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The Caregiver's  Home Companion

July 5, 2006
Identify Your Market for Effective Use of Messaging and Media

May 31, 2006
3-Ms for Success: Message, Market, Media

May 10, 2006
Marketing Your Services Means Covering All the Bases

March 29, 2006
Selling Value Over Price Is Worth Every Effort

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Posted: January 05, 2006

Professional Caregiving

Professional Caregiving Resolutions, 2006 Style

I love the start of a new year. It brings to mind that the possibilities are endless, and for many of us, it’s a great time to start something new or different in our lives.
I’d be a rich person if I had a nickel for everyone out there who has decided to open a new in-home care agency, open a professional geriatric care management practice, or start some sort of eldercare business. (I get a call or email about this at least three times per week consistently!)
What I know for sure is that there is plenty of business to go around. As we live longer, as our parents and grandparents live longer, we create an unlimited opportunity and need for senior related services.
The key is to create an appropriate and realistic business and marketing plan that generates clients and results. The key to the senior market is, not surprisingly, their adult children – their family caregivers.
If you have been in the senior market for any period of time, you know that families often contact senior service providers when they are in crisis due to an acute illness or some other event that signals the need for services and support.
So, whether you are just starting a new senior/elder care business or already own one, think about marketing to more than just seniors. Your target audience may be a little younger than you imagine!
Consider some of the other things we have talked about over the last few months:
  • Issues related to senior living options, senior care options, and financial issues that affect seniors require education, so educate your prospects.
  • Advertising with vanity ads and the “same old thing” is “OUT,” and offering information in the form of a free report, CD, seminar, or consultation is “IN.”
  • Directing messages to baby-boomers who HAVE aging parents is key. Finding them is not always as easy as buying a “list”.
  • Understanding financial options for seniors is a MUST for all senior service providers. It’s impossible to offer good advice to a family if you aren’t up on the latest programs and strategies.
  • Networking is possibly the most effective and least costly form of advertising and marketing. You should attend only the networking events that make sense for your business. Pick two or three key groups and stick with them. (But try as many as you can; it never hurts to check out a new group!)
  • When you are budgeting for your marketing, budget for consistency and frequency, not the big bang. This market does not work like that.
    • The reality is that you must touch a consumer 6-10 times -- either through print, radio, or TV, in order to get a response.
    • Running a radio ad four times and pulling the ad because you didn’t get a phone call is not the way to execute a marketing strategy.
    • This is a sensitive subject for many (long-term care needs), so in short order you must articulate your message, interrupt your target (i.e., get their attention), engage them, educate them, and then make an offer.
    • Offering something for free -- your time, your printed report, your audio CD, etc, will get the most response. Some people like to remain anonymous . . . so let them, but engage them.


Valerie VanBooven RN, BSN, PGCM, is a registered nurse, professional geriatric care manager, author, and professional speaker. She is a leading expert on long-term care planning and crisis management. Valerie is president of Senior Care Solutions, a private geriatric care management practice in the St. Louis area. Her books include Aging Answers: Secrets to Successful Long-Term Care Planning, Caregiving, and Crisis Management and her website is She can be reached at .

© 2006 Pederson Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Commercial use, redistribution or other forms of reuse of this information is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission of Pederson Publishing.

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