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Oct 2014

Google My Business: How We’re Bringing Healthcare Back into Google’s Game

I moved closer to work at the beginning of last month, and needed to make an appointment with a new eye doctor. As AVID’s unofficial Google guru, of course the first thing I did was hit the search engines.

Even as someone who understands that there are more qualifications to look for in an ophthalmologist than “eye doctor in Norcross”, I (like many patients) was in a rush. I made an appointment with the first highly rated practice on the list, but on the day of my appointment, I showed up to an empty building.

I googled the practice again, called the number listed, but didn’t get an answer. A little angry for having wasted my time, I drove back to the office when the practice manager called my cell. The information on Google’s listing was incorrect, she explained. Would I like to reschedule? I decided that no, I would not like to reschedule. I ended up driving back across town to visit my old doctor instead.

This exact situation is happening to many hospitals, healthcare systems and physician practices across the country—sometimes totally unnoticed by the practice managers or marketing departments. As someone who works closely with Google, I totally understood that my potential ophthalmologist’s office had nothing to do with the incorrect listing. However, subconsciously the inconvenience was what determined my physician choice. This error caused the practice to lose a patient. How many others, I wondered, do they lose in a day? A month? A year?

Go Ahead, Check Yourself Out

Coincidentally enough, we have numerous clients using our digital strategy services at AVID Design for this exact issue. For a range of academic medical centers, hospitals and physician practices, we have embarked on an adventure to correct all of their Google listings. And that has been no easy feat — Google My Business is a two-headed beast!

  • Google My Business is not optional – How will your patients find you if not through Google? Your patients are most undoubtedly searching for you, and results are popping up. Managing those results is unquestionably important.
  • Google My Business is Not for the Faint of Heart – Representatives at Google have been very open that the Business platform was designed for just that—traditional retail businesses. The issues we experience with GMB are unique to healthcare, which is an unfamiliar area to the Google team. We are tackling that beast at AVID Design!

Keep in mind: Google My Business is still a new approach – with kinks and missing functionality that will all improve with time, but it is complicated by Google’s tendency is to shy away from healthcare endeavors. Defining a strategic approach to healthcare locations is beyond perplexing — and one that is tough to tackle alone.

The best way to figure out where you stand on Google’s radar is to search for your organization – down as many paths as possible. Search for your hospital name, your brand name, your physician names, practice names and so on. If you find pages for your organization, you should claim them as your own—especially if the information is incorrect.

What We’ve Learned

During our Google My Business initiation by fire over time, the most important lesson learned is that while this technology may still be emerging and imperfect, it has a very real, instant impact on healthcare organizations due to poor user experiences. Taking action sooner than later is always a good idea, but keep in mind that as with any other new online tool or functionality, flexibility is critical. The process may change direction quickly and is definitely a moving target! Be open to evolving your strategy, updating your goals and managing expectations.

Need help determining if you’ve got a Google beast on your hands? Give us a call and we can check out your page standings and see what information is being shared with your current or prospective patients. 


AVID Design offers full-scale written and visual communication services for hospitals and healthcare systems, including SharePointWeb designSEO and PPC content development and assessmentonline video and rich mediaanalytics and measurementcontent management systems and more.

Whitney Stuart | Web Content Manager | AVID Design

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May 2014

A Neuropsychological-Approved Approach to Healthcare Marketing

Full confession: Sometimes I forget I’m not actually a physician-scientist. After years of writing healthcare content, my passing interest in medical research has evolved into a full-blown commitment to reading every article I come across. If Google handed out degrees, I’d have a pretend PhD in neuropsychology alone.

Emotions are some of the strongest forces we as humans can produce, yet because of the scientific nature of medicine there are very few emotions involved in medical research. That’s why I love neuropsychology; a field which explains the biological function of the brain as it relates to our behavior. Neuropsychologists combine the sterile, scientific side of the brain’s processes and translate them into the animated, human world of psychology and behavior.

I’ve been very focused on neurosciences lately as AVID just launched a new website for GRHealth and incorporated many sub-sites, including the Neuroscience Center of Excellence. But, also, I just read about a team of neuropsychologists from the University of Freiburg in Germany that recently released a study which found that patients with clinical depression perceived colors to be duller than patients without depression perceived them. The study concluded that patients diagnosed with depression quite literally live in a less vibrant world. What an incredible breakthrough in understanding the extent of the disease!

