Building a comprehensive medical group online experience is a journey. Learn the steps Cone Health took to bring stakeholders on board, get the project live, and start seeing return on its investment.
As healthcare organizations develop or expand joint ventures with medical groups and independent physicians, representing that collaboration on the web requires thoughtful strategy. It’s a challenge, but when you’re successful, the result is a web presence that connects with your visitors and provides a deep understanding of the breadth and value of your services.
Through this in-depth case-study presentation, you’ll learn the secrets behind our multifaceted strategic process that led to a cohesive and intuitive web presence for this medical group.
Liz: Hello and welcome to our webinar on Website Strategy and Content for Medical Groups. I’m Liz Gilliland, Account Strategist here at Geonetric and I’ll be your host for today’s webinar.
Geonetric provides website solutions for healthcare. Our Content Management System, VitalSite, is a foundation of hundreds of healthcare websites and intranets. We also provide a suite of online services including SEO, design, content development, online marketing campaigns and hosting, all designed to turn prospects in the patients and deliver measurable results.
We work with health systems, hospitals and clinics around the country. Learn more at geonetric.com. Spend some time in the portfolio and see the awesome work we’re doing with our clients.
Our webinar today will run approximately one hour. We will have several opportunities throughout the presentation that answer your questions so please make sure to enter them in the Q&A field. You can also follow the webinar conversation live on Twitter using the hashtag #Geonetric. Our recording of this presentation will be posted on geonetric.com in the Learn & Share section. We depend on your feedback to make our webinars the best they can be. Please take a moment to complete the survey that will appear at the conclusion of the webinar.
As an attendee today, you can receive our recent eBook, Web Writing for Healthcare. This eBook not only covers the fundamentals of writing, compelling and user-friendly content for the web, but it also includes the case study we’ll be highlighting today. Be sure to fill out the survey at the end of today’s webinar and request the copy of our eBook.
Today’s presenters are Anne Kapler – Web Strategist and Writer at Geonetric, Maggie Wright – Senior Content Strategist at Geonetric, and Matt McKinney – Digital Communications Manager at Cone Health.
Today, you’re going to learn how Cone Health Medical Group communicates its system brand online while considering individual physician practice identity.
So now, I’ll turn it over to Matt who will introduce you to Cone Health.
Matt: Hello everybody. Cone Health is a growing health system in Central North Carolina. We are comprised of six hospitals, three med centers, and over 100 provider practice locations. We are surrounded by academic medical centers on all sides of us, including Duke, UNC and Wake Forest. Stiff competition to say the least. Our strategic plan guides us to a future where there’s less about treating patient’s illness and more focus on keeping people well across a continuum of care. As part of that model, it’s important that we have a strong front door to our health system. In most cases, unless you’re coming in by ambulance, your first engagement with the health system will be your primary care provider, or possibly a specialist in our network. This is why we need a bold, focused web experience for our medical group.
One of the biggest challenges was that we’re working with a relatively new medical group structure. Many of the providers, though part of the medical group, were still working with an independent practice mindset. It was important during this process to engage the providers from the beginning and create the buy-in from not only leadership, but those on the practice level. This was the direction we took as we engaged with Geonetric on this project.
Maggie: This is Maggie from Geonetric. I’m going to start by talking about the components of a medical group micro-site. As Matt said, they were working to develop a structure and content experience with a visually appealing design for their medical group online. When we started working with this project, like all projects, we have an underlying process. And this process consists of a series of different phases starting with discovery, building into structure for the site, having a design that supports that structure, having a writing content element of the project and then launching the micro-site.
But the most important component of that process, really, is its fluidity. So, we made changes and adjusted based on things that we learned throughout the process. And you’ll see here, I’m representing that with this ongoing arrow with discover. We are always discovering new things about the organization, about Cone Health Medical Group, about how site visitors are using the site. And the discover piece is important to flow through the entire project and beyond.
