As crazy as it sounds, people are still reading the newspaper in some markets. In these markets you are usually targeting the prospect, so event advertising and incentive promotion can be effective. Informational marketing about rehab educates prospects on rehab choices when scheduling elective surgeries.
8. Email marketing
Hospitals are becoming more restrictive when it comes to allowing care outreach teams to “camp out” on a daily basis. As a result, it is increasingly difficult to build relationships with healthcare referral sources. Email marketing, through a platform like Constant Contact or MailChimp, is a great tool to use to schedule events with referral sources and to provide information about outcomes, readmission rates, and other data that influences referral patterns.
9. Marketing to rehab guests
Your rehab guests are a captive audience, and they have plenty of time to learn about your community during their stay. Even if they may not have an immediate reason to return to your community, they will know someone who does. Be sure someone from the admissions team spends time with the rehab guests on a weekly basis, and that they document those discussions in the CRM.
10. Marketing to physicians
Physicians want to know that the patients they refer to your community will have the highest quality of care and the best outcomes. Therefore, in order to shape referral patterns, you need to market to physicians by sharing data, similar to how you market to hospital referral sources. Physicians want quantitative proof that your community is the best option.