#emaginethat

(the blog)

Leah Halbina

WordPress Can’t Scale for the Enterprise? Guess Again.

Last week, we kicked off our “WordPress for the Enterprise” series to shatter preconceived notions about a WordPress website as an unacceptable solution for large, enterprise companies. That post covered the commitment from WordPress with proper security precautions and the processes we’ve implemented as a partner committed to the success and security of our clients’ websites.

If you missed it, shame on you but you can still catch it here: Think WordPress Isn’t for the Enterprise? Think Again.

Today, let’s cover the benefits of a WordPress website from a scalability standpoint. 

wordpress websiteWordPress is built to scale.

A WordPress website’s ability to handle high volumes of traffic and plenty of web pages makes it a great CMS for companies who anticipate driving a lot of traffic to their website (who doesn’t have that goal?) and for companies who have several products, solutions, business units and divisions.

Supporting an enterprise level of growth and global reach is a must-have. A growing, global company typically translates to a complex website in terms of site architecture, overall size and functionality. But, can WordPress handle it? Yes. The answer is yes.

Let’s look at each factor independently.

Site architecture
We’re dealing with several products across several business units operating within various (and sometimes overlapping) markets. Say that ten times fast! Plus, they all need to be organized and presented in a way that makes sense for the end user visiting your website. To grow with the company, the website should be built according to today’s business structure and for the anticipated future structure.  Which brings us to the next point…

Site Size
A large company is naturally going to have a large website. Size includes the number of pages, custom post types, downloadable content in a resource center, products and product pages and service and solution pages. For a growing company who is updating the website regularly (which you should be), it’s inevitable that it will get larger over time and negatively affect performance without proper configuration.

Technically, a WordPress website isn’t limited by how many pages or posts you can have. You can have 60 or 1,500. But, that depends heavily on how your website and server are configured for load and performance. Host your website with well-respected providers in the industry like WPEngine or Pagely if you have high traffic or page volume.

Functionality
This is where things can get tricky because ‘functionality’ presents a wide array of options. Here are just a few common functionality requirements that can be included in a website project:

  • Product database integration and product portfolio
  • Enhanced search to reduce time and improve quality of results
  • Foreign language sites with WordPress Multisite Network
  • LiveChat
  • Advertising tracking to report across multiple live campaigns
  • Integration with marketing automation and CRM

Building a WordPress website for a business with so many complexities offline can result is an online experience that is unintuitive for users to navigate and find the information they need. With this, more attention needs to be given to maintaining performance. Providing a website that lives up to the expectations of your audience while remaining easy to use is critical. It may be a complex website after factors like size, functionality and integrations are assessed, but it shouldn’t feel that way to a user visiting your website.

As your business and WordPress website grows, here are just few ways to keep it up to par with user expectations without sacrificing performance:

  • Optimize database configuration – Reduce the time it takes users to land on the product (or service, document, download) they want to find, for example. Optimizing your database(s) properly can provide a better user experience, increased performance and quicker searches.
  • Optimize search – Elastic search helps to scale search queries, speed up searches and improve usability. It includes familiar functionality we’ve become accustomed to (and even expect) like “Did you mean” and fuzzy matching.
  • Leverage WordPress Multisite Network – Enables you to create a network of multiple websites. You can manage a network of multiple websites all in one place including the numbers of sites, features and user roles. This especially helps global companies who need a foreign language instance of their website.

And yes, all of this is possible with a WordPress website. With the right technical talent, you can be prepared to scale your WordPress website.

If you’ve been itching to use WordPress, but haven’t been able to build the business case reach out to us today so we can help you get there.

Think WordPress Isn’t for the Enterprise? Think Again.

Powering over 27% of the web and owning nearly 60% of the market share with 74M websites, the prominence WordPress has garnered can’t begin to compare to other Content Management Systems like Joomla, Drupal, SiteCore CMS, Ektron (Source: ManageWP).

Not only has WordPress gained popularity in general, but it also continues to earn the trust and satisfaction from large, enterprise companies (Bravo, WordPress!)

Once perceived as an amateur blogging tool, WordPress has garnered the attention from mid-sized to large enterprise organizations alike as a secure, scalable, user-friendly and flexible solution to manage their corporate website.  

Wordpress

Covering every single way WordPress is becoming more and more appealing to enterprise companies in one post is downright crazy (how much time do you have?) so we’ll be following up next week with Part 2 to talk about WordPress as a scalable CMS that allows your website to grow with the company. 

