Marketing a care franchise is like promoting any business.
While you have the support of your parent company and your brand is already out there, you still have to make the effort as an independent branch to reach out to potential clients who may need your services and don’t yet realise you exist.
Think of this as your digital health checklist to make sure you are addressing all five areas in some capacity.
Websites are your real estate on the World Wide Web. While many business owners might be tempted to opt for a Facebook page as their shop window into the digital world, there are reasons this might not be the best idea.
When you set up a website, you own this page and pay your rent to host it on a server for as long as you need. That means that no-one can dictate the terms or tell you what you can and can’t display.
Also, if Facebook or Twitter closed tomorrow, you’d suddenly lose all your fans, content and contacts. That’s the business equivalent of building your foundations on sand.
Websites allow you to present the information according to what you think is important. Pages can be displayed in a logical structure with a simple navigation menu and also provide a content or resource hub. More on this later…
With Apollo Care, you get your own page on the main Apollo Care site to introduce your business and put a face to the name, making it a more personable experience for potential clients.
This is what you share on your social media so that people can find out more information about you.
If you’re serious about promoting your business online, then you need to use some sort of analytics software so you can keep track of how many visitors your site is receiving each month and how they are using it. Also, consider asking feedback from your current clients about their user experience when browsing your site.
- Does my website load quickly enough?
- Is the content up to date?
- Is it easy to get to where customers need?
- Where do people go after landing on the home page?
- How many pages are they viewing per session and for how long?
- Are there significant drop-offs on any given page?
The most common social media channels are Facebook and Twitter. You may want to explore Instagram too, according to what best meets your marketing objectives.
One thing to bear in mind is that each channel may serve a different purpose because your following will have distinct demographics. So, for example, if you’re looking to connect with professionals, posting tailored content on Twitter is a good idea. If you want to advertise to young people, Instagram and Snapchat are viable options.
Don’t try to be on every channel at once, as you won’t be able to maintain it on a regular enough basis.
Social media is the best way to create a community and buzz around your franchise. Groups for clients engenders a sense of exclusivity and fosters support.
As a family member looking after a sick person or being someone who needs care, it can be very isolating, so a creating a Facebook Group where people are able to read motivational posts and chat to people in a similar situation might be a direction to consider.
- Is my business profile picture up-to-date and professional?
- Is all my profile information complete with relevant contact details?
- Am I posting at least three times a week?
- Do I link back to my website at least a third of the time?
- Is there enough variety in my social media content i.e. not just posts promoting my business?
- Do I interact with comments and messages?
Content is a broad term for anything you create, whether it’s a social media post, a blog post, an ebook or a video. A content type could also be a brochure, a podcast, an infographic, an FAQ page on your website or a SlideShare presentation.
In the digital realm, we are looking at any written, visual or audio content designed for customers to interact with and share.
The most straightforward way to create content is to publish regular blog posts on your website. Think of this an online journalling to share your news and opinions. Potential and existing customers glean insight into your company ethos and learn something valuable through your informative articles. You can share interviews, how-to guides and stories. You could also give an analysis of a news piece or new legislation that customers may have got their heads around.
Your website is your place to house all this content, from videos to PDF help sheets to podcasts clients can listen to on a weekly basis for some company, knowledge or advice.
Your “content hub” is then linked to from your social media updates and can be used as a basis for other social media content such as visual quotes using a programme such as Canva.
Regular content updates on your website show Google your site is living and breathing and indicative of a healthy business. For each piece of content you create, you can optimise it for keywords that will help you get found in Google Search. The Yoast WordPress plugin is particularly helpful for setting this up.
- Do I post regular blog posts e.g. weekly/monthly?
- Is my content helpful/informative/easy-to-read/entertaining/valuable?
- Is all my content purely promotional?
- Can I use any of my posts to create small-scale visual content for social media?
- Do I share all my articles/content on social media?
- Do I optimise my articles for keywords?
Social media is for creating shareable updates with the aim of reaching a new audience. But how do you make your existing clients feel special?
The answer is with email.
People can sign up for your news and marketing via your website when you offer them a good reason. This way, you can keep in touch with them and they may become a customer later. You also want to use email to nurture the relationship with your existing customers. You will speak to these groups differently because they are at different customer lifecycle stages.
Tailor your newsletters to each individual segment (potential customers, current customers and past customers) so that they are reading the news, content and offers that most apply to them.
You also need to think about introducing email automation sequences into your email marketing strategy so that once someone signs up to receive news, they go on a unique content journey to help establish a rapport and help keep you in their minds. Perhaps a month after a customer signs up with you, you could send them an initial feedback survey, and six months later, you can automatically release an email asking them to leave a review.
An email platform such as Mailchimp will help you manage all your email campaigns and contacts in the one place.
- Have my email contacts opted in to receiving marketing emails from my company?
- Can they unsubscribe from emails?
- Where do replies go?
- Am I emailing my warm contacts regularly?
- Do I use segmented lists to target my contacts differently?
- Am I sharing all my original content with my customers via email?
As much as we like to believe our brilliant content will be magically picked up by algorithms and seen by all our fans, the truth is that organic (not paid for) reach is diminishing. Businesses are forced to pay if they want their posts to be seen.
There are two main platforms for online advertising that you should seriously look into: Google Ads and Facebook Ads.
Your approach will be different for each platform. On Google, more often than not you are hoping to reach people searching for keywords relating to your business. On Facebook, you are mostly targeting specific demographic segments who will see your ad in their newsfeed. Of course, there are crossovers and a variety of targeting options, but that is the simple way to explain it. Both platforms allow you to create retargeting campaigns, which enable you to show more adverts to people who have interacted with your site or social media post previously.
Using online advertising gets your brand out into the world. One advert will not generate lots of business. Instead, it’s a strategy you nurture over time using a blend of targeting options. The first step is simply to start doing it. Failsafes for running your campaign without overspending are to set campaign budgets and campaign end dates.
- Who is my audience?
- What do I want them to do when they click on my ad?
- Where am I sending them to?
- What creative assets will I need e.g. images/videos
- What is my campaign budget?
- Are people clicking on my adverts?
- What is my cost per click compared to the value of one client?
- Am I testing my adverts to see which performs best?
The purpose of this post is to give you an overview of the different elements of digital marketing and help you think about how you can build on your current strategy.
Some things you will be able to implement with your current team, but no-one is expecting you to be a digital marketing expert. Instead, you just need to be aware of what tactics you can adopt, even if you have to outsource.
Apollo Care supports franchisees in getting set up in the digital space, providing a franchise webpage and digital marketing training so you don’t have to feel overwhelmed.
Download our prospectus to get started.