Do you own or run a home healthcare agency? If YES, here are 27 smart tips on how to grow your home health care business successfully on a lean budget.
Starting a new home health care business can be exciting, but beyond the excitement of being a boss, you have a job to grow and sustain your business. As new agencies spring up to serve the aging baby boomer population, competition for this growing market will only continue to rise as well.
To emerge as a leading agency, you need to establish strategies that would not only help you stay in the business, but would enable you get the clients your business need to grow and flourish.
From traditional marketing methods such as attending networking events to connecting with prospects online, you need to be both creative and active to establish a larger presence in your community. Word-of-mouth will always be the best form of marketing your agency, but you simply can’t rely only on referrals to acquire new clients.
have put together some tried and true home health care marketing strategies your agency can start using right away to take your business to the next level.
27 Smart Tips on How to Grow your Home Health Care Business
- Establish Yourself in your local community
One way to get started in making home health care business visible is to participate in community events. Programs and events like a run for cancer, cleaning the community park, or having a booth in a public place where you can talk to potential clients are usually great boost to businesses like yours. By getting involved you’re saying you care about the community and the people in it. Look for opportunities to get your name out there, and put a face to your company.
- Diversify Your Advertising
Try to leverage as many channels as your budget will allow to advertise your home health care business. The goal should be getting your name out there and driving up your reputation. You could purchase billboard space on a street with high traffic, create pamphlets that feature people of different races and genders, and maybe even place ads on the radio when appropriate. Try not to place a limit on the avenues you use so you can reach out further.
- Form an alliance with related organisations
Don’t be afraid of partnering with other home care agencies that run a business in related areas. For example, if you emphasize standard care, partner with a company that specializes in Alzheimer’s. That way you can refer clients who don’t fit under your business to the others and vice versa, enhancing referrals. While you need to be sure your businesses are complementary, it also doesn’t hurt to maintain relationships with all of your competition in some way, so you can glean ideas from their success.
- Take it to the Internet
One of the cheapest forms of marketing is the social media. If you don’t have a business page on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc. then you need to get one. You have the potential of reaching hundreds, even thousands of people just by posting on these sites.
If one person likes what you post, it is then shown to their 500 and something friends, and the train continues. But you need to be sure you maintain your Facebook page and post to it at least weekly, preferably daily. You need to show that you’re company is engaging, personable, and alive.
Treat your home health marketing activities online much like your in-person networking events. Focus on having conversations and getting to know your prospects rather than try to sell to them. Ask questions, share valuable information (including your blog posts), and show that you’re interested in helping them solve problems. Social media is all about building trust with your target audience, so stay engaged on the social sites where your prospects spend most of their time online.
- Stand out from the Competition
Pinpoint early on what makes your business stand out, is it the quality of care, experience of caregivers, client satisfaction etc. Find your slogan, something that the competition lacks, and push that message through all of your communication channels. Also, offering giveaways and incentives to promote your business always helps too.
6. Develop a strong business plan
Volumes have been written about writing successful business plans, and rightly too because a good business plan would ensure that your business stays on the right track. Make sure yours includes an overview of your mission statement, marketing strategy, organizational structure, management plan, and financial information including start-up costs and ROI projections.
7. Ask for referrals
Do you have a client referral program in place? If your answer is no, then your business could be missing out on an opportunity for growth—and you’re not the only one. In a recent webinar for home care business owners, participants were surveyed and it was found that 67% of them had no client referral program in place.
With a 10.5% higher inquiry to admission ratio, for the average home care business, client referrals could mean an additional $444,000 in revenue over the next five years. Know your referral sources and develop a strategy to get their business. Some possible referral sources are;
- doctors (family medicine, cardiology, geriatric medicine, orthopedic surgeons)
- trust officers
- senior clubs
- social workers
- case managers
- discharge planners
- retirement centers
- rehab centers
- grocery stores
- funeral homes
Once you identify your referral sources, develop a contact system to reach them. But before you begin asking for referrals, you must make client satisfaction your top priority. Your current clients and their families need to be extremely happy and satisfied with your services.
Their needs should be met, their concerns should be addressed immediately, and caregivers should be trained, friendly and knowledgeable. Since your clients interact often with your caregivers, it’s important for your caregivers to be happy too. Happy caregivers lead to happy clients. And happy clients are most likely to recommend your company to others.
