As healthcare professionals, we’ve likely heard the staggering statistics on the Baby Boomer generation and how they are changing the way healthcare marketers communicate.
32% have a smartphone
42% use social networking sites
54% looked online for health information last year
The loud message for post-acute care providers is that your patient’s health AND digital acumen is changing, prompting SNFs to think differently about how they influence this savvy demographic.
How do I meet their needs? It’s about thriving… not aging.
The Baby Boomer generation is not slowing down, rather they are active and engaged in their everyday life with a drive to live and not age. With their growing involvement in fitness and a passion for staying active, coupled with their heavy use of the internet, this generation drives a shift in how post-acute care providers need to market themselves. Today, you need to go above and beyond to support resident’s longevity and health IQ in a relevant way where they access marketing content: online.
Considering what we know about the needs and habits of this demographic, the good news is that SNFs have a new opportunity to reach boomers by incorporating digital marketing strategies that address their unique needs with many free and sometimes paid tactics. This may sound complicated or expensive, but what does this really entail for a SNF?
Here are best-practice tips that nursing homes should follow in order to stand out from the competition and disrupt census dips with a digital marketing strategy.
BEST PRACTICES FOR THE DIGITAL PATIENT JOURNEY
Below is a breakdown of the digital patient journey that allows you to 1) reach, 2) build trust and 3) nurture prospective patients and care-givers using the digital marketing channels that they use most.
Step 1: Reach Your Audiences
Gone are the days of relying solely on traditional media such as flyers, newspaper advertisements and street side billboards to promote your facility. Today, technology allows us to reach people with advertising and online search results when and where people are searching. With the following tactics, SNFs can capitalize on this discovery by appearing in those search results and offering the information that visitors are looking for. It’s important that your facility doesn’t ignore this, often free, marketing opportunity to attract new patients and caregivers.
Organic and paid search advertising: Optimize online search by making your website appear in search results when residents and caregivers search for anything from “Nursing homes near me” to “tips for staying active longer”. This can either be a paid placement or free (organic) using a blog, described later on in this article.
Display advertising & retargeting: Pay for digital advertising placement for those who have demonstrated an interest or intent to search for a nursing home. Publish a digital ad that highlights your facility, star rating or special features and drive users to your website to learn more.
Google listings: get found in local search results with Google My Business by claiming your business and making sure that your contact information is up to date. Learn how to claim your business with Google here.
Step 2: Build Trust
Once you capture the attention of your audience, drive them to your website and social channels to demonstrate value, build trust and stand out from the competition. These properties are a key part of your marketing mix and the following best-practices are important must-have components in this day in age.
Website - Make your facility and staff shine with the following:
Blog: If you’re not familiar with what a blog is, think of it as the dedicated section of your website that allows you to publish articles and is the mechanism that allows you to get found in online search, as mentioned above. Senior care and health management can be confusing so publishing health, facility, and FAQ related blog articles allows you to educate prospective residents and caregivers. Ultimately by providing the information that people are looking for you can build trust and loyalty to your brand. Looking for blogging strategy and inspiration? Click here!
Photography: Make your facility shine with high quality, original photography of your facility. Consider hiring a freelance photographer to capture beautiful pictures that will highlight your campus. You will have these for a long time and can repurpose throughout your marketing mix, so it’s worth the investment.
Your People: Make your facility relatable by bringing your people to the forefront of your marketing efforts. One way to do this is to include a “Team” page on your website to introduce your staff. Recognizable faces are an easy way to build your brand and connections within the community.
Storytelling: Feature patient testimonials and stories to not only demonstrate but to prove that you care, that you treat residents as individuals, and have the experience to prove it. As we like to say... “don’t just say it, prove it!”
Pro tip! Make sure your website is built responsively, which is the technical term for being optimized for mobile viewing. If your website is not responsive, it is not a good user experience and gets penalized with online search rankings so it is time to build a new website!
Social Media - Demonstrate your culture through this powerful marketing tool with pictures and stories to show prospective families and patients what to expect at your facility. This channel allows you to build credibility and drive interest in your facility. Posts that include facility activities, staff and patient highlights, and fun national holidays are great ways to highlight your facility culture. Be sure to download the SNF Content & National Holiday Calendar at the end of this article for a 2019/2020 calendar of PAC national holidays.
Online Reviews - CMS’ star rating is not the only system that influences nursing home decisions. Google, Yelp, and Facebook all have rating and review systems that can help you increase your influence and credibility. Ask patients and caregivers to publish reviews on these platforms.
Step #3: Nurture Leads
Now that you have attracted and built trust with your audience to a point where they decide to call and tour your facility, it’s important to capture a name and email address so you can follow up with valuable information and stay top of mind.
CRM System - be sure to have a CRM platform in place that you can use to track phone and email inquiries and manage the follow up and lead nurturing process. There are many CRM platforms out there and Hubspot is an example of a free platform.
Nurturing Campaigns - once a lead does call or email to learn more, implement an automated wellness campaign to help educate prospective patients with information to help them navigate the selection process and understand how you will enhance their health.
A Tool for Implementing this Digital Strategy
Outlined in this article is a comprehensive starting point for optimizing the digital patient journey and attracting new residents in your community. It may seem cumbersome to implement all of these channels so to help you manage the strategy, you can download the PAC Content Calendar & Holiday Template here. This working tool will help you:
Streamline the planning and publication process across email, blog, and social media
Plan marketing publication dates
Track national holidays throughout the year for content and activity planning inspiration