News & Social

22nd April

Lockdown Diary #2 - Let's Keep Talking

It’s amazing what’s changed in the world since writing our ‘what to do in 2020’ post in January. Even that title now feels empty, as if we just didn’t do enough planning or we should have predicted it in some way. The reality of it is that it has taken everyone by surprise, regardless of whether it should have or not – that’s one for the political commentators.

What I’ve been most interested to observe is the way people communicate is evolving before our eyes. Whether it’s seeing an older relative you never thought would even pick up a device, to the first ever video call with someone you know really well, you know – like, even your dearly beloved? (we just never did video calls!) ..But even with people who I’d considered my closest friends - suddenly we’re all interacting in a new remote space, with different stimuli, in a place we’ve never been before.

It’s impossible for even the most cynical heart to look at the outpourings of honesty, help, love and hope as much as it is hard to not irrationally judge everyone you see in a car, upon realising you are also in your car and you should probably stop being so judgmental. The point is you just don’t know what other people are going through. Be kind, trust in them to be doing the right thing, like you are. 

We seem to be starting to look behind the inane social media posts and ask a bit more about what's actually happening, making new conversations and, as a society, I believe we’re starting to peer over the parapets of our social media echo chambers and see that our commonality and inherent goodness binds us more than suspicion and cynicism divides us. Everyone isn’t one or the other, to be bought, sold or ripped off, we want everyone to be OK - Safe and at home, and we want that for ourselves and our closest people too.

What the landscape will look like later this year is still very much unknown but you can sense the cabin fever starting to set in in some quarters – and unsurprisingly. We’ve been blessed with the most beguiling, forgiving Spring in years – my thoughts have occasionally turned to ‘what ifs’ - thinking about what it would have been like in the most depressing winter in years in 2019/20. What if it comes back? What if things never return to normal?

It’s important, therefore, that we find consensus about the new normal, that it isn’t something to be imposed, it’s to be created. Better to look at 'Lockdown' as a remote collaboration to stop the spread to the most vulnerable in the group, rather than an order to stop you being infected.  It's teamwork, it's looking out for your fellow citizens. 

Through the increase in unity of common understanding and group work-not-groupthink with our neighbours and colleagues, allied to our new experiences of communication tools, there’s an exciting platform from which to make everyone’s lives better.  We need to keep checking in with each other and asking ‘how can I help?’

Hopefully, soon some freedoms will have been restored.  In the meantime, I've shared some photos of the studio and the tuk as Spring happens all around.

Stay safe, everyone.

TT




Tom Threadgill is co-director and founder of Shuttlefish & MFCH.co.uk 

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26th March

Lockdown Diary #1 - Clear Messaging During The Covid-19 Pandemic

There are many outcomes to the current pandemic and it is too early to say just exactly how that is going to affect you and your company. However, what we do know is that in the US & Europe lockdowns and spread is likely to continue into Q3 regardless and so the economic ramifications are going to be felt far and wide for a long time to come. Regardless of these facts, you need to be mindful when it comes to how your company is presented during and after this unprecedented event. From how you act, the news you share and how you’re helping the cause – it’s all important stuff in the strength of your branding and never has there been a better time to get everything in shape. Let’s take a look at some general advice on how to look at your marketing right now.

1. Tone & Language

a. It’s easy to see where your brand could cash-in on a crisis, but it is a number one no-no. How your company conducts itself is crucial to coming through this relatively unscathed.

b. Check all of your existing content and double check to make sure your messaging is still relevant.

c. Make sure you get second and third opinions on all new collateral. This you should be doing anyway, but at this point, a badly constructed message or something which was funny before may now be just pain insensitive.

2. Engage Your Customers

This might seem obvious as that’s the nature of marketing, but you need to be thinking what you can offer, how you can help and what do you do already that would benefit people who are in the midst of a crisis. Your customers will remember what you do now for a long time afterwards.

3. Engage your workforce

Morale and an engaged workforce are more important now than ever. They want to feel safe and part of a family which is working together for a common goal – to get through this.

