Four Reasons Healthcare Marketers Can’t Ignore Google My Business

Image of buildings with Google map icon

Imagine that you’re on a business trip in a different state. After arriving in this foreign town, you begin to feel under the weather. What do you do? Most likely, you take out your smartphone and begin searching for “urgent cares.”

Immediately Google displays results of local urgent cares. The closest urgent care that appears in the search results is half an hour away. You think that seems pretty far away, but end up biting the bullet and head to what you hope is relief.

Now what if you, as a healthcare marketer, know that in reality the closest urgent care to that person is only 10 minutes away – but you just haven’t had time to create a listing yet.

As both a provider of healthcare and a marketer of healthcare, it’s frustrating to miss that opportunity.

Now, maybe you’re thinking: “But the locals, the ones who actually live in my community and are the main consumers of our health services, know where our facilities are.” But what if those locals do a Google search for your urgent care and you appear, but your phone number is wrong? Now you have a local health consumer that is frustrated with your service and might go to a competitor.

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Crisis Situations and Healthcare Websites

Crisis Situations and Healthcare Websites

Recently I had the privilege of attending An Event Apart in Chicago. After every conference I walk away with amazing ideas and new things to try, but Eric Meyer’s presentation “Designing for Crisis” hit home, hard.

Imagine you’re a parent. Your son or daughter is in a terrible accident on their way home from a school football game. You get a phone call saying your son or daughter is being transported to the nearest hospital (which you may or may not be familiar with) and that’s about all you know.

You’re in complete shock. You can hardly focus, tears streaming down your face as you imagine the worst. You have no idea where to go or what to do. All you want is to get to your child as fast as possible, but it’s late at night and everything in the hospital is closed. Where do you turn for answers?

Naturally, most of us would turn to the hospital’s website.

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Internet Trends and Healthcare Website Design

Image of Computer and Mobile Device

Last week Mary Meeker, a partner at Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, presented her annual “State of the Internet” report. Her epic deck of 196 slides covers a huge range of trends, but there are several key takeaways for healthcare marketers. Here’s what you need to know.

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The Power of Information

Profile image of a laptop with a hand holding a medical bag coming out of the screen.
Within the past month I have had a couple of occasions to seek healthcare services. First, while travelling with two colleagues to a client site, I was involved in a head-on collision at highway speeds with another vehicle. I wish I could say that we all walked away fine, but as is so often the case in motor vehicle accidents, that’s not what happened.

I have also been spending time with my father in the ICU as he is battling the effects of chemo-therapy for cancer treatment that has left him susceptible to infection.

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Why Context Matters in Building Effective Website Search

Search Box on Chalk Board

Picture it: you’re on a website. You’re looking for a specific piece of information and you’re in a hurry. After looking at the navigation it isn’t clear where the information is. What are you supposed to do? You look around and there, you see it, the solution to all your problems: the search box, of course! You type in your request and press the submit button.

Behind the scenes an entire world of logic, computer processing power, and data spins to life to read your mind and deliver exactly the piece of information you’re looking for. If you misspell a word, it guesses the correct word. If the target of your search is a difficult or unusually spelled word, it uses a phoneme dictionary to identify similar sounding words or names. Search is one of the most complex and data intensive parts of any website. The denser the data, the harder the challenge to identify what the user means — not just what they say — and providing results that satisfy that need.

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Physician-Seeking Behavior: Is Your Website Up To Snuff?

Illustration of a person looking a doctor beneath a magnifying glass.

With the year over and the 2014 holiday season behind us, the trend is clear: Year over year, the number of consumers who shop online for the holidays has increased.1  But it’s not just about the holidays… The fact is, more and more people are shopping online all year long, for all sorts of things.2 And the experts agree that this trend will continue.

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Three Reasons Geonetric is a Better Strategic Partner Today than We Were Last Year

123In an agile environment, our work is often about incremental improvement – seeing where change is needed, forming a hypothesis, trying something new, measuring results, and tweaking as needed. In that world, it’s easy to have a recency bias – the inclination to use the most recent experiences as the baseline for what will happen in the future. However, it’s equally important to look at trends to make sure that, as a company, we’re getting the results we want in both the short- and the long-term.

