The new GraceMed website launched on December 12th, 2016. The information below reflects trends through the end of June, 2017. The data excludes traffic from individuals browsing the website on GraceMed networks and activity related to the website's development
Traffic & Audience Overview
Sessions & Visitors
The Tricky Thing About Traffic
More visitors is a good thing, of course. But the goal of the website isn't to have as many visitors as possible.
Conversions are what matter.
The website’s conversion goals include:
- increasing the number of patients receiving care from GraceMed, and
- increasing the number of donations GraceMed receives
After all, it would be better to have just 100 visitors a month with 20 of them making a donation and 50 making an appointment than getting 10,000 monthly visitors only to receive one donation and five appointments.
Data Paints a Picture
Most people who visited the website over the past six months have done so only one time.
New vs Returning Visitors
If we assume that many of the people visiting the website are prospective patients seeking a provider, the fact that the majority are only visiting the site once could indicate one of two things:
- Prospective patients are getting the info they need to make an appointment in a single visit and have little reason to return. For example, they may make an appointment and then not need a follow-up — or they may make their follow-up appointment before leaving the clinic.
- Prospective patients are not persuaded to make an appointment in their first visit and aren't returning to the website to reconsider.
There are two things we need to know to better understand which of these is the case:
- Do prospective patients usually visit a health care provider's website several times before deciding on a clinic?
- How many of the website visitors who are looking for a provider are making an appointment on their first visit to the website?
I don't know the answer to the first question. But it seems likely that patients looking for a family doctor who can perform regular checkups would search for one primarily based on location and cost, which decreases the likelihood of extensive, comparative research before selecting a provider.
As for how many people make an appointment on their first visit — the only way to know is to find out how many people call the phone numbers listed on the website.
We can track how many people click on the links to call from cell phones, but that only accounts for visitors who are a) on a cell phone and b) are in the habit of clicking on phone numbers instead of writing them down and then leaving the website to manually dial the number.
Traffic by Device Category
To get a better understanding of the website's conversion rate for making appointments, it would be best to offer an option to make an appointment through the website. There are ways to offer online appointments that comply with federal privacy regulations. Making appointments online is something we can look at another time, though, if there's an interest in providing patients with that service in the future.
Age of Audience
The website's audience skews a bit to the younger side and is predominantly female.
What content might encourage more men to visit the website and take next steps? Can we develop the website to better serve the needs of the many women who come to the site?
Either of those questions could lead in many directions, but let's follow one possible path to answer the latter:
What if GraceMed focused on developing content to help mothers who are looking for vaccination services near them in various locations? Could GraceMed develop content that would rank well in Google searches to reach those individuals?
Here are what web results look like for someone searching for "vaccinations near me" in Google:
It’s moderately difficult to rank for the phrase “vaccinations near me” on Google at the national level, but the fact that people searching for the phrase in McPherson aren't provided with a map of local providers in the search results suggests there may be an opportunity to rank there.
Visitors by City
Given that a strong percentage of the website's audience is young and female, the data suggests that developing content for young mothers in McPherson could be a worthwhile endeavor.
A blog post providing answers to questions related to vaccine schedules for children and insights or quotes from GraceMed providers about the importance of vaccinations should also help search engines identify GraceMed as a local authority on the topic, thereby increasing visibility in local searches.
Traffic Sources & Social Channels
Many more visitors to the website come from web searches than from other channels, like social media.
This is often the case — even when considerable resources are dedicated to social media publishing. Social media is an important step in the larger publishing process, but it isn't an end in itself. Facebook only shows page posts to around 4% of the people who have liked a page. (As an employee, you'll see many of GraceMed's Facebook posts because you've probably liked or shared posts by GraceMed in the past. But most people who have liked the GraceMed Facebook page rarely see GraceMed's posts in their activity feeds.)
The most effective way to consistently reach more people on Facebook is to pay for Facebook advertising. Beyond reaching people on Facebook (i.e., getting more Facebook likes and shares), it would be good to then measure how much Facebook advertising impacts conversion goals.
