Blog

December 1, 2016

Be Omnichannel or Go Home

By Adam Dorfman

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How was your Black Friday? I’ll bet your online sales were a bright spot, but your brick-and-mortar sales were a disappointment. Sources ranging from Business Insider to Mashable reported that retailers generated so much online revenue on Black Friday that the lines between Black Friday and Cyber Monday are rapidly blurring, and mobile purchases continue to climb. But in-store sales fell, as reported by Reuters.  It’s understandable that retailers might want to double down on their online efforts, but the offline experience remains a huge part of Black Friday, and retailers can do quite a bit to make their brick-and-mortar experience relevant to Black Friday shoppers.

For instance, retailers have many opportunities to provide a better in-store experience that shoppers cannot get online so easily (or not at all), such as personal concierges and amenities such as complimentary food and drinks. And they need to promote those services by updating their content wherever shoppers conduct near-me searches for Black Friday deals.

But more importantly, retailers need to do a better job catering to the omnichannel shopper by making it easier for shoppers to browse online and shop in-store. Here’s what Business Insider has to say about the matter:

Legacies are increasingly at risk of losing out on holiday sales as the retail market moves online. Traditional retailers, like Macy’s, Walmart, etc., still rely on their physical store locations for much of their revenue, but store performance is struggling as consumers shift online. Looking ahead to next year, omnichannel fulfillment options like click and collect or ship-from-store can help these retailers maximize the use of their brick-and-mortar locations over the holidays, as consumers increasingly rely on digital devices to shop. Moreover, leveraging the physical store for flexible fulfillment options like click and collect can be a boon for these retailers over the holidays when potential weather disruptions could impact home delivery.

The only point I disagree with is the part about “Looking ahead to next year.” Retailers should be acting like omnichannel merchants this year. They should have been doing so last year. On our own blog, I commented recently on some of the ways retailers can better service the needs of omnichannel shoppers this holiday season and all-year round, in fact. At SIM Partners, we help businesses anticipate and respond to changes in location marketing brought about by shifts in consumer behavior such as the rise of the omnichannel shopper. Contact us to discuss how we can help you.

SIM Partners to Host “Winning in Patient Engagement” Webinar

By Amanda L. Bury

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Patients expect healthcare systems to deliver the kind of on-demand service they get from the best retailers such as Nordstrom. On December 15, please join me for a webinar as I discuss how healthcare systems can successfully engage with patients who are acting like savvy consumers. The one-hour webinar, “Winning in Patient Engagement,” features guest speaker, Forrester Senior Analyst Kate McCarthy, on Thursday, December 15, at 11:00 a.m. CST.

During the webinar, healthcare systems will learn a number of takeaways, including:

  • Why patient insight and engagement are key to success in a rapidly changing healthcare industry.
  • How healthcare systems can provide on-demand engagement throughout the omnichannel patient journey.

I will base my own insights off of work that SIM Partners has performed for healthcare systems through our Velocity Health solution, which empowers healthcare organizations to improve the patient experience from awareness and consideration through acquisition and retention. (As we announced recently, Velocity Health was inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame.) Kate will draw upon “Healthcare Must Embrace Digital to Win in Consumer Engagement,” a November 2016 report written by McCarthy and Cinny Little of Forrester. To learn more about the webinar and to register, please go here: http://info.simpartners.com/Winning-in-Patient-Engagement.html. To follow the webinar on Twitter, please use the #VelocityHealth hashtag. Meanwhile, contact us to learn how SIM Partners improve your location marketing, and follow us @Velocity_Health.  

November 22, 2016

Welcome to an Omnichannel Black Friday

By Adam Dorfman

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Black Friday once was an occasion for shoppers to line up in the dead of night to find bargains at big-box retailers. This ritual still happens, but with an important twist. Now shoppers are complementing their Black Friday offline experience by browsing and buying across a multitude of channels and devices, including desktops, mobile phones, tablets, and smart speakers.

