By Conor Hardy, Managing Director, Run PPC – https://wwww.runppc.co.uk
Putting your business and its services in front of the right people online is a non-negotiable in today’s digital age, and while traditional marketing techniques such as offline advertising will continue to deliver results, keeping abreast of the latest digital strategies is essential.
Add into the mix the challenges of coronavirus and the importance of having an effective online marketing strategy in place has perhaps never been more acute.
As a former Google employee, I have seen digital marketing trends come and go, and techniques that were once hugely effective are now redundant, but staying up to date with what works and what doesn’t can be extremely challenging when you’re running a residential care home.
So, what practical solutions can you put in place to ensure there are pairs of eyes on your services, which don’t require a huge investment of time? Well, a lot depends on how your customers find you and how you want them to find you.
It makes sense to focus attention on areas where you are getting the most success, and I certainly wouldn’t encourage operators to abandon strategies that are delivering results.
But have you considered the techniques being used by your competitors and the audiences you could be missing out on?
An often-neglected aspect of digital marketing in the residential care industry is SEO and PPC, and I know
this to be the case because I’ve analysed the marketplace, both in preparation for writing this article and through my own work with operators in the sector.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and refers to the practice of ensuring your brand is at the top of search results – or close to it – for key search terms.
Here’s a quick experiment you can try from your phone or laptop – search on Google for residential care home and the area you serve – for example, “residential care home dorset” – and take a look at the results generated. Does your name feature?
Consider other terms that your audience may use to find businesses like yours. If your name isn’t appearing then these people simply won’t find you. So, what can you do about it?
1. Ensure your website is submitted to search engines – speak to your website manager to check that this box has been ticked. Free plug-ins like Yoast SEO (which works with WordPress websites) can help you do this in a few short steps. This allows Google to ‘crawl’ your website and add it to its directory.
2. Ensure your website is as good as it can be – for your website to rank highly in Google, it should be up to date, fast loading and populated with relevant information. Adding a new blog post every couple of weeks will work wonders in the longer term. Slow, outdated websites will quickly slip down the search rankings as Google wants to show its users the best and most up-to-date answers to queries.
3. Consider Google Ads – An effective Google Ads campaign can send your business to the top of the search results for key terms. This requires a little investment, although a significant percentage of your total spend is dictated by the number of clicks your campaign receives. This is where the term PPC – or pay-per- click – comes from; the more successful your campaign is, the more you’ll pay. But if the value of a new customer is significant then the initial outlay is a real no-brainer.
Alongside other digital strategies, such as engaging social media output, by taking these steps you can super-charge your digital marketing and ensure that your business is presented to a relevant audience that is ready to engage with you.
I have worked extensively with operators in the residential care sector and have seen the good and the bad – and grown to understand that the phrase ‘getting out what you’re prepared to put in’ is rarely more relevant than when it comes to online marketing.