Billable hours are the economic engine that drive Personal Care Home Health (Private Duty) companies. I know this well, because I actually own a Personal Care Home Health Company called Homewatch CareGivers, www.thehomecareexpert.com and my challenge over the years has been understanding how best to drive billable hours.
My initial efforts started with a traditional sales model. I had three sales people working the segments of Geriatric Case Managers, ElderLaw Attorneys, Assist Living Communities and the well. Maybe I didn’t have the right people and/or I didn’t do a good job with training, but the results were poor.
So I changed my direction and and came up with a new plan. I implemented an Internet and social media strategy and saw that after 8 months my billable hours grew from 3,500 billable hours to over 6,000 billable hours per month. I’d like to share what I did.
The rationale for this move was supported by an article I read in the Wall Street Journal which sited that next to Adult Content, the next thing people search for on line is health and medical information and resources.
The first thing I did was build a great online presence for my brand, but more importantly I took the time to educate myself and invested financial resources toward serious Search Engine Optimization (SEO). I met an expert in web development, digital marketing and SEO, Al Baiocchi, the President of FrontPage Interactive. Al helped me develop my website with a focus on maximizing the opportunities to rank all of my website 127 pages on the first page of a the major search engines. SEO is a long term process and requires patience and long term commitment, but here is just one example how my site pages are displaying in the “organic” results of Google:
This type of “organic” or natural search traffic is highly targeted and generally results in better lead conversion than Pay-Per-Click advertising. Recent statistics show that an “Organic” search result is 8.5 times more likely to be clicked that a pay-per-click ad.
The second thing I did was invest in working with Caring.Com, an online referral service. I made sure we obtained clients reviews and posted them on Caring.Com which helped strengthen our position. Last month we received 16 referrals from Caring.Com of which 3 converted to a Start-of-Care. One was a 24-hour Live In Case. I also work with ElderCare Link which is another online referral service. The other referrals are on our pending list which we are working on.
The third thing I did was to hire a publicist. The objective was to help enhance our visibility and establish Homewatch as an authority (not just an expert) in personal care services. This lead to people both accessing our website and directly calling the office.
Lastly, I employed a Public Relations/Communication professional to help support the publicist work occurring as well as establish our presence on Facebook and LinkedIn.
While I have not given up on direct sales, I am firmly putting into place our internet and social media strategy.