This week Carrie and Kell look at the importance of having a marketing plan for Aged Care services.
Why should you take a strategic approach to marketing and promotion for your service?
Because the introduction of Home Care Packages are now attached to the consumer rather than individual organisations this has changed the approach aged care services need to take to attract business (encourage people to bring their package to your Aged Care service)
We’ve gone from a institutional model (where you took whatever you could) to a business model that focuses on consumer directed care, where we seek to meet the needs and desire of the person holding the package.
Now that we are in a competitive market we have to promote ourselves and our product to attract the client base that we want. This is a whole new ball game for most organisations who haven’t had to promote themselves in the past.
We’ve already seen an increase in the number of ads on TV, radio and magazines that aim to reach out and influence the holders of packages and their families (after all it is often the family members who make the decisions or assist in making those decisions).
So what should rural and remote service be doing around marketing or promotion of their services, after all they are often the only provider in that community?
Things are changing, we are already seeing larger organisations looking at supporting people living in remote settings through brokerage arrangements, where they are the case manager and they arrange the provision of services through the local provider or other services in town e.g. community stores, nearby road-houses or art centres. So remote services need to consider their own marketing.
Marketing is an umbrella term that covers many forms of advertising and includes traditional methods as well as social media.
So what are some methods of marketing that might be available to organisations in rural and remote settings?
To start with effective marketing in a remote setting often relies on local knowledge, what words mean, real and relatable to the people you are trying to reach. For example use words that they use such as uncle and aunty as a term of respect, specific landmarks in the community and using relevant pictures (north and central) as well as.
Promotion Opportunities and Things to Consider
- Advertising posters – think about the presentation – be aware of the colours, the font and not too wordy
- Brochures – can you use photos – refer to CDCS brochures and what we do
- Branding – consistency so that people know this is about aged care ( logos, fonts, colours consistent on all documents and advertising material)
- Radio interviews – CAAMA and 4BE in Brisbane and many communities across Australia have their own local radio stations where you can advertise your service
- Newsletters, many organisations have their own newsletter where you can advertise expansion of services, good news stories etc or you can advertise in other organisations newsletters such as the local bowls club, golf club, senior citizens clubs, arts and culture organisation newsletters.
- Newspapers – more expensive but possible to advertise in your local newspaper. Don’t need to advertise in large Australia or State wide newspapers if you are targeting a smaller area.
- Staff awareness training – word of mouth is really important and staff are often your biggest asset in promoting your service. Train them in what they need to say to promote your service or organisation and where to refer people to if they require further information. (doing a training session for an organisation a few months ago where staff had no idea of how important they were in promoting the organisation until we worked it through with them, then they came up with some great ideas)
- Community events – Get amongst it and run a sausage sizzle. Have a stall at NAIDOC celebrations or football carnivals
Other things to be aware of:
- Up to date website. Site not updated regularly and the advertised services no longer exist or numbers are wrong.
- Up to date wording in advertising eg not CACP or HACC
The best approach to marketing is not a slap dash style, there are specific strategies that will work best for your organisation. It’s always better to come up with a well-thought out plan that is both achievable and affordable. Don’t waste money something that sounds good but in reality doesn’t represent a good return on investment, we’re talking both time and money here.
So hope this has given you some ideas on what you can do to promote your service / organisation.
Please note the example document has been prepared using a standard ‘Word’ template. These templates are set to American paper sizing so don’t print true to an Australian A4 paper size. Your graphic designer should be able to develop something for you or alternatively, you could use Publisher to design a brochure.
If your organisation would like some support in developing a marketing plan you can contact CDCS via our contact page.
This Podcast Episode is part of a series about the business side of community aged care. Check out the other podcasts on this topic: