We have uncovered the number one reason that established and new care home and nursing home businesses are struggling to fill their beds with private paying customers and keep them full… and it isn’t as complicated as you might think! The absence of a defined nursing home marketing plan or care home marketing plan for how to fill beds greatly effects the success of your marketing efforts.
Most care home businesses have the desire to grow. However, we are finding that in most cases, ‘desire’ is as far as a lot of business owners reach when it comes to growth. We are not trying to trivialise the difficulty of growing a business. We have been there ourselves. When everyone is offering you different advice, different products and services to choose from, it’s incredibly difficult to come out of it all with a clear head.
Over the past 10 years, working and consulting with a range of care home business owners, we have been able to tap into the struggles that care homes and nursing home are facing when pursuing growth. A commonly recurring theme that we discovered is ‘confusion’ or ‘lack of clarity’ on engaging their audience of private paying customers.
By speaking with care and nursing home owners and marketing directors and looking into this problem more in depth, we discovered that the number one problem preventing care homes from filling their beds and keeping them full was that these businesses had NO CLEAR SYSTEM FOR GROWTH that they could follow.
All successful businesses rely on a clear strategy, which is made up of lots of different small systems which allow them to achieve a big goal.
Let’s take an airport, for example: can you imagine the sort of chaos that would break loose if it operated without a clear strategy in place? The airport staff rely on systems to ensure planes take off, land, are cleaned, serviced and much more. Without these systems, planes would crash all the time!
This is exactly what is happening in the business world… companies are operating without a system for growth and so, they are crashing and burning left, right & centre.
This chaos is the reason we decided to put a care home marketing plan together, and do something about the confusion. It’s called the AGGRESSIVE GROWTH BLUEPRINT. This system for how to market care homes and market nursing homes is built from an accumulation of over 10 years’ worth of learns from over 100 different clients.
The AGGRESSIVE GROWTH BLUEPRINT is a jargon-free, 6 step, care home marketing plan in which, when followed (to the tee), has seen care home businesses increase their annual revenues anywhere between 50-100%.
At the end of this blog, you will be able to download our simple, one page, fill in the blanks Blueprint which your care home or nursing home can follow and implement immediately.
THE 6 STAGES OF AGGRESSIVE GROWTH
Care Home & Nursing Home Marketing Plan
SET UP HIGH CONVERTING WEBSITE PAGES
The main purpose of your nursing or care home marketing activity is to generate enquiries. Our strategy to fill your care home beds and fill your nursing home beds with private clients begins with your website.
One of the misconceptions of websites is that they need to look amazing. However, to get ‘heads in beds’ and make the most of your nursing home or care home marketing plan efforts, it’s imperative that your website is not just appealing to the eye but is operating with the purpose of generating enquiries.
What we find, is that a lot of website designers are incredibly artistic and will happily create you a website/landing page that looks stunning.
Arguably, there is nothing wrong with an aesthetically appealing website. The issue arises when an emphasis is placed on appearance rather than functionality.
We have six points that we urge you to include on your landing page. These points have dramatically improved the ‘visits to enquiries ratio’ that our customers’ websites are achieving.
State your USP above the fold
When a user comes to your site, you need to hit them with your care home’s USP straight away and above the fold. The ‘fold’ just basically refers to anything a user can see without scrolling down through your landing page.
3 benefits of your service
This section should be written from the point of view of the user and the benefits they will receive from choosing your care home or nursing home above a competitor. We have found that the format in which these stand out the most is if you have 3 small images/icons, with the titles of the benefits and a small piece of text (highlighted in below).
Remove the ability to navigate and replace with a clear CTA (Call To Action)
When someone looking for a care home or nursing home reaches your landing page, you want to remove any options for them to navigate away from the page as this discourages conversions. Conversion typically would include a user calling your business or filling in a contact form. We recommend removing the navigation bar completely from your landing page. This way, users who come to your page have two options – convert or leave. You can then insert a really compelling call to action (CTA) for example: Call To Arrange A Free Assessment
The content must match the ad
When you advertise a care home (or advertise a nursing home) on Google to increase the number of people coming to your site, the content on the landing page must match what is written in the advert. For example, if in the advertisement you are highlighting a specific offer, this must be the first thing a user sees when they land on the page. If not, the user’s experience will be tainted with friction and lead to a high leave or ‘bounce rate’.