There are also quite a few outside elements that can propel or hinder the momentum of a project. Things like site visitors, actual patients for Cone Health Medical Group, the providers within the group, the content creators and the web team, the leadership. It’s really important to make sure that you are listening and communicating with all of these groups and that you have all of the influencers on board like Matt talked about a little bit ago. And he will talk about more, a little bit later in the webinar.
I’m going to dig into each one of these phases just a little bit here and talk first about the discovery phase. We really needed to understand where we were starting. There were over a 100 physical practice locations. Excuse me, there are over a hundred physical practice locations within Cone Health Medical Group. There were 52 independent practice websites and 26 practices with no web presence at all.
Think about if you were a patient in Cone Health Medical Group’s service area and you needed to get services. You wanted to understand what kinds of services were offered at the practice down the street, but you can’t find it on the website. Or you know your physician practices at more than one practice. But these physician practice websites are not connected, so you really are having a disjointed experience on the web. And I’m going to show you a slice of that experience from the individual practice websites.
The practice websites were not connected. And in some cases, did not have the Cone Health Medical Group brand on them at all. Or sometimes it was just a little bit harder to find that brand. There was little tie within the practices from one to another. Some cases, it looked a lot like the Cone Health brand. And in other cases, it really didn’t.
Now, these sites were likely created out of necessity with the resources and skills available at hand to any given practice. And that’s understandable. That’s how these sites were built. But the purpose of this project was to bring all of these practices together under one roof to have a unified voice. Looking at these disjointed web experiences, you can really see that there’s a lack of centralized marketing both internally and externally. And again, that’s exactly what this project was put in place to solve.
We learned that there were quite a few challenges, that the sites, as they existed, created a poor user experience. And in some cases, caused Cone Health Medical Group to lose out on opportunities. There was an unbranded connection among these individual sites. Patients really didn’t know what services were offered, and by who, and where to go to get those services. They certainly were not connected online to find out that information. There was missing and inconsistent or outdated content. It was really an unintended consequence of building these sites individually.
The practice sites were even competing with each other. There was simply no good way to govern all of the different messages, all of the different design looks between the medical groups. Some of you may experience some of the same struggles as you are listening to this webinar today. Hopefully, we can give you some of the key elements to this project that helped us be successful as we were working through the project, not only from the makeup of the micro-site, but also from the communication and internal buy-in that Matt will talk about a little bit later in the webinar.
Throughout discovery, not only did we look at what currently existed, but we also called on stakeholders to have a better understanding of Cone Health Medical Group. And really align their goals with site visitor needs to make sure that what Cone Health Medical Group is trying to accomplish, a site visitor really wants to learn about, and vice versa. We looked at analytics to understand how people are currently using the site. We looked at the current state of the content across all 52 sites to understand what kinds of messages were being crafted and how those individual practices were talking about services. Because, one of the goals, one of the main goals, was to talk in a unified voice. We looked to competitors’ websites and we identified these major challenges that I talked about just a minute ago. But overcoming all of this leads to the structure phase. And that means we really need to build a structure that could keep the network brand at the forefront and help support a more cohesive experience for the site visitor.
How did we communicate? The Cone Health Medical Group offers all of these services within the network rather than in each individual practice, on each individual website. And how do you carry that desired unified voice through on one single website? These are some of the questions that we asked ourselves and that people were asking us throughout this process. How do we show the Cone Health Medical Group patients that Cone Health Network works collaboratively to ensure that you get access to the right care, with the right provider, and the right place, and at the right time? We did this through a system-wide strategy that has a strong brand and message integration and a rock-solid information architecture.
Through that brand and message strategy, we tried to accomplish a few goals. One was to maintain that practice identity while still communicating the values of the Cone Health Medical Group brand to show that there were shared brand values within the network, and that each practice still did own their identity. We did that all with the goal not to take away from the physician practice character. That certainly was something we are very careful about, to not take away from physician practice character. But to keep the focus on the benefits to a patient of being part of the Cone Health Medical Group network.
So, we built an IA, an Information Architecture, that addresses the needs that site visitors of Cone Health Medical Group have. One of the things that we did that was interesting from the Information Architecture phase, is that we learned through discovery that a Patient Information section would be pretty beneficial for this particular audience. We built the Patient Information section and added it into the main navigation to help support future growth internally for Cone Health Medical Group. As Matt said, they are a relatively young medical group. And as they grow and as their processes become more centralized, there’ll be more opportunities for content to live in this section.
For example, you will find things like, what insurance plans are accepted, or bill payment information, or electronic medical records information, right now. But in the future, you might find things like central appointment scheduling, or central patient forms. And things that are centralized across the medical group could live in this section. Anne will talk a little bit about this later on the webinar. But the purpose of that is, every single practice location and every single medical service does not need to repeat the content. If it’s unified content, it can live in the Patient Information section and you can cross-link throughout the site to get there.
Another place we added as a main navigation item was in Healthy Living. We specifically heard from Cone Health Medical Group through our discovery phase that they’re following a patient-centered medical home model that aims to prevent illness and improve overall health and well-being. And as you heard Matt talk about, he said that they’re focusing less on treating illness and more on promoting wellness. To represent that on the web, we built out a flexible structure that could aid in communicating the value of following that model in the Healthy Living section.
So, looking at the next component design. It’s important to remember that structure really builds a foundation for design. Design, just like every other phase, has discovery involved in the entire process. We started with collaboration, discovery and creation. We had internal collaboration between the strategy phase and the design phase. And the designer carries out a site preferences survey to understand and hear from the stakeholders at Cone Health Medical Group; what they like, what they don’t like, what they might be expecting, things they want to avoid, things like that. They gather design artifacts and they certainly consider Cone Health’s look and feel so that Cone Health Medical Group will be represented as a part of that network. They developed a design hypothesis that works as a strategy moving forward throughout the design process. And then they get into the design comps and templating.
Without further ado, I will show you the new Cone Health Medical Group website that’s been live for a few months now. This is the design that supports the structure that is created by the discovery phases in all of the input from all of those internal influencers.
The key things I want to talk about are a few things that are highlighted. So first, the design really highlights providers. You have multiple ways to find a provider. Obviously, that’s one of the main goals of a medical group, is to connect patients with an actual provider. So, you can search right there on the homepage. Or you can drill deeper into the provider section of the website, which I will show you. This, I want to point out, is the Provider Search Results page. Cone Health Medical Group took a unique angle on this and they decided to use card based design which allows them to provide quick information and a quick view of the physician with their specialty and their locations. The content on this pages is dynamic. It adds organization and consistency, and it’s really visually appealing. This approach allowed us to use a visual device to help the user understand the related content.
Digging even deeper into the provider section of the site. Looking at one of the physician profiles, this particular profile has a lot of the elements of things that we recommend be on a profile page. You can learn a lot more about that on our online Physician Promotion eBook, which is available at geonetric.com/physician-promotion. And in there, you’ll learn a lot about the qualification and selection criteria that site visitors are actually looking for when they are trying to find the physician that’s right for them.
On this particular CHMG profile, they have qualification and selection criteria around location. Can I get to this particular provider? What conditions are treated? Is this provider going to be able to talk to me about what I need? Are they good at what they do? It talks about honors and awards and board certifications and their education. Are they convenient? The call to action up at the top of the page is very convenient way to call and make an appointment, or down at the bottom where you can locate it on the map to make sure that you can get directions to the particular physician.
Going back to that homepage design. It also supports the ability to highlight services. So you can drill deeper into medical services. Or see right there on the homepage which services are provided and then dig a little deeper to find some more services. As you get into one of those particular services pages is the Heart Care page. You see that not only does Cone Health Medical Group provide heart care, they’re also going to connect with you with their extensive network of exceptional cardiologists. And show you right there on that same page, exactly who they’re talking about and where they practice.
