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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Savvy Healthcare Marketers are Focusing on These Top Digital Trends

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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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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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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

The Value of Content? PRICELESS!

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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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Love It or Hate It, 2014 is the Year for Content

Perhaps no item was more contentious in the results from our recent Healthcare Digital Marketing Survey than content. Hospitals love their content or they hate their content or their feelings about their content are… complex. Too much content. Too little content. Their content is too long or too static or frankly spends too much time talking about things that visitors don’t care about.

What survey respondents seem to want is Goldilocks content – not too hard or too soft, too hot or too cold. Content that’s just right.

And they want to find it now, because content is a bigger priority than ever before!

Certainly, this is driven in no small part by changes at Google over the past year. I’m inclined to also believe that healthcare organizations understand that providing useful content is the key to building a valuable relationship with the consumers that they serve.

What’s the Most Valuable Digital Marketing Tool Available to Health Systems Today?

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“Our website – but you must advertise it!” according to one respondent from Geonetric’s recent Healthcare Digital Marketing Survey.

And he isn’t alone. 89% of respondents will use their websites for service line promotion in 2014. While the website serves as the destination, the “build it and they will come” school of digital marketing has gone by the wayside. Digital marketers have realized that a broader set of promotional tools are needed to connect the destination website with consumers.

Permission-based marketing has been the name of the game in recent years with much attention both inside healthcare and across other industries paid to the benefits of social media engagement. Nearly all healthcare organizations are using Facebook (99%), YouTube (94%) and Twitter (86%) in 2014. After languishing in the shadow of social media tools, email marketing is seeing big growth in 2014 as well (up 15% to 82% of organizations)!

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When Healthcare Organizations Merge, What Happens to the Websites?

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We hear about healthcare mergers and acquisitions every day. Hospitals and medical groups are frequently joining up to offer more services and resources for their patients. But what does that mean for their Web presence? Most organizations know they need to invest in a great Web presence but are unsure how their Web initiatives will scale as their organization changes. If you’re wondering how to build a site that can grow and change with your organization, read on!

Cone Health has been a Geonetric client since 2012. They launched an impressive new site just before merging with Alamance Regional Medical Center (ARMC). This merger brought up many questions in terms of online efforts:

  • How would this change their Web strategy?
  • Was all the hard work on the Cone Health website for nothing?
  • How should ARMC update their Web presence to account for the merger?

As both organizations quickly found out, Geonetric’s VitalSite content management software had them covered! When Cone Health merged with ARMC, it became clear that sharing the same VitalSite installation was the way to go. This approach gave both organizations the advantage of allowing them to utilize cross-promotion of their content and modules, while still allowing the organizations to maintain their unique identities. With VitalSite’s FlexFilter dynamic content technology, you can enter information just once and select the specific sites it should appear on, saving everyone time.

The teams were able to work collaboratively and share knowledge that brought out the best of both the Cone Health and ARMC sites! If your Web team could use some help with an upcoming merger, contact us today to see how VitalSite’s flexibility can be the foundation of a scalable Web strategy.

Twitter’s Possible Profile Redesign: What You Need to Know & Actions to Take Right Now

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Twitter gained popularity as a micro-blogging, minimalist social sharing platform focused on text-based content. The design changes they are experimenting with favor what we’ve been predicting all along: social media content is going to be increasingly visual. Twitter is trying to find a balance between keeping their current users happy while still making enough changes to attract and engage new users who are familiar with sites like Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest — which are all image-friendly.

Back in January, Twitter announced that it was “rolling out a refreshed twitter.com reflecting the look and feel of the iOS & Android apps.” The initial redesign included a white navigation bar across the top of the site showing the same options available on the mobile Twitter application. Twitter also adjusted the site layout on the Home, Connect and Discover sections to reflect the mobile design. The changes were relatively minor and made transitioning between mobile and desktop user interfaces a seamless experience.

In February, Twitter has been testing out a dramatically different profile design with a small group of users. It’s not certain if this profile redesign will roll out to all Twitter users or not — but it could. Even if the redesign doesn’t happen soon, it’s still important to be aware that anyone who is in this group of test accounts not only sees their profile with the redesign applied but all profiles on Twitter as well (including yours!). My personal profile (@nverhey) was one of those accounts and I’m able to check out the redesign and all of its features.

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Telling Your Whole Brand Story: System-Wide Approach to Web Content Structure

Content Planning
It’s human nature to group like things together. At home, the coats go in the coat closet. Cars go in the garage. Milk goes in the fridge and dirty clothes go in the hamper. But when you’re in a rush, you park on the driveway, throw your coat on the couch, set the milk on the counter and leave your clothes on your bedroom floor.

Likewise, on your website everything has a home. And site visitors go where they are familiar to find information about your healthcare organization, your doctors and services, your locations… to find out about you. If you’re sloppy about your content organization, you can easily create quite a mess for your Web audience.

At Geonetric, we take careful consideration of these issues in the content strategy phase with every site we evaluate, and certainly with every site we restructure. We look deep into the organization’s structure to help guide the organization of content but, more importantly, we look at the needs of your audience and identify the gaps in the user experience.

And then we work to solve those problems. One increasingly common way we solve this problem is by providing system-wide structure for content.
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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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Finding Broken Links and Fixing Them With VitalSite Redirects

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In the previous section, , we explored the differences between internal links, outbound links, and inbound links. Now that you have a working understanding of what these are and how they are different, we’ll cover some easy techniques you can use to be proactive about identifying them. For broken links that require 301 Redirects to fix, we’ll even show you how you can use VitalSite’s redirect manager to add redirects.
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Understanding Broken Links and 404s

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In , we introduced 404 errors, what causes them (typically, broken links), and explored why it’s important to fix them.

In short, we fix broken links because 404 errors often represent bad user experience and missed opportunities to maximize the business value of our hospital websites.
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