A Quick-Start Guide to Digital Marketing For Your Care Home

If your website was built by us, then it will have been optimised for being found on search engines. This includes many things, but our testing procedure will highlight anything which is likely to either slow the website down or rank it lower in searches, like image files that are too large, for example. When somebody finds your site on a search engine without clicking on an advert, this is commonly referred to as “Organic Search”

There is plenty of talk about algorithms in the search industry. These are ever-evolving calculations which are used by search engines to rank the results they display. For example, in the ‘old days’ of the web, it was fine to have one website design which served everything. With the rise of the smart phone and the tablet the shape of the screen was changing. Google eventually decided to rank sites which didn’t adapt or change for mobile devices, lower than those that did. Proliferation of keywords in a non-sensical manner would have at one time fooled Google’s algorithm into thinking a web page was relevant when, really, it was just a trick to rank higher. Needless to say that all of these old ‘black-hat’ techniques to manipulate search results have now been left firmly in the past so that now, to return good search results and therefore enquiries, you need a strategy, a great user experience with plenty of calls to action. To get people here you need a well-researched, creative campaign which solves your clients’ problems, quickly and without fuss.

Monitoring and Reporting

This involves the creation and population of new accounts on various platforms and portals, many of which we will already have agency accounts with. However, it generally only needs doing once and is important to the future success of any campaigns, therefore it is only a one-off cost to you.

Set up Google Search Console (GSC): This is part of Google’s toolkit for monitoring your website and highlighting anything which it picks up which might affect your site’s performance. Through very useful tools, it is essentially a dashboard for us to monitor the performance of the website over time, providing data and tools to effectively manage the ongoing performance of a website.

Set up Google Analytics: This is Google’s tool for analysis of a website’s traffic and performance. It can tell us where people are coming from to the site, how they got there and in what part of the word they are viewing from. It is a powerful tool which enables you make informed marketing and business decisions.

Set up Google Business Page: This is another increasingly important tool from Google. Optimising this part of your company’s public profile enables Google to promote your website locally, using tags on a map, reviews and even its own section below the sponsored (PPC) adverts. Having this set up and optimised is an essential.

Setting up Pay per click (PPC) Google advert account: If we are managing your campaign, we will create your account underneath our agency account and manage it from there. Each month, the advertising spend with Google will be billed from Shuttlefish Creative along with any other items.

Facebook advert account: As with your Google Advert Account, the same is true of the Facebook account. If we are using this for recruitment purposes too, it is a good idea to have budgets for positions within your organisation pre-agreed as this smooths the process – often positions require filling quickly so being efficient is key.

Facebook: Create or rebrand profiles an check for optimization. While on the face of it social media platforms appear fairly straightforward, there is a large number of checks and optimization to perform as well as manage permissions, respond to incoming communications, moderate public engagement and keep the page regularly updated – All of this is manageable from a dashboard and people within the organisation can have different permissions based upon their role.

Facebook Training & Support: For staff who are new to using Facebook for business, we offer training and support. It is ideal to have staff who are familiar with a platform but not essential. More important is the ability to produce and disseminate content from within the home, to work in tandem with our team working on creative output and targeted adverts.

Recruitment on Facebook: In recent years the ability to reach large numbers of potential employees has increased, while the price has dropped dramatically. In combination with some of the more popular online job portals, Facebook is a brilliantly cost-effective way to reach large numbers of local people. We can manage this process for you.

Dynamic Content Management (Newsletter, blog, events, portals): For a new website, focus should be on generating a mailing list through email capture and FOH staff in the home asking for these details. In addition to this, a sign-up form on the website to a newsletter will automatically update your GDPR-compliant mailing list. This is one of the major factors in creating what most people call “word of mouth” exposure. Human interest stories and content which reinforces your core values and USPs should be the mainstay of these posts and articles, with direct marketing calls-to-action secondary.

Creation of template for digital newsletter:  By collecting stories from your business on an agreed basis, we can help create engaging mail for your potential customers. Associated tasks include but are not always limited to: - Gathering of news stories - News posting - Active management of new email sign-ups - Quarterly newsletter Campaign Creative.

Every campaign needs a focus and the input of quality design and well-written copy. Coordination across platforms is key. Based upon the data from our in-house heat-mapping software we can identify demographics in order to coordinate your digital marketing with your real world advertising.

A basic year’s plan may look like this:

- One overall campaign design for the year

- Quarterly message changes

- Monthly reporting

- Quarterly analysis

Depending on the other work that we are undertaking for you, we would look to tie in the messaging and design with offline materials such as flyers, leaflets, brochures etc.