Going back to that homepage again. It really is designed to highlight locations. I’m talking about a hundred locations across the Triad and ways to find those locations and see what’s closest to you. When you dig into the Locations area, you can search by your particular service line at the bottom, and then you can see on the map what might be convenient for you and your family. And some of the Location profiles are built out to be more specific about what is actually provided for that particular service line, and allows that location to have a personality. You can learn which physicians are at that location. You can learn what types of specialists they have. And it’s a place to really highlight what the atmosphere might be like at that particular location.
The last thing I want to point out is how the homepage really highlights the fact that Cone Health Medical Group is part of Cone Health’s network. So, a very obvious one is right in the middle, that statement, “A distinctive partnership driving exceptional care.” And maybe not so obvious, but very beneficial to a patient, is the fact that My Chart is available with Cone Health Medical Group as well as Cone Health network, so that you can have all of your medical records follow you within the network.
And digging deeper into the site to see elements of the network. You see on the About CHMG page, again, they talk about their distinctive partnership driving exceptional care. The convenient, comprehensive and coordinated approach. And the fact that they’re caring for the Triad.
So, you keep hearing these messages over and over. It really solidifies those goals we talked about from the initial discovery phase of talking in one unified voice with shared brand values. And it truly emphasizes CHMG’s focus of having the right care, from the right provider, in the right place, at the right time.
I’ll turn it over to Anne to talk even more about how those things are highlighted in the content development phase of the project.
Anne: Thanks. Well, all that information architecture and design work that you just saw, really built a great framework for CHMG’s new site. And the next step was to fill in that framework with content that aligns with CHMG’s missions, goals, and branding, and clearly communicates the organization’s services and benefits to website visitors.
Our content projects always begin with conversations between the writers at Geonetric and the marketing team at the hospital or physician’s group we’re working with. As Maggie talked about, our discovery runs through the entire project. And we have a specific discovery phase with a content portion of a project. And this really dives into those content needs, goals and priorities.
So, we talked with the team at CHMG to make sure that we understood what they wanted from the content on the new site. They told us it was important for each service line to present system level content, because they wanted to help users understand the services available throughout their network for any particular service line. They also told us that it was important to leave room to recognize or highlight individual practices. Because at CHMG, it’s important to have the flexibility to operate in the way that best serves your patients.
We also decided it was important to have a wide range of services represented on the new site, rather than to dive deep into any particular service line. So, at the time allotted for the project, that meant that for most service lines, we would write just a single page that provided a broad overview of what CHMG’s network has to offer. The benefit of this approach is we cover a lot of ground and offer the fullest picture of CHMG’s network. The challenge, however, is writing content for more than two dozen service lines, all of which include providers from a variety of distinct practices, requires gathering information from a lot of people. That’s a lot of calendars to schedule yourself into. That’s why Cone Health own internal conversations at the outside of this project were really important to its success.
I’m going to let Matt to tell you a little more about what they did on their side to lay the groundwork for content development.
Matt: Thanks, Anne. Well, as we began conversations with leadership regarding this project, we felt it was important they understood a level of buy-in that we would need at the service and practice level. The content had to come from the front lines, not just leadership. We also needed reasonably quick responses. Now, leadership needed to be the ones that set what was expected of the providers and the practices in the form of cooperation. Communication from marketing alone wasn’t going to get the job done. And this project needed to be laid out as a medical group priority; not a marketing department priority. Setting that expectation of timely cooperation is what enabled the project to stay on track and meet our deadline.
Anne: Thanks, Matt. So, we began gathering information to inform the content on the pages that involved reviewing those 52 independent practice websites and other documents in the marketing materials that Cone Health Medical Group provided. We also reached out to physicians, clinic managers and service line leaders to learn more about their services and approaches to care. Because CHMG had set those internal expectations, we got timely responses from the 20-some subject matter experts who are very important sources of information for this project.
