Measuring Your Content Investment

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You know how great it feels to lock in that final jigsaw puzzle piece and see the entire picture. Wouldn’t you love to capture that same warm glow when you look at the website content for your hospital or health system? Of course you would! And you can—if you apply relevant metrics that will help you discover the value of this major marketing investment. So, what does it take to measure content ROI?

Business Goals Drive the Bus

Everything starts—or should start—with your business goals, which should incorporate your users’ goals too. You can figure out what’s important to measure by understanding what you and your users want to accomplish. But stay focused. Don’t bite off more than you can chew—at least, not when you’re getting started. Just because you can measure something doesn’t mean you should. You don’t want to get sucked into the big black hole of tracking data for data’s sake. You want to focus on meaningful measurements in order to get results that can truly help guide the decisions you need to make about creating valuable content.

Take the Long View

Whether your healthcare organization wants more patients to pay their bills online or you’re interested in expanding your social media relationships, the key is to set up measurements that will track your goals. And it’s important to remember that you must stay in the game for the long haul. Arnie Kuenn, experienced content marketer and president of Vertical Measures, notes: “Content marketing is different from other forms of online marketing in that it does not always deliver ROI quickly. It may take weeks or months for a piece of content to be discovered by people and the search engines.” So don’t give up too early. A week’s worth of data doesn’t tell you much; a month’s worth—or a year’s worth or more—really starts to create a valuable knowledge base that can inform your next steps and make all the effort worthwhile.

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Rating Healthcare Rating Systems

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We know patients want to choose providers that deliver the highest quality of care. They tell us so in survey after survey, after all. The trouble is – how do healthcare providers tell them they’re good or, at the very least, better than local competition?

The business of communicating quality is a tough one. There is no one clear definition of what constitutes quality healthcare. I think this surprises many people not involved in the field, but those of us who spend our time here realize the complexities of our discipline.

Every specialty has its own elements of quality. But even within a specialty, there are many different ways organizations measure what quality means to them. The number of cases performed can be important, the training the care team has completed may be a factor, adherence to best of breed practices and protocols may be the key as can be the high tech tools available at the facility.

Add to this that no two patients are alike – arriving with different levels of progression with a disease, differing basic levels of overall health and a range of comorbities, all of which adds layers to the quality picture. With all of this complexity, you begin to see the difficulty in delivering solid quantitative measures of the relative quality of, for example, cardiology programs.

The quality data that’s reported to government agencies is little help here. Truly, most patients would be shocked that one of the key metrics for the quality of a cardiology program is how long it takes for a patient with symptoms of a cardiac event to receive an aspirin!

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Building a Democratic Workplace at Geonetric

worldblu certification

Today Geonetric was certified as a Democratic Workplace by WorldBlu. We’re proud to be a company that values its employees and actively works to create such a positive workplace culture.

Geonetric has always been a great place to work. About 18 months ago, we took that a step further – we said “great culture” has to mean more than just amenities like free food and a flexible work environment. So we eliminated our formal management hierarchy and instead created self-organizing, self-managing teams. That was a pretty major step toward a democratic workplace, even before we knew that was a “thing”.

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Google’s Universal Analytics Arrives. VitalSite’s Ready.

Google Universal Analytics Graphic

Well, it’s official. Google’s Universal Analytics (UA), the next generation of the ubiquitous Web analytics tool, is now officially out of beta and ready for prime time. According to Google, “all the features, reports, and tools of Classic Analytics are now available in the [Universal Analytics] product, including Remarketing and Audience (Demographic) reporting.” This is good news for those of us interested in taking the plunge, but unwilling to sacrifice any of the functionality we’ve come to depend on in the classic Google Analytics (GA).

Of course, it’s not just about feature parity between old and new. From custom dimensions and metrics to new approaches to cross-domain (and sub-domain) tracking, there are a bevy of new features and capabilities in Universal Analytics that will be of interest to most Web marketers and webmasters.

If you’re a Google-watcher, you’ve no doubt been keeping your eye on Universal Analytics for some time. And if you aren’t a Google-watcher, rest assured that we’ve been watching on your behalf. In fact, we’ve been planning for this announcement for quite some time.

That’s why the just-released VitalSite 7.0 includes a new Site Root Script Manager built specifically with Google’s Universal Analytics in mind.