Ongoing SEO

This is the continual monitoring of site performance reports and acting on results, these include:

Page audit: This is the weekly review of the page using some of the tools listed above and below to automate the process of checking for bugs or problems with a website which may cause it to drop positions in a search listing. By automating this process, problems or potential problems are always brought to our attention immediately.

Google keyword rankings: This provides information to us on any changes in keyword popularity and proliferation. It enables us to act on any required information or copy changes to the website which will help it perform better.

Backlinks: While we do not actively link-build as standard, we are able to monitor and look at those websites which link to yours. This just gives us an idea of who’s reaching out to our site or sharing content from our pages.

Reporting & Analysis:

We will provide you with a clear set of data at the end of each billing cycle (month-end) showing the make-up and origins of your website traffic. If we are looking after Facebook, we will report quarterly using Facebook’s Insights. If we are starting afresh, we need three months’ data before making any meaningful analysis.

This is a simple overview of what we can do to help your care home, digitally. No care companies are the same, though, and what works for one home or geographical area may not work in another. That's why we offer all new clients a one hour fact-finding consultation to understand where they are currently. From there we can build a strategy and plan which will produce results. Contact us today to book your consultation.


Lockdown Diary #1 - Clear Messaging During The Covid-19 Pandemic

There are many outcomes to the current pandemic and it is too early to say just exactly how that is going to affect you and your company. However, what we do know is that in the US & Europe lockdowns and spread is likely to continue into Q3 regardless and so the economic ramifications are going to be felt far and wide for a long time to come. Regardless of these facts, you need to be mindful when it comes to how your company is presented during and after this unprecedented event. From how you act, the news you share and how you’re helping the cause – it’s all important stuff in the strength of your branding and never has there been a better time to get everything in shape. Let’s take a look at some general advice on how to look at your marketing right now.

1. Tone & Language

a. It’s easy to see where your brand could cash-in on a crisis, but it is a number one no-no. How your company conducts itself is crucial to coming through this relatively unscathed.

b. Check all of your existing content and double check to make sure your messaging is still relevant.

c. Make sure you get second and third opinions on all new collateral. This you should be doing anyway, but at this point, a badly constructed message or something which was funny before may now be just pain insensitive.

2. Engage Your Customers

This might seem obvious as that’s the nature of marketing, but you need to be thinking what you can offer, how you can help and what do you do already that would benefit people who are in the midst of a crisis. Your customers will remember what you do now for a long time afterwards.

3. Engage your workforce

Morale and an engaged workforce are more important now than ever. They want to feel safe and part of a family which is working together for a common goal – to get through this.

4. Listen to your Customers

Chances are, your customers’ needs are going to be changing. Is there a way we can help? Do we even know how those needs are changing? What are the long term implications likely to be because of these changes? Taking the time to do this now will impact heavily on the longer term success of your company after the pandemic has ended.

5. Check your lines of communication are working

You should always be available to potential and existing customers, but at the moment, making a check on your processes and systems for receiving communications is key. Do your customers know your position right now? If not, it is time to talk to them.

6. Ditch the competitive streak (for now)

While competition between providers of anything is normal and healthy, at this time there’s just no need to be putting that out there. If you would maybe use an aggressive ad campaign targeting a competitor’s service price for example, people will see it as cynical and missing the point now. Don’t do it. Ask how you can help and go that route instead. You’ll be glad you did when you’re through this.

7. Get inventive with creating assets

Let’s face it, those wonderful outdoor Spring photo-shoots we’ve been waiting for just aren’t going to happen. So, what can we do? Well… your creative team should be on the case thinking about how to get the message across in different ways. There are stock libraries for video and photos and music. There is the compositing of photographs with other assets, illustration, animation and tons more to boot. How can you make these work for you right now?

Whatever you do, make sure you carry on thinking about what you want to say to your customers and how you want to say it. Protect your marketing budgets as much and as best you can because if previous experience of global shocks tell us anything, it’s that when the starting gun goes again on the other side, it’s those companies that are best prepared who come out the other side first and fastest.

Lastly - get ready for a new reality. It is highly unlikely that something so far-reaching and sudden as a global pandemic won’t have long-lasting effects on our future behaviours and the way we live. What those will be, what will remain and what will return we will wait and see. But don’t hide under your desk – embrace the change and find your place.


How Much Should You Spend on Marketing your Care Home?

How much should you spend on marketing? This is a question we have been asked and answered many times since 2011. As care industry marketing experts we built fantastic working relationships with our clients. We understand the industry; understand the needs of care homes and nursing homes; but also understand the needs of the prospective residents too. We genuinely care. You don't need us to tell you that running a Residential Care Home is challenging. And, within a saturated market, where smaller independent homes are competing with premium/luxury businesses, your job could be ten times more difficult. Which is where your marketing can really make a huge difference.