Security
One thing about web security we can all agree on is – without proper updates and monitoring, any CMS is at risk of security threats. If you’re a publicly-traded, enterprise company there’s no chance you’re going to risk compromising your data. And we’re 100% with you on that one. 

Governed by a team of core lead developers, trusted and veteran contributors work together to strengthen the core codebase. Contributors evaluate code, provide feedback on latest version releases, report bugs/issues and assist with critical fixes. These activities cultivate a stable and secure platform.

Did You Know – 55% of hacked WordPress websites recorded outdated version installations (Source: Sucuri)

In addition to the processes and precautions WordPress has in place, there ways to add another layer of defense to protect against a potential threat. Here’s how:

  • Properly vet and install plugins
  • Adhere to current coding standards
  • Implement additional layers of defense and security enhancements
  • Responsibly upgrade to the latest stable version release

If you’re a marketer who knows WordPress is the right CMS to enhance your online presence to support business growth, but haven’t found the right partner to protect your website and ensure its security – let’s talk

Stay tuned for Part 2 of our WordPress for the Enterprise series on scalability coming up next week! 

Lipstick Won’t Drive Website Conversions

website conversions

94% of website users’ first impressions are design-related. Okay Creatives, you win. But, as web design and digital marketing consultants, we can’t run with this and call it a day.

A pretty design can’t drive website conversions on its own.

Time and time again, we hear the analytics and reporting question right off the bat: “How are you going to prove the ROI?

And we can’t argue with it. Redesigning a website is a major investment: time, resources and budget. We expect – and appreciate – when a potential client is focused on proving ROI because we are too.

You want a fresh, new, sophisticated design for your website because the current one doesn’t align with industry trends, falls far behind competitors and doesn’t properly position you as a professional company and a leader in your space.

You can put lipstick on a pig, but (all together now) it’s still a pig.

Rest assured, we aren’t just throwing “lipstick” on your website. A research and metric-driven approach from the very start is important for long-term success.

Define your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
At the start of your project, define what success looks like for you. Your KPIs might be “Contact Us” form submissions, resume submissions, product inquiries, downloads of educational materials. Understanding exactly what your KPIs are will be helpful later when the website needs to be designed in a way that supports them.

Optimize to increase visibility and drive website conversions
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) have an inherent link. SEO ultimately comes down to conversion. It drives well-qualified traffic to your website and the goal of the website is to convert visitors, driving business growth. We also know that SEO doubles the average website conversion rate, from 6% to 12%.

Aligning your SEO and CRO efforts into a single, integrated approach can get you the results you need. Website elements like landing pages, call-to-actions (CTAs), site architecture and form fields should be optimized with your most important keywords and key phrases while UX best practices are applied to make important actions simple for a user to complete.

Track performance
At the end of the day, it should be natural for users to navigate your website. They shouldn’t have to think about where they need to go to contact you for more information, where to find product materials or where to go to search for a doctor who accepts their insurance. Website analytics will capture metrics such as:

  • Engagement – Length of stay, number of pages visited per session
  • Most/least visited pages
  • Bounce rate
  • Exit pages – The last page people visit before “bouncing”
  • Goal completion – Remember your KPIs? Now we track them.

Tracking these metrics consistently over time is critical and helps us make the proper adjustments to improve performance. Once you have the analytics for your KPIs you can start to diagnose the roadblock and pinpoint the modifications needed:  

  • Is your call-to-action (CTA) to download educational materials buried within a cluttered web page?
  • Are employment candidates able to find the Careers section? Or is searching for a position too cumbersome?
  • Are product/service inquiry CTAs positioned properly (or at all) on the corresponding product/service page?
  • Is your overall user experience intuitive? Does it guide users to the information they need?  

A modern, cutting-edge design will portray your company as professional and up-to-date, which can play a role in engagement and conversions. That’s only one piece of the puzzle though. Defining your KPIs, optimizing for SEO and CRO and tracking performance to help you prove ROI is critical to the long-term successful of your online presence.

Part 2 of a Web Strategist’s 2017 ‘Must Reads’

2017 Must Reads Part 2

This is the list that never ends. It just goes on and on, my friends. Just kidding – sort of.

