By: Donny Orengia, Business Development Manager
Lexi Roach, Field Marketing Manager
Dennis Schiraldi, Director of Marketing and Sales
1. Understand your market and your niche
Who is your target audience(s)?
As a skilled nursing provider, you have two primary audiences: the residents and their caregivers. It seems simple to define, but it is one of those questions to continuously ask yourself when assessing your marketing and admission goals for the year. Once you narrow down those markets, you can then begin to refine by demographics, income, behavior, interests, and much more.
Once your target audience is defined, it’s important to then determine how your target audience wants to be communicated with and how they receive information. This requires beta testing of several different methods of communication to determine the most responsive methods. Surely you are already actively marketing to these audiences, but as we all know, the world around us is changing. Not just in healthcare, but also with technology and how consumers engage with goods and services.
What do you do better than most – what sets you apart?
Do you offer perks to your residents such as exercise classes, weekly activities, or specialty rehab services like aquatic therapy? Defining those things that make your facility stand out from the rest – and marketing those – is essential to positioning yourself as the premier destination in your market.
Data is an important piece to incorporate into your message and to showcase what you do well – whether that be with low rehospitalization rates, fall reductions, etc. The Five Star Rating from CMS is a tool that is recognized by all and considered important by most, but how can you leverage this information to help you stand out in a competitive space? The best way to incorporate data is to have consistent visuals that depict what you do best and tell the story of why your facility stands out. That data being generated is a direct result of your efforts and you have every right to show it off!
2. Digital marketing
How does your target receive your information – digital marketing, mail, social, TV commercials?
There is a lot of unique opportunities, now more than ever, to communicate with your audience. Whether it be in the form of direct mail, TV commercials, social media, or a healthy combination of all three, having the ability to touch your audience in a variety of ways makes all the difference. It doesn’t have to turn into an exercise in “keeping up with the Joneses” - but keeping a pulse on the nuances and abilities of new technologies and marketing solutions will be sure you are positioned for success.
It’s a proven fact that 83% of adult internet users search online for health information. And in that breakdown, according to TrialFacts.com, 80% of people between the ages of 50 – 64 are searching online for healthcare.
And do not forget about the kids…
Children of elderly adults, whether online or through other marketing mediums, are searching and helping to make decisions for their aging parents medical needs.
Showing up in local online search is imperative to you and to your potential residents. Remember 80% of them are likely looking for you online, via Google Search, investigating your website, possibly reading a blog, subscribing to your newsletter, visiting your social media and reading reviews.
Be sure to have a solid online presence and all your fundamentals in place.
These tend to fare well with older demographics because that is how they communicated before digital was introduced. We incorporate personalized direct mailers into our marketing strategy because when a letter is addressed to someone personally, there is almost a guarantee that it will be opened and at least glanced at. If nothing else, it will be training the person receiving it to know your brand name and start to trigger brand recognition. There is even opportunity to take things a step further if you feel your audience is savvy enough to engage with website links or QR codes that can be a part of your mailer strategy. This helps to associate those marketing efforts with true ROI (return on investment) and proven results.
Skilled nursing facilities tend to be household recognized names in the communities that they are in, so buying airtime is a good idea to continuously reinforce your presence. In more competitive urban markets this expense can ensure you are a top recognized name. For example, CMS and other nursing home comparison websites have zip code search or city search criteria. If you search ZIP code 43201 (Columbus, OH) you will find there are 32 nursing homes in a 10-mile radius. Talk about options! A less informed or unknowing consumer may not even take the time to visit the second page of results and see the additional handful of 4 and 5 star rated homes. Although airtime can be expensive, it is a strategic play to run on local channels.
The average daily time spent on social media is 142 minutes per day (brandwatch.com). Couple that with approximately 3.72 billion active social media users and you have a free, engaging platform to reach your target market. There are several different ways to reach your target market through social media – organic posts, boosting, advertising, connecting with other professionals and joining groups are just a few options. Perhaps consider becoming more of an intimate follower of your closest referral sources and sharing their content. The algorithms of social media will start to build correlations between your community and said referral source and help boost your odds of being found in searches of patients coming out of those systems.
3. Market research and competitor analysis
As mentioned before, knowing your position in the market is important, but that can hardly be achieved without proper competitor analysis and research. This can range from using public data sources like cms.gov or investing in privatized data hubs like Definitive Healthcare which consolidates healthcare data in an easy to view and interpretive way. Competitor analysis and research should be done on an array of fronts. Keeping up to speed on star ratings, quality measure data, website and web presence, social media efforts, and community event participation are some of the primary areas to pay close attention. There is compelling evidence that consumerism across the board is trending more and more toward audiences doing substantial due diligence before even contacting possible options. So, if you aren’t out in the community and on the web telling consumers why you are the best location using data to showcase your abilities, you have a greater chance of being overlooked. Here is a quick example of what paying attention to market space data can produce for your marketing efforts.
About Blue Sky Therapy
Blue Sky Therapy delivers innovative physical, occupational, and speech therapy services in skilled nursing homes, assisted living facilities, home health care, in-home therapy, and outpatient therapy clinics. Our newest service line, Teletherapy, allows our therapists to work with patients virtually at home instead of in the clinic.