How to sell an aged care bed: an interview with Jordan Fitzgerald from Marketplace Strategy Solutions
How to sell an aged care bed: an interview with Jordan Fitzgerald from Marketplace Strategy Solutions

By Nicholas Danicic – Electrical Engineer.


“The target market is the sons, daughters and families of the potential residents. Very few elderly people self-admit into aged care and that places the onus on facilities to target a demographic 20/30 years below their client’s age.”

This is one of the first insights that Jordan Fitzgerald of Marketplace Strategy Solutions (MSS) shared with me when we sat down to discuss best-practices in marketing aged cared beds. This is a topic that Jordan and MSS know a thing or two about – they’ve worked successfully with clients including SundaleOzCare and Clanwilliam to develop and execute marketing strategies to help sell their aged care beds. So, what are Jordan’s best practice tips?

Tip 1: Understand your sales funnel

According to Jordan, new aged care residents will typically come through one of the following three funnels:

  1. The most frequent is known as the ‘Family’ funnel. This is when the elderly persons’ family (primary researcher) begin to see the signals and start researching facilities, often before a consultation with the resident (the client) has taken place. Often these buyers come through the website after seeing advertisements.
  2. The second most common funnel is through ‘Referral’. Typically these include referrals from GPs, Hospital Social Workers and other Home Care Providers. These professionals will typically refer to one or two facilities based on the needs of the buyer.
  3. The third and least common funnel is the ‘Buyer to Broker’. This is when a buyer or family member will contact an Aged Care Broker who will typically refer them to various facility options.

Tip 2: Reach your audience

Multiple marketing activities and media platforms can be used to market to your target audience, depending on which funnel you are intending to promote to. In Jordan’s experience it used to be a case of ‘build it and they’ll come’ but with greater options and competition available to families and potential clients, some more nimble marketing is needed. Some of the most effective methods of reaching your audience include:

  • Your website. Jordan says that “Facilities without a website capable of attracting a high level of traffic and in turn churning out leads suffer in a big way.”
  • SEO and Google Adwords. According to Jordan, “Investing in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Google Adwords will give you the most bang for your marketing buck.” Being on the first two pages of google searches for your nominated key words is important, as is crunching the data coming back from these campaigns. You also need to understand:
    • Which locations are the most clicks coming from?
    • What search terms are people entering who visit your site?
    • Precisely where the leads are coming from and what factors are important to them visiting your site so you can be increasingly targeted in your marketing efforts to get higher ROI from your spend.
  • Other media to consider can include TV, radio, direct mail or local events but Jordan notes that these can be hit and miss and need to be highly targeted to certain areas and age groups.

Tip 3: Understand what your buyer really wants in order to turn a lead into a sale

You’ve got the potential buyer’s attention, now what do you need to do to turn this lead into a sale? To do this, you first need to understand what the buyer is really looking for.

If you followed Jordan’s previous tip, by now you should have some data from digital campaigns that will tell you what people were searching for, which offers some great insight into their needs

But if you don’t, Jordan’s advice is to “not be afraid to do your own research.” Doing your own client audits and exit polling on leads gone cold can help you understand why you’re not converting a higher amount of leads. You can also ask your client for access to some of their client feedback and insights.

“Our agency once had a client who gave us access to their complaints register, which included complaints about the food, activities and ‘Pop being too cold in his room’. This gave us some really useful insights into what things were most important to people when selecting a provider,” he says.

What were some of the key features he found buyers were looking for as a result of this data?

  • Quality of the food.
  • Quality of the facility (ie is it newly refurbished? Air conditioned?).
  • Range of activities available.
  • The lifestyle that the facility promotes.
  • Cost.

However, Jordan stresses that “there is no magic formula. Each facility is different and is targeting a slightly different audience. The key takeaway is that you need have a clear understanding on what your own Unique Selling Proposition is, who your audience is, and what they want, and then closely manage your sales process to ensure the feedback and data you are receiving is monitored and implemented as needed. The market is changing so rapidly, if you aren’t constantly validating your approach and changing to suit the market then you will be left behind.”

Tip 4: Don’t oversell your new technology

Technology is changing at a rapid page, and the Aged Care sector is not immune, with an increasing focus on the use of Robots, smart TVs and the internet of things.

However, Jordan says that “we are still servicing a generation that prefers to get cash out from a bank teller instead of an ATM, and if technology you have installed will reduce their human interaction then that might be viewed as unfavourable by the resident, even though it might be favourable to the family or buyer. You just need to get the balance right in your communications.”

The idea of a ‘Family portal’ is one that Jordan believes will gain traction in the near future as it’s a feature that is often sought after by the buyer or family members. The portal provides access to technology with sensors to monitor patterns and can flag possible incidents to staff and family. In cases where the family may be interstate, they may also be interested in technology that enables skype calls via a smart TV rather than regular phone calls. However, the key to any of this technology is the ease of use and education on operation with the residents.

Tip 5: Be adaptable

Jordan also believes that being able to market adaptable spaces to suit resident’s changing needs will become a critical selling point for aged care providers in the future.

“The elderly are often reluctant to change, so if a room or space can be adapted to suit the residents changing needs then it will be extremely desired. A great case study is the Henley on Broadwater development where an existing high-rise apartment block on the Gold Coast was refurbished to an Aged Care facility. They offer an ‘aging in place’ philosophy where the environment is scalable to meet the level of need without having the resident change rooms.”

This development has been very successful, and Jordan sees real opportunity and value in facilities being able to offer a similar service where retirement seamlessly transitions to higher care.

Jordan’s key tips for selling aged care beds

  • Understand your sales funnel so you know who you are marketing to, and what they care most about.
  • Determine how you can best reach your target audience. Update your website and consider using digital campaigns like Google AdWords to provide your company/facility with data and feedback to benefit your marketing plan.
  • Do some research to understand what your target audience really wants, so you can develop a clear selling point to differentiate your facility.
  • Invest in new technology that will appeal to buyers/family members but maintain human interaction for residents where and if they want it.
  • Be adaptable!

Do you have any other tips from your own experience about what is most effective in selling aged care beds? Comment below, or join the conversation on Nick’s LinkedIn post.


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