Welcome to the omnichannel holiday shopping season.

According to a survey conducted by technology provider Signal, brick-and-mortar retailers can succeed this season by addressing the needs of omnichannel shoppers, with mobile being at the center of the experience. Retailers such as Kohl’s and Target are already responding to the omnichannel shopper by stepping up services such as click-and-collect purchasing that cater to omnichannel shoppers. Retailers can succeed with holiday shoppers by creating a seamless journey across channels.

According to Signal, the primary way holiday shoppers browse for gifts is on a desktop/laptop, but the most frequent way consumers purchase gifts is in-stores. Approximately 20 percent of consumers primarily browse via mobile devices (smartphones and tablets); 8 percent use smartphones; and 7 percent use tablets as their primary way to make holiday purchases.

A Signal press release states, “Consumers don’t think in channels, and neither should retailers. The survey findings show that people consistently shop across desktop, mobile, and in stores as it suits their needs. Consumers don’t want to make a choice between the convenience of buying from home and the assurance of handling the product in a store: they want both. By offering options like buy online/pickup in store, free shipping and easy returns, retailers can effectively serve consumers wherever they are shopping.”

Create Next Moments

The key to winning with the omnichannel holiday shopper is to create “next moments” of engagement across multiple channels and devices, which ultimately leading to a purchase in-store. A next moment is the action that a consumer takes after finding your brand through a search.

Next moments should capitalize on the unique attributes of each channel and device. For instance, in 2015, Target launched an omnichannel holiday campaign across platforms such as Facebook and Snapchat. The campaign capitalized on the unique attributes of each platform: playful geo-filters on Snapchat and e-commerce ads on Facebook. Because Facebook and Snapchat cater to different audiences in unique ways, a one-size-fits-all approach would not have worked. Instead, Target focused on creating brand awareness on Snapchat and product awareness on Facebook.  

But Target went well beyond Facebook and Snapchat. The company also relied on TV (creating content with Disney to promote an airing of Mary Poppins) and in-store (e.g., its flagship stores were reimagined as physical Wonderlands).

Preparing for the omnichannel shopper also means ensuring that your brand is findable through the different ways people research and shop across channels. As we noted on a recent blog post, shoppers who browse for products on mobile devices are increasingly relying on voice-activated searches to find what they need, especially while they are on the go. Merchants should optimize the content on their location pages with more complicated, descriptive searches in mind. (e.g., “Where can I find Sky Viper Streaming Drones and get free gift-wrapping, too?”)

Click and Collect

In 2016, Target is among the retailers beefing up their ability to cater to shoppers who want to buy a product online and collect it in stores. The company is adding more counters to fulfill click-and-collect orders and intends to open “flex-format” stores that act as collection points for click-and-collect orders.

The focus on click-and-collect makes sense. According to the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), 85 percent of holiday shoppers are researching online before making holiday purchases in store, and 39 percent are taking advantage of click-and-collect services (an increase from 32 percent who did so in 2015). In addition, 83 percent of shoppers picking up online purchases in stores said they would make additional purchases at the location when picking up their digital order.

In some ways, holiday shopping has not changed. Many consumers still devote considerable time and energy shopping on Black Friday as they always have. Traditions such as visiting Santa Claus at department stores are alive and well. But consumer behaviors have become more complicated. As we’ve noted on our blog, we’re turning holiday shopping into an on-demand experience. And because of our access to multiple devices and channels, we’re making holiday shopping an omnichannel one as well. Businesses that understand how to respect the traditions of the past while adapting to changing consumer behavior will win.

For more insight into the omnichannel consumer, check out our recently published The CMO’s Guide to Omnichannel Discovery. Contact us to discuss how we can help you improve your location marketing experience in the era of the omnichannel shopper.