As we gathered information, we looked at how it fit into the system level approach. Where were there commonalities or crossover of information among practices from the same service line? Where were there providers with unique qualifications or specialty services that aren’t available everywhere? We did that because we wanted to write content that highlighted CHMG’s distinctive partnership driving exceptional care. We wanted content that communicated the network and brand, but also featured specialty services that were unique to particular practices within the network. And because CHMG is a young, growing organization, it was also important to structure content in a way that would make it easy for them to add information about new providers or practices who joined the group after the site launched.
Finally, we wanted to continue to show the connection among the group’s member practices by creating centralized resources to address common needs like health information. Or addressing questions about insurance and billing, like you heard about from Maggie earlier.
Now I’m going to walk through some examples of how each of these things played out on the new site, starting with the user experience for women’s health services.
These screenshots show you just a fraction of the user would need to look through to find all the women’s health-related services available through CHMG providers when the information lives only on a variety of practice sites. Each one speaks in a different voice and has a unique look. Many of them repeat the same information. For example, the gynecology practices offer mostly the same services with a few unique variations here and there. But a potential patient would really need to spend a lot of time Googling and exploring various websites to understand what all these practices have in common, where they could find specialized services, which one is most convenient for them. That doesn’t serve CHMG or their community members very well. And it doesn’t fit within CHMG’s mission to make it easy for their patients to access the right care, with the right provider, in the right place, at the right time.
So, we created a single page that pulled together all that various information into a centralized, easily accessible place. We opened the page with content that communicates system brand values for women’s healthcare, and offers information about the variety of services, providers and locations.
Now, as you’ve heard before, CHMG patients benefit not only from being a part of this medical group network, but from being a part of the broader Cone Health System and the resources it offers. So, we wanted to make sure to draw attention to that on the service line page too, by highlighting that expanded network with Cone Health Women’s Hospital, and by highlighting their electronic medical records system; Cone HealthLink.
As you move further down the page, you’ll see where we highlighted unique services offered by CHMG Women’s Healthcare providers. Now, each of these providers are at a different location. They each have a different specialty. But they’re all part of the network services for Women’s Healthcare. When we call them out alongside the more general services available, that gives site visitors a single, complete picture of what CHMG offers for Women’s Healthcare services. And when this type of information is easier to find, patients may be more likely to stay within the system for all their care. This approach has benefits for CHMG’s marketing team too, because it’s much easier to keep a single web page up to date than it is to maintain multiple sites, especially when each of them has a different voice.
All hospital and physician practice websites should evolve as new technologies are introduced, new providers join, new treatments are offered, or new or renovated facilities open. That way, you’re always showing your site visitors a current accurate picture of the benefits that you can offer them. This room for change approach is especially important with this young group that’s still growing. So, we used page structures that make it easy for CHMG to update information and still provide a seamless user experience.
On this page for the Heart Care section, you’ll see we led with the message that communicates CHMG’s brand and values, and then leads into a list of practices. It was important for CHMG to call out these specific practices on this page, and we wanted to make it possible for them to easily expand that list of practices when someone new joins the network.
As we reviewed existing practice websites and talked with subject matter experts, we saw that many practices within the same service line provided the same type of educational information to their patients. As we moved into a system approach, we wanted to consolidate these resources wherever possible. Why? Because it’s always easier to maintain fewer pages. And again, it aligns with CHMG’s goal to speak with a consistent, unified voice.
For example, many primary care practices want to provide information about vaccines to their patients. Some write their own copy and post it on their page, some post a link to the CDC. These are just a couple of example of what we found within CHMG’s individual practice sites. But in all cases, these physician practices want to share the same basic information about what a vaccine is, why their patients should get vaccinated, and when they should get vaccinated, to offer those commonly asked questions.
