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Each month for the past 12 months, people in the U.S. used Google to perform 1.7 million online searches for home care help and assisted living services.
I’ll repeat that number: 1.7 million.
To give you some perspective, three years ago people performed 1.1 million searches for your services per month.
These numbers tell you two things:
- When people need assisted living and home care services or have questions about the topic they do their research and locate companies online.
- This isn’t a new trend or even a trend. The number of online searches for your services and for advice about your industry has been steadily rising for years.
Point-blank, if you want your marketing plan to succeed and your company to grow in this new online world, you’re going to have to follow a few new rules. Below I’ll detail the five rules you need to follow if you want to keep drawing in new clients this year and in future years.
Have questions at the end? Give us a call.
Rule #1 for Assisted Living Marketing in an Online World: Clearly Define Your Target Audience and Their Buyer’s Journey
Every assisted living or home care business owner I’ve talked to knows their target audience: hospitals and rehabilitation clinics, adult children of the loved one that needs care, and in rare cases, the seniors or patients themselves.
What they haven’t done is mapped out the buyer’s journey and where these buyers spend their time online. So, to help you out, I did it for you:
10-Step Buyer’s Journey for Mike, the Discharge Planner at a Local Rehabilitation Clinic
- After evaluating a 70-year-old stroke patient, Mike determines the patient needs additional care after discharge.
- Mike calls his go-to home care company, only to be told they are at capacity.
- Mike sees an online ad for a new home care company in the area whose blog he read on LinkedIn that morning.
- Mike Googles “home care for stroke patient,” and sees the company’s map listing in the search engine results. He takes note that they already have 25 recent 5-star reviews. He clicks on the listing and is taken to their website.
- On the website, he sees they recently received a Best In-Home Care award, and that they are an Aging Life Care Association Corporate Partner.
- He quickly navigates to their “stroke care” website landing page.
- He watches three videos on the website that detail daily life, extracurricular activities, and therapeutic methods. He then watches three testimonial videos from current clients, who give glowing reviews.
- Mike calls the company and asks questions about the facility.
- Mike schedules a meeting with the patient’s family.
- The patient’s family signs on for home care assistance.
10-Step Buyer’s Journey for Lauren, 41, Daughter-in-Law of Fred, a Senior Parent with Mobility Problems:
- Lauren and her spouse notice Fred is having difficulties getting around on his own and taking care of daily household tasks.
- Lauren Googles “senior mobility problems”.
- Lauren reads a couple of articles on a senior care website about mobility issues in the home.
- While browsing on Pinterest, Lauren sees an infographic called “10 Signs Mom and Dad Need Assisted Living.” Lauren reads the list and talks to her spouse that night. They agree it might be time to get some extra help.
- Lauren Googles “difference between senior living facility and home care services.” She spends about an hour digging into the differences and which one would be best.
- Lauren Googles “assisted living community near me” and locates three with five-star reviews.
- Lauren visits the websites of all three, being careful to look for extracurricular activities, diet and meal plans, and other examples of the quality of living her father-in-law would have.
- Lauren goes to Facebook and asks her friends for referrals, and one of her friends refers her to one of the companies she already saw on Google.
- Lauren watches the video testimonials and reads reviews of the assisted living facility.
- Lauren and her spouse schedule a tour of the facility.
Your target audience, whether it’s a discharge planner at a rehab clinic or the child of a senior parent or relative, spends a lot of time online. In fact, The Digital 2019 report by HootSuite and We Are Social reveals the average person in the U.S. spends 6 hours and 31 minutes online each day.
Even your B2B audience does their research online—according to Google, 71 percent of B2B researchers begin with generic Google searches and 89 percent of them use the internet during the research process.
They’re obsessed with reviews and referrals (especially in your industry, where’s there’s a stigma attached thanks to years of outliers behaving badly): 90 percent of them read online reviews before visiting a business, and 88 percent of them trust online reviews as much as personal ones.
They’re also social: the average 35-44-year-old spends just over two hours a day on social media.
And, they LOVE videos: they spend about 3 hours and 47 minutes a day watching online video. It’s not just your average consumers that love to watch videos, either—70 percent of your B2B audience watches videos on the path to purchase.
Add all these together, and we get the four other rules you need to follow for assisted living marketing online.
Rule #2: Your Website Is Your Biggest Marketing Asset and Your Assisted Living or Home Care Company’s 24/7 Sales Rep
Your website is not a brochure and it should not function like one. It’s your 24/7 online sales rep that has the capability to bring in a steady stream of new clients. However, in order to do so, it needs to be:
- Visible in search engines – Like I said above, there are more than 1 million online searches for assisted living and home care services every month. Since 93 percent of online experiences begin with a search engine, your website needs to be optimized for them. I’ll dive into search engine optimization in the next section.
- Secure – Not only does Google also give preference in the search results to secured (HTTPS) websites, but your target audience also prefers secured websites—82 percent of people wouldn’t browse an unsecured website.
- Mobile friendly – Your website needs to have a mobile-friendly website design. Take a look at the image below. More than 50 percent of searches for assisted living and home care services happen on a mobile device. Not only that, but 57 percent of users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile site, and Google also ranks mobile websites higher in the search engine results.
- Fast – More than 50 percent of website visitors will leave and go to another website if your website doesn’t load in under three seconds.
- Intuitive and seamless – Once your page loads, potential clients will form an opinion in 0.5 seconds. On top of this, people looking for your services are likely to be in a stressed, emotional state. Help them out by making it easy and seamless to find the information they need.
