Turning care home curiosity into committed leads

How much does your care home marketing team know about potential customers? With some smart insights, you could engage better with prospects and increase occupancy.

When consumers search for a dentist, garage or taxi firm, their need is usually immediate, or maybe desperate. But things normally move at a slow pace with nursing and residential homes.

In this market, customers aren’t swayed by online promotions, product upgrades or discounts. Purchasing decisions are determined by a complex set of needs and circumstances.

Older people and their families may express an interest over weeks, months or years. What starts as casual curiosity and ‘something to think about for the future’, might translate into a carefully-planned move-in or turn into an urgent call for help in the middle of a health crisis.

The issue for care home marketers is: How closely do you want to be involved in the ‘consideration’ phase of the buying process? And how can you build better relationships with prospects – so choosing your home becomes the obvious choice when the time feels right?

There are clues in the behaviour of prospects that you can use to your advantage.

What matters most to prospects

When people consider care homes, they’ll often be following guidance from the likes of Which? magazine and tips from Age UK. They’ll be advised to check the results of your care inspections, read your brochure, and visit your website.

They’ll also be hunting through your web pages, videos, guides and social media posts on a wide range of topics. They could be trying to find out how care needs are met by your staff, about in-home activities, having visitors and how fees are calculated. They’ll suddenly become more interested in your magazine adverts and direct mail.

So when someone suddenly calls up with questions or wants a tour, wouldn’t it be helpful to know their journey? It could make a big difference in keeping them interested and guiding them towards a purchasing decision in due course.

Understanding their journey

It’s possible for your team to quiz callers on how they heard about you and what they know already about your home. But this can be tiresome for callers and their answers may be vague. Calls made direct to homes may be unanswered or picked up by staff members who aren’t briefed to run through the questions. Of course, you’ll also get a huge number of calls from relatives as well as suppliers and health providers.

But you can get definitive data on genuine marketing calls by using services such as Mediahawk’s multichannel call tracking and marketing attribution. This way, you can detect the footprint left already by prospects across your digital channels, phone calls and places like Google My Business.

You can then feed this into your CRM system, see the bigger picture and use it to deliver a more relevant and personalised experience for each person.

Three things you’ll discover about your prospects

  1. Which issues resonate with them?
    You can see which web pages someone visited before they called you. Alternatively, if you’ve put specific videos on social media or placed adverts raising certain topics, you can see if they called a specific number associated with that campaign. This will help you to understand what’s important to them and which marketing asset they might need next in their journey.
  2. How serious are they?
    Some prospects might sound cautious or stand-offish in emails or calls. But the data might tell you something different — and point to a flurry of activity. Perhaps their needs have suddenly got greater and they’ve embarked on an intense period of research. They may have been drilling down into FAQs, terms, and other deeper-level pages on your website? You should be able to see which of your homes interest them too and if they’ve been looking at pages that explain availability. If the tracking data tells you this, then maybe a more personal approach is best — with a tour and meeting with the local home manager?
  3. What each caller’s words are really telling you
    With the latest technology, it’s now possible to automatically spot keywords in phone conversations. You can then categorise customers and analyse their buying intent. This is a fast-moving area for marketers. At Mediahawk, we’re going even further — combining advanced natural language processing with marketing analytics.

Right place, right time

For the care home sector, it’s difficult for marketers to hear above the noise of day-to-day interactions. But multichannel call tracking will help you to identify, understand and manage prospects in a far more nuanced way at an individual level.

You’ll also gain wider insights and see which marketing activities are gaining traction across your target audiences generally. You’ll move beyond the basic of clicks and visits — and see the relationships between campaigns, move-ins and revenue. That way, you can manage your marketing budget more effectively to get a better return on your marketing investment.

About the author - Natalia Selby

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

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