Once you are doing all you can to ensure that your clients are satisfied, let clients know that you appreciate their referrals. Send them cards to hand out to friends or send out reminder letters asking for referrals. Clients may love your services, but they might not think to mention it to family and friends. It’s your job to spread the word and regularly remind clients to tell everyone about your company.
8. Be Professional
Your business is essentially attending a job interview anytime a prospective client engages with you. They can reach out to you in person, over the phone, or even by visiting your website, and they need to feel like they can trust you. Be sure to present yourself as caring and reliable.
Be punctual in any scheduled meetings and answer requests immediately. It’s not uncommon for clients and their families to connect with caregivers through social media, so ensure your team represents your company and its values appropriately through their Facebook pages and other social accounts. Employees should be polite in dress, manner, and speech.
9. Provide Exceptional Customer Service
Have you ever had a customer reach out to you just to let you know everything is going perfectly? While this can sometimes happen, the vast majority of customer interactions are requests, concerns or complaints. Be sure to fill your customer service positions with the right people–those who will have patience when a difficult client is being more difficult than usual.
Training your team to understand that they are dealing with real people who have real concerns and needs that must be met can go a long way in building empathy among your team. Through exceptional customer service, you will build loyal clients who will then recommend your services to others.
10. Show off your happy clients
Nobody likes being the first to a party, or anything for that matter. The music should already be playing, people should be dancing, and everyone should be shouting how awesome the party is. That’s what customer testimonials do for your home health care business.
Posting client satisfaction quotes on your website and in your brochures comforts your prospective customers by showing them how happy you make your clients. Pairing these testimonials with real, professional-grade photos of your clients (not stock photography, but real clients) will make this even more effective.
11. Be available round the clock
Health issues don’t follow a 9-5 schedule, and the truth is that home health care provides extra help to those with health issues of one kind or another. Whether you’ve been hired by the person you’re caring for or by their family, they want you to be available at any time.
By making it clear that your team will be available around the clock, your clients will feel secure knowing that no matter what time it is, they can get hold of someone. If you opt not to have a receptionist working through the night, you may want to consider forwarding your office’s main line to a cell phone after regular business hours to answer emergency calls.
12. Screen and Qualify Your Caregivers
Your caregivers are the primary face of your business in the field. Thus, it’s important to hire qualified caregivers that have been through a thorough background check. If a man has an aging mother who needs extra care, the reality is that he probably can’t quit his job to take care of her full time. So if he is going to hire someone to be there in his place, you can be sure that he wants someone who will show his mother the love that she deserves.
Not everyone has the disposition to be a caregiver, and hiring should be done with this in mind. This doesn’t make them a bad person, it just means it’s not the right thing for them. As a home care owner, it’s your responsibility to ensure your caregivers are qualified and will provide the level of care your clients deserve.
13. Market to your existing clients first
One good way to market a business is to look to your existing clients first for new business before you seek out new clients. It costs an agency five times as much in advertising and marketing—between brochures, ads, radio, and direct mail—to attract one new client than it does for an agency to sell added services to an existing client.
The existing client knows your agency, likes your agency, and wants to continue doing business with you, so it should take fewer marketing and advertising dollars to convince that customer to purchase additional services from your agency.
14. Specialize and Advertise
It is recommended that all agencies differentiate themselves by focusing on a niche market. These can include everything from childcare to home modifications to day surgery support. If you specialize in a particular service, gear your home health marketing towards promoting the value of the service. For example, an agency with a childcare specialty could reach out to a pediatrician’s office and ask if it can advertise with brochures in the waiting room.
15. Establish and Maintain a Reliable Management System
Clients want to know that your caregivers will be on time, shifts won’t be overlooked, and that they’re being billed fairly. A robust homecare software or homecare system, paired with knowledgeable staff gives your home care business the ability to assure clients that no task is overlooked.
By using a homecare software or homecare system to log task reminders, as well as track caregiver clock-ins and clock-outs at the point-of-care, your agency creates a reputation for being steadfast in staying on top of every detail; whether it’s keeping caregivers on time, or billing for the correct number of hours.