4. Listen to your Customers

Chances are, your customers’ needs are going to be changing. Is there a way we can help? Do we even know how those needs are changing? What are the long term implications likely to be because of these changes? Taking the time to do this now will impact heavily on the longer term success of your company after the pandemic has ended.

5. Check your lines of communication are working

You should always be available to potential and existing customers, but at the moment, making a check on your processes and systems for receiving communications is key. Do your customers know your position right now? If not, it is time to talk to them.

6. Ditch the competitive streak (for now)

While competition between providers of anything is normal and healthy, at this time there’s just no need to be putting that out there. If you would maybe use an aggressive ad campaign targeting a competitor’s service price for example, people will see it as cynical and missing the point now. Don’t do it. Ask how you can help and go that route instead. You’ll be glad you did when you’re through this.

7. Get inventive with creating assets

Let’s face it, those wonderful outdoor Spring photo-shoots we’ve been waiting for just aren’t going to happen. So, what can we do? Well… your creative team should be on the case thinking about how to get the message across in different ways. There are stock libraries for video and photos and music. There is the compositing of photographs with other assets, illustration, animation and tons more to boot. How can you make these work for you right now?

Whatever you do, make sure you carry on thinking about what you want to say to your customers and how you want to say it. Protect your marketing budgets as much and as best you can because if previous experience of global shocks tell us anything, it’s that when the starting gun goes again on the other side, it’s those companies that are best prepared who come out the other side first and fastest.

Lastly - get ready for a new reality. It is highly unlikely that something so far-reaching and sudden as a global pandemic won’t have long-lasting effects on our future behaviours and the way we live. What those will be, what will remain and what will return we will wait and see. But don’t hide under your desk – embrace the change and find your place. 

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24th February

How does your CQC rating affect your care home’s marketing?

It’ll probably come as no surprise to hear that generally speaking, the better your CQC rating, the more successful your marketing campaigns will be and typically, the more enquiries you’ll generate as a result. But here at Marketing for Care Homes, we’ve drilled down to find out the real numbers and see quite how big a difference your CQC rating makes.

Let’s start by having a look at some care home statistics:

• There are more than 10,000 care homes in the UK
• Only 4% of care homes across England have the CQC’s top rating of ‘Outstanding
• 79% of care homes in England are rated as being ‘Good’ by the CQC
• 16% of England’s care homes have a ‘Requires Improvement’ CQC rating
• 1% of all care homes in England are found to be ‘Inadequate’ by the CQC

Our ‘Outstanding’ experiment

One of our Berkshire-based clients opened in 2016 and earned Top 20 carehome.co.uk awards in 2017, 2018 and 2019. A recent CQC inspection saw them go from having a ‘Good’ CQC rating to achieving ‘Outstanding’ in all five areas, a rating that only 21 care homes in England had achieved by the end of 2019.

Having had ‘Good’ ratings until now at this specific home, we thought it was the ideal opportunity to compare marketing results between a campaign with a ‘Good’ rating and a campaign with an ‘Outstanding’ rating, with no other contributing factors changing at all.

If there was ever a time to tell the world about how fantastic a home’s care really is, this was it, so we took the opportunity to cover every single base, from banners outside the home and a graphic and news article for their website to press releases and digital ads – these included Facebook and Google Ads. And that’s what we’re going to focus on now, Google Ads.

The results are in

As you’d expect, the results were higher in the ‘Outstanding’ campaign than in the previous ‘Good’ campaign, but by how much?

From research we’ve conducted based on our own clients’ campaign results, things don’t change drastically between a home rated ‘Good’ and a home rated ‘Requires improvement’, especially when it’s clear that the home still has good reviews regardless of the CQC rating. But going up to ‘Outstanding’ really does make a noticeable difference.

Prospective residents and their family members can have complete confidence in an ‘Outstanding’ home – they can move in without having to worry whether the care is good enough, whether there’s enough going on to give residents meaningful occupation, if residents enjoy a healthy, balanced diet, if they’re safe, the list goes on.

Our winter campaign when the home had a ‘Good’ CQC rating had a click-through rate of 1.71% – and we’d generally expect between 1 and 2% – but our next campaign was ‘Outstanding’. The click-through rate for this jumped up to a staggering 5.84%, which is a 341% increase. That led to 6 conversions for the modest payment of £84.03. It goes to show the difference having that top CQC rating can have on your care home’s digital marketing results.

