Friday, April 18, 2014

Public Speaking as a Marketing Strategy to Reach Home Care Consumers and Referral Sources

By Stephen Tweed, CSP

According to the 2014 Private Duty Benchmarking Study from Home Care Pulse and the Home Care Association of America, the number 5 most effective method for marketing your home care business to referral sources is “Speaking at Educational Events for Referral Sources”.

We’ve also discovered that speaking at informational events for consumers is an effective method of direct to consumer marketing. So whether your focus is consumer marketing or referral marketing, public speaking  for continuing education is a highly effective tool. 

Seven Tips To Improve Your Public Speaking
1.  Develop a Powerful Persuasive Presentation
To be effective as a marketing tool, your presentation must be focused on the needs and interests of your audience.  You don't want to stand up in front of a group and present a 30 minute info-mercial. You want to prepare and deliver a presentation that is interesting, useful, and persuasive. 
You do that when you know your audience, when you understand their needs for information about senior in-home care, and when you have a unique message that will be of value to them.
2.  Polish Your Delivery
Once you have developed your message and prepared your presentation, then practice.  Look for every opportunity to speak.  Repetition and consistency are the keys.  Over the past 30 years, I've probably delivered 4,000 presentations to health care executives and leaders all across the country.  I find that I'm the best on the platform after I've delivered a presentation at least ten times.  I also find I get better when I get feedback from someone I know and trust - my wife and business partner, and when I see myself on video.
Rather than developing several different presentations, create one powerful presentation and deliver it over and over again. Record the program on video and watch yourself.  Ask someone for feedback.
3.  Select Audiences that Have the Greatest Potential to Grow Your Business
You've probably heard me talk about consumer marketing versus referral marketing.  No one does both well.  So decide whether you will use public speaking for marketing directly to consumers or for marketing to referral sources.
The number one consumer you want to reach is the "oldest daughter" of potential clients.  We know from our research that 60% of the time when your phone rings it is the oldest daughter inquiring about care for Mom or Dad. Find the opportunity to speak to groups of "oldest daughters", present a powerful message that resonates with them, and follow up.  Your phone will ring.
Or, find groups of trusted advisors where you can speak and talk to their hearts about how home care can benefit their clients.  Again, you want referral sources who are in contact with the client and with the oldest daughter
4.  Support Your Speech With Unique, Innovative Visuals
In today's world of computers and technology, it's very easy to carry a lap top and a projector so you can use PowerPoint to reinforce your presentation.  Used well, PowerPoint can be a very effective tool. Used badly, PowerPoint can ruin your presentation and make you look foolish.  Here are a couple of tips:
  • Use large type and few words on your slides
  • Use photos or graphics on every slide
  • Use your own photos or graphics.  You can get great photos from Google Images, but be careful that you don't violate someone's copyright
  • More slides with fewer words and larger photos are much better that a presentation with a few slides with too many words that are too small to see while in the audience
  • Emphasize your company's logo and graphics to help etch your brand into the minds of the audience
I'll write another article for this series on making your PowerPoint more effective.
5.  Craft "Keeper" Audience Materials
My rule of thumb is, "Never speak to an audience without leaving behind a piece of paper that reinforces your message and has your name and contact information."  The more valuable the piece that you leave behind, the more likely the audience members are to keep it and call you back at some later date. 
6.  Follow Up With Your Audiences
Find a way to capture the names and contact information of as many people in your audience as possible.  If it is an audience of professional referral sources, find ways to get them to give you their business card.  Offer something of value for FREE if they give you a card.  With consumers, have a sign up card for them to fill out and drop in your box.  Again, offer them something for FREE.
7.  Track the Results of Your Speaking Engagements
You've heard me say it a hundred times.  "What gets measured gets managed".  Keep track of your presentations, the number of folks in your audiences, and the numbers who contact you for information on your home care services.  If you are selecting the right audiences and presenting a powerful program, your phone will ring.  Track every call.  Find out where the caller heard about your company.  Then find out "where else" they heard about your company.  Track the calls to see how effectively your public speaking is working as a marketing tool.
If you would like to master this high impact, low cost method for communicating your marketing message to consumers and referral sources, then join us on Thursday, April 24, 2014 at 4:00 pm eastern time for the live web conference "Public Speaking as a Marketing Strategy to Reach Home Care Consumers and Referral Sources". 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Increase Web Site Traffic With Blogging

by Stephen Tweed

All the data from our research and from the Private Duty Benchmarking Study by Home Care Pulse show that the single most effective method for direct-to-consumer marketing of your home care business is your web site.  But that means you have to get traffic to your web site.

While the search algorithms are constantly changing, one thing is certain today. The search engines like web sites with lots of content, and web sites with lots of visitors looking at that content. 

One of the easiest ways to add content to your web site on a regular basis is by having a BLOG, or web log, on your site.  Writing short articles on a regular basis that are of interest to your readers, and then promoting those article through social media, email newsletters, and personal emails to referral sources will increase your SEO - Search Engine Optimization - or search engine ranking.

Here are five tips to make your blogging easier and more effective

1.  Be Clear About Your Readers
When writing for your blog, be very clear about who you are writing to.  At Leading Home Care, we're very clear about who we are writing to in every blog post we write.  At Private Duty Today, we're writing for owners of private pay, non-medical home care companies and I know who you are.  At Home Health Care Today, we are writing for CEOs and senior leaders in home health agencies.  At Caregiver Quality Today, we're writing for recruiters, human resource professionals, and employment mangers in home health, hospice, and private duty home care.

When writing for your own web site, there are two possible readers - the oldest daughter, and your best referral source.  Since we are talking about consumer marketing, let's focus on writing for the oldest daughter.  Our research shows that 60% of inquiry calls coming in to your home care company are from the oldest daughter of the client. She's between the ages of 45 and 65, and the best callers are well educated, have high income or net worth, and are frustrated finding care for mom or dad. 