So, we created a single page with this information that serves as a comprehensive resource for CHMG patients and providers. Every primary care provider can direct his or her patients to this one page to get answers for their questions about vaccines. They can do this in person and they can do it on the website. From all the primary care pages on Cone Health Medical Group’s new site, they can link directly to the immunization page to provide more comprehensive information. And when the CDC updates its recommendations, it’s easy to update that one single page because it’s only one person needing to update one page.
At the end of the micro-site project, we had a bold new site with new content that spoke in a unified voice. That unified voice coupled with consistent design creates a strong branded presence among all member practices and improves user experience by making information consistent and easy to find. But we learned that our micro-site project, especially the content development portion of it, did more than just create a new website to help CHMG market itself. It also served as a catalyst for internal conversations and goals.
I’m going to let Matt talk a bit more about those internal conversations.
Matt: That was probably one of the most interesting things that came out of this entire project. It required the stakeholders in this project to sit around the table and decide how they wanted their services presented. That conversation led to how the medical group went to market and talked about the services as a whole. Prior to that, the conversation was usually around just what each practice could offer, and not so much what the group could offer in the way cardiology or gastroenterology. So as I mentioned, it forced them to think about that. Which helps us in the marketing department, sell their services in other forums, whether it’s online, in brochures, on billboards or television. However we needed to market these services, having that unified voice which was created as part of this project, enhanced that ability for us.
The other thing is that it brought the leaders and the providers together and made them agree on how the medical group as a whole should be presented. Not just on the service structure, but who we are at Cone Health Medical Group. And once you put it on print, once you put it on the website, your single voice, and that’s how it’s going to be perceived by the public. So, they had to come together on an agreement which wasn’t always the easiest case, but they managed to do it. And they have that unified voice.
Maggie: To round out the webinar today, we’re going to talk about a few key takeaways. Matt, please interject if you have more comments to summarize this.
But first, we think it’s really important to get internal buy-in from leadership. As Matt just talked about, it’s a key piece of the project that really helps things, for this project, on both Geonetric’s side of things and on CHMG’s side, to make sure that things are moving forward, that things are built well and can sustain the ideas and future growth of the organization. And most importantly, that they can accomplish the needs of potential patients of Cone Health Medical Group. The whole purpose of having the site is to make sure that you are bringing in more people to your organization, into your network, and in your community. So, really getting those key internal players on board from the start is a major, major success element of this particular project.
Then once you have those conversations with that buy-in, you really need to prioritize that website project. Websites are hard things to build and to make work the way you want them to work. So, prioritizing that website project means you have to have people dedicated, at least portions of their job dedicated, to making that happen. You need to set goals at the beginning of the project so you understand that you’re all working towards the same set of goals. And incorporate continual discovery into your process. At Geonetric, we take phased approaches to our projects. We do some discovery, we build something, we test it, we launch it, and we iterate. And so, it’s important even if you’re not doing every single one of those phases. So, in the content development piece of things, you’re not necessarily launching the content. But it’s important to make sure that you’re continually discovering so that you can iterate on your approach.
We wanted to make sure that we communicated that it’s important to look for ways to use your content project to achieve other internal goals. As Matt talked about, this content project really helped those key providers and internal subject matter experts talk in a unified voice. And got them to sit down at the table and talk about, “What are our services? What do we as a network provide?” And that’s something that maybe wasn’t happening prior to this website project. And consider a phased approach. You don’t necessarily have to have all of the answers and have a very long development process to then launch, and your site may have needed to change in the meantime. So, if you consider a phased approach, you can make sure you get the most valuable elements of your project live so that you can start seeing the return on that investment early.
Matt: And I’m going to add to that, the old saying is that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Well, neither was the comprehensive medical group online experience. We do look forward to our next steps and hopefully creating a singular online experience for both the group level, which we have, and then the individual practice websites which you saw as part of this presentation. We also look for ways to integrate the medical group to the Cone Health Network of the whole. ConeHealth.com; How can we make sure it’s a single experience whether you’re going to a hospital or to a medical group practice?