Read more


Make your marketing matter in 2020

Happy New Year to you all from Marketing for Care Homes! Our team members are all back in the office with recharged batteries after a refreshing Christmas break, and we can’t wait to get started on some shiny new campaigns to kick off the new year in style. So, how can we help you? Well, let’s start with…

Your 2020 care home marketing plan

The saying goes ‘if you fail to prepare, prepare to fail’ and that’s completely true when it comes to your annual marketing plan. If you haven’t yet made a marketing plan for 2020 then that means you won’t have started making the most of your marketing yet! Clear your diary and get cracking as there’s no time like the present.

If you let much more of January slip away, you’ll inevitably end up with fewer enquiries than desired, along with no marketing analysis and therefore no way of telling which channels you need to target to reach your desired demographic.

If you’re unsure how to create your 2020 marketing plan, get in touch with Marketing for Care Homes and we’ll set you on the right track. We can even plan your entire year using our industry expertise, so you won’t miss any opportunities and can generate as many enquiries as possible for your care home.

Implementing your care home marketing plan

At Marketing for Care Homes, we’ve been creating effective campaigns for care homes since 2011. With our industry insight, you’re in safe hands and you can trust us to deliver exactly what your care home needs to help reach your targets. Whether you need to fill beds, you need to attract and recruit new team members or anything else, we’re here to help and our knowledge of the care industry when it comes to marketing is unrivalled.

Once you have a solid marketing plan, we can put this into action for you. We can also manage and adjust this plan throughout the year in accordance with your marketing analysis – which we can also take care of at Marketing for Care Homes – making it as specific as possible, reaching your target audience by utilising the appropriate channels that we know work best when it comes to care.

How successful marketing can boost your care home business

With a solid marketing plan in place for 2020, the sky is the limit if it’s carried out well. With the ability to measure the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns and steer them in a particular direction based on accurate analysis throughout the year, you’ll be able to reach your target audience with maximum efficiency and maximum return. At Marketing for Care Homes, we’re here to help every step of the way.

At Marketing for Care Homes, we offer a wide range of services that can help your marketing make a real difference to your care home’s success in 2020 – our team can take care of creative design, branding and rebranding, web design, marketing support, insights and analytics, brochures, photography and videography, internal and external signage, copywriting and digital marketing. By working with us and utilising our expert services, your care home’s marketing will achieve your desired results.

Speak to us today to make sure 2020 is your care home’s best year yet.


How Does Your CQC Rating Affect Your Care Home’s Marketing?

It’ll probably come as no surprise to hear that generally speaking, the better your CQC rating, the more successful your marketing campaigns will be and typically, the more enquiries you’ll generate as a result. But here at Marketing for Care Homes, we’ve drilled down to find out the real numbers and see quite how big a difference your CQC rating makes.

Let’s start by having a look at some care home statistics:

• There are more than 10,000 care homes in the UK
• Only 4% of care homes across England have the CQC’s top rating of ‘Outstanding
• 79% of care homes in England are rated as being ‘Good’ by the CQC
• 16% of England’s care homes have a ‘Requires Improvement’ CQC rating
• 1% of all care homes in England are found to be ‘Inadequate’ by the CQC

Our ‘Outstanding’ experiment

One of our Berkshire-based clients opened in 2016 and earned Top 20 carehome.co.uk awards in 2017, 2018 and 2019. A recent CQC inspection saw them go from having a ‘Good’ CQC rating to achieving ‘Outstanding’ in all five areas, a rating that only 21 care homes in England had achieved by the end of 2019.

Having had ‘Good’ ratings until now at this specific home, we thought it was the ideal opportunity to compare marketing results between a campaign with a ‘Good’ rating and a campaign with an ‘Outstanding’ rating, with no other contributing factors changing at all.

If there was ever a time to tell the world about how fantastic a home’s care really is, this was it, so we took the opportunity to cover every single base, from banners outside the home and a graphic and news article for their website to press releases and digital ads – these included Facebook and Google Ads. And that’s what we’re going to focus on now, Google Ads.

The results are in

As you’d expect, the results were higher in the ‘Outstanding’ campaign than in the previous ‘Good’ campaign, but by how much?

From research we’ve conducted based on our own clients’ campaign results, things don’t change drastically between a home rated ‘Good’ and a home rated ‘Requires improvement’, especially when it’s clear that the home still has good reviews regardless of the CQC rating. But going up to ‘Outstanding’ really does make a noticeable difference.

