There are a number of ways to fill your sales funnel, and a successful marketing strategy employs multiple methods. The best methods are usually the ones that send warm leads (that is, leads actively looking for the services you offer) directly to you. What if those leads come with an endorsement too? A reason to trust your agency before they even have a conversation with your sales staff?
Referral marketing can do this.
What is referral marketing?
Referral marketing is a means of promoting your home care agency by word of mouth through trusted sources in your community.
Referral marketing is effective because the recommendation is passed to the potential client from a trusted source—that might be a hospital discharge nurse, an assisted living facility, doctors’ offices, Medicaid programs, insurance providers, social services, or other community resources the local VA hospital, or faith leaders.
Endorsements matter. According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers globally trust recommendations from people they know more than any other type of advertising.
Referrals often come at critical decision-making points. For instance, a family working with post-operative discharge to find home care for a family member recovering from surgery. It may also come from a family physician offering solutions for aging in place after a critical diagnosis.
Why referral marketing is a valuable addition to your home care marketing strategy
There are good reasons to add referral marketing to your mix.
- Bring in warm leads who are already in the market for your home care services
- Build your reputation for being a trusted care provider
- Begin establishing confidence with new leads even before first contact is made
- A relatively passive way to add new client leads to your sales funnel
- A relatively cost-efficient means of attracting new leads
Types of home care referral sources
In the world of client referrals, there are two source types: personal and professional.
Personal referrals come from your existing clients and caregivers. Professional referrals come from outside your organization. Both are a valuable part of your agency’s marketing mix, and can be encouraged and incentivized.
In the case of professional referrals, agencies can cast a wider net in the community and ensure that clients receive the recommendation when they’re looking for your care services. Forging relationships with your professional referrers requires some effort and investment, but the benefits can be great.
What are the best referral sources for home care agencies?
- Trusted relationships. Tap the network of connections you already have. Perhaps a member of your staff is an active member of a non-profit organization and can approach their leadership. Perhaps you already have a good relationship with a senior healthcare clinic. Start with those relationships.
- Consider volume. Consider the sources that can bring you a quantity of referrals. That’s where your resources should be directed.
- Look for mutual benefit. If you want someone to endorse you, consider how you can return the favor. Perhaps there is a local senior activity center or memory care clinic that you feel comfortable recommending to your clients. Those contacts will be more likely to send you leads if they can expect some in return.
How to set up a home care referral marketing program that works
You probably have an existing network of potential referrers, all it takes is getting them to easily send you their leads.
- Get involved in your community. Make a point to get involved in your community and meet people who work in the senior care and healthcare sphere.
- Provide collateral, both physical and digital. If you want someone to provide home care referrals, then give them something to hand over, digitally send, or talk about. This will help them talk with authority about your business and high standard of care, and make the lead more likely to reach out. (Don’t forget to put contact information and the name of a person to contact on the collateral.)
- Stay in touch. Keep those relationships warm with regular contact—and make it personal. Get to know the individuals providing those referrals and get invested in a personal relationship. Ask about their family, ask about their business or organization.
- Follow up quickly. When you get those warm leads, follow up quickly. Not only does that increase the chances of closing that sale, it also protects their reputation as a trusted member of the community.
- Offer to return the favor. If you’re asking them to endorse your business, ask what you can do in return.
- Treat them as experts. People love to be asked for their advice. They’re experts in their own sphere, so don’t hesitate to tap their knowledge—what do their clients ask, need, or worry about? How can you be a better service provider to the community?
- Flag incoming referrals in your CRM so you can track the most lucrative referral sources and, later on, thank your referrers.
- Express gratitude. Don’t forget to thank the people sending you those referrals. A simple card or email goes a long way to recognize the help they’re providing.
Start attracting home care referrals and fill your sales funnel
Home Care Marketing Pros know what it takes to keep a sales funnel full and fresh. CareFunnels can help you attract and manage client referrals, track your sales progress, and close more sales. Ready to get started? Book a demo.