Being creative just for its own sake works in art but not in business; good marketing needs creative ideas that are also measurably effective. Before we get too creative, let’s assume your home health business’s marketing plan already covers the basics:
- Fresh, educational content regularly posted on your mobile-optimized web site
- A social media presence that interrelates with your website
- Full business listings within Yelp, Yahoo Local, and Google Places
- Strong referral-building among your client base
Think that referrals are too old-fashioned to warrant a creative approach? According to a study conducted by The New York Times, 65 percent of companies’ new business comes from referrals, which is not an opportunity you should ignore. Your goal should be to use your creativity to find effective ways to integrate the latest technologies with tried-and-true business-building principles that work.
With that in mind, here are eight creative ideas that could help advance your home health agency’s goals.
Sometimes getting creative isn’t about thinking bigger; it’s about thinking smaller. If you haven’t already clearly defined a specialty for your agency based on the services you offer, now would be a good time. Everything else you do in your marketing flows from how precisely you can define your business, which in turn narrows down the identity of your strongest target market.
2. Be a Know-It-All
Once you’ve got your niche, you need to be recognized as the agency that fills that niche. Social media can effectively build your community online, but don’t forget the more traditional methods like:
• Speaking about healthcare issues for local groups, churches, and senior centers (don’t forget to ask if you can distribute your printed marketing materials).
• Establishing yourself as a healthcare expert with the local media through interviews, guest columns, editorials, etc.
3. Referrals 2.0
You’ve got your client referral process and your online business listings nailed down, but what about your online reviews? A 2016 study reported that 90 percent of customers say their buying decisions are influenced by online reviews, and that 88 percent of customers trust online reviews as much as personal referrals. So – engaging in effective online reputation management means monitoring your online reviews and responding in a professional manner.
4. Referrals: The Next Level
Referrals are so important to home health that they get two entries here. Are you ready to expand your referral network? Over the past several years, the Home Care Benchmarking Study has listed the following as top referral sources: hospital discharge planners, hospices, skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, geriatric care managers, state Medicaid waiver programs, rehabilitation hospitals, and the Area Agency on Aging. What problems can your agency help other caregivers solve? Visit your contacts at facilities whose purpose most closely aligns with yours; take the time to develop your network of those you refer to and take referrals from. As appropriate, leave your marketing pieces that feature testimonials for them to pass along.
5. Digital Ads
We often use our smartphones to find help for unexpected needs, and you can expand your local reach with geographically defined, in-app mobile ads targeted to your users’ interests; with the targeting capabilities of a tool like Xpress Mobile, it’s easy to connect and convert with the tap of a finger. Taking it a step further, an option called retargeting automatically displays your ads to those who have indicated interest in your website or social media presence.
6. Not Just for Chatting Anymore
Messenger, WhatsApp, and SnapChat started out as informal communication tools, but keep an eye on this type of social messaging app as it evolves. Instagram is making inroads as a successful tool for visually based businesses; what could your agency do with another channel for real-time conversations and relationship building?
7. The Patient Will See You Now
It’s been reported that marketers who use video grow revenue 49 percent faster than non-video users. Your agency can use videos to share stories and testimonials on your web site and social media platforms. Further, in what creative ways could your prospects and clients benefit from live streaming video feeds?
8. Program and Analyze
Finally, there’s the matter of timing: Your prospects don’t need you until they need you right now. Therefore, you need to keep your messages circulating out there, building awareness until that time arrives. Automated programs, such as Xpress Connection, that deliver regular touch points in a hassle-free fashion help home healthcare services stay top-of-mind and can boost referrals.
And now we’re back where we started: Good marketing needs creative ideas that are also measurably effective, so you need to be prepared to analyze the results of all your efforts. Along with the myriad online tracking metrics, it’s important to track and understand your own data. Who are your top referral sources? Who used to make referrals but has slowed down or stopped? For that matter, why is anyone referring to you, and why do they continue to do so? You can use the answers to all these questions to build a profile of your most successful efforts and refine them in future campaigns. And that sounds like marketing that is both creative and effective.