Friday, April 27, 2012
How do consumers and payers find you? And, can they find you online (see The Virtual You all members)? With consumer use of the internet as a health care tool going up (health care searches are the second highest search on the internet, and 90% of referrals now involve an internet-based search), the answer to the second question is critical. And, with the continued growth of consumer-directed health plans and of health plans with high copayments and deductibles (see Enrollment in Consumer-Directed Health Plans Grew by 22% in 2010 and Group Health Care Costs Up By 6.1%, Per Employee Cost Tops $10,000 ), the consumer is in the driver seat. And consumers use the internet.
To improve the likelihood that a consumer looking for services can find you on the internet, web optimization is a must. And before you can achieve optimization, you first need to understand your “web presence” – the appearance of an organization on the web, usually measured by the number of sites, which includes their website, social media, traffic and backlinks. This presence is, in large part, the determining factor in whether a potential consumer chooses your services (see The New Health Care Market: Consumers Spend More & Consumers Want More ). An online reputation that is marred by negative comments, damaging reviews, and poor rankings, has the power to dissuade potential customers from choosing your services. And if you can’t be found online, you’re not even up for consideration—giving you no chance at competing in this new consumer-driven market.
How do you know if your “web presence” is good? A key indicator of this is your search engine ranking, which is a reflection of your website’s visibility on search engines (i.e. Google, Bing, Yahoo!). If you search for your organization right now, are you in the top five results? The top ten? Not even on the first page? If customers can’t see you right away, chances are they won’t ever see you.
For those organizations that are looking to improve their web presence, as a first step, I would suggest that your team undertakes two important assessments:
Assessment of your program’s web presence and comparative market positioning online – Where does your program rank in comparison to others? What type of reputation do you have online? How have past consumers reviewed your organization and services?, etc.
Assessment of your competitors’ market positioning online – Just as you’ll want to examine your organization’s rankings, reputation, and reviews, you’ll want to find out how your main competitors stack up.
When you have assessed your web presence and your competitors, the next step is to make a concerted effort to integrate what you found into your overall strategy (see Maximizing Your Web Site & Use of Social Media to Build Referrals all members, Using Social Media as a Consumer Outreach & Marketing Tool and How To Calculate Your Organization’s Social Media IQ: Facebook, Twitter, Blogging & More ).
Are you confident that your organization has an effective web presence? Are you sure that your organization isn’t losing referrals (and revenue) because of how consumers perceive you online? If you want to delve deeper into these questions, join me and Eron Cohen, Internet Marketer for Fuuzio Internet Marketing, on June 6 in New Orleans, at the 2012 OPEN MINDS Planning & Innovation Institute for our executive roundtable discussion – Getting Found On The Internet: Keys To Search Engine Optimization.
Marketing Manager, OPEN MINDS
For another free resource, see: Meeting Consumer Expectations With Social Media all members
This is free for the next sixty days to all registered OPEN MINDS Circle members.