Prospective residents and their family members can have complete confidence in an ‘Outstanding’ home – they can move in without having to worry whether the care is good enough, whether there’s enough going on to give residents meaningful occupation, if residents enjoy a healthy, balanced diet, if they’re safe, the list goes on.

Our winter campaign when the home had a ‘Good’ CQC rating had a click-through rate of 1.71% – and we’d generally expect between 1 and 2% – but our next campaign was ‘Outstanding’. The click-through rate for this jumped up to a staggering 5.84%, which is a 341% increase. That led to 6 conversions for the modest payment of £84.03. It goes to show the difference having that top CQC rating can have on your care home’s digital marketing results.

Make your marketing more effective

The best way to make your marketing more effective is of course by improving your CQC rating, but as this can’t happen overnight, get in touch with Marketing for Care Homes to implement a few changes now that can have a significant impact on your enquiries sooner rather than later. With compelling copy, original artwork and all the other tricks we have up our sleeve here as care industry marketing specialists, working with us can lead to measurable results for your digital performance in as soon as a month.

Make your money go further when it comes to marketing by having something good to shout about, something tempting to click on, and if your CQC rating is ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’, it really makes a difference showing that to the world. Going back to the statistics we mentioned at the start, with 4% of care homes having an ‘Outstanding’ rating, there’s still so much for the 79% of homes that are ‘Good’ to play for. 79% equates to over 8,000 care homes, which is a lot of competitors you can blow out of the water with your next digital campaign.

Whether you’ve just gone from ‘Good’ to ‘Requires Improvement’ and need to give business a boost or if your home is ‘Outstanding’ and you haven’t told the world about it, now is the time. Although there is an obvious correlation between a care home’s CQC rating and digital performance, we can advise you regardless of your CQC rating and make your marketing matter.

Get in touch with the team at Marketing for Care Homes today to find out how we can help your home stand out to prospective residents in a saturated and competitive market.


Need to improve online performance? Digital marketing’s the answer

If your care home or care group is struggling to get enough online traffic as a result of poor searchability, the team at Marketing for Care Homes has the expertise and know-how to turn it around.

Our latest case study, ‘How focusing on digital marketing improves online performance’, looks at how we massively increased our client’s online searchability for various specific terms. And we can do it for your care home too.

We took the brief from our client – an all-inclusive nursing home in Kent with a ‘Good’ CQC rating – and found a solution. We implemented this solution and measured the results, which the client is incredibly happy with – and as a direct result of this increased traffic, the nursing home in Margate has received additional enquiries for its nursing care and employment vacancies.

By targeting specific search terms and geographic areas, we not only achieved but exceeded the results our client wanted to see. Find out more about what digital marketing we carried out and how it made our client’s website improve drastically for keyword ranking.

Find out how we did it

If you’re looking to improve your search rankings and see quick results, Marketing for Care Homes is here to help. Get in touch today and get the website traffic your care home needs, whether it’s for enquiries or recruitment.


Why marketing matters at the most wonderful time of the year

Make the most of Christmas with Marketing for Care Homes

Christmas is getting closer and it’s an ideal opportunity to tell the world how good your care home really is – or at least your target audience. When it comes to Christmas care home marketing, we know what we’re doing at Marketing for Care Homes, and we’re here to help you get the results you want.

There are all sorts of things we can do for you this Christmas, and we know that as we’ve been creating effective Christmas marketing for clients since 2011. Find out what we offer below and if you’d like something we haven’t mentioned, get in touch and we’ll provide a bespoke quote for you. The possibilities are endless!

Branded Christmas cards

If you’re already sending out Christmas cards to everyone affiliated with your care home, don’t miss your marketing opportunity! Whether you’d like your Christmas cards to be traditional with subtle branding or you’d like to go the whole hog and tastefully plaster your home all over your card, our design team can create something unique for you, and your logo will feature on mantlepieces for miles around.

Bespoke menus

When you’re pulling out all the stops to give your residents (and potentially their guests) a traditional Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, a simple piece of paper really doesn’t do it justice. Your menu should reflect the quality of the food you’re serving; that’s why we create high-quality menus with a design bespoke to you. If you’d like any specific finishes such as embossing or foil printing, we can take care of that too to give your festive menus an extra-special touch.

Christmas care campaigns

With years of experience in marketing for the care industry, we know the ideal approach to take in wintertime to generate those vital enquiries you need for your care home. We can create an effective, all-encompassing digital campaign, organic and PPC, complete with all the trimmings – and we’ll also design any required print collateral to reach your target audience from another angle and showcase how great the level of care you provide is.