Physicians understand that in order to effectively treat a patient, we must understand their condition as fully as possible. As a healthcare marketer only pretending to be a trained specialist, I understand that before reaching our target audience, we must also fully understand their needs. 

Translating Your Voice

Before our content team writes the first word, we ensure we fully understand the organization’s voice and understand their priorities through interviews with physicians and subject matter experts. Each of our clients has a unique approach to delivering care, and we believe that differentiating factors and key messages should resonate on each page of content we write.

However, it is equally important to ensure that content reaches audiences in ways they can understand. Have you assessed your content from a more behavior oriented perspective? It is important to not only write content that conveys your key messages to visitors, but delivers information that addresses the behavior behind their visit to your site.

All Page Visits Are Not Created Equal

Most healthcare marketers understand that a visit to a page about volunteering has completely different intentions than a visit to a pediatric cardiology page. But what are those intentions?

At AVID Design, we bring the neuropsychology approach to content: We combine powerful, statistically- based analytics with unparalleled expertise in healthcare marketing for a very strategic approach to targeted and specialized content.

If your content isn’t having the desired effect on your target audiences, give us a call. It may be that a small change in approach will help your visitors see your site in much more vibrant colors.


AVID Design offers full-scale written and visual communication services for hospitals and healthcare systems, including SharePointWeb designSEO and PPC content development and assessmentonline video and rich mediaanalytics and measurementcontent management systems and more.

Whitney Stuart | Web Content Manager | AVID Design

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Mar 2014

What’s on the Menu?

If you’re anything like me, you like a good cup of coffee – mine is decaf from Starbucks (people think my energy comes from caffeine, but it’s really from my roots in NYC!). I have my very own season favorites from Peppermint Mocha in the winter, Caramel Macchiato in the spring, and Iced Mocha Chip Frappuccino in the summer.  No, I am not a spokesperson for Starbucks, but the reason I bring this up is because I recently read an article that the famous coffee house will soon add alcoholic beverages to their menu.  Apparently they want to boost their revenue and have decided to expand beyond their traditional coffee & desert offerings, but hopefully they made this decision based on customer feedback.  This got me thinking. So what does all this have to do with AVID Design? Because we consider our clients partners, we listen to issues, develop solutions and revise menus based on needs and feedback.

So for all our partners & partners to be out there, are you ready to change your menu?  Of course, your patients & their families are interested in finding out what your cafeteria is serving for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but I am not talking about that menu!  I am talking about your navigation menu. 

Hospitals may all have a primary goal in mind – to provide expert care and improved outcomes for their patients.  While this goal may be universal across healthcare organizations, how to get patients and prospective patients interested and engaged happens in very different ways.  Making it easy and convenient for your web audiences to navigate through information and services, finding what they are looking for, is most important – and smart navigation is a perfect route for improved user experiences. We all know that in order to increase conversions, we must be aware of what each audience wants to see and how they want to see it. There are many intelligent and innovative ways to create these positive online experiences with effective usability.   

At AVID Design we see opportunities for innovation for every stage and facet of the web development process.  We provide web based tools that will allow your organization to maximize efficiencies for varied audiences who utilize your websites.  We do this by ensuring that navigation is intuitive and integrated functionality is simple and uncomplicated to use. 

Are you ready to expand your menu?  Give us a call; we would love to hear what’s on your plate! 

AVID Design offers full-scale written and visual communication services for hospitals and healthcare systems, including SharePointWeb designSEO and PPC content development and assessmentonline video and rich mediaanalytics and measurementcontent management systems and more.

Stephanie Imberman | Account Executive | AVID Design

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Feb 2014

The “New” Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon

Change Happens…and can be good!

The night owl in me became a fan over the years of NBC’s The Tonight Show.  As you might know, the show is the longest running current entertainment program in the U.S. – and has the record for longest serving hosts – Johnny Carson followed by Jay Leno. The legacy of Carson, not to mention living up to the ratings of Jay Leno, will not be easy to follow. For people under the age of 25, Johnny Carson himself is remembered less and less, but the brand The Tonight Show remains strong with all audiences. We can’t forget that Carson truly defined the brand by creating a template that actually works for all late night shows – and obviously set a strong and lasting foundation for The Tonight Show specifically.

Recently, the sixth host, Jimmy Fallon, has taken over. Sure, Fallon is young, enthusiastic and will have popular guests, but there’s much more competition out there now; there is a late night show for every taste. Fallon definitely has challenges ahead of him, but he has already made a name for himself from his previous show Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. In interviews, Fallon mentioned that he will not change who he is, but is just moving his show to NYC. 