If you missed Part 1 of my book list for 2017, take a peek here before skipping to Part 2. Kidding again – you can read them in any order you so desire. 

Here we go…

Grit
Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

At 27, Angela Duckworth quit her management consulting job to teach seventh grade math in a New York public school. That’s where she realized IQ was not the only difference between her best and her worst students. Her seventh graders gave her a much better understanding of students and learning from a motivation perspective.

What if doing well in school and life depends on much more than your ability to learn quickly and easily? Who is successful here and why?

Through research beyond the classroom, she formed her theory on a significant predictor of success:

grit \grit\ noun
1. passion and perseverance for very long term goals
2. sticking with your future day in and day out
3. working really hard to make that future a reality

In Grit, Angela Duckworth shares her research and findings into why merely talent or IQ doesn’t make you successful and next steps on how to build grit from an early age. 

Her talk at a TED Talks Education conference also explains more of her work and theory.

Note to self for 2017 and beyond – It’s not just talent that makes you successful, it’s the grit in you to make that success a reality.

AskGaryVee
#AskGaryVee: One Entrepreneur’s Take on Leadership, Social Media, and Self-Awareness by Gary Vaynerchuk

I recently watched a video of a father asking Gary Vaynerchuk to speak to his daughter (he was videotaping) about how she should consider her college career, how she should maximize that experience to prepare her for the world she will be entering. I knew I needed to hear more from him after one specific part of his response: “There is not a school, university or college on Earth that exists that is even remotely equipped to educate you properly on communications and marketing in the world we live in today.”

In his book, he gives surprising, often outrageous, and imminently useful and honest answers to everything you’ve ever wanted to know about navigating the new world.

Practical, timeless, even untraditional advice? Sign me up.

Patient HM
Patient H.M.: A Story of Memory, Madness, and Family Secrets by Luke Dittrich

Between this and When Breath Becomes Air, you might think I grew up wanting to be a neurosurgeon. Well, the secret is out.

I think most people who have a Communications background also have a natural interest in psychology and how the brain works.

Patient H.M. is the most studied human research subject in the history of neuroscience after he received a radical new version of the then-common lobotomy in 1953 in an effort to eliminate his seizures. The procedure failed to cure him of epilepsy and it left him with amnesia, unable to create long-term memories.

On top of an already interesting story – the author, Luke Dittrich, is the grandson of the surgeon who operated on Patient H.M. Before the release of his book, Dittrich talked to The New York Times about this significant era for American medicine and his deeply personal connection to it all. Read A Brain Surgeon’s Legacy Through a Grandson’s Eyes here

Patient H.M. combines the best of biography, memoir, and science journalism to create a haunting, endlessly fascinating story, one that reveals the wondrous and devastating things that can happen when hubris, ambition, and human imperfection collide.” – Sheri Fink, M.D., Pulitzer Prize winner and author of Five Days at Memorial

I’ll take two, please! 

That’s all for now, but I’m always adding new books and looking for suggestions so comment below with your favorites.  

A Web Strategist’s 2017 ‘Must Reads’

2017 Book List

Anyone who knows me knows I can get dangerously lost in a good book. I can also get lost in a Barnes & Noble looking for my next book to get lost in. Hope I didn’t lose you there. To fuel my reading addiction, here’s Part 1 of my 2017 book list: 

Thank You For Being Late
Thank You For Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations by Thomas L. Friedman

An extremely relevant book for the digital age we live in. It will continue to throw shifts and changes our way that we’ll need to constantly navigate in every aspect of our lives.

Friedman exposes the tectonic movements that are reshaping the world today. His thesis: to understand the twenty-first century, you need to understand that the planet’s three largest forces ― Moore’s law (technology), the Market (globalization), and Mother Nature (climate change and biodiversity loss) ― are accelerating all at once. These accelerations are transforming five key realms: the workplace, politics, geopolitics, ethics, and community.

It’s also an argument for “being late”― for pausing to appreciate this amazing historical epoch we’re passing through and to reflect on its possibilities and dangers.

If I’m late to my next meeting, send help to pry this one out of my hands. 

When Breath Becomes Air
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

After a decade studying the brain as a medical student and working in the brain as a neurosurgeon at Stanford, Dr. Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer at 36-years old. His memoir is a reflection on the challenge of facing death and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a brilliant writer who became both.

