5 Essential Digital Marketing Tips for Nursing Home and Assisted Living Facilities
Marketing has changed dramatically in the last few years and it's time for the nursing homes and assisted living facilities of the world to join the bandwagon or risk being left behind in the dust.
The larger and more established a business or industry is, the more reluctant they are to acknowledge and act on changes in the market. Nursing homes and long term care in general, are large established businesses that tend to do business in a particular way.
That way does not include digital marketing. It’s like pulling teeth to convince and show owners and operators that it’s no longer a luxury. It’s a necessity. Even in the long term care industry. Even for the seniors themselves researching your facility online.
To make it easier for those who are just starting out and taking their first online marketing baby steps, we’ve compiled the top 5 must-do action items for you.
They don’t have to all be done right away or in any particular but they must be done.
1) Google My Business
Set up your Google My Business Page properly. Every business that has a physical location on the web can either create their own page or have others create it for them.
Below is an example of a facility that setup their page properly.
Google created this for the sole purpose of helping users find the information about your business that they are ‘Googling’.
So instead of googling, 'what time do visiting hours end in ABC nursing home?', you’ll simply type in the name of the facility and all of the information that you are interested in seeing will be there for them on the right-hand side of the page.
2) Email Marketing
Email marketing is not dead. Especially not for the more senior population.
Most of the residents, family members and vendors already gave you their email addresses and this allows you to present your content right into their inbox. Use this power to share your message with them.
To get this right, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
Respect their privacy and don’t over email them.
Share relevant and useful information with them.
Tell them about an upcoming event in the facility, maybe a job opening or changes that are coming.
Let them know to expect consistent and important information via email.
Post reminders to look out for your emails throughout the building. This reminds them to check and read your emails.
Make it easy for them to give your their email addresses. This can be as simple as having a signup sheet at reception where they can write down their preferred email address.
What Type of content should you share?
Share content that:
Engages your audience.
3) Content Marketing
Every person, organization and business has lots of great content to share. We don’t usually focus on it and with a small mind shift we will start seeing every normal interaction as an opportunity for sharing meaningful and useful content.
Why should you share your content?
You will stay front and center in your audience’s minds.
When they think nursing home, they will immediately think of you.
This helps with brand awareness and no, this is not something reserved for multi billion dollar companies like Google and Facebook.
Yes, your facility has a brand.
Your brand is simply your reputation. It’s what people think of when they see your logo, visit your facility or interact with your staff.
Every facility can and must write a weekly blog.
There is usually someone in the facility who likes to write who would love to do this. You already have a website (please tell me you do!), and with a few tweaks you can add a blog to it.
A blog is just another way of reaching out to an even broader audience.
You will still use the same types of content for this as email marketing.
And... you now have one more reason to email them and say ‘check out our latest blog post about …’.
They really want to know about your recent blog but (sorry for bursting your bubble) they are probably not checking your site very frequently.
They won’t know about your new post unless you tell them about it. Sounds obvious and you’d be surprised how few people actually do this.
5) Social Media Strategy
By now, we all know that we must be on social media to exist in 2019.
I saved this one for last in order to dispel several myths.
Social media does indeed work.
It needs to be strategy for it to work.
Simply ‘having’ or ‘being on’ Facebook is not a social media strategy.
Posting job openings and marketing events is not a social media strategy and it’s highly unlikely that they will produce any meaningful results.
A healthy social media strategy has a clearly defined:
Medium (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter)
Let’s go through each of these points in a bit more detail so we are on the same page and you will know what to do.
Your goal is to clearly understand what you are trying to accomplish on social media.
Is it phone calls to your admissions staff?
Visits to your website?
Visits to the facility?
Online referrals from the hospital discharge planners (or case managers)
You can only measure your social media success if you have first clearly defined your goals. Once you’ve established your goals you can work backwards and use it as a framework to create your social media strategy.
For Example: You meet with your team and decide that your goal is to get more phone calls to your admissions office. You know based on your facility’s history, that x% of phone calls convert into admissions so this is something worth measuring and increasing.
Now you know to focus your social media content on those who generally call the admissions phone.
Is that family members?
What age are they?
Where do they live?
Where do they engage socially in the community?
Where do they engage online?
Emily will post 3 times a week in the local community group where all the local news and goings on are discussed.
She will post things that pertain to the community and are not directly related to the facility at first. She needs to establish a relationship first before she can start marketing the facility’s amenities and outstanding care.
Once every 2 weeks she will post something specific about the facility unless requested to do so more frequently. You will see that the next time she goes out to a community function, people will start coming over to her to discuss her content and real relationship has developed.
That is how you create long lasting and genuine business/personal relationships.
Until next time,