When tabulating the results of our quarterly client satisfaction survey, the thing that caught my eye was an improvement in the category of how well our clients believe we align with their goals. That question received the most significant improvement from last quarter to this one – from a 5.01 to a 5.28. (As a reminder, our survey is based on a scale of 1 (lowest) to 6 (highest), and our target is always a 5.0 or higher.)

Now curious, I looked a little deeper. The previous four quarters had all been pretty consistent (5.09, 5.01, 5.04, and 5.01). Interestingly, the four quarters prior to that ranged from 4.49 to 4.96. What this tells me is that we made a change about a year ago that our clients liked, and the changes we’ve made more recently are being equally well received.

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CVS Health Rebranding – What Can Providers Do to Counter?

CVSHealthI have been reading about the rebranding of CVS Caremark Corp. to their new branded name CVS Health.

CVS rolled out a new brand along with the announcement that they are removing tobacco products from their shelves in all 7,600 stores and replacing those products with smoking cessation products. As a side note, Walgreens has also removed tobacco from their shelves but CVS Health rebranding takes this move to a new level.

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Focusing Healthcare Web Content on Users and Benefits


What’s the most important action you can take to improve your healthcare website and its value to your audiences? Offer content that answers users’ questions while it highlights the benefits your services provide to prospects and current patients. After all, what’s a website without content? Websites are nothing but content, so we need to be thoughtful about what we offer and how we present it.
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Making the Move to a Responsive, Mobile-Friendly Healthcare Website


With the number of mobile-connected devices projected to exceed the world’s population by the end of 2014, it’s more important than ever to have a Web presence that can accommodate mobile users. And since 31% of cell phone owners, and 52% of smartphone owners, have used their phone to look up health or medical information, healthcare organizations need to make their online experience seamless regardless of what type of mobile device is trying to access their information.

Pella Regional Health Center wanted to ensure visitors had access to their entire site, not just a select subset. Enter responsive design. It enables organizations to build and maintain one site that adapts automatically to the capabilities of the device being used. Essentially future-proofing an organization’s website since it presents the best user experience possible whether the Web visitor is accessing the single site from a desktop, tablet, mobile device or even a mobile-enabled refrigerator.

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Rating Healthcare Rating Systems


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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The Value of Content? PRICELESS!


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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Hospital Website Guidance: Opening Links in New Windows

Screen capture of browser context window on a hyperlink.For some time now, standard Web guidance has been to open hyperlinks in the current window instead of opening them in new windows. For those not familiar with what I’m describing, the following provides an example of each:

There are multiple reasons that inform the recommended approach. If you’re not familiar with them, here are a few of the more important ones:
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Remarketing: Somebody’s Watching Me!

Woman Holding Coffee Mug

I’ve had a lot of questions lately about remarketing (sometimes known as retargeting), a marketing technique that targets your site visitors with ads for your organization AFTER they’ve left your website. For example, I shopped for lamps last year on and then, for weeks afterwards, it seems like every site I visited presented me with ads for, many with the specific lamps I’d viewed!

You’ve probably experienced this yourself and realized that these ads are no coincidence but rather an aggressive marketing tactic by which one site follows you around the Internet with ads after a single visit.

I don’t like remarketing (so much so that I sometimes find myself writing snarky poetry about it like this). I find it to be annoying, intrusive and clumsily heavy handed. While remarketing is less intrusive when shopping for lamps – for something truly important and personal, like my health, it would be more than annoying. It would be downright creepy!

As a consumer, I don’t like remarketing and have steered clients away from the practice. But, as my friend Linda’s coffee cup reminds me on many a Monday morning, “Your opinion, although interesting, is irrelevant.” A quick Google search shows that many healthcare organizations are using remarketing today. As a technique, remarketing works for many advertisers or it wouldn’t be gaining in popularity.
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