Build trust and credibility through customer reviews and recognisable governing bodies
If users can actually see for themselves that other people have had a good experience with your care or nursing home, then they are much more likely to want to place their loved one in your care. Now, we completely understand that making reviews public may leave you susceptible to negative criticism but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. No matter how perfectly your services are delivered, there are always people who will manage to find something wrong and users know this. As long as the majority of your reviews are positive, having the odd negative review won’t hurt. It is also important how you deal with a bad review. You MUST acknowledge all reviews (good or bad).
Also, you should ensure you are listing your CQC rating, special certifications and any other awards your nursing or care home has earned in plain view to build trust with a potential customer.
Ensure your contact details are clearly visible
It may seem obvious, but many businesses forget this crucial detail when they marketing their care home or nursing home. You want to make it as easy as possible for the user to make contact with you. This means having your nursing home or care home’s contact details clearly visible at all times. Firstly, feature your phone number at the top right-hand corner of the landing page. Then if your page allows the user to scroll, make sure you repeat the number at the bottom of the page as well.
As you set-up your high performing landing page, take a look at the list below and ensure you have actioned each:
- Place USP above the fold
- Include 3 benefits of your care home or nursing home
- Remove or reduce the ability to navigate away from your page
- Match the content on your landing page to your advertisements
- Build trust by including customer reviews/accreditation logos
- Ensure contact details are clearly visible
Once these alterations have been made, you now have a solid foundation to begin building your aggressive growth strategy for your care home.
ADD 24hr LIVE CHAT LEAD CAPTURE
A standard landing page converts at around 2%, so with the additional changes you have made, you now have a great landing page that will convert at a higher rate.
Let’s say, your page is now converting at 3-4%. This means if a 100 people come to your nursing home or care home’s site, 96 of them are leaving without taking a specific action.
This is still a large amount of waste that you can afford to reduce.
It is very important that you understand some of the potential reasons why the remaining 96% are just not engaging with you.
- If you think about the typical person who would be searching for a care home or nursing home for their loved one, do they have a job themselves? If so, they may quickly be searching whilst they are at work. Let’s say they find your website but as they are at work, they can’t simply call you as it may draw attention to the fact that they are doing personal activities at work. So, they make a mental note to revisit your website at a later date.
- The whole process of sourcing the right care home or nursing home can be daunting, with many things to consider. The content on your website may not answer specific questions the user may have in mind. This might not be your fault. The answers may be there, but the user just can’t be bothered to search for them so they exit your page.
- People are busy. They don’t always have the time to search for your service during your office hours. In fact, what we have found with our customers, is that the majority of searching actually occurs in the evenings and on weekends, which explains some of the waste.
Now, by adding a 24hr Live Chat service to your site you are able to eradicate the above issues as:
- Users can now discreetly chat at work and don’t have to pick up the phone.
- Users no longer have to search for answers themselves, they can just speak to a live chat agent.
- 24hr live chat means it doesn’t matter what time during the day or night or during the week or on the weekend users are searching for your nursing or care home, they will still receive the same level of instant gratification.
Live chat has been proven to increase the conversion rate by 40%, so instantly (and Live Chat is pretty much an instant response) you have a landing page that converts at an even higher rate!
The first two steps are very focused on a reactive method to improve the engagement rate from the traffic that is already coming to your website. Let’s discuss some proactive steps of your care home or nursing home marketing plan to generate more relevant users to your website.
DRIVE TARGETED TRAFFIC
What we are going to be referring to here is a mixture of paid search (Google & Bing).
We are going to assume that you are either doing PPC yourself or are using an agency. If digital marketing and advertising isn’t something you are currently doing, we would strongly recommend looking into this option to market your care home or nursing home.
If you are using an agency, feel free to relay this information onto them as we want to ensure your campaigns are being optimised in such a way that will provide you with the most amount of enquiries.
Now, if you are running your digital campaigns in-house, there are three main things that we want you to focus on…
- Wastage Clicks
- Quality Score
- Converting Keywords
Let’s start with wastage clicks.
Let’s say, for example, you are the director of a high-end care home looking to run a campaign to fill some vacant beds with private clients. If you bid on terms such as ‘affordable care homes,’ you are likely to attract the type of person who cannot afford the rates your high-end care home charge as is less likely on ‘converting’ and booking an assessment.
If you only bid on terms that are really relevant such as ‘luxury care home Surrey’ you are more likely to attract the type of people who will convert!