When I first heard about this book it instantly sparked my interest. At the same time though, I thought it might be too sad for my liking. Then, I read reviews like this one from The Washington Post: “Paul Kalanithi’s memoir, When Breath Becomes Air, written as he faced a terminal cancer diagnosis, is inherently sad. But it’s an emotional investment well worth making: a moving and thoughtful memoir of family, medicine and literature. It is, despite its grim undertone, accidentally inspiring.”

Then I read Fast Company’s Life Lessons After Death: A Doctor Explains Her Own Healing on how his wife, Dr. Lucy Kalanithi, spoke at TEDMED 2016 in Palm Springs on her own healing after her husband’s passing including how she teaches their daughter about love and loss and described what the experience taught her about living.

Hooked and I haven’t even read the foreword.

Shoe Dog Creator of Nike
Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike 

I have always worked in advertising, marketing or communications where Nike was – and continues to be – the inspiration and gold standard. The man behind the swoosh has been a mystery up until now when Nike founder and board chairman, Phil Knight, shares the story of the company’s early days as an intrepid start-up and its evolution into one of the world’s most iconic, game-changing and profitable brand.

A chance to hear Knight’s story of how Nike started, the challenges and setbacks along the way and the foundational relationship that formed the heart and soul of Nike is a rare opportunity, so excuse me while I dig in.

Stay tuned for Part 2 where I’ll share the second half of my list. And in the meantime, comment below with books on your list. I might need to add them to mine!

 

A Perspective on DTC Perspectives Hospital Marketing National 2016: Trends & Themes Transcending the Industry

 

hospital marketing national

Summer has been busy for the emagine Healthcare team and it’s clear that 2016 will continue to be a busy (and very exciting) year for Hospital Marketers. Heading into the second half is a perfect time to share a few themes that transcended the 2016 DTC Perspectives Hospital Marketing National in Atlanta and San Diego. Great strides have already been made and there’s much more to look forward to for the rest of 2016 and into 2017.

Seeing everyone engaged, sharing success stories, giving recommendations on what has worked (or not) for them, and asking the right questions was so inspiring. We all have the same goal: Improving the lives and health of patients and caregivers. So, the willingness to find a solution together and give insight left me feeling optimistic for what’s ahead.

Here are some recurring themes that I noticed a major focus on throughout the talks, discussions and panels:

Patient Journey, Experience and Engagement 

It will be critical for Hospitals to understand the patient journey, how it affects the patient experience and how that relationship encourages (or discourages) patient engagement.

For years, everyone has preached the importance of patient engagement. But, very few were actually doing it. True patient engagement will weigh heavily on Healthcare Marketers. Gone are the days of patients as a commodity that have to come to you. Stephen Zubrod, VP of Marketing at Methodist Health System and Eric Talbot, Founder of Epiphany Insights both urged us to shift our thinking to view patients as consumers. Patients have the option to choose, are more informed than ever and want to be an active participant in their health. Now, the differentiator will be who is delivering and executing on the patient experience as Lonnie Hirsch of Hirsch Healthcare Consulting stressed in San Diego. 

What does that mean for your website & online presence?

Think of your site’s user experience as the patient experience. Site architecture, navigation and page flow should align with the patient journey. Every element of your website should address what patients need, want and expect to feel comfortable choosing your Hospital over a competitor. Expectations have shifted and continue to rise. Your website needs to rise to the challenge to truly drive patient engagement.

Powerful, Engaging Video

Everybody’s doing it. How do you rise above in an overly saturated medium? Simply having video won’t suffice. It should be high-quality and strive for a connection – all in an effort to humanize Healthcare again. Our health decisions are serious, intimate and personal and video content should reflect that. Connecting with your audience on a deeper level with an empathic tone will be the differentiator here. After all, choosing a Hospital comes with more risk than buying a new TV. Smith & Jones successfully leveraged video to connect with a community 2-hours North of New York City. There’s excellent care from Physicians who have studied at top-tier med schools right in their back yard, but there’s always the option to travel to Hospitals like New York-Presbyterian and NYU Langone Medical Center. Dave Vener, President and Marketing Director of Smith & Jones shared examples during his talk, 2016 Healthcare Marketing Trends, our first morning in Atlanta. 

What does that mean for your website & online presence?

Video drives the highest engagement rates out of the many types of content we have the option of sharing with our target audience segments. An estimated 79% of internet traffic will be video content by 2018. Video on your website (and social platforms!) evokes the emotional connection and empathy patients are expecting.

