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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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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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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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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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?

Social-Media-Usage-Healthcare-2013

“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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Everybody’s Doin’ It

black and white construction crane with scaffolding

Or almost everybody. Overhauling their website, that is.

Yep, virtual cranes are dotting the Internet landscape these days. In our recent research with healthcare organizations about their digital efforts, nearly a quarter completed an online overhaul in 2013 (24%) with more than twice that number either in the process of redesigning or in the planning stages (41% and 19%, respectively).

That’s a lot of construction activity. More importantly, however, is what do health systems hope to accomplish in their redesigns and why are so many of them doing this now?

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Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Digital Marketing In Healthcare, But Were Afraid To Ask!

Survey eBook Cover

I’m very excited to announce our new eBook – Digital Marketing in Healthcare, which outlines the findings from Geonetric’s recent survey of 250 healthcare organizations!

If you are involved in the Web, digital marketing, advertising or social media in healthcare or if you manage or support people who are, this report will provide critical intelligence to help your organization to be more competitive online, such as:

  • What do your competitors spend on digital?
  • How are organizations like yours staffing their digital marketing efforts?
  • What capabilities are healthcare organizations adding to the online mix this year?
  • What digital marketing tools do they find most valuable?
  • Is anyone actually using Vine?

You’ll find these insights and much more right here!

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

nverhey-twitter-redesign-2014_1

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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Death by Complexity in the Modern CRM

crm-complex-customizeEveryone knows customer relationship management (CRM) is important. It’s the main source behind lead conversion and revenue recognition for many companies. But using many of the CRM systems available can be difficult. Especially because out of the box, they might not fit your needs. If that’s the case, you should consider customizing the system. It’s easier than you think.

That’s the great thing about CRM systems today – they can easily be customized to your organization’s business model. However, along with the positives of easy point-and-click customizations, such as new data fields, also comes the increased risk of creating useless and unreliable data. In a recent article I read The Five Data Management Practices B2B Marketers Are Overlooking, author Derek Slayton cites research from the Aberdeen Group that says companies that actively manage their marketing data for hygiene and improved segmentation require just 64 marketing responses to generate a customer. Those that do not require 329 (industry average) or 622 (laggards) touches!

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Medical Group of the Carolinas Improves Physician Promotion

medical-group-of-the-carolinas-homepage

Deciding how to promote your physicians can be tough. There are so many different ways to highlight your doctors it can quickly get complicated. Let’s not forget about how making sure your physicians are happy also plays into the mix. Ultimately, there is no cookie-cutter approach. The best strategy really depends on your specific situation and figuring out what best supports your overall organizational goals and priorities.

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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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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 Overstock.com and then, for weeks afterwards, it seems like every site I visited presented me with ads for Overstock.com, 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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