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Value, Release Frequency and VitalSite CMS

vitalsite 7 cms

A number of years ago we took pride in the fact that we released VitalSite updates every quarter. Not only was it a significant differentiator from other software developers who struggled to deliver even one release a year, but frequent releases just seemed like the right thing to do. Why? Quarterly updates allowed us more opportunities to help our clients manage their top performing hospital websites. And that’s hard to do when you have to wait a year or more to take advantage of new features.

Over the last few years we’ve been resolute in our commitment to frequently delivering software, and the rate at which we release updates has increased manyfold. In fact, we now consider a quarterly release cadence to be slow and often symptomatic of problems on software development teams. Such problems can be the result of:

  1. A software development team that is incapable of responding quickly to changing market needs, or of quickly deploying fixes and updates to clients. This can be because of anything from code quality to management problems. Regardless of the cause, it should be considered a warning sign for many types of software.
  2. A vendor who has decided to withhold valuable changes and updates from their clients until the marketing team decides that they have ‘enough’ new functionality for them to bundle it all in a release and promote it in the market. This approach is common among software vendors who just want to rack up new sales and have little regard for existing clients.

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Savvy Healthcare Marketers are Focusing on These Top Digital Trends

healthcare marketing tactics

As a marketer, you have a lot of tactics at your disposal to reach and engage your target audiences. Wish you knew which ones were gaining traction with your peers and competitors? Well, according to Geonetric’s recent Digital Marketing for Healthcare survey, healthcare marketers are picking up email marketing, blogs, Pinterest and content marketing in 2014.

So let’s see why these tactics are topping the digital marketing charts:

  • Consumers want more personalized messaging and email marketing is a great way to send more targeted messages. After languishing in the shadow of social media up-and-comers in recent years, email marketing will be added by an astounding 15% of health systems in 2014.
  • Consumers (and Google!) want fresh content and blogs are a great way to go. Frequent updates, strong SEO and a casual voice makes this format more engaging for health consumers and more sharable to boot!
  • Consumers want sharable content and Pinterest is a great way share stories in a visual way. According to the survey, 48% of hospital respondents currently use Pinterest, with (10%) indicting they plan to have it in the next 6 months.
  • Marketers want measurement and digital channels make it easier to see what’s working – allowing health systems to be more nimble with their marketing.

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Infographic: The Answers You Need to Benchmark Your Hospital’s Web Initiatives!

There’s no question knowing how you compare to your hospital and healthcare peers is helpful. Do you invest enough in digital marketing? How does your team stack up? Does your website have the right functionality? Are you using the right social media channels?

The list of questions goes on and on. Want to know the answers? Check out this infographic!

It shares highlights from Geonetric’s recent comprehensive industry survey. More than 250 healthcare marketers just like you told us their top eHealth challenges and biggest priorities for 2014. And it’s time for you to find out… is your website ahead of your peers? Or behind? Are you understaffed and under budgeted?

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Top Tasks and the Paradox of Choice

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We all say we build our websites to help our users—patients and prospects, visitors, staff, communities and more—but do we really?

Top Tasks Help Users

What if focusing on top tasks, clear navigation and streamlined content actually increased our key measures and made our site visitors happy? Your next question might just be: Where do I sign up?

But then you wonder… How could it possibly be that when we first help our website users do what they came to do, they’ll show their love by sticking with us, following through with activities that also benefit our organization?

It seems counterintuitive, but it works. Requirements to fill out forms with lots of fields or pages—or “shouting” at visitors to do something we want before we let them complete their goal—only creates frustration. Such tactics actually interfere with building the positive relationships that create happy users who are inclined to make return visits.

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Hospital Websites: Where a Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words


Rutland Regional Homepage Banner

Imagery is an important part of your hospital’s marketing. It supports your branding. It tells your organizational story.

Consider your healthcare organization’s website. What story are you really telling? The cancer service line landing page displays a picture of a doctor consulting a patient in a treatment room. Does the doctor resemble any provider in your organization? How about the treatment room – is it an accurate representation of your facility? Visitors to your site take notice of these types of things.

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Effortless Content? In Your Dreams.

Day Dreamers on Grass Looking at Clouds

We’ve all been known to get lost in our daydreams—conjuring up a sun-filled beach vacation during the latest bitterly cold blizzard or imagining the crack of the bat as the ball heads over the outfield fence. That’s all pretty harmless. In fact, such thoughts might help us get through the worst of winter’s days or connect on a monster grand slam the next time we stand beside home plate.

