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.
One thing we know for sure in the world of SEO is that change is the only constant. Last week, Google made yet another algorithm change, this time targeting the location-specific search results.
And, yes, this one was also named after an animal. We would like to introduce you to “Pigeon!” (We’re not in charge of the names here. Promise.)
It is almost a certainty that patient care volumes will increase after the complete rollout of the Affordable Care Act. Already, health systems are seeing a new level of demand that is burdening systems because of increased volumes. The patients you are currently treating that don’t have health insurance are mandated to enroll in a health insurance product offered either through a Federal or State exchange program.
The most recent figures from the Department of Health show that 7.1 million people are now enrolled in ObamaCare. Of those, more than 26% or 1.8 million people are between the ages of 26 and 34. The thought behind Affordable Care was that more young people would enroll and force the premium cost down through risk sharing. Although the number of young people enrolling has not achieved the levels anticipated it is a very good start and creates an opportunity for health systems and providers.
The Affordable Care Act ensures that health plans in the individual and small group markets offer a comprehensive package of services, known as essential health benefits. Essential health benefits must include services such as: hospitalization; maternity and newborn care; substance abuse disorder treatment; wellness services, emergency care, along with pediatric services that includes oral and vision care.
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.
Healthcare systems are messy. Think about the growing number of different facilities and the departmental divisions that aren’t meaningful to patients but very meaningful internally. Consider the various groups battling with one another over the same patients, or the lack of a consistent philosophy and approach for a given service or procedure. It’s easy in the day-to-day operations of a health system to ignore the complexity of our organizations. I find that when we work on the website we’re pulling off the band-aid and exposing all of that mess.
Doesn’t it sound fun to go diving in the Caribbean or to go camping alongside penguins? It does! And the people who market these types of adventures do so in creative ways that don’t feel like marketing. They create great content – the kind of content that consumers love to read and want to experience themselves.
And, according to David Meerman Scott’s opening keynote at the Healthcare Marketing and Physician Strategies conference, healthcare can market this way too. No, you don’t need sand or ocean water or even penguins.
What you need is to write interesting content. How you ask? The key is relevance.
One question Geonetric hears from clients is, “How do you keep up with all these changes in SEO, PPC, and social media?” Good question!
I shared my reading list with attendees of Geonetric’s 2014 eHealth Client Symposium: Camp Reboot, and thought others may benefit from this list as well. A word of caution: these blogs will turn you into a search marketing geek in no time flat.
So, what do I read in my free time to keep up with Google, Bing and the other cast characters in search and social media? Here’s my current reading list:
Last week was Geonetric’s eHealth Symposium, our annual client get together where we spend a few days of learning, bonding and way too much food. This year, Symposium relived our childhood summer camp memories as Camp Reboot, complete with camp songs and s’mores!
Back in February I gave a head’s up that Twitter was experimenting with a profile design. At that point only profiles deemed ‘early adopters’ received the new design and Twitter recorded how those users interacted and utilized it. Apparently Twitter liked what they saw; they’ve rolled the new profile design out to all Twitter profile pages.
Most marketers use Twitter through APIs like Hootsuite, Tweetdeck or the Twitter mobile app. To apply the new profile design on your account or the accounts you manage, you need to log in to Twitter’s actual website. A prompt will appear in a blue box encouraging you to take a brief tour of the new design. The prompt highlights the major visual changes of the redesign including:
- Bigger profile header image (recommended size: 1500×500 pixels)
- Bigger profile image (recommended size: 400×400 pixels)
- Pinning a Tweet to the top of your feed
But there is more to the new design than what you’ll find in Twitter’s tour. To save you time, I made a list of action items you should apply to all your Twitter accounts right away.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?”
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.