2.  Offer Valuable Information
When writing for your intended reader, write about things that matter to them.  Give sound advice on finding care for mom or dad.  Offer facts and information about various chronic diseases and how home care can help.  Suggest resources in your community to relieve the stress of being the primary family caregiver.

Don't waste your time offering your favorite recipe, six steps to lose weight, or five ways to relax.  Instead, offer ten questions to ask when selecting a home care company.  Suggest six questions to ask about how a home care company recruits, selects, and trains their caregivers.  List four questions to ask your doctor about in-home care for mom or dad. 

3.  Mix Wit with Wisdom
Constantly be looking for humorous stories, photos, or videos that help make your point.  You want your blog to be interesting as well as informative, and anything that will make your readers smile will help. It's even better if you can get them to laugh out loud.

Be cautious about using off color humor, or using someone else's copyrighted photos or material.  Always ask permission and provide a link to the source.

4.  Tell Stories
Nothing captures the attention of the reader like a good story. You have dozens or maybe hundreds of stories about the oldest daughter, the challenges she faces, and how home care helps solve the problem and relieve her stress.  Use real stories from your clients and their families.  Get permission in writing to reprint a personal note from a daughter thanking you for helping her mom.  Get permission to use photos or videos of real clients and family members talking about the challenges they faced and the help you provided.

Always be looking for stories that help show the value of home care, and the value of your company.

5.  Use Content People Like to Share
You know you have a valuable blog post when your readers want to share what you wrote on Facebook, Linked-In, or Twitter.  If you have a personal Facebook account, take some time to scroll through your time line and see what your friends are posting. As I've examined this with my speakers friends around the world, my family, and my classmates that I keep in touch with, I've found three things people like to share:
  • Humor, including humorous photos and video
  • Valuable information and learning, including insights from industry experts
  • Current events, including the latest trends and happenings in your local community
For example, take a look at the discussion group, Leading Home Care Network, and see the types of articles and blog posts people are sharing.  This group is for owners, CEOs, and administrators of home health, hospice, and private duty home care.  Look at what they are writing about and sharing. This discussion group has over 6,700 members, and we get about 20 new requests per day.  The group is a closed group and only open to people who are actively working in home care. 

Here are some examples of web sites with blogs that are driving traffic:
When you take the time and energy to learn to write good blog posts on a regular basis, and to promote those blog posts to your clients, fans, and referral sources, you'll see your web site visitors increase, and your search engine rankings improve.  Then, you'll hear your telephone ring more often with inquiries about your home care service.

The next step is to capture the caller ... to convert that inquiry into a client.

Join Us for the Private Duty Marketing Master Class

By Jill Scott, Manager of Member Services

Over the years and also through the 2014 Academy Topic Survey, we've discovered that the area home care owners and administrators request the most help with are sales and marketing, including competitive advantage.

As a result, we have developed the Private Duty Marketing Master Class™ that offers one-on-one instruction and coaching from Stephen Tweed and other leading experts in private duty marketing, all from our headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky.  You also have the opportunity to interact with the very small group of owners that attend the Master Class and will receive follow-up support from Stephen Tweed throughout the next year through phone calls and a monthly Master Class web conference.

The objectives of the Master Class are....

  1. To define your unique selling proposition - the most important factor for you to create competitive advantage in your local marketplace.
  2. To discuss and defined the top techniques in consumer marketing and referral marketing in the home care industry.
  3. To develop and implement your own personal private duty marketing plan.
  4. To measure your marketing success on a weekly, monthly and annual basis.
Our first Master Class was held mid-March, and was a great success.  It was very small, but that meant that the attendees received even more one-on-one guidance and coaching from Stephen in developing their overall marketing strategy! 

Our next Master Marketing Class will be start Wednesday, May 7th and end on Thursday, May 8th, 2014. Class begins at 2:00 and goes until 9:00 that evening, including dinner with the group, then runs from 8:30 am to 12:00 noon the next day.

We'd love to have you join us in Louisville for this intimate, highly interactive and intense learning session so we can help you grow your business.  Space is limited to 8 participants, so don't miss your the chance to attend. Learn more and register today! 

Private Duty Field Trip is a Huge Success!

By Stephen Tweed

What's the best way to learn any new skill?  From OPE!  Other People's Experience. 

Last week, fourteen owners and key staff members of home care companies from across the country spent a full day in Virginia Beach, Virginia visiting SeniorCorp as part of our Private Duty Field Trip.  This is a totally new concept introduced to the home care industry in 2013 by The Academy for Private Duty Home Care, and this was our sixth field trip.

We extend special thanks to Tom Knox and Andy Tysinger at SeniorCorp for hosting this field trip.  Tom and Andy spent the full day opening their heads and hearts and sharing with the visiting owners all of the details of how they have grown their company from zero to 12,000 hours per week in a little over ten years.  They shared facts, figures, marketing strategies, recruiting techniques, and insights into how their back office runs.  The participants had lots of questions, and our hosts answered each question to the best of their ability.  The feedback was fabulous. 

We've had such positive  feedback that we will be offering a number of additional field trips in 2014.

If you would like to learn from OPE how to grow your home care business, then take a few moments to look at the video.  Then plan to join us in Louisville, KY on April 23 & 24, 2014.  Jeff and Rita Pate will host us at ElderCare 4 Families.  Jeff and Rita purchased this 30 year old company seven years ago, and have grown it to over 3,200 hours per week.  This puts them in the top 20% of all home care companies in the country.

Don't delay.  There's no time like the present to carve out some time and make an investment in your personal growth and the growth of your home care business by joining us for our next Private Duty Field Trip.  Register Today!

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