November 21, 2016

Create the Mobile Next Moment

By Jon Schepke

CMO by Adobe logo

In the United States, mobile advertising spending increased by 89 percent in the first half of 2016, according to a report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PwC published on November 1. But the increase of spending does not necessarily mean an improvement in the quality of mobile advertising. As I note in my recently published CMO.com column, industry panelists at the most recent Cannes Lions referred to mobile ads as a “disastrous” afterthought, noting that 60 percent of clicks on mobile banner ads occur by mistake. I believe businesses can make mobile advertising more impactful by creating content that creates compelling calls to action, or what I refer to as “next moments.” And by “content,” I don’t mean traditional ads.

A next moment is the action that occurs after someone finds your business through a search, both branded and nonbranded. Examples of both would include “burgers near me” (nonbranded) or “Best Buy near me” (branded). Businesses need to disseminate accurate location data where “near me” searches occur in order to be visible. But they need to create next moments to convert those searches to in-store visits. An example of a next moment is a restaurant serving up a mobile wallet offer when consumers conduct near me searches, or a retailer sharing a mobile gaming app playable in-stores on Black Friday, as Macy’s has done.

By creating contextual next moments, brick-and-mortar businesses will make mobile advertising more effective for their brands and rewarding for consumers. Read my CMO.com column, “Think Next Moments, Not Mobile Ads,” for more insight. Contact us to discuss how SIM Partners can help you scale the benefits of location marketing.

 

November 16, 2016

Are You Ready for the On-Demand Holiday Season?

By Adam Dorfman

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This is the season of holiday shopping on demand. And both online and offline retailers are more prepared than ever, thanks to the impact of catalysts such as Amazon, Google, and Uber. How prepared are you?

The Digital Giants Speak

In recent months, we’ve seen online platforms ranging from Instagram to Pinterest launch functions such as buy buttons that make it easier to buy products during micro-moments of discovery, when consumers use their mobile phones to decide what to buy and where. Most recently, Facebook introduced new call-to-action buttons, including order food, request an appointment, and get a quote — allowing users to take action faster after they’ve found where they want to go or do.  

Pinterest indicates that since the app launched a product discovery and shopping functionality, 55 percent of Pinterest users have used Pinterest for this purpose. Finding and shopping for products is the second most popular activity on Pinterest. Meanwhile, Amazon continues to modify its Echo device that shoppers can use to buy products and have them delivered to their homes via voice commands. The Echo Dot, which was released October 20 (just in time for holiday shopping), is a more affordable version of Echo that uses intelligent assistant Alexa to help consumers do everything from control their home devices to use on-demand services. Not to be outdone, on November 4, Google released its highly anticipated Echo competitor, Google Home, which offers the ability to have a more contextual, intelligent conversation (e.g., “Where’s the closest place I can see Rogue One and buy Star Wars LEGO watches, too?”).

And those examples constitute the tip of the iceberg.

Brick-and-Mortar Businesses Have Their Say

Smart brick-and-mortar merchants and their partners are taking matters into their own hands by launching their own on-demand services. To wit:

  • Cole Haan and Nordstrom are among the name-brand businesses partnering with UberRUSH to offer same-day delivery of products directly to consumers’ doorsteps.
  • Earlier in 2016, Walmart announced the launch of an in-house on-demand service that relies on ride-sharing companies such as Lyft and Uber to make it possible for customers to place orders online, designate a delivery window, and have their orders fulfilled and delivered.
  • In August, SIM Partners rolled out an API that our clients can use to add a “Ride There with Uber” button to their location pages. The Ride There with Uber button makes it easier for shoppers to get to an offline destination, which is especially useful if they find something on a location page that they want to buy, prefer to go to the store for pick-up and perhaps additional browsing, and need a ride ASAP.

As we have noted on our blog, brick-and-mortar retailers need to act now in order to make sure that shoppers are aware of any on-demand services they offer. For instance, retailers should optimize the content on their location pages to promote their services, whether they consist of gift wrapping, delivery, or in-store pick-up for online orders. When consumers use their mobile phones, Echo, or Google Home devices to do a nearby search for Zootopia stuffies, retailers’ location pages should tell them not only that they have them in stock but whether they can wrap and deliver the toys. Retailers should also complement their organic content by investing in paid advertising, such as paid search, to promote their services.

