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.
So, in answer to the question as to 'how much should you spend on marketing a care home?' Well, in all honesty, It comes down to a number of factors:
What are your goals?
Often the answer to this question is simply, 'we need to increase and maintain occupancy'.
It's not just a case of bringing in new residents, your goal should be to target the RIGHT prospective resident. You need your marketing material to create interest among your target group, build trust and clearly explain what you have to offer. What differentiates your Care Home from the rest? How can your marketing deliver that 'home-from-home' feeling? All marketing needs to show personality, even through a digital platform. Visitors to your website and social media sites should be pre-qualified at that point, to ensure no time is spent (for either them or you) with unnecessary enquiries, or wasted visits.
Do you know your marketing goals? If not, let's talk it through with you. How much are you willing to spend and are comfortable with? Word of mouth will always be the best way gain new business. Referral strategies, in-person networking, publishing testimonials... they're all fantastic ways of getting people talking about how amazing your service is. But lets be honest here, these systems are not always easy to control in terms of results generated. However, as the digital world continually and rapidly evolves, we are approached more and more regularly by clients to build specialist digital advertising campaigns and direct mailing, create or revise brand and identity, and build entire marketing packages - either as a one-off or on a continuing basis to see consistent results.
Digital marketing is something we can control.
So, the next question to consider is your budget. Do you have a marketing budget set aside? Or are you just starting on your marketing strategy? Making sure your marketing is clear, consistent, and effective will bring you results which will be worth every penny spent. And, we have measurable results to be prove it. One of our clients' websites reached a 105% increase in enquiries within one year. Another has experienced a 79% increase in conversion rate (people making enquiries after visiting the site). And Facebook likes have increased by 114% for another. But of course, there is a cost to this, which is covered within the benefits later.
Do you know your target market? After all, to make sure any marketing is effective and hits the right audience, you first have to know who that audience is. You will be looking to target family or carers of your potential residents, the medical profession and local authorities (depending on your facilities, of course). However, you need to be laser focused when you think about each of these groups.
What income bracket are individuals likely to be in?
Which social media platforms do they use?
Where and how are they likely to see your marketing information?
Where are they located in relation to the Care Home?
How many other homes are in your surrounding area, and how do you differentiate your services from theirs?
Are you looking for a specific type of resident - self-funding, Local Authority supported, do you offer specific care for Dementia, medical conditions, nursing care, etc? With so many more options open to older people now, in terms of community support and future proofing their homes, more of the senior generation are hoping to stay at home as long as possible, to save on the upheaval and cost of relocating to a Residential Care Home. So, working together, we will pinpoint your target market, ensure your marketing material is bespoke and generates enquiries, with a pull towards a new positive lifestyle... a new community with dedicated care. Investing in marketing your Residential Care Home.
• A clear, bespoke and effective marketing plan will help you stand head and shoulders above your competitors;
• Increased visitors to your website leads to increased enquiries;
• Creative and emotive advertising helps express the atmosphere and personality of your Residential Care Home, staff and residents;
• Relationships can be built with your target audience and local community before they even step a foot through the door;
• The marketing of any business shows how well it is managed. This is true for Residential Care Homes, and we have seen a number of our clients' CQC ratings improve whilst we were working with them - and of course, your CQC rating could be another great marketing point to shout about!
• Using real location photos to bring out the best in your home allows your target audience to experience your facilities before they enquire.
All of this put together together in your marketing strategy will help you maintain full occupancy But what about the actual cost? We work on an average cost of 1-3% of the full annual turnover of the home. Usually 3% if you need to fill to capacity from scratch, and between 1-2% annually, depending on your competition and CQC rating and report.
Example: A home with 50 beds at £1,500 p/w = £3.9m annual turnover. Working on an average marketing spend of 1% of turnover, this would equate to £39,000 per annum. Simply put, the value of one bed for half of one week, is roughly what it takes to keep that bed full for the entire year.
In summary, we appreciate that how much you spend on marketing your care home will come down to a variety of factors. In this blog post we have shown you some of the key considerations and benefits which we hope will allow you to understand critical factors in more detail. Here at Marketing for Care Homes, we create bespoke packages to suit each of our client's needs and budget, and are here to discuss your needs with you when you are ready!