My how things have changed in the past few years! It doesn’t seem that long ago when companies placed advertisements in newspapers and spent marketing budgets on preferred phone book listings. But those days are long gone, and many home care agency owners are playing catch-up.
Leaders who have fallen behind the times a bit need not worry, however. The “scary” world of online marketing isn’t as intimidating as it seems. In fact, the first place to start is actually quite user friendly. And it’s FREE!
Here are the top reasons home care agency owners should prioritize having a “Google My Business” (GMB) listing and ways in which the free service drives business.
What is GMB?
GMB is simply a Google-based listing that synchronizes a company’s core information across relevant Google platforms. For those who haven’t noticed, Google has developed a suite of products over time, including Google Search, Maps, Gmail, Documents, etc. The purpose of GMB is to create a centralized and accessible business profile that is linked to the appropriate Google services, namely Search and Maps.
How do I create a GMB listing?
Some long-standing home care agencies may already have “unclaimed” GMB listings. If that’s the case, then the owner simply needs to claim it. If there’s no current listing, then one can be created. Either way, the process is similar and can be started with this link. The business can be searched by name in order to determine if a listing already exists or needs to be created from scratch.
Google then walks the authorized user through a simple process to create or claim a GMB listing. It’s important to note that there’s an option to specify services that are performed at a client’s home as opposed to the office location. This is obviously a critical distinction for home care agencies. Agency owners can identify service region by zip codes or even via a tool that specifies a radius distance from the office.
Finally, Google walks users through a verification procedure that requires the sending an actual letter to confirm a business’s physical address. Google replies with a “postcard” that has a verification code, and the listing is up-and-running once the code is entered into GMB. The entire process usually takes one week.
Once GMB is created, it syncs the home care agency information with Google Search and Google Maps functions, and the business location is automatically displayed on Google Maps.
Why does GMB matter for my home care agency, generally?
GMB ties into a home health marketing technique generally referred to as “location-based strategy.” The idea is to corral prospective clients into the agency’s orbit through local online search results. Location-based strategy is particularly relevant in home care, since services are regional and require a local presence.
While most people are aware of Google’s significance, it’s important to provide some perspective. It’s estimated that 90% of worldwide web-based search is done via Google! Just think about what that means to a home care agency with multiple nearby competitors.
Why does GMB matter for my home care agency, specifically?
People Prefer Local Care Providers
GMB confirms a home care agency’s local presence within a community and populates it on Google Maps for quick exposure and access.
Accurate, Real-Time Data
When choosing between multiple listings on Google Search or Google Maps, people want to quickly know that a home care agency is still operational and open for business—particularly in emergency situations.
Google Reviews & Company Responses
Yelp is still a resource for home care agencies, but Google Reviews has assumed the number one spot for professional online feedback. Positive reviews help home care agencies add value in a competitive marketplace. But they also improve Google Search results!
Savvy home care agencies can also utilize the platform to mitigate damage from negative reviews by providing prompt responses. Moreover, caregiver companies can solicit positive reviews by linking company websites and official social media accounts.
GMB allows home care agencies to manage their public information, including phone numbers, addresses and hours of operation. It further aids prospective clients by providing a concise summary of services that populates in Google Search and Maps platforms. This latter feature is particularly beneficial for home care providers, as services are often confused with skilled nursing and other healthcare offerings.
Drives Website Traffic
As previously stated, positive Google Reviews actually contribute to improved search positioning. But, home care agencies can further drive traffic by posting pictures and images of relevant licenses, certifications, awards and honors. Also, effective use of SEO keywords in a GMB listing influences search results exactly as it does with a company website!
Provides Actionable Data & Analytics
GMB allows home care marketing professionals to review Google Search statistics, data and analytics. Home care leaders can determine how many people contacted the agency directly through Google Search and Maps links, etc. It’s another tool that helps hone SEO strategy, and it’s free!
Used by Third-Party Platforms
GMB data is the standard used by many third-party platforms that create other phone apps and search tools. So, home care agencies that don’t have a robust GMB listing are likely to miss-out on exposure from other products and services. It’s basically the new “phone book.”
It can be hard for home care agency owners to keep up with all the available digital marketing tools these days. And to be fair, it’s not always necessary to “keep up with the Jones’” in every aspect. However, GMB really is a no-brainer.
The service is free and linked to other universally-used Google platforms. Caregiver companies that stay connected to the ecosystem are sure to benefit from passive exposure and easy business!
If your home care agency is in need of comprehensive home health marketing solutions, be sure to contact the industry’s number one expert ASAP!