Here are a few topic ideas:

  • Patient Testimonial to establish credibility and humanize Healthcare again
  • Physician Profile to share their approach and insights and to connect with prospective patients
  • Treatment/Procedure Overview to educate and ease anxiety in preparation for their visit (An emagine trusted partner, Nucleus Medical Media, creates stunning 3D, custom videos)

If you haven’t already started aligning your web experience and online presence with expectations of patients and caregivers, now is the time!

5 Elements of a Winning Healthcare Marketing Strategy

healthcare marketing

Every healthcare brand knows the importance of a marketing strategy. But not every brand has the necessary time or resources to plan for and develop a structured strategy that will help them meet their organizational goals.

So what’s the secret to building a winning healthcare marketing strategy?

Here are five important elements to craft a winning digital marketing strategy:

1. The Right Goals:

Set realistic, specific, and quantifiable goals. Make sure your goals represent your organization’s overarching objectives and individual departmental objectives (as needed). Your outlined goals will dictate which outcomes to measure so you can determine if your strategic approach is working and adjust accordingly.

2. The Right Detail:

You’ll know exactly what your challenge is and will have an idea of what your goals and objectives should be, but it’s all wasted without paying close attention to every detail. Take the time to align your tactics with your strategic objectives. Clearly define your KPIs and what success looks like for your organization.

3. The Right Team:

Have the right people at the table. There is a multitude of tactics to choose from in digital marketing and your healthcare marketing team should be comprised of more than your internal team. With new technology, platforms and opportunities arising so frequently, an extension of your internal team will bring a fresh, outside perspective to challenge “We’ve always done it this way.” Break down silos in your organization and involve all critical internal stakeholders to create an integrated, cohesive strategy.

Start by holding a meeting with leadership from each department. Discuss their needs and how digital marketing can provide a solution to their challenges. Let the marketing experts take the lead, but use everyone’s input as a guide.

4. The Right Platforms:

Implementing the appropriate platforms is critical to achieving your desired outcomes. You’ll need a Content Management System (CMS) – such as WordPress – that will empower you to enhance your digital presence, a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) to keep your contacts organized in one place, and a robust marketing automation platform to streamline additional components of your healthcare marketing strategy like social media and email marketing campaigns.

Do your research or engage an outside, trusted consultant to guide you in choosing the platforms that align with your organization’s goals and objectives to, ultimately, attain your desired outcomes.  

5. The Right Execution

Organizations that are serious about digital marketing for brand building, lead generation, and target audience engagement are partnering with designers, developers and digital strategists who have the expertise to create beautiful, relevant web experiences that resonate with site visitors and the knowledge of the healthcare marketing landscape to drive the right people to your beautiful site.

If this is you, right on!

If this isn’t you, you’re not alone. You might be shocked to hear this (because we sure are!), but most organizations don’t have a clearly defined digital marketing strategy and are missing opportunities that could yield great results.

And the question of the day: Does your healthcare organization have a digital marketing strategy? A plan for execution? Let us know in the comments below or reach out if you want to talk about how we can work together to set you on the path to success in the wonderful world of digital marketing!

5 Ways Your Hospital Website Can Support Patient Engagement

 

hospital website marketing

Creating a website for your company is no easy feat. Every business has different goals, objectives, KPIs and definitions of success. If you sell a tangible product, success might mean contacting a sales rep for more information or requesting a demo.

But digital marketing for healthcare, especially hospitals, is a different game.

First, let’s chat about patient engagement. Twitter is flooded with #patientengagement and we’re relentlessly hearing “healthcare influencers” preach about the importance of it. (Remember what we warned you about with “influencers?”)

So, is patient engagement important? Of course!

Has it become a buzzword, lacking substance? An empty promise to patients? Absolutely!

Patients are increasingly becoming active participants in their health care plan. These “engaged patients” view healthcare as collaboration with their doctor, not a one-sided interaction. Think about it. Have you ever caught nasty flu-like symptoms from your co-worker and turned to them to ask, “did your cold start with a scratchy sore throat and runny nose”? When you’re dealing with something like the common cold, you’re more likely to do everything in your power to determine the right treatment plan yourself. Whether that includes finding the right OTC medicine or the right doctor to advice you on what to do beyond OTC options. Long story short: with all of the online tools at your disposal, you’re empowered to find out the answers yourself.

