How Consistent, Strategic Marketing Yields Strong ROI for Home Care Providers.
Any smart marketer wants to see a measurable return on investment for their marketing dollars. The boost in revenue from marketing efforts should outweigh the money invested over time – or the initiative becomes just another expense, not an investment.
Realizing ROI for home care and hospice is often a different and slower path than other types of marketing. In retail, for example, marketers can promote a great sale price on an item and see positive results at the cash register from the day the campaign begins.
The need for home care and hospice is comparatively rare in the lives of families. Our society doesn’t like to think about illness and dying, so their awareness of providers is extremely low. In fact, more than 20 years of research by Transcend among family healthcare decision makers shows that fewer than 10 percent can correctly name the brand of a hospice provider in their community without some prompting from a list.
That’s why home care and hospice marketers need a strategic plan to keep them visible and promote their value consistently – so when the need does arise, families seek them first for services.
Results speak for themselves.
Clients who faithfully follow Transcend’s marketing strategies year after year typically see strong results for metrics that matter. Take a look at these sample ROI results from our clients across five different states:
Of course, substantial variables exist from market to market. Some clients are in highly competitive regions while others are in CON states. The impact of specific healthcare systems in each market can be significant. Overall population age and hospice utilization rates are other variables that can affect results.
Those are just a few reasons Transcend doesn’t use cookie-cutter marketing strategies for our clients. Each plan has to be developed and tweaked for the realities of each market. Yet, there are some important attributes our marketing initiatives have in common and offer evidence-based advice for you to follow.
A formula for success.
- Each campaign was based on research and targeted the priorities of family healthcare decision makers. One of the biggest strategic decisions of these campaigns was to emphasize marketing to family healthcare decision makers (whom we define as adults age 45+, skewed toward women) instead of professional referral sources. That doesn’t mean we ignored professional referrers. We helped supplement the efforts already being taken by our clients’ marketing teams and community liaisons. However, the main marketing investment went into targeting families directly. Over the past 20 years, Transcend has surveyed more than 25,000 family healthcare decision makers, building our proprietary database market by market where our clients serve. From the research, we learn what families value most and expect from home care providers. Then we tailor marketing messages to promote how our clients deliver care based on these priorities. We’ve learned – and proven time after time – that family caregivers will raise their hands for help with caregiving sooner than they may admit that their loved one is terminally ill. Thus, they engage with our clients earlier and more often, increasing not only ADC but LOS to boost patient days and the greater revenue that follows.
- The messaging was spread by multiple media channels and adjusted for greater effectiveness over time. Before working with Transcend, a good number of our clients expressed some frustration with the results of their marketing efforts. Upon analysis, one major factor was they were focusing on too few media choices (such as using only outdoor boards and radio) and running their campaigns for a far shorter time period than needed. Transcend’s media experts recommend a robust combination of media, with each serving a particular role in the strategy:
- Awareness – Mass media, such as broadcast TV, zoned cable TV, radio, print ads and outdoor boards, is still very effective at familiarizing families with your brand. As mentioned earlier, an average of fewer than 10 percent of consumers can correctly name a home care or hospice provider’s brand without any prompting. Preference begins with familiarity, so promoting your brand name consistently while tying it to attributes families value is a wise move. When your agency’s name comes up as an option, it’s powerful for families to say, “I’ve heard of them” … especially when they’re unfamiliar with the names of your competitors.
- Education – All media outlets – mass media, social media, digital media and paid search ads – can play a vital role in educating consumers about your services and how they align with families’ priorities. Mass media can blanket your service area with overall messaging and brand building. With the ever-growing sophistication of how paid search, digital and social media can be targeted to audiences at different stages of need, you can use these tactics to educate audiences on specifics of how your services apply to them at the right time. Together, awareness and education help build preference for your brand.
- Relevance – Building on the point above, the laser-focus of digital and social media targeting can get specific messages to audiences when they are most meaningful. Based on a target audience’s online behavior – both with social media and web activity – you can tailor messages about specifics of supporting caregivers at home and many other messages when you know they are searching for answers on certain topics. And because digital and social media messages are “clickable,” you can measure the exact engagement particular ads are generating by tracking the visits to your website linked to the ads. When Transcend creates paid search, digital and social media ads with relevant messaging and links them to specific pages on our clients’ websites, we often see engagement increase exponentially, followed by increases in inquiries and admissions.
- Media coverage stayed constant year-round to make sure the messaging was there when most relevant to families. The beginning of this blog post acknowledged that we don’t know when the relatively rare need for home care or hospice will arise for families. Thus, it’s important to have a media plan and schedule that keep your message in front of your audiences on a consistent basis year-round. So when the need does arise, your brand is the first one that comes to mind. Fortunately, you can have consistent exposure throughout the year without buying media for every single day, helping you manage your budget. For mass media, we often recommend a “flighted” schedule where ads may be on the air for a couple of weeks, then off for two to three weeks, then back on for a couple of weeks. Consumers really don’t even notice the gap. As long as your marketing is present throughout the year, consumers feel like they are “always” seeing your ads. Paid search, digital and social media are served up to target audience members based on their online activity – which, of course, typically happens year-round. But you often pay by cost per click, so you pay only for engagement not exposure. Again, the digital algorithms help ensure the right messages are getting to the right audience members for the most relevant occasions, regardless of time of year.
Do you crave ROI like the results shared in this blog post? Need help in developing strategic, creative and/or media plans to follow our proven guidelines to get these results? Transcend is here to help. Email me at [email protected] to discuss how we can assist you in strengthening your marketing ROI.