Make your marketing more effective

The best way to make your marketing more effective is of course by improving your CQC rating, but as this can’t happen overnight, get in touch with Marketing for Care Homes to implement a few changes now that can have a significant impact on your enquiries sooner rather than later. With compelling copy, original artwork and all the other tricks we have up our sleeve here as care industry marketing specialists, working with us can lead to measurable results for your digital performance in as soon as a month.

Make your money go further when it comes to marketing by having something good to shout about, something tempting to click on, and if your CQC rating is ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’, it really makes a difference showing that to the world. Going back to the statistics we mentioned at the start, with 4% of care homes having an ‘Outstanding’ rating, there’s still so much for the 79% of homes that are ‘Good’ to play for. 79% equates to over 8,000 care homes, which is a lot of competitors you can blow out of the water with your next digital campaign.

Whether you’ve just gone from ‘Good’ to ‘Requires Improvement’ and need to give business a boost or if your home is ‘Outstanding’ and you haven’t told the world about it, now is the time. Although there is an obvious correlation between a care home’s CQC rating and digital performance, we can advise you regardless of your CQC rating and make your marketing matter.

Get in touch with the team at Marketing for Care Homes today to find out how we can help your home stand out to prospective residents in a saturated and competitive market.

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7th January

Make your marketing matter in 2020

Happy New Year to you all from Marketing for Care Homes! Our team members are all back in the office with recharged batteries after a refreshing Christmas break, and we can’t wait to get started on some shiny new campaigns to kick off the new year in style. So, how can we help you? Well, let’s start with…

Your 2020 care home marketing plan

The saying goes ‘if you fail to prepare, prepare to fail’ and that’s completely true when it comes to your annual marketing plan. If you haven’t yet made a marketing plan for 2020 then that means you won’t have started making the most of your marketing yet! Clear your diary and get cracking as there’s no time like the present.

If you let much more of January slip away, you’ll inevitably end up with fewer enquiries than desired, along with no marketing analysis and therefore no way of telling which channels you need to target to reach your desired demographic.

If you’re unsure how to create your 2020 marketing plan, get in touch with Marketing for Care Homes and we’ll set you on the right track. We can even plan your entire year using our industry expertise, so you won’t miss any opportunities and can generate as many enquiries as possible for your care home.

Implementing your care home marketing plan

At Marketing for Care Homes, we’ve been creating effective campaigns for care homes since 2011. With our industry insight, you’re in safe hands and you can trust us to deliver exactly what your care home needs to help reach your targets. Whether you need to fill beds, you need to attract and recruit new team members or anything else, we’re here to help and our knowledge of the care industry when it comes to marketing is unrivalled.

Once you have a solid marketing plan, we can put this into action for you. We can also manage and adjust this plan throughout the year in accordance with your marketing analysis – which we can also take care of at Marketing for Care Homes – making it as specific as possible, reaching your target audience by utilising the appropriate channels that we know work best when it comes to care.

How successful marketing can boost your care home business

With a solid marketing plan in place for 2020, the sky is the limit if it’s carried out well. With the ability to measure the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns and steer them in a particular direction based on accurate analysis throughout the year, you’ll be able to reach your target audience with maximum efficiency and maximum return. At Marketing for Care Homes, we’re here to help every step of the way.

At Marketing for Care Homes, we offer a wide range of services that can help your marketing make a real difference to your care home’s success in 2020 – our team can take care of creative design, branding and rebranding, web design, marketing support, insights and analytics, brochures, photography and videography, internal and external signage, copywriting and digital marketing. By working with us and utilising our expert services, your care home’s marketing will achieve your desired results.

Speak to us today to make sure 2020 is your care home’s best year yet.

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5th December

Why marketing matters at the most wonderful time of the year

Make the most of Christmas with Marketing for Care Homes

Christmas is getting closer and it’s an ideal opportunity to tell the world how good your care home really is – or at least your target audience. When it comes to Christmas care home marketing, we know what we’re doing at Marketing for Care Homes, and we’re here to help you get the results you want.