Eighteen percent of Internet users have gone online to find others who might have health concerns similar to theirs. People living with chronic and rare conditions are significantly more likely to do this. The surge of online searches for health information is true for any type of condition. With the abundance of health information online, patients are searching for information related to symptoms and conditions, asking more questions, and suggesting treatments to their doctor. In the US alone, 6 million Internet users search the web for health-related information – on a daily basis.

Secondly, patient engagement isn’t about encouraging patients to make positive decisions regarding their health, giving yourself a pat on the back, and calling it a day. As healthcare marketers, we should be continuously supplying patients the right tools to aid in making positive health decisions. One of the greatest tools at your disposal is your website.

Today, simply having a website is not enough. It’s important to be present for all stages of the patient journey. Researching a doctor and entrusting them with your health care holds more of an emotional weight than researching which Smart TV to buy.

Your website might be the very first impression a potential patient has of your hospital, healthcare practice, or healthcare system. So, it’s critical that your website is indicative of the quality care they will receive if they choose to make an appointment. You only have 10 seconds to leave an impression and tell your visitors what they’ll get out of your website and company. After this time (and oftentimes before), they’ll leave.

Here are some ways your hospital website can support the patient journey, make a positive first impression and leave a lasting impression:

 

  • Avoid medical jargon. Patients usually don’t speak about conditions with the same clinical terms a physician would use. Remember this, and make it simple for patients to understand your specialties and service lines.
  • Find A Doctor – Create, manage, and update a database of physicians so patients can search for the right one directly on your website. The ‘Find A Doctor’ feature lets site visitors research doctors’ specialties, areas of focus and choose the one that is right for them.
  • Online Appointments – Not everyone is able to call during the day to make an appointment, so having the option to either request an appointment or schedule an appointment online is extremely helpful. Without online appointment features, a potential patient might never get around to calling. Online appointment options help patients move one step closer to better managing their health.
  • Contact Information – Connect patients with the information they’re looking for. If site visitors would prefer calling to make an appointment, the contact information should be readily accessible for them to do so. They might have specific questions that aren’t addressed on your website. Answers to these questions are an important factor in making a decision and if a patient can’t get those answers, they might move on.
  • Appeal to the on-the-go, constantly connected patient. Your mobile experience has to be quick because, chances are, mobile users are looking at your site while waiting for the pasta to cook or during a timeout at their daughter’s soccer game. Hey! We’ve become a society of professional multi-taskers and marketers need to adapt to patient behavior online. Make content relevant and useful, but remember it needs to be quickly consumed.

You’re probably thinking to yourself, “These are no-brainers.” But think about how (or even if) any of these are actually being practiced. With the oversight of emagine’s Technical Director, Christian Nolen, our development team has customized several WordPress plugins to make it easier for our healthcare clients’ websites to support patient engagement.

As always, I love hearing from our readers so please comment below if you have anything to add or if you think I left anything out!

5 Vital Signs Your Website Needs To Be Revived

It’s time for your yearly check up and we all know what’s coming next: avoidance. We get it! A trip to the doctor’s office takes time, effort, and pulls you away from your job and other responsibilities. But is it all worth it in the end? Yes. And a website redesign or digital marketing kickoff will be too. With our talented team of designers, digital marketing specialists, and technical pros, you don’t have to dread the project like you dread a visit to the doctor’s office.

Patients aren’t solely patients. They’re consumers too, and are engaging with other brands every day through digital experiences. Now, patients are expecting the same from healthcare providers. Pew Research Center’s national survey found that 72% of adult Internet users say they search online for healthcare information. However, 51% say healthcare providers’ websites could be more helpful. That means your website’s health is no longer something you can avoid putting off.

Here are 5 vital signs your website needs to be revived, before it’s too late!

