Updated November 13, 2018
Dozens of people search for nursing homes every other day, but are you getting enough calls, emails, or people showing up at your door in need of your services?
Recent research by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) Public Policy Institute suggests that 52% of people turning 65 or older will require some type of long-term care services in their lifetime.
So, the demand is there, but how can your facility attract residents and keep occupancy levels high?
Why would a family choose your nursing home over another one in the same vicinity?
We’ve put together 6 simple marketing ideas for nursing homes that will help you stand out from your competition.
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 online marketing for nursing homes 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 for 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.
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. And they are searching for answers on top search engines like 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 they 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 types of content & questions someone may be searching for in the nursing home industry.
It’ll let you know how often key phrases like “nursing homes in [your city]” get searched, and help you know how easy or challenging it will be to get your website to the top of the search engines when someone types in that term.
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 less competition, so you can start getting results faster.
Ready to start? Click here to take a 7-day free trial of our keyword research tool, Long Tail Pro.
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 is a free service. HARO 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 probably 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 on.
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
Another 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, one important marketing strategy for nursing homes is to capture names and email addresses of your visitors so you can follow-up with them later.
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?
4. Time To Try Social Media
As we saw earlier, not even nursing homes are spared in regards to the necessity to have an online presence.
Just like blogging, social media can help your facility to build its trust online. On top of that, it can enhance your credibility, improve brand loyalty, boost engagement, help you get more leads, increase inbound traffic, and give you better search engine rankings among other benefits.
One of the events that fueled the need for social media and better marketing ideas for skilled nursing facilities happened a few years ago during a home caring champions competition. Nominees were placed on caring.com and social action buttons were included to enable visitors to share/like the article and vote using their social media account.
Surprisingly, thousands of visitors cast their votes using Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other platforms.
One of the nurses nominated for the competition spoke of how residents signed up on social media just to vote for her and added that their active Facebook page helped the facility to engage with their loyal fans, from residents and their families to employees and their family members and friends as well.
That’s just one among many examples.
What’s more, your employees sharing positive posts about work or your facility on their social media platforms is the extra publicity you would have gotten at a huge cost from an influencer or ad.
Getting Started with Social Media
If you’ve never used social media before, this is the chance to get your feet wet. As with any other marketing strategy, sit down and plan. Not sure how to start? HubSpot’s Social Media Workbook can give you the much-needed help.
However, let’s not forget that social media is a double-edged sword. Benefits aside, one dissatisfied client or employee can easily thin out your hard-earned reputation.
Imagine a YouTube video or tweet by your employee sounding off about mistreatment of workers at your facility. Such a message has the potential to make your clients lose faith in your nursing home.
Thankfully, there are a couple of ways to mitigate the effect of such posts or cushion your facility against them. For example, come up with policies that protect the residents, the facility, and its employees. Here are some ideas:
- Keep the health of your residents private
- Make it mandatory for your employees to add a disclaimer on their posts
- Define what your employees can and can’t do on social media
- Let your employees know that the care facility is monitoring their social media activities and there are disciplinary actions for disobeying the facility’ social media policy
5. Dominate Local Search Results
No matter the search engine, the algorithms are designed to show you results you are particularly interested in. For example, when you search the keyword phrase “Nursing Homes” on Google, the top results will most likely be local search results.
Let’s give it a try.
Very true, right? Part of the results are nursing homes in Texas, complete with the address, contact details, address, opening hours, website, and images (if you click on the item). That’s because the owners first added/claimed their business on Google then optimized their pages.
Have you claimed or added yours? If not, Google has a quick guide to help you do that and it’s absolutely free. Create location pages for all your home care offices as well.
Most people will choose from the handful of nursing homes at the top of the search engine result page, meaning if you are not at the top, you’ll miss out on opportunities.
Wondering how to propel yourself to that coveted top spot?
It all starts with selecting SEO relevant keywords for your niche; i.e., nursing home or long-term care home. First, sit down and come up with a list of keywords that reflect the services you are offering at your facility.
Earlier on, we saw how a comprehensive keyword research tool can help you know which areas to focus on, the search frequency for specific words, and how difficult it would be to rank well in Google for that search. That’s the kind of tool you need at this level.
Once you’ve gathered the proper keywords, proceed to optimize their use. Weave them into your website content, business page, social media profiles, and other online places where they are relevant.
It would actually be great to learn how experts do it before you start working on this particular nursing home marketing idea.
6. Get Testimonials/Reviews And Share Them
If you were to look for a company to fix your roof, the first thing most of us would probably do is ask our friends and family for a few recommendations. Of course, the journey won’t end there. You’ll find yourself online trying to check out the business and what other people have to say about it.
In the end, you’ll feel more confident and convinced about your decision to hire that business if you’ve heard and read enough of other people’s experiences.
Now think about those looking for what you offer. Wouldn’t they be happy too if they came across the same? Dozens of reliable reviews across different platforms?
Yes, they would, and it’s upon you to make that possible.
In the US, one of the platforms dedicated to this purpose, the Nursing Home Compare Website, has faced sharp criticism, mostly from experts who claim it’s prone to manipulation and a bit limited in its functions as a review platform.
It, therefore, won’t help much being on such a platform alone; you have to be across several of them in order to be credible enough for your potential customer.
How To Get Quality Reviews/Testimonials
Clearly, a combination of useful reviews and a reputable platform is your best bet to winning over quality residents. Useful reviews are the kind that talk about the status of your facility, management, food, activities at our facility, value for money, and so on.
Here’s an example of what useful reviews look like:
Whether positive or negative, take this opportunity to also address the issue raised by users.
How does one get these useful reviews?
You can ask in person or via email. It could be when residents leave your facility or during social events. If not sure how to do it, Marketing Land has a great guide with more ideas you’ll find useful as you figure out how to market a nursing home.
Ask your clients to do it on Yelp, social media platforms like Facebook, your website, Google My Business, Yahoo, Consumer reports, just to name but a few.
Marketing Ideas for Nursing Homes – Wrap Up
Obviously, this isn’t a comprehensive plan of marketing ideas for nursing homes, 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 7-day free trial of Long Tail Pro and start finding keyword ideas immediately.
The best of luck!