If you lack on-demand services for your offline locations, consider acting with a partner such as SIM Partners that can help you scale quickly with functionality such as a Ride There with Uber button. If you already offer such services, make sure shoppers know about them as the holiday season approaches. Contact us — we’d love to discuss how we can help you.

November 15, 2016

Introducing “The CMO’s Guide to Omnichannel Discovery”

By Adam Dorfman

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Consumers long ago graduated from Google searches on desktops and mobile phones. They’re finding you through a multitude of channels and devices, an evolution of search known as omnichannel discovery. Consumers own, on average, four devices, according to Nielsen, and nearly 40 percent of U.S. businesses interact with consumers across five or more channels, according to Experian. Consumers can find and buy clothing on Pinterest and use their cars as search engines to find a cup of coffee. They expect brands to be where they are. They demand that brands provide a consistent experience, too — regardless of device or channel — which is what winning in a world of omnichannel discovery is all about.

To help businesses with multiple locations turn omnichannel discovery into in-store revenue, SIM Partners has published The CMO’s Guide to Omnichannel Discovery. This new ebook asserts that businesses can succeed with omnichannel consumers by leading them through a smooth journey across channels. Doing so means unleashing location data to ensure that your brand is findable everywhere an omnichannel consumer conducts a near me search — and then creating the “next moment.”

A next moment is the action that occurs after someone finds your brand through a search. For example, a next moment can consist of a brand sharing a mobile wallet offer or a scheduling widget optimized for desktop and mobile. The key is to create the next moment that maximizes the value of each channel and device. For instance, Pinterest users possess a stronger intent to purchase. A next moment on Pinterest that drives traffic to a brick-and-mortar store might consist of a promoted pin that showcases merchandise on sale in stores. But a next moment on Snapchat might consist of a completely different, more engaging experience that capitalizes on the playful attributes of the app.

What all these moments have in common is that they’re enabling a brand to respond to a consumer in on-demand fashion. Call the experience omnichannel on-demand.

How are you responding to the advent of omnichannel discovery on-demand world? Read The CMO’s Guide to Omnichannel Discovery and talk with us. We’d love to help you with your journey.

 

November 11, 2016

How the Morton Arboretum Masters Location Marketing

By David Deal

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What can brick-and-mortar businesses learn about location marketing from a leafy Midwestern arboretum? As it turns out, plenty. The Morton Arboretum, celebrating its 94th year, does a masterful job combining location-based experiences and content that capitalize on the natural beauty of the 1,700 preserve located southwest of Chicago.

Especially during autumn, you might think the arboretum could coast on its reputation as one of the most popular destinations in Illinois. But the arboretum does not rest on its laurels, and for good reason. These days, going for a hike or bike ride competes with alternatives that didn’t exist when the arboretum was founded in 1922 – such as video games, Netflix, and apps that make it all too easy to put off an arboretum visit for another day. Here are two ways the Morton Arboretum attracts visitors in the post-digital age:

Creating Experiences

The arboretum is renowned for its latticework of trails and bike paths that wind their way through a warren of trees and fields. But the preserve is also a year-round source of special events that take advantage of the stunning setting. For example, the arboretum takes advantage of the seasonal beauty of autumn by hosting a number of events, such as Trick or Trees, which features activities such as pumpkin painting for children, and Theatre-Hikes, during which actors portray literary scenes amid the trees and fields for an outdoor audience. But the events don’t end when autumn passes. One of the arboretum’s most notable events is Illuminations, during which the trees are festooned with lights and projections throughout evenings in November, December, and January.

