Bluebird Care win gold for ‘Outstanding Franchise Marketing’ at the Approved Franchise Association (AFA) Awards.

Bluebird Care win gold for ‘Outstanding Franchise Marketing’ at the Approved Franchise Association (AFA) Awards.

Bluebird Care, a national provider of domiciliary care (home care), recently won the Gold Award for ‘Outstanding Franchise Marketing’ at the Approved Franchise Association (AFA) Awards. The care provider was also highly commended in the ‘Best Franchise Support’ category.

The ‘Outstanding Franchise Marketing Award’ considered both online and offline activities, including a franchise’s website, social media, online campaigns, print media, events, and public relations. Bluebird Care won the award for demonstrating excellence in marketing activities aimed at both potential franchisees and consumers.

Bluebird Care’s Marketing Team has worked above and beyond this year in extraordinary times, and has seen some incredible results using their new National Marketing Strategy – which launched at the end of 2019. The home care provider’s approach incorporated digital innovation, a well-suited strategy during an unprecedented year in which face-to-face marketing has been difficult.

Bluebird Care’s main website had stagnated in terms of its visitors for several years with little uplift in enquiry or application volumes, so the team wanted to implement some game-changing initiatives. Bluebird Care’s new National Marketing Manager, Dean Martin, orchestrated the launch of the live chat service, offering visitor engagement across the website 24/7. The care provider used franchise industry experts to deliver the live chat tool, and they generated nearly 20,000 chat engagements in the first six months.

Bluebird Care has also implemented three new Regional Marketing Managers, who work on a local basis in branded vehicles to “take marketing to the people”. The field-marketing experts take regular, programmed face-to-face visits to understand what franchise owners are looking to achieve. They help identify local PR stories that can generate enquiries, as well as implementing social media recruitment campaigns. They are also on hand to help organise leaflet drops, record testimonials and generate customer reviews. All of this helps Bluebird Care’s franchises attract both new customers and Care Assistants.

The Judging Panel at the AFA Awards commended Bluebird Care on their “committed approach” to marketing, they said:

Bluebird Care demonstrated strong commitment and good balance to support and grow the franchisees and care for the users of their services. They also demonstrated good use of social platforms, and strong and relevant press/media coverage.

The judges were also impressed as Bluebird Care reached their marketing targets well ahead of schedule. Within six months of the New National Marketing Strategy implementation, they had already completed their marketing aims for the year. Since 2019, Bluebird Care has successfully increased website traffic by 230%, customer enquiries are up by 340% and applications to jobs at Bluebird Care have increased by 250%.

Additionally, Bluebird Care works alongside PLMR, a communications agency that specialises in providing PR, reputation management, public affairs and digital marketing services, to identify press opportunities both locally and nationally. At the time of writing the entry, taking into account January 2020 – June 2020, Bluebird Care and PLMR had secured 140 pieces of coverage, 80% of which have been secured for franchises on a local level. This coverage equates to a reach of 22 million people across a variety of different publications.

Marketing and Communications Director at Bluebird Care, Hannah Banfield, said:

“We are honoured to win the AFA Award for our outstanding franchise marketing. It was also great to be highly commended for our franchise support. This year has undoubtedly been a challenge, however, thanks to a great team and an innovative strategy we have been able to market our care services more effectively than ever.

Our new marketing strategy has enabled us to hire new Care Assistants across the UK, at a time when unemployment is a concern for many. We have also been on hand to offer high quality, personalised home care to many new customers. Many of these new queries are a direct result of our extensive marketing and PR endeavours.

We will continue to showcase our incredible network of businesses across all channels, as we continue to keep our franchise owners engaged and involved in the development of the brand, so that engagement and buy-in remains strong.”