This year marked a big change for healthcare entities: The implementation of the Affordable Care Act now requires online visibility and patient-centric features to be a high priority. In fact, in 2014, hospitals began being judged on their “digital health” for the first time.
In “The Digital Health of Today’s Best Hospitals,” Evolve Digital Labs evaluated the online presence and patient use of digital assets and websites from 57 top hospitals across the country. What the organization found is shocking:
While these hospitals are considered some of the top brands in the nation, they still struggle to market digitally and to meet mobile demands consumers have come to expect.
And for healthcare specifically, there are several barriers that contribute to this: Often, internal systems and processes were set in place before a strong digital presence was expected, making it difficult to incorporate online marketing in a holistic way. Additionally, it can be overwhelming keeping up with constantly changing digital trends without a strong foundation of online marketing (often the case in healthcare). And finally, the need for legal review and a conservative voice often keeps medical brands from forging forward with up-to-date websites.
However, some hospitals, including Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic, are succeeding, and you can, too. Take a look at your website, consider if it's not only up-to-date, but pleasing to your audience, as well. How do you know?
Here are four reasons your healthcare website may need a content overhaul:
To determine if hospital websites were customer-centric, the Digital Health report looked for online options such as the ability to complete medical forms before an appointment, request appointments and request refills, as well as the ability to be found easily on search and social media. If your site lacks the ability for your buyers to perform basic actions related to your brand, your site likely needs an update to better align with the lifestyle of your customers.
What to do: Consider building a website that puts your audience’s needs front and center. Whether it is setting up appointments, filling prescriptions or simply learning about steps to take following a procedure, make sure you understand what your buyers want and need and make it easy to do on your site.
All too often, brand websites start to seem “we” centric. (We are the best at this! And we are awesome at that!) If your healthcare website is patting the organization on the back too much, its only content is years old or the information being provided is simply not useful, your website is probably brand-centric rather than written for the user. This can be a turnoff for readers.
What to do: Keep your audience top of mind: What needs do they have? What questions do they ask on a regular basis? What do they need to know leading up to working with you or following your services? At the end of the day, how can you make their lives better with your content?
Did you know 72 percent of Internet users say they looked online for health information in the past year? Or that 77 percent of online health seekers say they began their last session at a search engine? If you want members of your audience to visit your site, you must be answering the questions they are typing into search engines so they can find your content. This isn’t easy; Mayo Clinic was the only hospital to have Page 1 search results for all 70 keywords associated with its 14 specialties.
What to do: You must put a content strategy into action. Fresh content, likely in the form of a blog, learning center or resource section on your website is the only way to start ranking for keywords you have identified as relevant to your online marketing success. Each piece of content, whether it is a blog post, article, eBook, video or guide, should answer one question your audience has at each stage of the buyer journey. Not only does this require a easy-to-navigate website, it requires a well-thought-out content plan and workflow for promoting that content on your site.
In today’s digital age, 57 percent of users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile site. For healthcare, word of mouth is critical, and if more than half of users refuse to recommend you, it can be detrimental.
In most medical settings, there is a lack of digital governance, meaning a large chunk of the marketing budget is thrown at traditional marketing efforts, such as billboards, postcards and commercials, but a minuscule budget is set aside for digital endeavors.
What to do: It is time for a mobile-friendly site. This does not mean you need to create entirely separate website that requires its own updates and maintenance. Instead, websites can be developed responsively, meaning they provide an optimal viewing experience across all screens and devices. The HubSpot COS now automatically designs websites in this fashion.
There seems to be a general consensus in the healthcare industry that spending money on website development simply isn’t worth it. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. According to Evolve, “By increasing the ability for a patient or prospective patient to find information easily and interact with the healthcare facility, a healthcare brand will see a significant return on investment.” Creating an online hub where members of your target audience can find educational, helpful information regarding their healthcare needs builds the trust that eventually leads to purchase. Additionally, the ability to capture metrics and easily grow efforts makes a customer-centric website well worth the investment.
Are you ready to make the most of your online presence? Contact Kuno Creative today to set up a quick 15-minute consultation.