Marketing is expensive. With LTC reimbursements on the decline, it is more imperative than ever to trim costs. During crunch times, marketing budgets are often among the first to be slashed in favor of direct patient care budgets. However, this can be detrimental to bottom lines when it leads to empty beds. So how do you balance effective marketing while conserving money? One way is the effective use of resident and visitor testimonials.
Notice the use of the word effective. You already know testimonials are an effective way to connect with consumers and build trust—so let's focus on the best way to leverage these testimonials. It's no longer enough these days to put a couple glowing visitor comments on brochures that sit in your lobby. Consumers see right through hand-picked testimonials and place little value on them ... that is, if they ever even come in to see your brochures.
Consumers are savvy these days when it comes to obtaining information to help them make informed decisions. They're accustomed to researching purchases such as automobiles and travel online, comparing vital facts like quality, price, features, and consumer reviews. They expect, and get, detailed information on the products and services they need. Now they're beginning to transfer these expectations to their healthcare decisions as more consumer websites and government agencies spend time and effort educating them. As a result, consumers are turning to the Internet for information. According to Google, the Web site had about a million Internet searches on the phrase "nursing homes" in August 2009 alone.
When these consumers search for long-term care on the Internet, most pieces of information regarding quality, services provided, and even cost are found relatively easily. Consumer reviews, however, are more difficult to find—and that's where your opportunity lies. By participating in and encouraging reviews on third party websites, you differentiate yourself from competitors and you begin to build trust with consumers. Having these testimonials on a third party Web site accomplishes two things: 1) your information is more likely to be found and exposed to a wider audience because these sites specialize in driving traffic; and 2) consumers will be more likely to trust the information because it is coming from a neutral third party.
You can spend time and money on traditional marketing that may go unnoticed, or you can start building trust and relationships with consumers already searching for long-term care by participating with an independent ratings website.
WhereToFindCare.com can help LTC operators incorporate testimonials in marketing efforts at no cost. Visit http://www.wheretofindcare.com/PatientSatisfaction.aspx to learn more.