The arboretum is also a learning center. It’s a little known fact that the arboretum is a center for science and conservation, home to researchers in conservation and biology. And the arboretum shares its knowledge with visitors in many ways. For instance, during fall bird walks, docents and patrons explore the abundance of bird life teeming amid the grounds. On select days, Forest Therapy walks offer the opportunity to “experience the healing and wellness promoting effects of Shinrin-Yoku, the practice of bathing the senses in the atmosphere of the forest at The Morton Arboretum,” which includes an abundance of spruce, maple, ash, and many other trees from all over the world. More immersive programs include a summer science camp where kids can take intensive courses in botany and conservation.

The arboretum offers a powerful lesson in creating memorable experiences that give patrons a reason to return after their initial visits. Businesses such as retailers can do the same, as we see especially during the holiday season.  

Questions for Brands

  • What kind of experience do you create to attract foot traffic?
  • Do your experiences differentiate your locations and give visitors reasons to return?

Other Brands to Examine

Serving up Compelling Digital Content

The Morton Arboretum creates awareness and engagement by sharing content across the digital world where its patrons share their own content, demonstrating the adage that if you want to attract an audience, you need to be present where they live and search for things to do.

And the arboretum speaks the language of its audience: imagery. For instance, the arboretum’s Instagram account in recent weeks has been an explosion of fall colors enticing the Instagram community to experience, say, the bright red leaves of a sour gum or a golden yellow cork tree. Its growing Pinterest community takes advantage of Pinterest’s organizational tools, with images organized under boards ranging from Gardening Ideas to Winter Trees. On YouTube, the arboretum offers more immersive tours that give potential visitors a taste of what they’ll find, such as a recently posted Fall Color Report, which gives you a one-minute tour of maple, Appalachia, and Asian trees as their leaves change color from green to orange and gold. On Facebook, the arboretum also includes user-generated images, thus drawing from a broader palette of images and creating more engagement from its Facebook followers.

Facebook and Twitter also act as sources of updates on the events that the arboretum offers around the year. In fact, its Facebook page is a textbook example of a how an organization can use a local page to generate awareness where people conduct near-me searches. The arboretum makes it easy for visitors to learn about events such as its Boo Breakfast for children, and the arboretum cross-promotes content on other social spaces, including TripAdvisor reviews. By being transparent and informative, the arboretum makes Facebook an important digital touch point that complements its website, which serves as its hub for learning more about things to do there. Patrons can also sign up for an email newsletter that curates content as frequently as needed.

Questions for Brands

  • Are you creating content that will engage your audience at a location level?
  • Are you distributing that content where your customers are going to find it?

Other Brands to Examine

  • Nordstrom, for its mastery of content on platforms such as Pinterest.
  • Starbucks, for capitalizing on social spaces such as Facebook to generate awareness for its stores.

Finally, the arboretum makes itself easily findable by making content and basic data (such as its hours, address, and contact information) prominent in mobile and desktop searches – which is easier said than done. True, the arboretum needs to worry about managing data for a single location. But with so many events offered year-round, the organization must ensure that special hours are updated for different activities held at specific locations throughout the grounds. For businesses that operate multiple locations, updating hours to accommodate seasonal events such as holiday shopping can be challenging but rewarding, as noted in a recent blog post by Adam Dorfman.

For brick-and-mortar businesses, content and experiences, combined with accurate location data, are increasingly essential to combat the ever-present threat of merchants such as Amazon, which are expanding into physical retailing. Looking at non-obvious examples such as the Morton Arboretum can provide inspiration. To learn more how to energize your location marketing efforts, contact us. Meanwhile, get outside and enjoy the fall at your local arboretum.

