Most people have experienced a hard sell at some point in their lives. Aggressive salespeople are often associated with car dealerships and telemarketers. However, healthcare professionals can attest to the fact that some representatives within their own industry also come across as overly “pushy.”
Referrals are Earned, Not Owed
Home health marketing shouldn’t be about forcing hospitals and nursing facilities into referring. Instead, successful agencies find ways to earn referrals. Home care companies that focus on community education grow their businesses by engendering good will and trust among healthcare partners.
Here are specific reasons why community education matters in home health marketing, ideas for potential co-marketing partnerships and suggestions for educational opportunities.
Home Health Marketing is a Marathon
It’s a bit cliché to say that, “such-and-such is a marathon and not a sprint.” However, the analogy is very fitting in home care sales and marketing. Agencies that offer community education build trust over time, and business follows.
Personal Relationships Matter
Home health marketing is different than other forms of outreach, as the service is somewhat intangible. How does a liaison sell quality of care? What makes one provider better than another, given that all are delivering similar services?
Unlike tangible products such as iPhones, cars and televisions, home care services don’t necessarily have unique functions. So, relationships are even more critical for representatives hoping to secure business over competitors. Community education is a great way to form lasting bonds with referral sources.
The Healthcare Community is a Small World
Business reputations spread quickly in the healthcare community. Negative feedback obviously hurts efforts at home health marketing. However, agencies with positive perceptions can benefit from referrals that have a couple of degrees of separation.
Experienced home care liaisons know that referrals sometimes come by word-of-mouth, and the ultimate source may not even be known. Community education is one way to create a network of good will within the local healthcare market that leads to indirect referrals further down the road.
Community Education Facilitates Co-Marketing Opportunities
Effective home health marketing often involves mutually-beneficial partnerships with non-competing healthcare organizations. “Co-marketing” allows a company to expand its network by leveraging the relationships of friendly associates. However, it’s important to remember that both parties must bring something to the table to create a win-win.
Home care agencies can develop impressive training curriculums and then offer up their expertise in trade for in-service opportunities at hospitals and other accounts. Co-marketing partners are simply asked to leverage their relationships to secure the meetings.
Potential Co-Marketing Partners for Home Care & Home Health Agencies
- Home Care & Home Health – The difference between “home care” and “home health” is that the former is focused on non-medical caregiving, while the latter is focused on skilled nursing. Because the services are different, agencies that only provide one of the two can partner with those that provide the other.
- Hospice – Some skilled home health agencies also provide hospice care, but many do not. Few home care companies provide hospice. Therefore, hospice companies generally make complimentary partners for co-marketing efforts.
- Durable Medical Equipment (DME) – DME companies don’t compete with either home care or home health agencies and often enjoy strong relationships with great referral sources. DME representatives also boast robust marketing budgets for shares costs of lunches, etc.
- Assisted Living – Home care and home health marketing doesn’t usually compete with assisted living sales despite the misconceptions. Senior communities are generally for those who don’t wish to remain at home. Assisted living representatives often make great co-marketers!
- Senior Placement Services – Advisors for senior placement companies are typically agnostic and direct clients to potential resources depending on needs and desires. They will gladly co-market with home health and home care liaisons.
Possible Community Education Opportunities
- Alzheimer’s/Dementia Resources – Resources for seniors with cognitive challenges are highly prized by hospitals, facilities and community partners. Most organizations are receptive to informative programs and training events.
- Home Care Funding Resources – Non-medical home care is typically an out-of-pocket expense. Referral sources usually welcome information on potential funding options like long term care insurance (LTC).
- Veterans Benefits – Resources for veterans are among the most highly sought of all potential funding sources. Aging Vietnam-era baby boomers and the longevity of Korean War and WWII veterans means that millions of seniors potentially qualify.
- Chronic Care Management – Most health systems today are very focused on the management of chronic conditions. Referral sources will enthusiastically embrace solution-oriented programs led by credible thought-leaders.
- Creating a Safe Home Environment – A program that specializes in home safety and fall prevention for seniors will have tremendous value to ambulatory care teams. These nurses, case managers and social workers usually meet patients in their homes and appreciate any tips on ways to prevent hospitalizations.
Home health marketing is all about securing referrals. Agency leaders know this as do potential accounts. However, that doesn’t mean home care representatives can simply demand business.
A bit of grace and commitment to the well being of others goes a long way. Volunteering time toward community education is the right thing to do. But, it also shows good will that may result in more referrals.
If you’re a home care agency leader seeking home health marketing solutions, be sure to contact a specialized marketing firm today!