Setting up a new retirement community or care facility is a high level investment. It’s important from the outset to make sure you get the best results.
Right from the planning application phase, to opening and running the facility, you need to have a well thought-out business plan that also includes your marketing strategy.
I’ve had discussions with some Providers who think this is too early in the process, but I beg to differ. Here are some of the reasons why planning your marketing early puts you at an advantage.
1. Spot opportunities early
Planning your marketing
strategy early will open up opportunities that may otherwise be missed, or at
best, take longer to develop. Time lost may delay progress later.
2. Allocate budget
A strategy that also includes an allocated budget for sales, marketing and communication initiatives for the lifespan of the project is instrumental to success. You can make sure your marketing spend works hard for you and delivers a return on investment.
3. Create awareness
Before a planning application is submitted, organisations are required to consult with the local community about their intended designs and plans for the project. This is a great opportunity to create awareness of your business and the intended new build.
4. Develop stakeholder relationships
Telling people about the
project and sharing information about future job prospects will raise your
profile in the local area and help you to start forging strong links within the
Consultation events do not need
to be a tick box exercise for planning. They could also be used in your
marketing plan to engage with your target audience and develop relationships
with key stakeholders and prospective clients.
5. Address concerns
Engaging with the local
community at an early stage will help you to address any immediate concerns or
objections that may come to light, to make sure that your plans have the best
chance at approval.
Support for your project is
essential and so use the occasion to show your commitment, even before the
planning application has been submitted.
6. Positive PR
Setting up a new development in a community will generate both positive and negative reactions. By implementing a well thought-out marketing plan you can pre-empt, manage and control your messaging to make sure that information is effectively shared throughout the duration of the project.
PR opportunities and dialogue with key stakeholders is essential. You may also identify potential partners or influencers that would benefit the project later in the development process.
7. Promote your brand
The opportunity to promote your brand, advertise staff vacancies and share information about the project build is immense once planning has been approved. Not only is it great advertising but it also helps to establish your brand in the community.
Branding on site hoardings
should be a key element of your marketing plan and be in place shortly after
planning has been achieved.
8. Generate leads
Starting early will give you a chance to think through a process for handling and managing enquiries to make sure that none are lost or badly handled to impact reputation. Building a database of prospective clients throughout the project build will yield benefits.
Also, discussions with people
who have enquired will provide valuable insights that may aid the development
and shaping of the project.
Why wait …
Using the time before the
planning and during the project build to think through and address the points
noted above will enable you to take control and manage the entire sales and
marketing process to make sure that opportunities are identified and not
Edna Petzen is director and marketing consultant at Lynden Consulting, a specialist marketing and communications company to the adult social care sector. We work with private, public and not-for-profit operators of retirement communities, extra care housing, residential and nursing care, home care, day care and providers of specialist provision for adults and older people. Get in touch to find out how we can help.