So, we just began this journey last year. There are still many moving parts and many pieces that we would like to wrap up, have in that single experience. And we know that’s not going to happen…We all are faced with budget, we’re all faced with time. So nothing’s going to happen in a four-month span. It’s going to happen over time and we look forward to the day when we have that one singular experience. Hopefully that will come soon. And in addition, there are other pieces and parts that we’re looking at. We’d like to have a singular request and appointment experience. As we all know, those are operational hurdles sometimes to doing those kinds of things. This project has started all those conversations. And so, we know we’re all on the same page and we’ll get to those points as we move forward.
Questions & Answers
Anne: Great. Thanks, Matt. We will now open the floor for questions covering as many as we can in the time remaining. Don’t worry if we don’t get to your question, we’ll follow up with you after we’re done today. I’ll turn it back over to Maggie to go through our questions.
Maggie: The first question is, “What do you do when physicians or other internal stakeholders aren’t on board with the web team’s goals and plans?”
Matt: That’s a challenge we faced for this project. As I said, we were a fairly young medical group. We have new practices joining. And some of them, especially the providers, are holding onto that independent mindset. It was really a manner of making sure they understood how valuable this experience was for them and the growth of their practice. The more you can use things, data, to address this, even if you look at it from your system level site. How many page views is your system level site attracting versus their individual practice sites?
And then, being able to tie into the network, that’s the whole reason they join the medical group. They obviously had a reason to not stay independent. But the more you can share that information about the value of the centralized marketing efforts, the centralized web elements, the more you’re going to get that buy-in from the providers themselves. We know doctors are tricky to work with, but in most cases, you can get them to come to your side.
Maggie: Thanks, Matt. The next question is, “Is the Cone Health Medical Group site a section of the Cone Health overall site? Or is it a distinct site with a different URL?”
Matt: It is a distinct site with its own URL; ConeHealthMedicalGroup.com. We also have a redirect of chmg.com. And that said, there is a lot of integration and continued integration between the two sites. We don’t want to live in silos anymore. And even if you look at
our current web experience, there is some siloing going on between our hospitals and our medical group. But if you dig into, say, our services directory on ConeHealth.com and you click on gastroenterology, it takes you over to the medical group site. Because, we don’t have gastroenterology specific at one of our hospitals. Those are the medical group providers that are coming in and doing that work. So we try to make that integrated experience, even now with the standalone site, they’re talking to each other in a lot of ways.
Maggie: Our next question is, “We have marketing members on our team that also write for our website. What’s the value of having someone else do the content structure and writing, like in your example?”
Matt: I guess I can take this one too. For us, it really came down to bandwidth for us. Certainly, we could’ve hired some freelance writers. We could have had some of our own team members write the content. But there are other things we needed to focus our attention on. In the case of Geonetric, they knew our brand. They built our front-side website, ConeHealth.com. And they have the experience and the time. And have devoted resources for doing nothing but setting up those appointments with providers, talking to them one-on-one. Having that constant schedule, that constant structure of one person working on this one project from start to finish; that was invaluable to us. There’s no way, even with our own team members, we could’ve have done that. There are just too many conflicting priorities.
Anne: Thanks, Matt. I’ll also add that we work in a very flexible way. We’ve worked with clients before who have asked us to come in and really concentrate our efforts on creating a structure that works for the organization; looking at all the information, deciding how information should be divided out into different pages, what should go on those pages. And then handing that off to internal writers. That, as Matt said, really helps them use their resources as well as they can.
Maggie: Yeah, it really all depends on the makeup of your team and what the priority is for your team. We have another question that came in that says, “What paid and organic SEM strategies did you use to drive traffic to the new site? Adwords, Yelp, Google Plus, etc.”
