While the healthcare consumer of today is much different from the healthcare consumer of the past, much of healthcare digital marketing is still stuck in the 2000s.
When compared to other industries, healthcare does not rank favorably when it comes to customer experience. According to a survey by Econsultancy and Adobe, when asked “How do the following industries compare in terms of being fast to respond, offering choices for communications and other elements of your experience as a customer?”, healthcare ranked fifth out of seven consumer industries, ahead of only automotive and government!
It’s clear that the rapid change in patient behavior has exceeded the pace of change for many healthcare marketers, where digital marketing is often just a website built for aesthetics instead of a patient-first experience.
This was the challenge facing American Vision Partners (AVP), one of the nation’s largest and fastest-growing eye care physician services organizations. AVP serves communities throughout Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada, with more than 125 nationally-recognized doctors at 104 locations, including 57 full-time clinics, 28 satellite clinics and 19 ambulatory surgical centers.
Through heavy M&A activity, AVP suddenly had to manage a portfolio of six well-known brands including Southwestern Eye Center, Barnet Dulaney Perkins, Retinal Consultants of America, M&M, Abrams Eye Institute, and Visage Aesthetics and plastic surgery.
How do you modernize AVP’s digital marketing and web infrastructure to meet the needs of the empowered healthcare consumer and drive economies of scale across all brands?
The pilot for transforming AVP’s digital marketing would be the Southwestern Eye Center website, which delivered the lion’s share of revenue through surgical procedures like Lasik and cataract surgery. While Southwestern Eye Center had a long history in the market with strong brand recognition and affinity scores from current and past clients, competitors were starting to encroach, and they knew that recognition and reputation alone would not be enough. They also had a unique content challenge: although the majority of revenue comes from cutting-edge surgical procedures, they also have in-house optometrists and highly rated medical staff. Yet they couldn’t go to market heavily promoting these other capabilities, as this would be in direct competition with the many everyday eye care providers who refer surgical business to them. So although they didn’t want to compete, they still needed to get their full story told.
While brand recognition and reputation for Southwestern Eye Center were high, the reality of their website didn’t live up to this. Aside from not being responsive, content was loosely organized, pages had too many CTAs or duplicate forms which confused patients, and overall there was a feeling of crowdedness. The prevailing logic seemed to be more is better – more words, more CTAs, more forms, more pictures and more information. This content chaos was having a ripple effect on SEO and more importantly, meant they were falling behind on key healthcare digital marketing trends.
These statistics were pulled from a report conducted by eConsultancy, The Consumerization of Healthcare.
We saw an opportunity to create something that exceeded consumer expectations and delivered a competitive advantage. And we translated this into four key priorities for AVP’s healthcare digital marketing strategy.
To deliver on these priorities, we focused on the following.
Because Southwestern Eye Center didn’t have a defined tone, we created one – one that was conversational while retaining the credibility of the organization. We wanted the audience to know that they were engaging with a reputable and trustworthy vision partner that was also accessible. We wanted them to feel a level of comfort to further self-educate and ultimately make an appointment. It was critical to the organization to not only communicate the quality of the doctors, their specific specialties and the locations they service, but also enable the website's users many ways in which to schedule an appointment with ease.
While the website housed a wealth of informational content, it needed to be streamlined and restructured to be more user-friendly, less overwhelming and – more importantly – found by search engines. We knew that the way people find/search/choose a vision doctor is very interconnected, so creating cross-linking opportunities within the site was crucial.
Regardless of where the patient was in their journey, we focused on creating a patient experience that was frictionless. Through a thoughtful information architecture, we made it easy for patients to access the information they seek in as few clicks as possible.
One of the goals of the project was to repurpose as much content as possible from the original site. We redesigned the existing self-evaluation tools and quizzes to fit within the updated user experience so that patients would continue to have important resources to guide them through their personal journey, at their own pace, with the ultimate goal of scheduling an online appointment.
It was also critical that we were attentive to these audiences' special needs as it related to visual impairments. At the very beginning of the engagement, LaneTerralever and Southwestern Eye Center put a stake in the ground to set the bar for an ADA compliance standard of AA 80% or higher. This would ensure that contrast levels, font sizes, and other potential visual impairments were tested throughout the design, development and quality assurance processes.
Finally, all of this had to be delivered by a Content Management System (CMS) that empowers the marketing team to perform routing marketing activities without having to rely on expensive resources such as a development team. So we created a WordPress framework with a variety of templates that could be utilized as a foundation to build out new sites for AVP’s other brands as well as implementing HubSpot for marketing automation efforts.
If a superior patient experience can be measured quantitatively, then we delivered! Take a look at how we moved the needle for Southwestern Eye Center. Keep in mind that these metrics are a year-over-year comparison for the time period of May 2019 to December 2019.
13% increase in scheduled appointments compared to the previous year prior to launch
86% increase in quiz completions
12% lift in calls to call center
"I can trust LT with this important enterprise web and digital initiative. They really know digital, but more importantly, they understand what matters and resonates with our patients. They speak our language and understand the needs of a multi-location healthcare provider."
With the success of Southwestern Eye Center’s new website, we have begun work with other AVP brands including Barnet Dulaney Perkins Eye Center, another well-known brand in the Southwest. We recently collaborated with influencers on their behalf to increase awareness and combat misconceptions about LASIK including recovery time, high cost, potential pain, and fear factor of the unknown. Through their stories, shared on blogs, Instagram posts as well as Facebook Live, these influencers are making a big difference by showcasing their personal results.
It is increasingly evident that consumers expect the same quality of experience and convenience that they enjoy in other areas of their lives, and healthcare is no exception. While healthcare digital marketing has traditionally lagged behind other categories with many healthcare providers still stuck in the 2000s, our work with American Vision Partners has armed them with the tools they need to be a success in 2020 and beyond.