Marketing Your Care Agency- Choosing a Budget and Finding Clients Offline
Since 2015 the government has mandated that social care users have the option to utilise a personal budget to choose their own care provider, as opposed to the previous system of being allocated a provider from their council. Since then, the NAO estimates that currently around 422,000 people nationwide are going directly to care providers. For care providers, this means that on top of winning council care packages they have the option to compete for a lot of private business!
Marketing your business is now very important to ensure you are found by private service users, and ultimately chosen above your local competition. Following our previous guide which covers how to get your business visible online, we have put together our top tips for finding your new clients offline.
1. Identify a marketing budget that will work for your business.
Whilst there are many free ways to get your business visible online, spending on advertising is a necessity, even if that only involves hosting a basic website or getting some flyers designed and printed.
Before you start spending, it is essential you know what you would consider good value.
a) How much is your average service user worth (profit) per year?
b) How many enquiries result in a new service user?
If the answer were say, £5000 and 1 in 5, you can assume each enquiry is worth £1000 a year. Your next question is, how much are you willing to pay for that new customer? If it costs you £100 in advertising, you still have £900 profit for the first year.
Thinking about enquiries, profit and spend will help you work out a sustainable, sensible and profitable maximum budget for you to work with over the year.
2. Decide where to spend your budget.
A good rule of thumb is to think about who you want to speak to (your target audience), and then where these people are. In this case, it could be Doctors surgeries, health clinics, physiotherapist offices, local social clubs, try to think outside the box!
Getting some professional flyers designed and leaving them in these places is likely to reach a lot of people over a long period of time.
Other places you could advertise include local papers, but bear in mind not all of the people you reach in a newspaper will be your target audience.
You could also try hiring a leafleting company to pop flyers through people's doors in your target area.
It is a good idea to have your information available online before you do this, as a lot of people will want to check out your company before committing to giving you a call.
3. Make sure the person/s handling incoming enquiries asks the all important question 'where did you hear about us?'.
If you are spending money on advertising it is vital you know where your enquiries are coming from, and how many of them became clients, so you can see how successful different types of advertising are. This way you can decide on the best way to spend your budget.
4. Focus on new clients, not enquiries.
If you receive 50 enquiries from £100 worth of leaflets, that might look a lot better than 3 enquiries from a £500 newspaper advertisement.
However, if all 3 newspaper enquiries became clients, vs 0 leaflet enquiries, the newspaper is the better option.
There are also lots of ways to pay for advertising online, using your website or social media accounts we discussed in our last blog, however these can require a little more skill! Keep an eye out for our next blog in which we will discuss our top tips for finding clients online.