The need for quality nursing homes and long term care facilities is immense. Today, about 12M Americans use some form of long term care, with that number expected to more than double by 2050.
So the demand is there, but how can your facility attract residents and keep occupancy high?
Why would a family choose your nursing home over the one down the street?
Here are 3 simple marketing ideas for your nursing home that can really help you stand out from the pack.
1. Build Trust (Online)
Most residents of nursing homes and recipients of long term care are elderly, but not all. Caregiver.org reports that “approximately 63% are persons aged 65 and older (6.3 million); the remaining 37% are 64 years of age and younger (3.7 million).”
With those kinds of demographics, one might assume that an online marketing strategy isn’t as important as it might be in other industries with a younger target market.
However, choosing a nursing home is very much a family decision with a variety of different factors that play into the decision.
So while an elderly resident may not turn to Google to research things like the cost of care and the services offered by nursing homes in your area, the odds are that their family does.
Over 1.17 billion people use Google to search information, so it’s important that your facility doesn’t overlook this free marketing opportunity.
How To Build Trust Online
The good news is, one of the best ways to build trust online (in virtually any business) is also one of the best ways to pull in traffic and leads from Google.
What is this magical technique?
If ‘blogging’ isn’t a concept you are familiar with, try thinking about it as simply using your website to answer the most common questions you receive from prospective residents and their families.
As one of my favorite content marketers, Marcus Sheridan, puts it – “They ask, you answer.”
This simply means that you should start making a list of all the questions you get from families and then answer them in a general way on your nursing home’s website in the form of a blog.
The principle behind this is that if someone asks you a question, there are plenty of others who ask that same question on Google.
By creating a page (or blog post) on your website to answer that exact question/concern, you’ve now got an opportunity to pull in free visitors who are researching that topic online via Google.
In addition, you build trust with that person by providing real value and demonstrating your expertise on the topic.
Here is an excellent example in the senior care industry: A Place For Mom Blog
They get traffic for all kinds of things related to the nursing home and senior care industry. For instance, someone searching “assisted living vs. nursing home” (which gets searched about 1,000 times per month) will find them as the #1 result:
You could make the point that A Place For Mom is a huge player in the industry and they probably have far more resources that can focus on this kind of inbound marketing effort than a small, long term care business.
Perhaps that’s true.
However, check out the 5th result in the image above. Culpepper Place is a senior living facility with just 2 locations in Tennessee. They’ve used this same approach, effective blogging, to pull in traffic and leads to their website.
So this principle works for big brands, small single-location facilities, and everything in between.
Get Started Now
The smartest way to get started with this strategy is to get a keyword research tool that helps you find ideas of what you should be focusing on with your blog. It’ll let you know how often things get searched, and help you know how hard it would be to rank well in Google for that search.
Without this knowledge, you may waste time blogging about things nobody is searching for – or focusing on things that are too competitive.
Your best bet is to find “keywords” that have lesser competition, so you can start getting results faster.[su_note]Ready to start? Click Here to take a 10 day free trial of our keyword research tool, Long Tail Pro. [/su_note]
2. Get Free Publicity
How would you like to be quoted in a story on USA Today about the costs of long term care?
This kind of media exposure does a couple of positive things for your marketing efforts:
- Usually the media outlet will include a link back to your website in the story, which helps increase your brand authority online. This ultimately helps your nursing home rank better in the search engines.
- It gives you something to reference on your website or in marketing materials to help demonstrate your expertise in the industry.
So we can all agree that free publicity for your nursing home is a great thing, but how do you get it?
By using Help A Reporter Out or HARO for short.
This free service will send you an email 3 times per business day, each one chock full of journalists who need a source for their story. Most inquiries won’t be relevant to you, but from time to time some people will ask for experts on elderly care, nursing homes, and other topics that you could contribute to.
Simply reply to the reporter, share your insight, and then wait for a response.
Obviously not everything you respond to will be used, but you can absolutely get quoted in a number of authoritative newspapers and media outlets if you are persistent and helpful in your responses.
3. Turn Visitors Into Leads
The final idea that you can implement is an excellent compliment to the first 2 ideas in our list.
Once you start blogging effectively and getting mentions from the media, you’ll start to see an increase in visitors to your website.
But visitors to a website aren’t really leads (yet), they are just visitors.
So it’s important to capture names and email addresses of your visitors so you can follow-up with them later.
This could be an automated email series to teach them about your facilities and answer common questions, or you could simply send occasional newsletters and updates about events that are happening.
The primary idea is that you are keeping your facility top of mind and providing valuable information at the same time.
One of the best ways to capture leads and email addresses is what is often called a “lead magnet.”
This is something you offer for free, in exchange for their email address. A couple of examples could be:
- Dealing With Memory Loss Checklist
- Home Safety Tips For Seniors
- 5 Critical Questions to ask a Long Term Care Facility
Imagine that you’ve written an article/blog post on your site about keeping a senior safe in their own home, then at the end of the article you offer a free download with more ideas or just a checklist of things you should do to make your senior living space as safe as possible.
Many people who came to your site because they had a question about this subject would love to download your free checklist, so they’d be happy to give you their name and email address in exchange for it.
Ideally, you should start thinking about your content with the end in mind. What will my call to action be at the end of this blog post?
Obviously this isn’t a comprehensive marketing plan for a nursing home facility, but hopefully it’s a starting point for how you can better market your nursing home facility online.
My recommendation is that you start by discovering the keywords you want to target, and then begin creating that content and adding it to your website. Click here to start your 10 day free trial of Long Tail Pro and start finding keyword ideas immediately.
Best of luck!