Mobile marketing is well established and an essential element of a multichannel marketing strategy. However, many small and medium-sized businesses in the adult social care sector are yet to fully embrace the benefits of mobile marketing.
Our research shows that of the organisations yet to engage with mobile as an essential part of marketing their business, the most common reasons cited is not thinking there is a need for mobile marketing in adult social care provision, a lack of technical know-how, potential costs and limited resources.
We’ve looked at the data and here are some reasons why you need to make mobile an essential part of your business marketing.
Growing numbers of silver surfers
In it’s latest report, the Office of National Statistics found that recent internet use in the 65 to 74 age group increased from 52% in 2011 to 80% in 2018, closing the gap on younger age groups. Furthermore, since 2011, the percentage of adults aged 65 years and over, who have never used the internet has declined by 27 percentage points.
The growth in people’s use of technology in later life has seen many 65+ year olds increasingly active online, often using a mobile phone or tablet device to access information, connect with family and friends, purchase goods and services, or for personal entertainment like gaming, listening to music or watching videos.
Nearly half (48%) of internet users within this age range have a social media profile. Facebook continues to remain the social media platform of choice, with WhatsApp and YouTube also widely used to communicate and stay connected.
However, some older people lack confidence online. A fifth (20%) of people over 65 describe themselves as ‘not confident’ online which is higher than the national average (7%).
There’s no hiding from the fact that increasingly older people are using mobile technology in much the same way as younger people and this trend is unlikely to stop any time soon.
The research findings speak for themselves and present a strong case on the merits of incorporating mobile in your marketing strategy as a social care provider. Your service users and their families will be using mobile to research, make contact and even decide if they want to use your business, based on the information they find online. A desktop only view of your website could be limiting your reach. All the more reason to make sure you have a strong mobile digital footprint.
A few years ago, companies required a separate mobile website to a desktop version, and creating the two came with a high price tag. The good news is that this is no longer the case. Most websites created today are suitable for both desktop and mobile use.
A mobile responsive website can adapt to various screen sizes automatically and is now standard with most new website builds. This significantly cuts the cost of developing a website to work across different devices, and also eliminates the need for two separate websites.
A large number of websites are now created using a Content Management System (CMS) such as WordPress or Drupal. The framework of such websites allow for responsive resizing to fit the browser of the device that is being used to view the website. If your website has been created in the last few years, it’s very likely that it would have been created using this technology.
A top tip for when designing a website is to think mobile. Make sure that the design, navigation and the format of content on your website is suitable on mobile first before developing for the desktop view.
Another key feature of a CMS is the ability to amend content, often without the need for technical coding and/or development.
Once the website has been designed and built, most CMS will allow the administrator to amend and change content with limited input, if any, from a technical expert. This will enable you to have greater flexibility to help you keep content on your website up-to-date and relevant, cutting out the middleman whenever a change needs to be made.
It’s important to discuss the specifications of the CMS right at the start of any new website build to make sure it can meet your requirements and scale with your business. If your website is already in place and well established, then investing to improve the features and capabilities of the CMS is worth considering and could be valuable in the long run.
Most web developers will provide some form of training to make sure you have the technical know-how to maintain and manage the website. Make sure you take full advantage of this training so that members of your team know how to make routine amendments to content on your website without incurring additional costs. However, do bear in mind that depending on the CMS used and the extent of the changes required, some additional costs may apply.
Resources and costs
As mentioned above, creating a responsive website is the first step to incorporating mobile in your business marketing.
Some web platforms also offer extensive features that can optimise your mobile marketing even further, including the possibility of developing Apps to enhance the customer experience. You may also want to consider digital advertising, for example using remarketing, SMS, MMS and social media.
Your budget and experience will determine how far you can incorporate different mobile technologies in your overall marketing plan. When developing your marketing campaigns make a point to allocate resources and budget to include a mobile component. This will support the more traditional marketing initiatives you use, for example advertising, brochures, posters, etc to make sure you obtain maximum reach and impact.
Another top tip is to analyse your website’s performance to gain helpful insights into how people use your website. Google Analytics provides detailed reports including a breakdown of the devices used and referral sources to help you understand the user journey so that you can concentrate on the areas that yield the best results for your business.
So to conclude, the evidence is clear, mobile technology use amongst older adults is on the increase and will continue. It’s essential therefore that social care businesses expand their reach by incorporating mobile into their marketing strategy.
If you need an explanation on any of the terms used in this blog, check out our Jargon Buster
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.