Liberty HomeCare & Hospice Services
Liberty HomeCare & Hospice Services is part of Liberty Healthcare Companies,
a family of privately owned health care providers serving the Carolinas. Liberty’s products are designed to meet the evolving needs of seniors, including home and hospice care, private care, medical equipment and supplies, independent and assisted living, skilled nursing and memory care.
Liberty’s foremost objective was to reduce its marketing budget while elevating awareness of Liberty and growing census in each of its 30 markets. The company relied heavily on paid media to build brand awareness, yet advertising had become cost prohibitive and outspending larger providers was unlikely. With all providers in the market vying for the same shrinking pool of paying patients, it was more difficult than ever to differentiate and influence consumers.
Walker Marketing created a consumer pull-through strategy designed to position Liberty as a resource and authority in home care and hospice. The campaign included tactics designed to reach prospects and caregivers early in the continuum through education rather than explicitly promoting the company. In lieu of advertising, program success hinged on the ability to obtain earned media across numerous markets and leverage the credibility inherent in public relations.
A new website was created to provide education, assistance and support to caregivers prior to the need for home care or hospice. Updated weekly with new content, an assortment of articles, blogs and videos featured Liberty’s expert staff as well as patients and families that were cared for by Liberty.
All content was optimized with Liberty’s keywords and featured sharing and subscription buttons to extend reach and encourage distribution of original content. In addition, enhanced functionality created numerous conversion points and enabled both professional and caregiver referrals.
A Facebook page was created to drive traffic to the website and provide more opportunities to interact with patients, families and employees. With more than 1,200 “likes,” it has one of the highest engagement rates of any home care provider page in the country. A YouTube channel was also created to host videos featuring wellness topics such as preventing falls in the home. Videos were promoted across all platforms, and Liberty’s channel grew to more than 60 videos and 20,000 views.
Media outreach included targeted pitches intended to secure coverage of Liberty and position the company as a caregiver resource. Coverage consisted of remarkable recoveries, granted hospice wishes, home safety tips, home visits by elected officials and much more. Media coverage was repurposed on all digital platforms to extend reach and impact.
Public relations outreach and the resulting earned media effectively replaced the need for paid advertising by securing widespread coverage and ensuring a high level of visibility. Since the campaign began in 2010, outreach efforts have resulted in print and broadcast coverage in each of Liberty’s eight major media markets, and more than 100 placements, including several front-page newspaper articles and more than 75 minutes of televised coverage. The PR campaign was given the international MarCom Awards’ highest honor, the Platinum Award, in 2012.
Website success has directly impacted Liberty’s bottom line. For the first time in the company’s history, home care and hospice referrals are received electronically, and the website has generated more than $15,000 per month in average lifetime value gains via online referrals.