Another thing you must be aware of is Quality Score.
Basically, Google rewards adverts which have a high-quality score by showing their advert more prominently for a smaller budget.
There are many ways in which you can improve the quality score of your adverts including:
- Ad relevance (i.e. how relevant your advert is to what the user has searched for)
- Landing page performance
- Your click-through rate (the percentage that your ad was clicked on from the number of times it was shown)
Finally, you need to do some research on converting keywords. This refers to which keywords users have typed in that have led to a call or form submission (a conversion). In short, the opposite of wasted clicks.
REMARKET TO LOST LEADS
You are now in a great position. You have a high performing Landing page and Live Chat is helping capture any leads that, for whatever reason, don’t convert. Through highly targeted traffic, you are receiving some fantastic enquiries to fill your vacant beds.
It’s impossible to create a perfectly efficient, profitable care home or nursing home marketing strategy that produces zero waste. So, even after all of your hard work, there will still be people who come onto your site and, for whatever reason, leave without even a ‘hello!’.
This is frustrating no doubt, but it also provides a fantastic opportunity. These people have come onto your site for a reason and you know, as previously mentioned in stage 3, that because of your targeted traffic, they are the type of person you are looking to get in front of.
Do not give them the opportunity to forget about your care home or nursing home!
Before we discuss remarketing, this is what your nursing home and care home marketing model looks like so far:
Targeted traffic has been driven to your website using PPC (Pay Per Click), the user then has the option to engage using one of the three: phone calls, filling in a website forms, or engage using Live Chat.
Next, we are going to discuss adding Remarketing to your nursing and care home marketing plan.
This method works as a net to help capture those who have previously slipped through the funnel and can help to plug any inefficiencies.
As there are normally multiple decision makers and financial aspects involved when choosing a care home, it’s highly likely that there will be some consideration for the user involved.
Whilst the user is in this consideration phase for perhaps three days or three weeks; the user is reminded of your facility whilst they surf the world wide web.
MONITOR AND OPTIMISE
The first four elements of this nursing and care home marketing plan, if implemented as we recommend, will achieve growth for your company.
However, this growth will be very short-lived if you ignore the final stage of the Aggressive Growth Blueprint – Monitor and Optimise.
Only by putting great emphasis on this stage will you be able to achieve sustainable growth.
The Smooth Analytics platform allows you to track all enquiries (calls, emails and live chat leads) from your advertising. As a bare minimum, ensure you have Google Analytics enabled to track email enquiries from your website.
The diagram below is a fantastic example of how you can monitor and optimise each stage of the business cycle. This shows how making a few alterations and improvements will make a massive difference.
For the sake of this illustration, we have used a monthly customer value of £4,500 and a lifetime customer period of 12 months, resulting in an average customer value of £54,000.
Both of the tables above are exactly the same – with only one tiny alteration – the number of visits to a website which turn into leads or enquiries.
Forget everything else for a minute and let’s focus on this detail.
If you focus all of your energy on increasing the chances of visitors to your site actively engaging and making an enquiry for your care home; look at the difference that this focus will make to the level of revenue generated. This increase is only from 2% to 4% – you should be aiming for more!
It’s a great practice to keep note of all your figures so you can really compare and contrast what strategies to attract private clients are working and which ones are not. Remember, just because one method has worked well for you in the past, doesn’t necessarily mean it will work well for the future. You need to be constantly adapting your nursing and care home marketing approach!
The final stage.
So, let us just quickly recap:
1) You now have a high performing landing page.
2) Live Chat is active and working to capture and dwindling users
3) You are driving targeted traffic to your landing page
4) You are Remarketing to any lost leads (ensuing waste is kept to a minimal)
5)You are continuously optimising your current campaign
At this point, you are in an amazing position to open the floodgates and increase the digital spend to match your nursing home/care home’s capacity to take on new private customers.
Each business is different and can only take on a certain number of new customers at one time. So, what we recommend is going back to point three (Drive targeted traffic) and slowly increase the spend until you are comfortable with the level of enquiries coming through.
As you will be targeting a greater number of people, your remarketing budgeting will have to increase at the same rate to ensure waste levels do not increase (remember, we are big on keeping waste to a minimal).
From this point, the campaign will need to be further optimised to ensure the new spend is going towards keywords which are generating the highest return!
So, what you have now is a well-oiled aggressive growth machine that we guarantee will drive the growth of your business.