Matt: I’m going to say, this comes down to “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” We just launched the site just a few months ago. Not to make excuses, but our medical group marketing manager is on maternity leave right now, so we are in that phased approach where, right now, we’re relying a lot on organic search. And really, some of that is just to give us a baseline. Where, with organic search, can we get to with the medical group establishing their presence online? From there, then how do we take the SEM strategy and build up the medical group elements of the website even further out as we compete with these academic medical centers or our other competitors in the market. In addition, we have to look at the whole network-wide structure. Where do we use the SEM for the network versus just the medical group? So, those are all conversations that we’re currently having right now. We’re setting our strategy to move forward.
Anne: I’ll also jump in to add that when Geonetric writes content for your website, we write with SEO in mind. We incorporate keywords into headers and other parts throughout the page to really help Google as it crawls your site, to figure out what’s on that page and move it up in the search results.
Matt: We are definitely seeing organic traffic grow. Before this project, if you had looked up gastroenterology in Greensboro, you wouldn’t even find Cone Health Medical Group. And now, we’re sitting on the first page. So, we’re definitely seeing the effect of just organic search. Then, as I said, we’ll set up that baseline for SEM down the road.
Maggie: We have time for a few more questions. If anyone has more questions, go ahead and send those to us. In the meantime, I’ll read the last question, “How do you convince leadership to prioritize this project?”
Matt: That’s a little bit challenging. We’re actually finding that even in the future phases; getting that prioritization. Because, they are focused on treating patients. But I think with us, it was having such a young organization and them trying to find their way. They wanted a voice. The good thing is that they were actually coming and knocking on our doors, saying, “We are competing with all of these other medical groups around the state of North Carolina and our online presence is weak. What can we do?” So, we had the benefit of them coming to us. But also, it’s just a matter of growth. This had to happen for the medical group to grow, and really, to build that brand awareness to Cone Health Medical Group which we just did not have. So, it was combination of us telling them, “We need to build your brand.” And them saying, “We need to build our network.” And it was like cooperation of the two entities.
Maggie: There is one last question, “Where do you start with content?” And secondarily, there’s a question that says, “How do you prioritize where to start with rewriting content?”
Anne: Well, I can jump in for how we approach that on the Geonetric side. As we look at a few different things, one is, as we’re talking with Cone Health Medical Group or any other clients about where their priorities are. What are the service lines that maybe you have marketing efforts around? Or, what are the service lines that you see as being especially interesting to new patients? So, with Cone Health Medical Group, primary care service lines were really important to them. So, that was a good place to focus some efforts. Often, maternity service lines or cancer care. Other times, when you have new patients coming into the system. So they’re valuable places to start working on your content.
We also will do a gap analysis. We’ll look and say, “Your group offers these ten services, but only five are currently represented on your website. So why don’t we start with those five that aren’t there? And get that presence online so that people understand and see what you offer.”
Maggie: I’ll jump in here, too. I oftentimes think, a good place to start, if you can’t prioritize those things like Anne was talking about because there are too many competing forces. Oftentimes, I will recommend to start where you will have the biggest success, and where you have champions, and where you can make it work the way you envision it working, so that others can see maybe what they’re missing out on.
Matt, do you have anything to add?
Matt: No, I think you hit the nail on the head with that one, Maggie. Someone brought up earlier, “What do you do with the providers who maybe don’t go along with you?” We had a couple of bumps with the road with those cases. And honestly, we went first with the ones that we knew we’re going to be cooperative. And once we were able to get that content up and maybe those champions talking to the other providers saying, “This is a fairly easy process. It’s really not that hard.” Then some of the others may start coming along. So, it is about the easy wins. It’s getting the ones that are on board with you, off the top. And then moving down to maybe the more difficult ones down the road.
Maggie: Great. Thanks, Matt. I think that about wraps it up for today. Don’t forget to fill out the post-webinar survey where you can share your thoughts on today’s webinar. As an attendee, you can also request to receive our eBook, Web Writing for Healthcare.
Thank you for attending. We hope to see you again for our November webinar. Watch geonetric.com for details.
Website Strategy & Content for Medical Groups