In order to develop and implement a successful integrated PR and Digital strategy, we first had to review Bluebird Care’s current way of doing things. We quickly identified that both sales and recruitment had to work simultaneously; without enough staff, you can’t convert new leads, without new leads, you can’t grow. It was a challenge to create a marketing plan that increased staff levels and helped to grow the business.
In the first month, we soaked up as much information as we could about Bluebird Care. We met with as many people as we could from all sides of the business to understand and appreciate what being a home care provider was. Without this insight, we couldn’t challenge the current way of doing things and recommend how best to move marketing forward.
“We quickly identified that both sales and recruitment had to work simultaneously; without enough staff you can’t convert new leads, without new leads, you can’t grow.”
Lisa Prescott, Chalk + Ward, Director
Part of the overall marketing strategy was to focus efforts on PR to help raise awareness and to position Bluebird Care as the go-to provider of care services and being the best care employer within their catchment areas. To qualify our messaging, we substantiated all communications with Bluebird Care’s outstanding CQC rating.
We developed a comprehensive PR plan to target next of kin audiences by promoting care services. We created a specific theme each month to promote all aspects of care and the benefits of talking about care. These themes were integrated across digital marketing and PR activities and included: planning care, loneliness, wellbeing, live-in care, and dementia. Where possible, we linked in with national activity to leverage extra coverage, i.e. Dementia Awareness Week and Young Carers Week. To extend reach, bi-monthly events were planned to further promote care messages through community outreach and engagement initiatives.
By negotiating a significant editorial package to support a paid-for advertising contract with regional and local magazines enabled us to heavily promote Bluebird Care services. More overt, sales advertising was supported by carefully considered, emotive feature pieces based on that month’s theme or important Bluebird Care news stories.
Traditional PR was targeting next-of-kin audiences for care services, but we knew this wouldn’t work effectively for recruitment, so digital marketing was used to engage with this completely different audience and included targeted social media campaigns and Facebook advertising.
However, before going live with any digital ad campaigns, we audited Bluebird Care’s digital presence to ensure everything was working as effectively as possible. There were multiple profiles for all of the locations on each platform, so we decided to streamline posting through one profile across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. In doing so, we increased followers, reach and engagement as communications were more focused, whilst reducing internal resource workloads as efforts weren’t being doubled up.
Auditing the website highlighted what was working well, but more importantly allowed us to make recommendations on things that needed to be fixed in order to make digital marketing work as best it could. Improvements to the website helped to provide us with a wider view of user reactions to the messages we were pushing out, therefore, allowing us to make decisions on the types of communications that were resonating the best so we can do more of them.
We redesigned various print, e-newsletter templates, and social media graphics to create visuals that were fresh and informative, friendly and professional and visually consistent. The redesigned brochures reflected the importance of independent living, the benefits of home comforts and highlighted the priority Bluebird Care places on wellbeing.
We completely transformed the social media content for Bluebird Care by using consistent brand guidelines throughout. The posts were emotive and showcased Bluebird Care’s values, employee achievements, and awards. Posts were a mixture of natural lifestyle shots, monthly theme posts, recruitment focused posts, testimonials, video content, and infographics.
“We completely transformed the social media content for Bluebird Care by using consistent brand guidelines throughout. The posts were emotive and showcased Bluebird Care’s values, employee achievements and awards.”
Lisa Prescott, Chalk + Ward, Director
As a result of our marketing strategy, Bluebird Care saw paid-for Facebook advertising go from having no place in their marketing strategy (and therefore no reach) to reaching an average of 10,000 people a month. Organic reach on Facebook went from an average of 100 a month to peaking at 600 a month with each post resulting in an average of ten to 12 reactions, comments, and shares.
Our PR was also successful with full-page advertorials and full-page and double-page spread editorials in regional and local magazines, reaching combined audiences of nearly 50,000 readers per month. The reach across regional and local newspapers, websites and radio stations ranged from 4,000-26,000 for a local newspaper to county websites with monthly visitor traffic averaging 2,500,000.
Our integrated approach has led to impressive results both in terms of increased social media engagement and media coverage, the objective of raising awareness locally was achieved.