Why care home marketing is changing – and what you need to do about it

As a marketing professional in the care home sector, are you getting fewer enquiries from your campaigns but you’re not sure why? Look beneath the surface, dip your toes into the data, and you’ll sense the tide is changing.

On paper, the care home industry isn’t a sector that you’d normally associate with seismic shifts in consumer behaviour. Audiences aren’t demanding apps, expecting on-demand services, or switching between providers on a whim.

However, subtle changes are happening within the care home sector. Potential residents and their families are thinking and acting in a different way.

Costly slots on terrestrial TV, one-page ads in country-style magazines and glossy brochures with reassuring messages may have convinced customers in 2011. But 10 years later, these may only form part of a more complex and nuanced mix of activities. And unless you can see the picture of what’s really happening with prospects, you could spend a fortune – and get a diminishing return.

Staying in sync with customers

Today, care home marketers can no longer approach their business in the same old way, otherwise audiences will dwindle and revenues will slump. Campaigns must feel fresh, compelling and reach customers wherever they happen to be looking – or they’ll go elsewhere.

Put simply, you need tools that help you stay in sync with customer behaviour.

This year, Mediahawk carried out research into prospect behaviour and uncovered some surprising findings. Perhaps the most striking was that Google My Business (GMB) now accounts for 40% of marketing-driven phone enquiries into care homes.

Several deductions could be drawn from this.

Firstly, many retired people and their younger relatives lean towards digital/mobile channels. Secondly, GMB gives them instant access to reviews, which are hugely important. Thirdly, they like the convenience of Google’s click-to-call feature, sometimes calling on the move. What’s also interesting is that GMB generates up to 10% of all traffic to care home websites.

This kind of data isn’t just interesting for marketers, it can be the gateway to something greater – the ability to see the big picture on marketing attribution.

Putting the clues together

With the right tools, you can explore prospect behaviour and interest – and answer it – in a much smarter way. For example, using small pieces of code and dedicated phone numbers, there are ways to follow people’s movements from GMB to your website and then onto various web pages – right up to the moment when they call you. You’ll see their whole customer journey in front of you.

Thanks to call tracking data, a picture emerges. You’ll discover which pages and messages convinced people to call, and gain ideas for your next campaign — and where to devote your resources.

But GMB is only the start. You can use call tracking tech with social media videos and ads, and all your paid search activities. Marketers can also see the results from traditional marketing activities, from radio and magazine ads, to billboards and flyers.

Crucially, you start to see the pivotal role played by each marketing move and how well one feeds prospects towards another. If one activity engages with prospects and another gets ignored, then it’s time to redirect your resources.

This is the best way to stay in step with your audiences – and avoid your marketing strategy from becoming outdated and abandoned by prospects. If they change, you can always change with them.

About the author - Natalia Selby

Marketing Executive at Mediahawk, with 20 years experience in analytics, content management and eCommerce.

Get your copy of Care homes: Seven marketing tactics for a new era

This helpful guide for marketers explores how to attract residents and increase occupancy – beyond the basics of website clicks and visits. You can discover what motivates a prospect to choose your care home above others, and which marketing touchpoints played a part in their journey.

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