How to Optimize Marketing and Communications of Home Healthcare and In-home Non-Medical Care during COVID-19

marketing & communications vane of the four vanes of marketing success

The global pandemic has shifted the mindset of how senior living and care is viewed. This in turn has created more opportunities for in-home healthcare and non-medical care. Accelerated by COVID-19 fears, those who are in need of care and their families are increasingly seeking in-home medical care and non-medical care related to activities of daily living.

Leveraging Today’s Market

This too shall pass with COVID-19. Those providing senior living and care in congregate settings will again restore confidence and win back trust. Knowing this, now is the time to capitalize on today’s heightened demand for in-home healthcare and non-medical care services. To do so, marketing and communications are critical. Now is not the time to ‘wait and see’, rather it is the time to take the lead.

Marketing and Communications Agility

Most know that business is not as usual in congregate settings for senior living and care.  Recognizing this and the flipside,  in-home medical care and non-medical care providers must now view marketing and communications not to be business as usual. Your marketing and communication strategies and tactics require agility and acceleration to leverage the increased demand for your services due to COVID-19. Finding new and creative ways to communicate and market to people during this pandemic is your opportunity.

As you adapt your marketing and communications strategies and tactics to address the accelerated demand for in-home medical and non-medical services during the COVID-19 pandemic, recognize that transparent communication and digital engagement are essential to fostering connection during times of social distancing. Adjusting your messaging to and maintaining constant visibility are more important than they have ever been.

Maintaining Momentum

Despite today’s COVID-19 fear and uncertainties, it is important to keep your initiatives going in a caring and compelling way. Communicating the procedures, care, and tools your business is undertaking to keep your staff and field team of in-home care providers safe and healthy is essential. Marketing is critical to the ongoing communications and updates of these initiatives and protocols.

Those currently under your care, those prospectively seeking your care, and their respective families are all looking to you and your team for timely information, guidance, and reassurance. This makes your marketing and communications not just essential, but imperative!

Doing this right will further build the trust and confidence that current patients, prospects, and their families have in using your in-home medical or non-medical activities of daily living care- both now and going forward. So, what can you do now to leverage the market? There are several things…

Gaining the Market Pulse

If it has been a while since you gathered market intelligence and insights from your customers, prospective customers, and on your competition, now is ideal to do so.  Many have reported “aha” or “WOW” findings by devoting the time and effort to gain fresh insights.  In turn, they have used these learnings to inform and update their strategies and plans.

In our September blog, the topic of market intelligence and insights was covered in more detail. It is one of the four key areas or ‘vanes’ of marketing for success.

Aligning Your Brand and Branding

When is the last time you reviewed and/or refreshed your branding to stay relevant? If you have not devoted time recently to the discipline of your  branding, now is also an ideal time to ensure your brand is compelling, timely and relevant to today’s market.

In our October blog, the topic of brand and branding was covered as it is too is one of the four key areas or ‘vanes’ of successful marketing.

Assuming you are now equipped with timely market insights that have informed your strategy and plans, and a brand and branding refreshed and aligned to the current market, you stand ready to move forward with your marketing and communications.  So, let’s get started…

Updating Audience Personas

Do you have audience personas?  If no, now is the time to create them. If yes, when is the last time you reviewed and/or updated your audience personas?  Do they reflect the current needs, pain points, considerations and emotions of your audience(s)?  If not, now is the time to either create your personas for the first time, or review and update your existing ones.

Doing this assumes that you know what you ‘need to know’ to create and update these personas. If you do not know how your personas should be created or updated, then you must to ask the right questions to gain the insights you need to inform this process.  Once your personas align to the current market, you are ready to move forward.

Refreshing Content

Now is the time for your business to focus primarily on lead-generating content, yet your content and messaging need to adjust to address today’s climate. A more empathetic style and shift to educational and experience-related content resonates better to the prevailing mindset of fear and uncertainty shared by many. With this, one place to start is by educating the public on the availability and options for in-home medical care or in-home personal (activities of daily living) care. Discussing how these options are beneficial and especially safe during COVID-19 will help address many concerns.

Reframing Messages

Right now, people are very interested in the inner workings of your business. They want to know more about how your cleaning and disinfecting protocols are maintained among your staff and the field team of in-home care providers. Your content can be as straightforward as “How We…” stories that you convey through your newsletter and blogs, or other posts. This is your opportunity to think creatively and perhaps share stories that would normally not be on your radar.

Examining Marketing and Communications Assets

Look at the assets you have in place. Which ones can be repurposed for usage in a socially distanced environment?  Do you have printed collateral that would usually be a handout? Which materials can now transfer to a digital format so you can still share them?

Examining these will identify gaps in your content that may need to be created to perform well across new channels. While this may require some initial time and investment, it is important to ensure that you continue to attract and nurture current and prospective patients and their respective families.

