The market is like a basket of crabs. Whenever a home care agency tries the climb out and be different, the other crabs in the basket grab hold with their pincers and drag it back down. It's another version of the blue ocean vs. red ocean strategy - differentiation is what makes you stand out, and the market will work against you.
Differentiation is what makes marketing work, and the essential way that companies position themselves for growth. If you have it, you can grow. Without a differentiation strategy, you'll have to compete for the crumbs in a crowded basket of crabs (or if you prefer, a red ocean full of sharks).
A lack of differentiation guarantees that you'll remain invisible. You'll stay a best kept secret in spite of the quality of your services, your experience, or actual differences in the services you offer.
A Lot of Advisors Are Getting Differentiation Wrong
Here's what you can't choose as a differentiator- anything that everyone else can claim is also true about their company. That takes many focus areas off the table.
A simple way for you to make your own list of what others are claiming is to do a 15 minute website review of your top competitors. Make a list of the things they say about their business on their website home page. You'll see pretty quickly that there is a lot of repetition. All of those claims (the ones that everyone is making) will keep any home care agency that uses them invisible.
Your customers can't tell the difference between home care agencies because they all:
- Make claims about great caregivers
- Talk about the quality of care
- Promise to pay attention right away
- Have a long list of care options they provide
You Might Be Invisible If...
The outcomes of poor differentiation can signal to you that you've got to rethink how to present the unique value of your services. If two or more of these things are true, then you may have a differentiation and visibility problem:
- When you run ads, they cost more and more, but produce less and less.
- You get few quality customers from your website.
- You have a higher than average employee turnover rate.
- The only real source of new business is referrals.
- You've noticed some new players in the market, with much less to offer, who are growing more quickly that you are.
Thinking Differently About Home Care Differentiation
In order to differentiate your home care agency, you have to think differently about what makes you special in the eyes of your future customers or employees (differentiation is also what makes recruiting and retention more effective).
Hopefully your current customers report that the personal attention, even affection, that they have with their caregivers is important to them. And hopefully, they appreciate the quality of care and consistency you provide.
But neither having a special relationship with a caregiver or showing up on time is what drives prospects.
The path to identifying what makes you special begins with understanding what drives your customers. Differentiation that works is always connected to the needs of your prospects. Here's how to think about this in a way that leads to differentiation and greater visibility:
In the moment of an online search, or asking for information by telephone, what is driving the prospect or their family to reach out?
When you discover these key drivers for your customers, you can begin to pair that up against the unique characteristics of your agency. This is where the proverbial "rubber meets the road" in terms of differentiation. Your marketing has to focus on those factors that are most important to the customer, rather than the ones that are most important to you.
Comparing the factors that you choose for your messaging with what all the other agencies claim will tell you how powerful it will be in marketing.
If you choose well, you'll see:
- Ad costs go down and quality leads go up.
- More web visitors who become customers.
- Faster sales cycles and more "yes" answers from prospects.
- Stronger organic (no ads required) visits on your website.
- Better responses to email and outreach.