- Brimming with helpful, well-written content – People have a lot of questions when it comes to seeking these types of services for loved ones. Transfer your knowledge into blogs, videos, ebooks, infographics, and white papers. We’ll talk more about content a little later in the guide.
Rule #3: People Need to Be Able to Find You in Search Engines
When people need answers, they turn to Google. To get to the top of Google, you need search engine optimization (SEO).
Here’s what SEO is in layman’s terms:
Google and other search engines crawl pages on the web, categorizing them and indexing them in what would be the universe’s biggest library. When you search for something, you’re asking the librarian (Google’s search crawlers) for a “book”—or web page—from the library, but the librarian speaks HTML, and all the books are in English.
By optimizing your website for search using SEO, you’re using specific tactics—like adding in extra bits of code and structuring your website a specific way—that act like subtitles and make it easier for crawlers (the librarians) to understand, categorize, and index each web page. That way, they can give you the web page (or book in the library) that’s most relevant to your search query.
While there are more than 200 factors that go into Google’s search algorithm, the ones that matter most are:
- Secured sites (HTTPS vs. HTTP)
- Websites that are mobile-friendly
- Schema markup
- Webpage content quality
- Webpage content quantity and length
- Page speed
- Social signals
- Quality backlinks
- Optimized images
- Domain age
- Search intent
You can learn more about SEO for the healthcare industry here. If you’re looking to get to the top of Google’s map listings, we have just the blog for that: How to Get to the Top of Google’s Local Listings.
Rule #4: You Need to Consistently Generate New Reviews and Referrals for Your Assisted Living Facility or Home Care Services
Referrals and reviews are your greatest source of business. You know that, I know that—we all know that.
What you may not know is that 85 percent of consumers don’t trust reviews that are more than three months old, and 40 percent only look at reviews from the past two weeks.
What that means is you can’t just get a bunch of 5-star reviews one year and call it quits. You need to continuously generate and post new reviews and referrals. I’m not just talking about online Google reviews, either—I’m talking new video testimonials and referral sources on your website, your YouTube channel, and your social media profiles.
If you’re stuck on how to keep a steady stream of referrals and reviews, I recently wrote a blog that gives you 10 ways to generate more reviews, so be sure and check it out.
Rule #5: You Need Plenty of Relevant Content (Including Videos), and You Need to Amplify Your Message With Social Media and Email Marketing
Your target audience uses the internet as a research factory. For example, there about 260 searches each month JUST for the question, “What assisted living facilities accept Medicaid?”
We established above that there are about 1.7 million online searches for assisted living and home care keywords each month, which means you have almost 2 million chances to capture the attention of your target audience with content marketing. Content marketing includes:
- Blog posts (by the way, having a blog makes your website 434 percent more likely to show up in search engines)
- Testimonial videos
- Case study/trend analysis
- Email newsletters
- How-to guides and articles
- Website landing pages and content
At the very least, you need a great library of content that covers all your services, common questions, and common issues patients and loved ones might face. You also need videos, both for your B2B and B2C audience—70 percent of B2B buyers and researchers watch videos on their path to purchase and U.S. Internet users spend an average of 15 hours each week with digital video.
Fresh out of assisted living marketing ideas? I’ve got your back. You could create a robust content and video portfolio just by answering common questions. To make it easier, I looked up some of the most common questions people have searched for:
- Will assisted living facilities take Medicaid?
- What home care options are available?
- What levels of care does assisted living offer?
- Will Medicare cover assisted living?
- Will Medicaid cover assisted living?
- What is included in cost of assisted living/home care?
- Do assisted living facilities have a medication management program?
- Will insurance cover assisted living?
- Can assisted living be temporary?
- Can assisted living kick you out?
- Can assisted living costs be deducted?
- Can assisted living administer insulin?
- Which assisted living facility should I choose?
- What’s assisted living?
- What’s the difference between assisted living, nursing homes, and home care services?
- What does assisted living mean?
- What does home care mean?
- What is assisted living vs nursing homes?
- When to move from assisted living to nursing home?
- How does assisted living work?
- Are assisted living facilities furnished?
- Are assisted living facilities regulated?
- Are assisted living facilities/home care a good investment?
- Are assisted living facilities subject to HIPAA?
You can’t just create these resources and call it good, however—you need to amplify the content you create by promoting it on social media and through email marketing. If you need help, read this guide to creating a content distribution plan.
To learn more about content marketing, social media, and email marketing, check out these resources:
Need Help? We Know Just the Assisted Living Marketing Agency…
If the above seems like too much for you to do on your own, you’re just like the hundreds of business owners and marketing directors we’ve helped over the years. You need to focus on running your business. Let a professional (who understands your target audience AND your industry) take over the legwork of your assisted living marketing campaigns.
Why trust our assisted living marketing agency? Because we market your business as if it were our business—meaning we strive to truly understand your services, products, sales process, competitors, industry, and markets to effectively market your facility or home care services on the web, all while tracking and measurably justifying your investment in our online marketing services.
Contact us here and we’ll get to work making you THE assisted living authority in your market.
About The Author: Betsy is Blue Corona's in-house Digital Marketing Specialist. When she’s not directing Blue Corona's corporate digital content campaigns she’s urban exploring with her wife, diving into the latest marketing trends, or teaching horseback riding lessons. Twitter: @educatedbets
View more blogs by Betsy McLeod