Many aged care and retirement living providers are asking whether they should or shouldn’t be advertising right now, writes Gill Walker.
We have been asked about whether to advertise many times in the past week, so we have put together some considerations.
These considerations assume providers are properly communicating with all existing staff, healthcare professionals, suppliers, residents and their families.
Education breeds confidence
Now is the time to remind the community, relatives and staff that as a quality aged care provider, you have protocols in place and standards are very high. There is strong sentiment that families prefer their elderly relatives are in a secure and caring environment rather than home alone.
Marketing needs to play a key role in education and brand leadership by helping clients move from panic to proactive steps. Being seen builds confidence, especially with existing prospects and residents. Lack of awareness can create false information.
Retirement living has an opportunity to promote the benefits of older Australians living in a supportive community, with managers there to protect, inform and arrange on-site services and deliveries.
Don’t forget your prospects
People who have enquired about aged care in the past 30 days are obviously in need, so you need to reach out and explain your procedures.
Can you offer virtual tours and make this service more prominent on your website, along with other important information?
During these uncertain times, have regular contact with all prospects. As you prioritise daily tasks for the organisation, your management teams need to prepare for the bulge that will happen later on. Be ready with appropriate messages.
Check your digital presence
If you are running AdWords, then include ‘Covid 19’ and ‘coronavirus’ as a negative keyword, so you don’t appear.
If your hours of operation or the way that you operate has changed, post updates on your social media accounts, push these through your electronic direct marketing (EDMs) and edit your business profile on Google.
Seize media opportunities
Overall, we are seeing an increase in media consumption, and especially news and in-home media due to Australian’s hunger for information on COVID-19. The community also has more free time to consume media than ever before.
We predict this pattern to increase and continue as more lockdowns come into play. International experience suggests under lockdown, web browsing grows 70 per cent, television viewing increases 63 per cent , and social media use goes up 61 per cent*
Newscorp’s news.com.au site has experienced an increase of 47 per cent in March versus February 2020, and unique browsers are up 165 per cent on March averages.
Similarly television viewing levels are up, in some cases by 45 per cent from the start of March. TV news programs have experienced the biggest increases, but many lifestyle programs, such as cooking shows, are also tracking well above average.
As many large advertisers need to cancel, the media are heavily discounting short-term rates. Television networks are offering up to 80 per cent rate discounts and print has also dropped discount rates by 50 per cent .
Metropolitan and regional papers are still running and subscriber copies are being home delivered. Targeted letter box, also home delivered, is considered an essential service, and for the foreseeable future not impacted by lockdown restrictions.
Medical centres are also an essential services and they will not close, even if stronger shut downs come into an effect. Tonic Media has highly trackable media solutions with their digital boards in waiting rooms.
This year more than ever people will be visiting their general practitioner for their flu shot.
What does this mean for aged care and retirement organisations? There is a captive audience with more time on their hands to consume media and information.
We are not suggesting any tactical advertising that will create on-site visitation to aged care or retirement living, but many people are currently researching for secure options and will be keen to act when travelling and interaction restrictions are lifted.
Lots of great deals in the media at the moment makeit a very good time to provide education and promote the category or your brand differentiation.
Gill Walker is managing director of Evergreen Advertising & Marketing.