November 9, 2016

20 Years of Innovation at HCIC

By Amanda L. Bury

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At this year’s Healthcare Internet Conference (HCIC) in Las Vegas — the 20th anniversary of the event — I appeared onstage with Mayura Kumar, director of digital strategy at Advocate Health Care. In our presentation, The Uber Effect in Healthcare: Changing the Game through Hyper-Local Digital Marketing, we discussed how healthcare systems can create a better experience across the patient journey in an on-demand world. I was honored to share the moment with Mayura! Here are a few highlights of our talk, as reported by attendees on Twitter (#HCIC16):

  • On-demand is the new normal, especially with millennials. Healthcare systems such as Advocate are responding in many ways, such as moving care closer to where patients live and work. For instance, the Advocate Clinic at Walgreens leverages mobile wallets to engage consumers in the right place.
  • Patients expect not only on-demand service, but also connected experiences. The key to creating a connected experience is leveraging data that creates consistency for patients. Activating physician and location data across the digital world ensures that patients receive a consistent experience across the entire journey, from awareness to care, regardless of what device and channel they use.

As we discussed during the presentation, Advocate Health Care is applying a retail lens to make itself more responsive to patients in an on-demand, omnichannel world — across the entire patient experience. For instance, Advocate has activated a “ride there with Uber” feature for patients booking appointments, based on an Uber integration on the SIM Partners Velocity Health platform.

The event was a wellspring of thought leadership. I heard discussions on topics that spanned issues such as how healthcare systems are deploying video and generally acting more like retailers. One major takeaway for me was that healthcare systems need to build their brands around the patient experience. As Shawn Gross, chief digital strategist, healthcare practice at White Rhino, said, “Don’t slap marketing on at the last minute — build it into the experience.”

I was also inspired by the notion that to help healthcare systems lead at a time of constant change, industry professionals need to be change agent within their organizations. If being a change agent feels awkward and uncomfortable, that’s OK — it means you have people thinking.

I believe that attending conferences like HCIC is important to succeeding at a time when healthcare marketers are fighting for budgets, seeking to deliver on innovation, and pivoting to serve the commercialization of healthcare. Events such as HCIC help us figure out how to sense and respond to market trends and changes in patient behavior, such as patient adoption of  multiple channels and devices to seek care.

Finally, the event was special to SIM Partners for another reason: our Velocity Health solution was formally inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame November 8. As we discussed on our blog recently, being inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame is a huge honor reserved for industry leaders such as Mayo Clinic. Thank you to Greystone for our induction and to our partner Mayura Kumar for taking the stage with me Monday afternoon! It’s been a great week for the SIM Partners team.

November 4, 2016

How Brands Can Join the Cubs Victory Celebration through Local Search

By Gib Olander

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In a recent Street Fight column, I introduced the phenomenon of prompted search, which is very relevant to the Chicago Cubs’ historic World Series victory that has triggered a massive celebration across Chicago.

Prompted search happens when an event causes a spike in search, both branded and unbranded. Prompted searches are triggered by two types of events: one that a business creates itself, such as a product launch, or an external event that a business capitalizes on to build awareness and create sales — such as the Cubs’ World Series victory.

I can guarantee you that right now Chicagoans are searching for Cubs merchandise and Cubs celebrations. And businesses are capitalizing on fan interest. Restaurants and bars are promoting drinks specials especially with the weekend on the horizon — and most certainly any business located near the Cubs rally and parade are gearing up to capitalize on the influx of visitors downtown Chicago. Clothing merchants are hawking Cubs caps, T shirts, commemorative photos of the victorious team, and assorted other merchandise.

But there’s something else these businesses should be doing: preparing for the uptick of online, “near me” searches for all thing Cubs. Those searches, prompted by the World Series victory, are both nonbranded in nature (“Cubs celebrations near me”) and branded (“Murphy’s Bleachers bar”). Chicago businesses that want to strike gold during the uptick in Cubs-related search volume need to drop everything and act immediately to update their location data and content. Based on the points I made in Street Fight, I recommend that they:

  • Update their location data based on any changing attributes such as expanded store hours for merchants or dates/times of any special Cubs victory parties occurring at bars and restaurants.
  • Optimize for search longer-form, contextual content, such as a business’s inventory of Cubs merchandise and descriptions of Cubs drink and menu specials. If your restaurant is promoting special Zobrist burgers to honor the Cubs’ World Series MVP Ben Zobrist, make sure your Yelp listings, your store locators (if you are part of a chain) and your location pages prominently feature this crucial content.
  • Crank up the volume on your social media spaces, such as Facebook. Congratulate the Cubs as often as you see fit. Don’t hold back — Chicagoans have not seen something like this for more than 100 years. Post photos of fans celebrating, employees in their Cubs jerseys, memes, videos, and other content that your social media followers will want to share. And don’t forget to optimize your content and update your data for fans who visit your page to join in your celebration offline.

