One of the most fundamental and overlooked pieces of a marketing plan for many agencies is the lack of a unified message of education. Education of referral sources and education of potential patients is not only worthwhile, but essential in today’s competitive market.
Education starts with the physician and his office staff. Have you ever talked to a physician only to find out he or she has no clue what home health is or what can be done for a patient? This happens frequently. Use this interaction as an opportunity to review and update what your agency can do for his or her patients. Whether it’s a specialty program for nursing or a specialized program from therapy, explain and provide proof your programs work! Outcomes can provide the necessary information to help bolster your agency’s success. During this time, you can also leave educational material, marketing material and contact information for the office and physician.
Don’t let this important opportunity slip and not reinforce the relationship…Ask what the best and easiest method of communication for the physician and the office is. Should you fax or mail orders or provide web portal access? What about patient status updates and changes in condition, what is the best way to relay this critical information?
Most important, fully explain the necessity, need and purpose of Face to Face. Stress the importance of clearly explaining why the services are needed and the full explanation of why the patient is home bound. Don’t let this opportunity pass!
Patient education is already a part of your agency. But, educating future patients is probably not thought of as a source of referrals. Working with community organizations, plan a few night time gatherings or mid-morning functions to help explain what your agency does, how to contact you, and all of the benefits available to the community members. With these functions, the potential for children to bring elderly parents to the events allows you to gather email addresses for a weekly or monthly newsletter. Staying in contact will help you land such referrals should the attendees need future services.
Marketing materials should be plentiful at these meetings and gatherings. Include memo pads and post it notes, pens that are designed for the elderly and nylon shopping bags with your logo and contact information. Another great idea, although more expensive is to provide walker and wheelchair bags that can be attached to their equipment. Not only will you get your name out there wherever the potential patient goes, the potential patient knows who to call when needed!
Who should be in charge of marketing and education? You! No one explains an agency better than the agency owner. If you have marketing staff, work closely with them to bring together your unified message. Being a locally owned, for profit agency goes a long way in the community. Your local positioning allows that special touch and personal service that larger, national agencies cannot do. Do not let them push you out of the way or push you around.
Not sure where to start or would like more ideas to help grow your agency? Give me a call or email me. Let’s talk about how education of referral sources and a fully planned marketing plan can give your agency the boost it needs to be number one!