Beyond the challenge of delivering different messages to various audiences, there is the additional challenge of delivering those messages efficiently.

By Paul Flowers, President, Circa 46, a Senior Housing Forum partner

In a Senior Housing Forum post on May 11 The Challenge of Marketing Skilled Nursing & Rehab Facilities readers on this site were presented: challenges inherent in marketing skilled nursing and rehab facilities to multiple audiences and considerations for attacking those challenges. The audiences discussed included the patient, caregivers, hospital administrators, physicians, discharge planners, case managers and more.

Beyond the challenge of delivering different messages to various audiences, there is a parallel challenge relating to how an SNF or rehab provider can deliver those messages to their audiences efficiently.

As described in the earlier post, the decision process experienced by the patient/caregiver is usually immediate and of brief duration and is informed by sales literature, websites, property visits and hospital referral sources – like discharge planners or physicians. Because a large percentage of future residents/patients will be influenced by referrals from hospitals, advertising to those referral sources probably takes precedence over advertising to the actual prospects and their families. And while a personal sales call to those referral sources is an optimal way to communicate features and benefits, there are other options that can supplement and reinforce direct sales efforts and keep a SNF or rehab provider top-of-mind. 

Online Advertising Ideas

You may not be aware of this, but most hospitals have their own Internet servers and therefore their own IP (Internet Provider) addresses. Because they have their own IP addresses, you can target hospitals by placing banner ads with an online ad network that can focus on specific buildings such as hospitals. These ads will only be served to users who are accessing the Internet at that targeted hospital, through that hospital’s IP address. Advertising can’t be much more targeted than that!

On a broader scale, referral sources can be targeted by placing ads on websites that deliver content that is contextually relevant to those referral sources (like So people who are looking for specific topics – Alzheimer’s, for example – can be targeted to receive banner ads. The advertising message only goes to people who are interested in seeing it.

Direct Mail

Direct mail has historically been a good option for delivering targeted marketing messages to specific audiences. However, hospital referral sources can tend to get bombarded by it, and a lot of it consequently ends up in the circular file. 

A twist on this tactic is to go beyond simply sending a mailer to an audience and to find ways to add value and impact to the direct mail. For example, consider giving target prospects a three- or four-month subscription for a healthcare industry magazine that is relevant to those prospects, whether they are case managers, hospital administrators or some other job function. Deliver each new magazine issue with a fresh marketing message affixed to it. 

This delivery mechanism could assume various forms. One way is to have each magazine issue overwrapped with a wrapping that presents the selling message. The combination of (1) the “added value” provided by the complimentary magazine issues and (2) the “impact” created by the attention-getting aspects of receiving something unexpected – not to mention, physically different than a standard mailer – should break through the clutter of direct mail messages that are competing for a referral source’s attention.

The point is, there are more than a few options to help focus sales messages on influencers – like hospital referral sources – who can significantly affect patients’ and their caregivers’ SNF and rehab provider selection. The end result is the positive effect made on the efficiency and power of a provider’s marketing communications efforts.