Christmas event marketing

If you’re holding any events in your home over Christmas and New Year, such as a Christmas market, Christmas carol sessions, family-friendly festivities or special Christmas dinners for members of the community living on their own, does your local community know about it? We can make sure your events are well advertised and therefore well attended, which inevitably leads to enquiries.

December is ticking away but it’s not too late to change the trajectory of your care enquiry levels this Christmas. Give yourself the best Christmas gift this year and get in touch with the experts at Marketing for Care Homes today to make your care home’s prospects look a lot brighter in time for 2020.


Marketing For Care Homes: How To Be Ready For Future PHEs

As we adjust to the “new normal”, what marketing strategies does your care home need to implement to ensure it’s prepared for future public health emergencies (PHEs)?

Read more


Who cares? You do. And we do too: Is it time to review your marketing?

That’s the title of our latest campaign at Marketing for Care Homes in Stratford-upon-Avon. Yes, we’re a marketing agency and we make our money by creating eye-catching designs and creative advertising for our clients. But it's important to shout about our services to the world, as our marketing matters too.

When it comes to marketing and advertising in the care industry, we know what we’re talking about, as we’ve been working with clients in care since day one. Care clients face challenges that clients in other industries don’t face, so by knowing these nuances, we’re best placed to help the care homes that approach us for help.

Our ‘Who cares?’ campaign has only just gone live, but we wanted you to be some of the first to see it. We’re hoping for a good outcome and will let you know how successful our marketing material for this is once we can measure the results, but in the meantime, why not tell us what you think?

And if you’d like to find out how we can help you and your care home, please pick up the phone or ping us an email as we’d love to boost your enquiries, find new staff and give your home a brand-new look.


Clear Messaging During The Covid-19 Pandemic

There are many outcomes to the current pandemic and it is too early to say just exactly how that is going to affect you and your company. However, what we do know is that in the US & Europe lockdowns and spread is likely to continue into Q3 regardless and so the economic ramifications are going to be felt far and wide for a long time to come. Regardless of these facts, you need to be mindful when it comes to how your company is presented during and after this unprecedented event. From how you act, the news you share and how you’re helping the cause – it’s all important stuff in the strength of your branding and never has there been a better time to get everything in shape. Let’s take a look at some general advice on how to look at your marketing right now.

1. Tone & Language

a. It’s easy to see where your brand could cash-in on a crisis, but it is a number one no-no. How your company conducts itself is crucial to coming through this relatively unscathed.

b. Check all of your existing content and double check to make sure your messaging is still relevant.

c. Make sure you get second and third opinions on all new collateral. This you should be doing anyway, but at this point, a badly constructed message or something which was funny before may now be just pain insensitive.

2. Engage Your Customers

This might seem obvious as that’s the nature of marketing, but you need to be thinking what you can offer, how you can help and what do you do already that would benefit people who are in the midst of a crisis. Your customers will remember what you do now for a long time afterwards.

3. Engage your workforce

Morale and an engaged workforce are more important now than ever. They want to feel safe and part of a family which is working together for a common goal – to get through this.

4. Listen to your Customers

Chances are, your customers’ needs are going to be changing. Is there a way we can help? Do we even know how those needs are changing? What are the long term implications likely to be because of these changes? Taking the time to do this now will impact heavily on the longer term success of your company after the pandemic has ended.

5. Check your lines of communication are working

You should always be available to potential and existing customers, but at the moment, making a check on your processes and systems for receiving communications is key. Do your customers know your position right now? If not, it is time to talk to them.

6. Ditch the competitive streak (for now)

While competition between providers of anything is normal and healthy, at this time there’s just no need to be putting that out there. If you would maybe use an aggressive ad campaign targeting a competitor’s service price for example, people will see it as cynical and missing the point now. Don’t do it. Ask how you can help and go that route instead. You’ll be glad you did when you’re through this.

7. Get inventive with creating assets

Let’s face it, those wonderful outdoor Spring photo-shoots we’ve been waiting for just aren’t going to happen. So, what can we do? Well… your creative team should be on the case thinking about how to get the message across in different ways. There are stock libraries for video and photos and music. There is the compositing of photographs with other assets, illustration, animation and tons more to boot. How can you make these work for you right now?

Whatever you do, make sure you carry on thinking about what you want to say to your customers and how you want to say it. Protect your marketing budgets as much and as best you can because if previous experience of global shocks tell us anything, it’s that when the starting gun goes again on the other side, it’s those companies that are best prepared who come out the other side first and fastest.

Lastly - get ready for a new reality. It is highly unlikely that something so far-reaching and sudden as a global pandemic won’t have long-lasting effects on our future behaviours and the way we live. What those will be, what will remain and what will return we will wait and see. But don’t hide under your desk – embrace the change and find your place.