Most of all, give those Cubs fans a great experience, no matter what your business is. The Cubs certainly did. By publishing compelling content optimized for search and by updating your location data, you’ll make sure the celebration happens at your business.

For additional insight on this topic, see also, “Why SIM Partners Thinks a Cubs World Series Win Is Important for Brands,” LSA Insider, November 3, 2016.

October 27, 2016

Drive Patients to Your Digital Front Door

By Sara Khan

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A healthcare system’s physician directory is a digital front door in an on-demand world, where patients expect to find physicians to meet their needs immediately and easily. But, for many healthcare systems, the digital front door is a roadblock to providing on-demand access to physicians. Building a stronger foundation of data that unlocks the value of a healthcare system’s physician network is the solution. These were the key points of the webinar SIM Partners delivered on October 20.

The webinar, “Drive Patients to Your Digital Front Door” was hosted by Amanda Bury, Managing Director, Healthcare of SIM Partners and Ed Bennett, CEO of Ed Bennett Consulting, and was sponsored by Internet Healthcare Management. Through a panel discussion, Amanda and Ed addressed questions from the audience and shared why it is important for healthcare systems to treat their physician directories as their digital front door and what the elements of an effective physician directory are. Some key points addressed were:

The Patient Experience Is Becoming More On-Demand Locally

Today, 89 percent of consumers use Google when looking for healthcare. With the rise of “near me” searches, Google is starting to auto-populate facilities nearest to patients, and Google uses location data to serve up the most relevant searches to the patient. As patients are continuing to use mobile devices more than ever, getting into the local search results is becoming critically more important for healthcare systems.

Data Is the Foundation of a Physician Directory

In order to get consumers to your digital front door, healthcare marketers need to make sure they are delivering a seamless experience by delivering foundational data assets such as a facility’s name, address, and phone (NAP); latitude/longitude; business category; business description; and hours of operation. Healthcare marketers need to solve for complex data sets and harness all of the different attributes to improve the search experience. In order to do so, they must stay up-to-date with one source of truth and manage location and physician data in one place. Managing thousands of locations and hundreds of physicians can be overwhelming. A technology platform such as SIM Partners’ Velocity allows healthcare systems to scale and automate their efforts.

An Effective Physician Directory Consists of Several Key Elements

Improving your physician directory is key to being more responsive to patients in an on-demand world in which patients expect to find physicians to meet their needs immediately and easily. Here are several key elements an effective physician directory:

  • Be visible and accurate with a foundation of data.
  • Provide contextual content and data such as insurance information to help patients make decisions in the moment.
  • Be actionable. Optimize physician pages for mobile devices with actionable content.
  • Be measureable. Measure the effectiveness of your physician directory just as retailers do for store locators.

Amanda concluded the webinar with these next steps healthcare marketers can take to drive patients to their digital front door:

  1. On-demand is the new normal – healthcare marketers must put the patient first in every strategy when thinking about “next moments” (or the action a patient takes after finding your business) and driving quality
  2. Gathering and organizing facility and physician attributes are key to delivering a seamless patient experience
  3. Patients expect connected experiences at all times, from searching for care to scheduling an appointment – which requires technology partners who understand the strategy and mission

To replay Ed and Amanda’s discussion, view the recording. And download The Healthcare Marketer’s’ Guide to Building a Physician Directory from SIM Partners to learn more about how your physician directory is the digital front door for your healthcare system.