As we are building our aging in place services businesses – regardless of what that is and what geographic area we intend to serve – we need consumers. Therefore, some type of promotion is going to be required. There are several ways this can be accomplished, and the most traditional way of mass promotion is advertising – historically print media. That said, newspaper advertising or similar forms such as magazines or circulars may not be the most appropriate vehicle in terms of cost, exposure, and rate of return for the services or products we offer or who we are intending to serve.
Running the ads is fairly straightforward. It’s the return that’s tricky. How many people that we want to attract to purchase our services, contact us for more information, discuss their situation with us, or to schedule an appointment will actually see our ad in the selected publication? If it’s a rather low probability, then this is not something we would want to consider even when the cost to advertise this way might be reasonable. Typically, however, print advertising it is expensive – especially when compared to other types of promotion that we might want to do.
If there are circulars or specialty newspapers that serve the market we want to attract – a specific neighborhood or age group – that could be a good use of our money, and the return might be reasonable. Here, we would be targeting a population that we felt was more likely to need what we offer and therefore more likely to respond positively to our ad or ads. Direct mail falls into this same category because we can choose which neighborhoods or specific homes will receive our messages. We just need to be prepared to conduct a multiple mailing campaign rather than just sending a single message.
Brochures, in the most commonly used form today of a trifold (a sheet of paper folded into thirds and printed on both sides, creating six panels of information), where we showcase our services and key points about what we offer can be beneficial to have, but there is a question of whether they are more effective being sent out without being requested (or left in public places for people to pick up on their own) or used to respond to inquiries that have been generated in other ways. As a means of creating interest in our business without any other foundation, they may not be that helpful to us.
However, electronic brochures – websites – have replaced many forms of marketing today. Print ads that once were found in newspapers now can be seen online – in our website, on another site where we have paid to advertise, or in a publication that has an online edition. We can tell our story, let others share their experiences working with us through testimonials, illustrate key features and benefits about what we offer, and provide a means for interested members of the public to contact us for information or to talk with us.
In fact, nearly every business has a website today – or at least a domain name – even if the website hasn’t gone live, is still under construction, or underperforms. Some are quite basic, some has broken or inactive links, and some are quite extensive with many resources, links, and pages. To be active in today’s marketplace – whether we are local, regional, or whatever market we are intending to serve – means that a website is required. It is not something that is nice to have. It is a necessity. If we are open for business without the means for people to search for and find us online, we a hidden from public view and must make other arrangements to connect with people who can benefit from what we offer.
Participating in social media is related to having a website because similar information is shared, and our social media profile typically includes a link back to our website This means that if people are looking for services or products such as we offer, or they find us because of our connections or relationships with others they have viewed online, they can find our website in this way. To be totally public and not look like we don’t want to be found, however, we should have a complete profile (with all of the requested information on the site completed – no blanks), a photos, a nice description of what we do and who we are so that people can decide that we are someone they want to engage, and then our contact information so they can reach us.
Business cards are important as well, but usually, they are conveyed by us to people interested in knowing more about what we do or being able to contact us in the future after we have personally met them or spoken with them and not just distributed at random or left in public places for people to take as they like.