Nursing homes market their services to prospective residents, their families and referrers who are in a position to influence the choice of home. A 2006 survey by the American College of Healthcare Executives found that nursing homes regarded their markets as very competitive. As a result, the use of marketing tools was growing in importance.
Listing the nursing home on a dedicated website, such as SeniorHomes.com, increases opportunities to reach prospective clients searching for information on the Internet. Include the address, details of the facilities, such as number of rooms and qualified staff, and amenities, such as campus-style learning, recreation and social activities. The home’s own website should include more details, including services, testimonials from residents and independent ratings covering factors such as the quality of staff, food and amenities.
Organizing events, such as open days, gives prospective clients the opportunity to visit nursing homes and see facilities first hand. Some nursing homes offer short-term respite stays as a form of promotion to build relationships with clients who may later sign up for full-time admissions, according to SeniorHomes.com.
“Provider” magazine notes that building referrals is an extremely important element of the marketing program. However, nursing homes must look beyond the traditional group of referrers in hospitals and focus their attention on other important groups, such as social workers, doctors, clergy, volunteers and care workers. Nursing homes can build referrals by providing these groups with information on their facilities and arranging visits for prospective residents.
Although residents, their families and advisers base their nursing home decisions on rational grounds, promotional incentives can play a part in the final choice. Nursing homes may offer discounts to clients or provide financial incentives, such as free moving, packing or decorating.
A strong reputation is important to a nursing home. Residents and referrers must be confident that the home can deliver a high quality of service, particularly in cases of acute or long-term illness. Nursing homes can build their reputation by publishing information on their facilities on their own websites and Internet listing sites. Publishing reviews by residents and organizations such as federal inspectors or ratings agencies provides prospective clients with an independent perspective on the home. Nursing homes can also participate in discussions on social media, commenting on issues relevant to their industry or responding to comments and questions on social media sites