For an in-home care provider, the benefits of joining a national franchisor are vast, particularly in the age of COVID-19. Among the infrastructure advantages are marketing benefits, as a national franchisor is in an ‘always-on’ position building the brand while a local home care agency focuses on delivering care and eliminates the work that a startup must take to build a brand and name recognition in their marketplace.
Here are four major such benefits — all ways in which an independent home care agency can receive support for those duties and focus on doing what they want to do most: deliver great care.
Tap into all of the built-in advantages of an existing organization
While an independent agency must create all marketing materials from scratch, a national franchisor creates a library of established assets for local agency use. They have a system in place with established experts who understand how to help agencies tap into a variety of media outlets, from collateral to content, digital and social. These experts also know how to capture both earned and paid media and, of course, how to manage the best possible website — one that drives hits on search engines.
“The advantage of a national organization is we’re disciplined in multiple areas,” says Teresa Celmer, Senior Vice President of Marketing of national in-home care franchise company BrightStar Care. “National branding power is a large benefit in what we bring to the table, and we want to be able to support local franchisees in everything they do.”
Joining a national franchisor means gaining access to a marketing organization that has all marketing tools at their fingertips.
“Content, design, media plans, network buying power — all marketing channels are in sync to drive brand awareness,” she says.
Fill in marketing “blindspots” — including websites and social media
A professional marketing team can give a home care agency the guidance it needs in how and where to spend its money and fill in knowledge gaps. In terms of marketing blindspots for independent agencies, Celmer identifies two big ones: websites and social media.
“I would say the power of the website is a big one,” Celmer says. “I think we’re not spending enough time on websites, which stems from not understanding what SEO means. At a national level, we’re able to be a thought leader, but the blind spot is the investment the local franchisee needs to make to not only complement the national message but to differentiate themselves at the local level.”
The second potential blindspot, she says, is investing in social media. While there are plenty of agencies that have some experience with social, plenty of others remain behind.
“There is a gap,” she says. “So as a national brand, we’re able to bring best practices and playbooks to get them there quickly.”
PR pros can steer reporters your way — at both a national and local level
National press matters and can be difficult to get. But local attention matters too, and a public relations team that knows how to blend the two is putting the agency on a path to success.
“I think that some people don’t realize the power of earned media,” Celmer says. “What the national presence does, from a PR standpoint, is that it sets the stage, but there are also important messages that only resonate on a local level.”
BrightStar Care helps agencies, for example, tell their story to local reporters, because those reporters and news outlets know how to translate a story to a local audience — the very people who will be making decisions about home health services. These stories can then bubble up to a national level, while more broadly, a national outlet can help create a buzz around the agency and lends it additional credibility.
“We reinforce best practices for earned media and support our franchises on a daily basis, whether through the local news or the local papers, or through social media as well,” Celmer says. “We teach them how to fish, if you will.”
Pair with a partner, and focus on delivering care
At the end of the day, a home care agency wants to focus on what it does best: provide care. Marketing and media help make that possible, especially when fueled by a national organization.
“Our department’s vision is to drive revenue, and a lot of it has to do with generating leads through a mixed-media model to fill the top of the funnel,” Celmer says. “Imagine you’re a local agency and your phone is ringing because of those national efforts. We are able to be with you every step of the way. We have a deliberate process that we walk through, and it involves not only the marketing team or recruitment team — it involves operations.”
In fact, BrightStar Care’s founder & CEO spends over three hours with every new owner in a training session that runs through all the proven practices in which they will help drive leads and operational excellence to that agency, and to reinforce the importance of these efforts throughout the sales process.
“Our formula is ‘simplification’ as well as ‘continuity,’” Celmer says. “The local franchisee has to wear so many hats, so why not be part of a national brand that can help support you?”
This article is sponsored by BrightStar Care. BrightStar Care is a national private duty home care and medical staffing franchise with nearly 340 locations which provide medical and non-medical services to clients within their homes, as well as supplemental care staff to corporate clients. BrightStar Care franchise locations across the country employ over 20,000 caregivers and over 3,500 nurses who play a unique role in overseeing the care for each individual client. To learn more about becoming a franchisee please visit brightstarfranchising.com.