You’re probably wondering why I am talking about this, and what this has to do with your hospital or marketing department. Change Happens…and can be good! You might want to ask yourself a few questions:  How many years has your “brand” been around? Who is your competition? Do you show off your most popular areas – your service lines of excellence?  We all know that hospitals and healthcare systems face more challenges than ever before, and change in the industry is happening at a rapid pace. But, the hardest part has already been done for you. You have been handed a legacy.  Your “brand” has been created by colleagues before you. Your hospital or healthcare system may have the most popular docs and enthusiastic staff and you can certainly handle the competition with the right strategy.  AVID Design can help you add to your strengths by helping to determine what you’re missing or where you could use some help.  Whether it’s a more robust CMS, some expertise with SharePoint, SEO consulting, Content Writing or Design, let us be your host!! Don’t change who you are, just move it to AVID Design! 

AVID Design offers full-scale written and visual communication services for hospitals and healthcare systems, including SharePointWeb designSEO and PPC content development and assessmentonline video and rich mediaanalytics and measurementcontent management systems and more.

Stephanie Imberman | Account Executive | AVID Design

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Feb 2011

How to Not Brand Your Hº$pî†@L in the Internet Age

Most hospitals and healthcare systems were created well before the emergence of the Internet, nevermind related concepts such as search engine optimization that are crucial for hospital brand awareness.

Still, that doesn’t mean hospital marketers aren’t occasionally provided with new opportunities to create brand names for new hospital services, features, fundraising groups, blogs and more. Rather than simply giving a name that might sound nice, hospital branding must now assess the challenges of creating a brand name that is SEO-friendly.

On one hand, there’s the challenge of not being unique enough. LA Weekly recently listed the top five least-Google-friendly restaurants in Los Angeles. These included LA Market, 24/7, Bar Kitchen, Local and Food. No matter how great their quality and popularity might be, they are all virtually impossible to find via search engines unless the search phrase is somehow qualified, modified or longtailed.

On the other hand, there is a new trend in online branding that has apparently become popular with music groups that are striving to maintain “indie” credibility by not ranking at the top of Google. That might seem counterproductive for anybody trying to build a following of their brand, whether it’s bands or hospitals.

This month’s Wired discussed this peculiar practice of bands using “unintelligible monikers” that use character substitutions and alternatives. For instance, “hospital” might be “spelled” the way it was in the headline above…or even more cryptically and harder to remember and type.

Of course, a hospital would likely never go to that extreme, but it’s an interesting notion to ponder, especially when using people’s names, such as those given in honor of a hospital foundation, or particularly when using a hospital’s doctor’s names as a meaning of increasing Website traffic.

Paging Dr. Jerry Brown, or Is Dr. Geri Browne or Gov. Jerry Brown?

As patients continue to become more sophisticated in their use of the Internet to research hospitals and physicians, the names of surgeons, doctors and specialists are increasingly proving to be keywords that are just as effective as a carefully researched long-tail keyword for a medical condition or procedure.

However, some names—such as Jerry Brown—create certain dilemmas. First, there’s the reality that both “Jerry” and “Brown” are both very common names and words (such as using “brown” to describe a color). Then there’s the fact that searches for “Jerry Brown” are most likely going to return results for the governor of California, rather than a doctor at your hospital.

On the other hand, homonyms and spelling variations of Jerry Brown—such as “Gerry Braun” or “Geri Browne”—can very easily result in patients searching for the more common spelling.

Ultimately, the answer—whether for organic SEO or pay-per-click—is to carefully analyze your keywords. For instance, a name such as mine (Derek Rudnak), is not very common, so chances are that optimizing for it wouldn’t require much (if any) additional work.

But in the “Jerry Brown” example, careful consideration and research (and perhaps testing) would be crucial for its success. This could include:

Geography: For instance, if you are located in Topeka, Kansas, “jerry brown topeka doctor” might be a solution.

Specialty: If your Dr. Jerry Brown is a pediatrician, “jerry brown topeka podiatry” might be a more precise solution.

Hospital Name: Of course, be sure to not exclude one of your most value keywords: your hospital’s name!

Remember, every page on your Website has the potential to be a “home page.”  If patients are more likely to find you by searching for a physician’s name or specialty, take advantage of it.

Derek Rudnak | Healthcare Marketing Communications Specialist | AVID Design

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