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SOUTHERN MAINE AGENCY ON AGING

In 2023, the Southern Maine Agency on Aging (SMAA) marked its 50th anniversary

The organization had a specific interest in leveraging that milestone to elevate the brand and its mission as well as generate renewed interest from donors. The SMAA team turned to fluent for ideas on how to broaden its reach and raise awareness of underutilized services on a limited budget. 

After a discovery and strategy phase, we learned that one of SMAA’s primary services is Family Caregiver support – a service offering that became even more necessary during the Covid-19 pandemic when older Mainers and their caregivers faced more isolation and economic hardships than before. We also learned that non-profit organizations still had a window of time to utilize American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding, a multi-year program established in 2021 to help reverse the negative impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and address its economic fallout. We recommended that SMAA produce and launch an education campaign specific to family caregiver support. By integrating its 50th anniversary brand identity with a clear message that there is “Care for Caregivers” available through SMAA, the campaign would both educate and raise awareness of SMAA’s free resources for family caregivers. 

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Care for Caregivers Ad

We learned that the 2020-2024 State Plan on Aging made a strong case for the need to increase caregiver information services where possible:

The largest caregiver need identified was respite, and SMAA had the capacity to serve more caregivers in need of respite. An increase in calls from caregivers after the Governor announced new respite funding made it clear that SMAA was not currently reaching all caregivers in need and that more and/or different outreach was needed.

After respite services, 3 of the next 4 top caregiver needs identified in the online survey were directly related to needing help finding resources and knowing where to call for that assistance.

These findings supported the need to reach caregivers through new channels, and fluent recommended a different delivery strategy featuring a focused outreach and education campaign vs. the smaller grassroots conversations and activities that had previously been the focus of outreach.  

Execution:

These findings supported the need to reach caregivers through new channels, and fluent recommended a different delivery strategy featuring a focused outreach and education campaign vs. the smaller grassroots conversations and activities that had previously been the focus of outreach.  

Southern Maine Agency Audience

The CaregiversMaine.org landing page was built to provide an easy-to-remember url for TV and radio messaging as well as a refreshed look and feel that could not be achieved within the existing SMAA website.

The CaregiversMaine.org landing page was built to provide an easy-to-remember url for TV and radio messaging as well as a refreshed look and feel that could not be achieved within the existing SMAA website.

We crafted a paid digital campaign and Care for Caregivers Facebook/Meta account was created to serve ad campaigns to caregiver audiences.

Care for Caregivers Ad
Care for Caregivers Ad
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One of our strategic priorities was to leverage earned media during National Family Caregiver Month in November. Of particular note was a media opportunity for the Executive Director of SMAA to appear on Maine Calling - an hour-long radio program on Maine Public, broadcast across the state. This appearance offered the opportunity for an extended discussion in front of a statewide audience, both building SMAA’s brand and helping establish the Executive Director as a thought leader for the sector. Additionally, we supported her in authoring a piece on providing benefits to employees that are caregivers that ran in Mainebiz.

Results:

By taking a holistic approach to the discovery phase and an integrated approach to the outreach campaign itself, Fluent was able to turn an initially narrow campaign scope into a branding and messaging strategy of long-term value both for SMAA and for those who are now aware of and utilizing its important services. 

After launching the caregiver videos in September, we utilized them to increase visibility and boost traffic through the rest of the year via Google and Facebook campaigns. These campaigns complemented an existing Google search based campaign that had been running since March to target caregiver-related keywords.

From October through December:

The Google campaign generated 142.9 impressions and 471 clicks.

The Facebook campaign generated 172.1 impressions and 2,330 clicks. 

In November, the videos were viewed more than 3.1K times with more than 56% of viewers watching through until the end of the video. In December, they were viewed more than 1.6K times with more than 68% of viewers watching through until the end of the video. These high view rates for both months that the videos were running indicate that they captured attention and encouraged engagement rather than a quick click-through.

The caregiver PSAs ran for three months in York and Cumberland County. A PSA was a new venture for the organization and it was a successful one:

The TV PSA was aired by at least 10 member TV stations throughout the timeline of the campaign. The net reach of a large southern Maine station was approximately 866,000 individual households.

A benchmark for a Public Education Campaign is for the member stations to deliver about 3x the amount in advertising equivalent, which they exceeded.

SMAA was able to exceed its measurable objectives for the year:

Grew donors by 27%

Increased donations by 8.8% above goal

Increased caregivers served by 201%

31% increase in web traffic year over year, average traffic to caregiver pages was up 2-3x after launching the caregiver search campaign

The client also noted a marked increase in phone calls and emails to the organization.

PUBLIC RELATIONS

We achieved earned media coverage for SMAA in the following outlets:

Thought leadership piece in Mainebiz during Family Caregivers Month

Caregivers segment on Maine Calling

CEO Megan Walton featured in Mainebiz 40 Under 40

Op ed by SMAA CEO in the Portland Press Herald

Thought leadership piece in Mainebiz during Older Americans Month

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