  • Outdated design/architecture. Take a look at your website. Is it mostly lines of texts and boxes of content? If so, it’s time for a change. Reading online text isn’t like reading a book. Users scan headlines, click, and go. If they don’t find what they’re looking for, they will click and go… somewhere else. Seventy-six percent of patients leverage hospital websites in their research process, according to Google’s study, The Digital Journey to Wellness: Hospital Selection.
  • Contact information is buried. Dig it up! Your website’s content should be user-focused. Understanding what site visitors are looking for and making it quick and easy for them to find will go a long way. For starters, ensure you have contact information on your site with several contact methods. Then, put it in a place where visitors can find it. (Hint: not hidden in the “About Us” section). You can add contact information to your social profiles/pages too!
  • Blog? Who’s that? Patients want to know you’re a leader in your space. Blog about overall health tips, how to stay healthy during flu season, or quick exercises for the working mom. They’re looking to you for direction, so take the time to show you care, want to help, and are an active partner. Start small and gain momentum!
  • Slow page load times. Tick tock, tick tock. Homepage, where are you? We’re all culprits of this one. If a website doesn’t load within a certain time limit, you better believe that person is moving on to the next. According to Kissmetrics, 47% of visitors expect a website to load in less than 2 seconds, and 40% of visitors will leave the site if the loading process takes more than 3 seconds. Try using the Google Chrome extension, Page Speed Test to track your load time.
  • Mobile STILL matters. Mobile accessibility is just as important for healthcare organizations as it is for consumer brands. Upwards of 50 percent of health related searches are performed via mobile as patients increasingly rely on their mobile device. Without being mobile-friendly, your site won’t be listed on mobile search engine results pages and served up to potential patients. According to the Google study, 44% of patients who research hospitals on a mobile device scheduled an appointment.

It’s 2015, and your website shouldn’t be stuck in 2010.

Just for reference, here’s what happened in 2010:

  • Prince William & Kate Middleton announced their engagement
  • Simon Cowell left American Idol
  • BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico
  • Apple launched its first iPad

We’ve come a long way since 2010, don’t you think your website should have too?

Digital Awesomeness Series: Sales & Marketing Collaboration. For Real.

marketing and sales teamsUp until now, it seems as though most companies (agencies included) separate the roles of sales and marketing. For the past few years, industry experts have been talking & writing about how the alignment of these two teams can drive growth and success. The discussion was largely theory and we didn’t see the realization of it. According to this study by Aberdeen on the collaboration between sales and marketing teams, “highly aligned organizations achieved an average of 32% annual revenue growth, while less well-aligned companies reported an average 7% decline in revenue.” Still, Forrester states, “just 8% of companies say they have tight alignment between sales and marketing.”

Why is this, you ask? Here are a few reasons:

  • It takes time to change one person’s mind, let alone an entire industry. Let’s face it: A lot of people still think the sales teams only make the calls and close deals while marketing teams only work to establish and sustain a position within the market. The reality is both teams do much more while contributing to growth & success.
  • Executives & decision makers want solid evidence that it’s going to work. Without it, they’re hesitant (and rightfully so) to implement this collaboration model and rid the organization of siloed marketing and sales departments.
  • There might not be a clear differentiation between sales and marketing responsibilities. Lines get blurred and they go back to operating in parallel.

How can B2B’s adapt to this change?

Well first take an example from us at emagine…the antiquated, siloed model has subsided and these two departments are truly collaborating to propel success for the company. We’ve seen an increased overlap in responsibilities. Each role, however, still has a function independent of the other. Here’s how we’ve worked to align the marketing and sales teams at emagine:

  1. Everyone get social. It’s no longer solely the responsibility of marketing to get emagine’s name out in the Twitterverse, learn more about industry trends & news, and share emagine’s extensive experience and knowledge with its follower base. Our sales team members are becoming increasingly entrenched in social media efforts for business purposes.
  2. Sales is reaching out to prospective clients on a daily basis, but that doesn’t mean those contacts can’t hear from marketing too. From the first interaction, marketing can support the sales cycle with insightful, personalized, and relevant content such as webinars, white papers, and infographics.
  3. Deep understanding. Sales understands marketing and marketing understands sales. This is key. Without each team having the knowledge of how the other works, we would never be able to successfully work together. Taking it a step further, both teams understand that the expectation of consumers today demand them to work together.
  4. In addition to each team understanding how the other one works, marketing trusts the ability of sales and vice versa. There is constructive criticism and valid questions, but an overall respect and trust factor.
  5. Constant communication. Sales and marketing should be meeting weekly (at least) and communicating non-stop in the meantime. With the high possibility of overlap, it’s important to be aware of what the other is doing to avoid redundancy.

As technology changes and new opportunities arise, we’ll remain nimble enough to adjust. Now, I’d love to hear from you. Do you see alignment between the sales and marketing teams at your organization? How do you sustain it?

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