There are all sorts of things we can do for you this Christmas, and we know that as we’ve been creating effective Christmas marketing for clients since 2011. Find out what we offer below and if you’d like something we haven’t mentioned, get in touch and we’ll provide a bespoke quote for you. The possibilities are endless!

Branded Christmas cards

If you’re already sending out Christmas cards to everyone affiliated with your care home, don’t miss your marketing opportunity! Whether you’d like your Christmas cards to be traditional with subtle branding or you’d like to go the whole hog and tastefully plaster your home all over your card, our design team can create something unique for you, and your logo will feature on mantlepieces for miles around.

Bespoke menus

When you’re pulling out all the stops to give your residents (and potentially their guests) a traditional Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, a simple piece of paper really doesn’t do it justice. Your menu should reflect the quality of the food you’re serving; that’s why we create high-quality menus with a design bespoke to you. If you’d like any specific finishes such as embossing or foil printing, we can take care of that too to give your festive menus an extra-special touch.

Christmas care campaigns

With years of experience in marketing for the care industry, we know the ideal approach to take in wintertime to generate those vital enquiries you need for your care home. We can create an effective, all-encompassing digital campaign, organic and PPC, complete with all the trimmings – and we’ll also design any required print collateral to reach your target audience from another angle and showcase how great the level of care you provide is.

Christmas event marketing

If you’re holding any events in your home over Christmas and New Year, such as a Christmas market, Christmas carol sessions, family-friendly festivities or special Christmas dinners for members of the community living on their own, does your local community know about it? We can make sure your events are well advertised and therefore well attended, which inevitably leads to enquiries.

December is ticking away but it’s not too late to change the trajectory of your care enquiry levels this Christmas. Give yourself the best Christmas gift this year and get in touch with the experts at Marketing for Care Homes today to make your care home’s prospects look a lot brighter in time for 2020.

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25th November

Need to improve online performance? Digital marketing’s the answer

If your care home or care group is struggling to get enough online traffic as a result of poor searchability, the team at Marketing for Care Homes has the expertise and know-how to turn it around.

Our latest case study, ‘How focusing on digital marketing improves online performance’, looks at how we massively increased our client’s online searchability for various specific terms. And we can do it for your care home too.

We took the brief from our client – an all-inclusive nursing home in Kent with a ‘Good’ CQC rating – and found a solution. We implemented this solution and measured the results, which the client is incredibly happy with – and as a direct result of this increased traffic, the nursing home in Margate has received additional enquiries for its nursing care and employment vacancies.

By targeting specific search terms and geographic areas, we not only achieved but exceeded the results our client wanted to see. Find out more about what digital marketing we carried out and how it made our client’s website improve drastically for keyword ranking.

Find out how we did it

If you’re looking to improve your search rankings and see quick results, Marketing for Care Homes is here to help. Get in touch today and get the website traffic your care home needs, whether it’s for enquiries or recruitment.

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12th November

Building a new care home: Creative hoarding ideas

The majority of our clients have built or are planning to build a new care facility, many are planning multiple sites as we speak. If you haven’t done it before, the prospect of telling the world all about what you’re doing can be a daunting one.

We’re all now used to seeing the brightly coloured construction hoardings adorned with new brands and photographs – usually stock, let’s face it – smiling their messages back at us, next to a website address and a ‘prices-from’ sticker. This is all well and good, and builders need to sell the properties as quickly as possible, preferably before they’re finished. When building a care home, it’s not quite as simple as that, is it?

We know that people are much less likely to make a commitment before seeing the finished article, and show suites, while helpful, rarely persuade a larger number of potential clients to sign on the dotted line either. People’s need for care is often at much shorter notice too. With all these things combined, then, it got us to thinking what is the point of the hoarding on a care home building site and how can we use the space better?

