With consumers adopting online healthcare shopping behaviors at a rapid pace, a health insurers’s website has become the first point of contact between a health plan and the consumer. With this, it’s critical that a health insurer’s website provides prospects with insight into the company’s brand value and customer experience, which means delivering compelling content and a user-friendly experience.
Insurance Digital Revolution (IDR) released a study in 2016 regarding digital technology in healthcare industry. According to the study, more than half of the health plan agents surveyed said their company websites were average to poor and only 8% rated their website excellent. More significantly, of the over 4,3000 health insurance agents and brokers surveyed, 60% admitted that their sites are average to poor. The biggest drawback was a lack of functionality, with fewer than a quarter of respondents saying customers had the ability to receive quotes from their sites. Poor websites with no lead generation strategy or integration of self-service tools are preventing sales teams from being successful and health plans from maximizing customer acquisition.
In order to transform your website into a lead generation driver and customer experience builder, consider these three key elements:
1. Captivating Content
Publishing content on your website focused on the topic of health insurance and open enrollment can guide the way for prospects to find your agency through a search engine such as Google. The more relevant and engaging your content is, the more likely you are to rank higher in search results. One of the easiest ways to publish content and demonstrate your credibility is to incorporate a blog on your website. In doing this, you open the opportunity to publish relevant blog content before and during open enrollment around common search terms, commonly asked questions, and trending topics, effectively garnering new organic leads and increasing SEO with each new blog post.
When crafting website blog content, it is important to always determine the desired action or takeaway for the reader once they have finished reading the post. This means ending the article with a clear action path, whether it be a form to submit an inquiry, schedule a consultation or opt-in to receive regular email communications. It is also critical to write posts with compelling introductions and ensure you are writing in the write tone and level of sophistication for your audience, making sure to not include terminology that may be foreign to them without providing a definition. Including images also works to increase readership and enables more effective social media blog promotion, however, imagery must be used as a content supplement rather than in lieu, as search engines cannot correlate what an image represents, making it less likely for the content to appear in a search.
2. Search Engine Optimization
Utilizing search engine optimization to build your website traffic can be time-consuming, but an understanding of your prospect’s online shopping behaviors can help. Using Google Analytics is a great tool for this. In seeing what pages on your website are generating the highest traffic and what the most common site navigation flow is, you can identity which pages are the weak leaks, not delivering the answers consumers are looking for, and which pages contain effective content. Evaluate what the highest traffic pages are doing differently – do they offer downloadable resources – do they leverage keywords with higher search volume? When considering what keywords to leverage, common health plans terms and questions searched by consumers can be great to use during open enrollment, however, branded keywords have proven to better drive traffic while reducing the cost-per-lead by more than 50%. Last, when configuring your paid search campaigns, ensure you employ the click-to-call option for mobile. Doing so will allow those who use search on their mobile devices to click the call button displayed in your paid search ad, counting as a pay-per-call lead. Today, many consumers with questions will call the listed number of the local agent that they find online, making geo-targeted, search-based ads supported by SEO critical.
3. Ease of Navigation
Healthcare websites are expected to give members access to an abundance of information, but sometimes it can be difficult to organize it in a way that is member-friendly. According to PR Week, consumers are more likely to use websites that are easy to navigate rather than those known as “trustworthy” to find health information. SVP, Tom Jones of Makovsky, explains how this is because it’s all about the patient experience. This experience is what creates trust between health plans and their customers. Integration of high-utility search functions, plan comparison tools, request forms, live instant messaging options and more, grant patients access to the information they seek in a simpler and faster way.
Ensuring that each page is clear and easy to navigate on your website is actually required by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. In fact, it is the first requirement listed in section 100 of the 2018 draft Medicare Marketing Guidelines (MMG). One possible way to improve ease of navigation is by organizing your prospective member information separate from your enrollment resource tools separate and member information. As you make these website enhancements, ensure that you are adhering to CMS requirements and that you have a website checklist of the requirements. Last, don’t forget about your third-party websites. One of the major changes proposed by CMS in the 2018 draft MMG is the addition of section 100.7 on third-party websites. CMS expects plans to be monitoring these sites in addition to their own, so compliance is critical, in addition to user experience.
To schedule a consultative analysis of your website strategy with our experts or to learn about what Cierant’s web development services can do for your business, please call 203-731-3555. We offer a variety of solutions to improve the design, functionality and user experience of health insurer’s websites while maintaining CMS compliance across all facets.