On the other hand, optimizing website content to serve the intent of people searching the web for health care services can boost traffic and increase conversions. Unlike a paid Facebook or Google advertisement, publishing useful content to the GraceMed website can bring in search traffic for long periods, whereas online advertising is relatively ephemeral. Quality website content is also more likely to build trust with members of the community than conventional web advertising, which can positively impact many aspects of an organization.
The newsletter is also an effective way to drive traffic and build positive relationships with patients and donors. Unlike a Facebook post, every newsletter sent to a subscriber is guaranteed to be shown to the intended recipient. There is no algorithm preventing people from seeing the content GraceMed shares through its newsletter.
The newsletter is in its infancy, and we'll have more meaningful data with more campaigns and more subscribers, but it is growing steadily.
Future newsletter development will be focused on automation campaigns that target particular segments by subscriber activity. Last month, we set up the first automated responder that welcomes new subscribers and encourages them to make a donation. I think it would be helpful to have a lapsed donor automation campaign in place by the end of the year. This campaign will identify donors who have not made a donation in the past year and automatically send them a personalized appeal for their continued support.
Top Landing Pages for New Visitors
Landing pages give some insight into visitors' intent and how website content has been assessed by search engines. Search engines prioritize results based on a variety of criteria, including relevance to the user's intent, content quality, and location data.
Local Matters — and So Do Reviews
Why are Mother Mary Anne, Dodge Family Clinic, and Oaklawn Family Clinic such popular landing pages for new visitors?
These clinics all show up in the top "local three pack" map in Google search results. The local three pack is that map we saw earlier when searching for vaccinations.
Why are those clinics showing up in the local pack?
A likely reason is that they all have good reviews.
Positive online reviews contribute to Mother Mary Anne's higher web traffic.
Clinics with high reviews rank higher in Google search results. Pictured here: Results for a Wichita resident Googling "doctor no insurance".
Reviews on Google and other location data providers like Yelp are important because they literally put GraceMed on the map. Good reviews increase visibility in search, and they can have considerable influence on a person's decision to make an appointment at a particular location.
Reviews can be seen as a form of low-cost advertising and reputation management.
With that in mind, it may be a good idea for GraceMed to develop ways to encourage online reviews from patients and begin to respond to patient reviews — good and bad. There's a lot to be said about how to go about getting more reviews and the best ways to respond to reviews, and it's something we can definitely look at in the future, if there's an interest in that.
Here is a preview of a database that begins to provide an overview of each clinics' status with local data providers:
We've recently begun claiming clinics on Google. The process entails sending a postcard with a code to the location, having an employee at the location relay the code back to GraceMed HQ, and then auditing the listing data.
A Note on Personalization
Search engines like Google personalize search results. If you search for a term like "clinic no insurance", Google will prioritize results based on your visits to websites like GraceMed, so your results will be different from those of a prospective, new patient who has no such search history.
I use a service that lets me search local markets (i.e., Wichita, Topeka, and McPherson) while removing personalized results. This helps simulate the experience of a prospective patient with no such search history located in those respective cities.
Search & Discovery
Internal Search Queries
Once on the website, people search for the following terms (or related phrases):
- Lab results
- Medical records
- Costs, fees, sliding scale
- Payment options, bill pay
- Drug and alcohol (treatment, counseling, assessment)
These searches give us insight into visitors' intent and suggest what content or features people would like to access through the website. In short, what people search for can be seen as an itemized list of how to increase audience satisfaction and decrease frustration. By making the content and functionality people are searching for available online, we can improve the user experience, which increases the number of website visitors, which leads to more data insights … and a virtuous cycle is born.
It's worth mentioning that the search topics above overlap with some of the feedback we received from GraceMed customer service representatives in our first survey of CSR's last summer. They identified GraceMed costs and the ability to fill out paperwork for new patients online as commonly requested information or features.
Data-driven Content Design
This is far from an exhaustive look at the data that can be gleaned from the past 6 months of activity around the website and other communications channels. But this information begins to show how data can be used to inform content and marketing development efforts.
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