16. Get Out of the Office Frequently
Sometimes in the early days of building your business, it is all too easy to get stuck in the trenches. You’re totally consumed with managing the agency and ensuring every task happens as it must. From answering phones to handling new clients and talking with their families, to doing payroll and training new hires – your work in the office seems endless.
While all these tasks are important, it is paramount you schedule time to get out of the office regularly, as well. Up to 50% of high quality client introductions come from health service providers you meet on a regular basis. Meeting with them frequently in person helps build trust and assure them of the quality of your service.
17. Educate With Your Blog
If you haven’t started a blog on your home health care agency’s website, you are missing out on one of the most easy and effective ways to market your business online. Most prospective clients research agencies’ sites before making contact, and a blog with educational content almost always separates one agency from another.
Use your blog to provide useful information for your target audience, such as tips for better elderly nutrition or how seniors with limited mobility can get more exercise. Get to know the needs and concerns of your prospects, and then write and post helpful articles on a regular basis.
18. Speak and Write on related issues
Speak about health care issues at local groups, such as Rotary, Elks, and senior centers. Become known as the local health expert by appearing on local talk shows to discuss ongoing challenges in the industry. If your local newspaper has a health column, pitch and write regular guest articles. If it doesn’t have one, see if the editor would be willing to add a “Health Corner” column for you to contribute weekly or monthly articles on some issue in health care.
19. Make use of press releases and newsletters
Write and distribute press releases announcing new products, services, or team members. In addition to press releases, consider starting a weekly or monthly newsletter to stay in touch with prospects and clients. Don’t think you have anything new to announce each week? As long as you’re consistently publishing blog posts, you always have news to share with everyone on your email list.
20. Hold an Open House
Community outreach events are very effective marketing tools for home health agencies. They show your involvement in the community and provide excellent opportunities for networking. Organize an open house at your facility once a month or, if your space won’t accommodate it, reach out to a local organization—such as a senior center—to host the event. Make sure all attendees include their email address when they sign your guest book. You can use this contact information to stay in touch with targeted communications to keep your agency top-of-mind.
21. Identify your niche
Home health care businesses come in many varieties, some focusing on more general care services like housekeeping and companionship, while others specialized in intensive live-in care for those suffering from debilitating chronic conditions. Though more general forms of care are currently seeing a higher demand, this will change as the Baby Boomer population ages into their 60s, 70s, and 80s.
You need to find local senior events that you can help fund through a sponsorship. You remember those big banners on local foot races or beer fests? This could be you. Get your name out there and people will be saying your name. Sponsoring and attending those local senior events can be fun and full of opportunities to find clients.
23. Host Caregiver Workshops
Workshops for family caregivers offer a chance for care providers to arm themselves with caregiving tips, gain information on maintaining their own wellbeing, and network with other family caregivers. Work with a local senior care expert, such a physician or geriatric care manager, to sponsor a workshop and gain visibility with family caregivers in your area. Consider offering a one-month discount for caregivers that attend the workshop and try your services.
You can equally start a caregiver recognition program to identify employees who are exceptional and acknowledge their accomplishments with monthly caregiver awards posted in local newspapers.
24. Become a Local Elder Care Advocate
As a business owner, make your presence known in the local elder care arena. Work with senior coalitions, the local senior center and other advocacy groups to learn more about the local senior community. Advocate for the wellbeing of current and potential clients, and position yourself as someone who doesn’t just provide elder care; but who is passionate about the wellbeing and rights of our elder population.
25. Align with Disease-Specific Organizations
Visit organizations that assist with patient management of specific diseases. For example, the American Cancer Society, or ACS, provides information on home care services for area cancer patients. Obtain national accreditation for your agency, as ACS recommends that patients confirm agencies’ credentials before considering that agency for home care work.
26. Participate in Senior Programs
Your city likely offers a variety of senior citizens’ programs through the Department of Aging or Senior Services. Visit agency managers with information on the services you provide and the geographic area you serve. Distribute promotional materials such as a clearly written brochure, outlining your services. Finally, ask if you can host a booth at an upcoming Senior Expo or Senior Center Fair.
Growing your business by implementing one of these steps at a time can make your business really gain speed. Even if you are not a businessman, you can still help your business grow and stand out from the competition, just take the initiative and realize that people want to do business with other people. Show your potential clients the type of person you are, so they can understand from there the type of business you run.