Hope is Not a Content Strategy

When it comes to our website content, though, we need a little reality therapy. Good content doesn’t happen by magic, which means we actually need to pay attention to it. On a regular basis. With our organizational goals and our users—and their goals—in mind. Even if we’d like to believe otherwise, hope is not an effective strategy for dealing with the vast expanse of website content. We need to make content a top priority—from the time we create it through the time we send it to bed.

So, you say, how do I add one more thing to my ‘top priority’ list? I’m already overwhelmed by all the stuff that’s accumulated on our website. Like watching Hoarders, the thought of digging into the mess makes my head spin. How do I figure out what’s good to go, what’s ready to retire and what’s a hidden gem that simply needs to be dusted off and spiffed up a bit? Well, that takes some research—which means time and effort to dig deeper and uncover the answers to some big questions.

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The Hidden Power of YouTube

YouTube in Browser Window

If you’re looking to build an audience, YouTube is a great place start. After a few minutes of surfing around the popular video site, you’ll notice many successful individuals and organizations making a name for themselves on YouTube alone (some don’t even have a real website!).

Even more surprising? Some of the most popular videos are not exactly “professional” productions. (Thumbs up, everybody! Rock and roll!)

The Evolution of YouTube

If you spend much time in your YouTube account these days, you’ll notice many more options and features for content creators. YouTube has evolved into a true platform for content creators to build their audience and make a name for themselves or their brand.

So, how can you use YouTube to build your healthcare organization’s following?

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Website Content – Creating the Good Stuff

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Isn’t it obvious? Websites need content to exist. No content. No website. No website. No visibility to your potential audience. Oops!

What’s not as obvious? Websites need good content. Think about it. Before you opened the doors of your bricks-and-mortar healthcare facilities, you invested time, energy and resources into identifying the services and programs you planned to offer. You found out who your customers were, what they needed and how your services could help them. And you invested again in all the tools, people and processes that would ensure you’re the best choice to deliver the healthcare services you promised. You need to do the same thing with your website. Continue reading

Good Design: Always the Next Big Trend

Good-Design-is-Unobstrusive

We’ve been reading a lot about “flat design” lately, a seemingly new approach to Web design that is making the Web pundits predict that “This is the future of Web design – the next big thing!” Is flat design really as new and revolutionary as the pundits claim? Or is it just a return to good design fundamentals?

A Visit with Dieter Rams, Circa 1970

Recently, I stumbled across an old article about German industrial designer Dieter Rams that brought the current buzz about “flat design” into perspective. Now, I know what you’re thinking – “There was no Internet in the 1970s. How is this dusty old article relevant to Web design today?” Let’s take a look.

Back in the ’70s, Rams was concerned with the visual state of the world around him which he called “an impenetrable confusion of forms, colors, and noises.” Aware that he was a contributor to that world, he asked himself, “Is my design good design?”

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Search Is Not Your Website’s Dumping Ground


Stylized image of a search box

Like water from the tap or electrons from the outlet, we tend to take search for granted. Beneath the ubiquitous experience we’re all familiar with, there is a lot of advanced engineering at play… engineering intended to empower users by connecting them to results highly relevant to their queries.

That’s the theory, anyways.
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The Value of Content? PRICELESS!

valuable-healthcare-content

Those MasterCard® commercials have it right. Everything costs something, but some things are worth more than what they cost. They’re valuable. And that’s how we need to think about website content.

When considering a purchase, we often think only about the amount of money we spend. We know the numbers, the price, the cost. We can feel the bills or coins leaving our hands—or we see the balance in our bank account drop. We buy stuff all the time:

  • Morning cup of coffee = $
  • Cool new kicks or hoodie = $$
  • Washer and dryer = $$$
  • Family trip to Disney World = $$$$

But what’s the value of these purchases? That’s not something you can measure in money. It’s priceless.

  • Coffee = Delivers the eye-opener that jump-starts your day
  • Cool kicks = Identifies you as a trend-setter or stellar group member
  • Laundry pair = Offers the comfort of knowing you can have clean clothes when you need them
  • Disney World vacation = Provides a fun setting for family bonding time

Value comes from the intangibles—like feelings—related to the products and services we buy. Feelings like attention, fun, trust, relationship, comfort, caring. Yes, you spend money for these products and services, but what you get back makes the cost worthwhile.

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