In some cases, where a building is near a main thoroughfare like this one, with lots of footfall or traffic, it’s important to get people’s attention and not just blend into the background. In the case of traffic, the faster it is, the shorter the message should be. If it’s on a busy street with lots of pedestrians it makes sense to engage people on a more detailed level, either with smaller blocks of text separate from the main message, or leaflets in a weatherproof box, or something interactive – even as simple as a viewing pane to the larger site. Anything to engage with passers by so that they know what is happening at your site. We all know the importance of word of mouth when it comes to marketing a care home, and this is where it starts.

It was with great excitement, then, that we visited a client’s site in Bristol recently and were able to look at different options, seeing as the site has a pedestrian front, a roadside front and a front which backs onto other businesses and car parks – three sets of people with a different amount of time to look at your message.

To tie in with our client’s plan to bring the art world into the new care home, we set to work on ideas, enlisting the help of local artist and screen printer Josh Hughes-Games at 16 Tonne Press in Bristol’s Old Market. Together with local mural painter, Zoe Power they created a design for the hoarding to surround the entire site, using different levels of detail for the different facing sections.

The piece began this week here and we’ll continue to update you as it progresses. It draws on Bristol’s strong visual history, grabs people’s attention and makes the link between the rich local art scene and the proposed use of art as therapy within the new home.

To follow this project and find out more, bookmark us, or follow us on Linked In for all news and tips from Marketing For Care Homes. If you have a project like this that you’d like help with, get in touch with us here.

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30th October

Facebook for care homes: Three good reasons you should be using it

This is one of those questions we get asked early on in a client relationship here at Marketing for Care Homes and often is the purpose of an initial phone call or email. It’s a question asked by every care home manager at some point and sometimes it has come off the back of a difficult situation that began on an existing Facebook page. What decision-makers can often mean in asking the question is: “I don’t use Facebook personally, do I need to be using it for my care home?”

So, what are the benefits of using Facebook for your care home and why does it matter?

The proof of the pudding…is in the eating.

We don’t yet have a better way of introducing a care home to potential residents than a visit in-person. However, Facebook can act as an affirmation for people who are already interested in viewing. Increasingly, as the first tech-literate generation ages (the late Baby Boomers), social media will become even more of a potential advertising space to directly target your clients, but for now, Facebook in particular acts as proof that your home ‘does what it says on the tin’ e.g. if your home has a fine dining room, show people enjoying it; if you market your trips out to the sea in the minibus, show your audience!

Recruitment advertising

While there are plenty of online tools for recruiting staff, when it comes to the non-nursing side of your team, Facebook is a cost-effective alternative to the big portals, enabling you to target certain demographics in geographical areas. At Marketing for Care Homes, we've found that it allows you to keep an overview of how the job adverts are progressing and you can edit at short notice should you wish. Boosting these posts (paying for them) only increases the spread of each post.

It creates a meaningful dialogue with your local community

This comes up time and time again in our analytics of client social media. Posts that attract the most engagement are those to which people can relate and share with friends. For example, one client looked after a resident who used to wave every morning to all the schoolchildren passing the window of the home. One morning they shared a post telling the public the chap’s name and the response was immense, outstripping 90% of other posts for likes and comments.

Facebook has many positives if you are running a care home and the team here at Marketing for Care Homes can take you through how to build and maintain a following that will work for you year after year – contact our team today to find out more about how you can use social media to promote your care home, or to book one of our social media workshops for your staff.

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4th September

Who cares? You do. And we do too: Is it time to review your marketing?

That’s the title of our latest campaign at Marketing for Care Homes in Stratford-upon-Avon. Yes, we’re a marketing agency and we make our money by creating eye-catching designs and creative advertising for our clients. But it's important to shout about our services to the world, as our marketing matters too.

When it comes to marketing and advertising in the care industry, we know what we’re talking about, as we’ve been working with clients in care since day one. Care clients face challenges that clients in other industries don’t face, so by knowing these nuances, we’re best placed to help the care homes that approach us for help.

Our ‘Who cares?’ campaign has only just gone live, but we wanted you to be some of the first to see it. We’re hoping for a good outcome and will let you know how successful our marketing material for this is once we can measure the results, but in the meantime, why not tell us what you think?

And if you’d like to find out how we can help you and your care home, please pick up the phone or ping us an email as we’d love to boost your enquiries, find new staff and give your home a brand-new look.

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