Creating Virtual Experiences

Get creative and offer more virtual and digital ways to communicate and engage with patients, prospects, and their families. For example, consider video messages and updates that can be posted on your website and on social media. Start (or continue) substantive postings regularly on social media and via blogs. Or, create or maintain communications via an eNewsletter or through short, timely text messages.

Let’s dive a bit deeper into opportunities for marketing and communications that you can do now.

Optimizing Your Website

Even prior to the onset of COVID-19, your website was likely the first encounter or touchpoint a person has with your company. Now with the pandemic limiting the ability to have exploratory in-person meetings, everything that one initially needs to know about your services and procedures must be available for them to experience upon a “visit” to your website. And, like any ‘visit’, you want this to be as informative and user-friendly as possible.

Creating an Interactive Website Experience

Some of the top ways to interact via your website include:

  • Live Chat. Real humans working safely from their homes should personally welcome your website visitors, start a conversation, answer questions, provide information, and generate interest and leads from these discussions.
  • Video Conferencing. Meeting “face-to-face” is still possible through virtual conferencing options such as Skype, Zoom, Facebook Live, Facetime and other free or low-cost options.
  • Online Information Sessions and Online Events. Offering these by members of your team, and on different topics presented by well-qualified speakers on and possibly outside your team.

And while the following may be less dynamic and involve more one-way communication, they are proven to be very effective tools on your website to keep connecting with others and showcasing your home healthcare and in-home personal care offerings. 

  • Downloadable brochures (require contact information to gate these brochures so you can follow up)
  • Video Testimonials for Sharing Success Stories
  • Resources Section
    Blogs, guides, videos, guidelines to show that you are well prepared, caring, and reassuring. Feel free to include content from curated resources like experts from the CDC, WHO, and industry associations to provide a comprehensive library of COVID-19 information and tools exclusively for those who seeking in-home healthcare or personal care for activities of daily living care.

Once your website is ready for social distancing, let’s talk more about Social Media for marketing and communications during COVID-19 times.

Social Media

Now is the time to leverage social media. How? By increasing relevant and engaging social media posts.

Not sure what content should be in these posts? With their permission, consider showing patients receiving care in the safety and comfort of their homes. Share what you are doing to keep your team of in-home care providers and each of your patients safe. Share positive feedback from patients and their families via video testimonials.

Pinning informative and positive posts to your social media pages is a great way of making a favorable impression on visitors and to others searching for updates.

Going Live

Consider using Facebook Live, Instagram Live, and other online broadcasting platforms to bring families and others into the activities that your business is currently engaging in. Or, take them “behind the scenes’ via one of these video broadcasting channels to walk people through your operations, procedures and protocols for ensuring a safe and healthy environment. Not only is this potential content for Go Live type of events, but you can then repurpose the content for other media such as blogs, articles, and more.

eMarketing and eCommunications

While your website and social media are two important means of continuing to market and communicate with your audiences during the pandemic,  also consider communicating via automated email marketing and eNewsletters. This method gives you the opportunity to provide more details as a subject matter expert and thought leader to provide information and further establish credibility.

Advertising and Direct Mailing

These days with people staying at home more than ever, now is an opportune time to reach people in their homes.  How?  Consider direct mail and print advertising.  Maintaining brand awareness by informing readers of your business and how you are keeping your staff, field team and patients safe during these times, and that you are there to help is very effective.  As with any advertising or mailing, always include a call to action whether it be to schedule an exploratory discussion, ask questions, or join you for an upcoming online event.

Google Business Listings

Update your Google business listings as they are factored into Google’s algorithms and leads to better visibility in searches.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Now is the time to get a CRM tool if you do not already have one.  If you already have a CRM great, then now is the time to review, update and maintain the information in this valuable resource.

Keeping Your Attention on Volume and on Conversion and Focus on Caring

During these times, leads may be more abundant. However, focusing on generating new leads should not be at the expense of working the leads you already have in an authentic, caring manner. Doing this will likely convert more leads now and over time. It is a balancing act. Building strong relationships by engaging and nurturing leads by making a real connection and demonstrating genuine empathy will move leads closer to a favorable decision.

Leveraging Today, Going Forward

COVID-19 has forced all of us to alter our lives. This is especially true for marketing and communications professionals of home healthcare and  in-home non-medical care services. By continuing to adapt and progress your marketing and communications during this time of heightened demand for your services, you will create a strong and enduring bond. Your patients, prospects and their families will see you in a positive light now and in the future.

Have your marketing and communications been optimized to leverage today’s market for in-home medical and personal care services?

While this shares some overall suggestions on what to do now, there is no one-size-fits-all solution.  Determining what is best varies by each business. Want some help? Should you need help identifying what to do first or want some help in any of these areas, please let us know.

Marketing Matters based in Stamford, CT in Fairfield County serves healthcare organizations including those providing in-home medical and personal care and other healthcare providers in CT, NY, NJ and throughout the US. We help you better strategize, plan and execute your marketing and communications to stay relevant and aligned to the dynamics, needs and realities of the market.  For questions or to learn more, contact us by phone at 203.329.7773 or online.