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 private business!
Marketing your business, or making sure your business is visible, is now very important to ensure you are found by private service users, and ultimately chosen above your local competition. We have put together a brief guide to help you get started marketing your business.
1. Create a Google MyBusiness Listing
Google MyBusiness is an excellent tool to help your business be found in your area. It is free to create a listing that will include your contact details, location, reviews from users and you can also add photographs. When people search for care providers in your area, your listing will pop up.
The best way to utilise this listing is to ask your clients for reviews, the higher your star rating the better as potential clients will be able to hear about the quality of your service from your clients themselves, helping to build trust and give you an instant positive recommendation.
Check out this guide for more information about creating your listing: https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/google-my-business
2. Get on Social Media.
You can set up free business profiles on most social media, but the best ones to start with would be Facebook, LinkedIn and even Instagram. Linkedin is helpful for ‘business to business marketing’, and may help you to get in touch with local councils for extra contracts. Facebook is a great way to find private clients and show off a personal side to your business with what you get up to day to day.
Getting started with social media can be overwhelming but Facebook is a great place to start with and get used to sharing content. Make sure you have all your business information available especially contact details, and that any platforms you use keep your ‘brand’ consistent with the same logo and company information. You can also let potential clients get to know you. Tell your page visitors why you started your business or a bit about yourself! Put a face to your company and people will feel much more comfortable getting in touch for a chat.
Content! Use your social media to share positive news such as training days, staff awards, positive feedback and even celebrate examples of staff going above and beyond. You can also share the general goings on and any fun activities you do with your care users. For extra relevance get involved with what’s going on in the community.
NOTE: Make sure you have clients or family members written permission before sharing any service users faces online and be careful not to post personal details. If you are going to give any other staff members access to post on your account you should also make sure you have a social media policy in place. You must also be aware that social media is open to both positive and negative reviews, so decide in advance your policy for dealing with public complaints. This can be a good opportunity to show others how you deal with complaints and can even work in your favour if you handle it well.
Get followers! Start by inviting your own friends to like and share your page. Email your clients with a link to your new social pages, encouraging them to follow your page for the latest news and asking if they will leave a review. You can also ask your staff members if they want to share any of your posts for extra exposure.
Try to post at least twice a week to keep your page up to date, and make sure you keep an eye out for messages and enquiries. Your page is a great way to showcase what your company is all about and give your potential clients a positive first impression, especially if you can build up those 5 Star reviews!
3. Get a Website
Even if you only have a basic website something is better than nothing. Simple site builders like wix.com or WordPress are great for a simple DIY site if you can’t afford a web designer when you first get started.
It doesn’t need to be complicated. Make sure your website includes: – A home page. – Address and contact information. If you can, set up an enquiry form. – Your CQC inspection rating. – The area you cover. – Your available services and testimonials.
Make sure your contact details are on every page to make sure potential clients can contact you at any point. If you have the time you can also run a blog to show off your expertise or success stories, such as carer of the month, recent inspections or training days.
Between your website, Facebook account and Google MyBusiness listing it should be easy for people to find your company online without paying for expensive advertising, and the more information you provide alongside good reviews the better! With a little bit of work you will be able to stand out from your competitors and get those extra enquiries coming in.