Division C
Category 9
Healthy Bonita Estero Website -- www.HealthyBonitaEstero.org

RESEARCH/SITUATION ANALYSIS: Lee Memorial Health System (LMHS) operates six hospitals in Lee County, Fla., and enjoys an 82% overall market share. LMHS competes with two hospital systems based in Collier County for an area known as South Lee County, which includes Bonita Springs and Estero, two adjacent communities that are located halfway between Fort Myers and Naples. There are no hospitals located within these communities, but one LMHS hospital and one NCH hospital are about equidistant in opposite directions (about 10 miles). LMHS’s market share for South Lee residents was 32% in 2008. Residents of these two communities are primarily age 50+ empty-nesters who are affluent, retired CEOs or business owners, live in gated golf communities and are seasonal residents. They are very knowledgeable about health care; know how to access the best physicians and medical centers and have the financial resources to travel for treatment at any facility they feel offers the best care. (Demographic research is included in the notebook.).

OBJECTIVES: LMHS engaged Briggs & Rogers to implement a marketing communications campaign to increase market share among South Lee residents by 2% over 2008. The micro-website that is the subject of this entry was an essential component of that campaign, which targeted 17,000 households. To support the overall objective of the campaign and communicate its key messages, the objectives for the micro-website were: 1) Create an online presence that would connect LMHS to the residents of the Bonita Springs and Estero communities; 2) Highlight the services of LMHS available in the community; 3) Illustrate the geographic proximity of other LMHS facilities to this area; 4) Position LMHS as offering technologically advanced medical services and treatments.

The HealthyBonitaEstero.org microsite was created as a hyper-local focus point for the overall communications campaign. All print ads, news releases and printed materials directed visitors to the website, where they could find specific information about LMHS, its facilities, services and physicians. Profiles about well-known area residents recommending LMHS facilities were used to reinforce trust in the health system. This also helped make the site viral as the individuals profiled forwarded the site to their friends. Photos of the stories’ subjects and summaries are rotated as teasers on the home page’s main feature box. A map that locates medical services is prominently displayed in a large feature area on the home page, to show the breadth and depth of services available in and near the community. A list of all medical staff physicians with offices in the Bonita Springs/Estero areas is adjacent to the map. To promote the health system as offering high tech treatments and technology, a series of videos on technologically-advanced treatments such as the Onyx procedure for brain aneurysms and hypothermic intervention for cardiac arrest were made available for viewing. A feature box on the home page highlights Gulf Coast Medical Center, the hospital and emergency department located in closest proximity to the communities, with the words “10 miles to world class care” and a link to the GCMC section of LMHS’s full web site. Health events being held in the community are posted and updated on a regular basis and site visitors are able to register to attend by using a simple form on the site. A four-part direct mail campaign, which was a series of oversized postcards, was created with the specific purpose of directing visits to the web site. The series was sent over a six week period to 17,000 households beginning in the summer of 2009 and again in spring 2010. Spikes in web traffic were notable each time the postcards were mailed.  The site offers easy opt-in capabilities for the e-newsletter and site visitors are encouraged to “share their story” so they could potentially become one of the residents featured on the site. An e-newsletter is sent out every two weeks with stories about new treatments and technology, wellness tips, a profile on a local resident, and promotes upcoming health events being held locally. These stories are hosted on the micro-website, which enhances the search engine optimization and drives more traffic. Links to LMHS’s full web site are prominently displayed so site visitors have easy access to much more information. The web site was created using Web 2.0 optimization techniques to make it easy for search engines to find.

The micro-website fulfilled all of the stated objectives and has served as an essential resource for the overall campaign, which has been an overwhelming success. Year-over-year data shows market share gains from 31.9% to 34.3%, a 7% increase, which shattered its original goal of 2%! Since the site launched in May 2009, visits have grown steadily. As of May 2010, more than 3,000 visitors to the site have been tracked – a substantial number considering the target of 17,000 households. Traffic spikes are noted when news articles are published, direct mail pieces drop, and e-newsletters are sent out. Perhaps the most flattering result was a request from the mayor of Bonita Springs to place a link to the website on the city’s own website – making LMHS the only health system featured, and illustrating that the campaign fulfilled its mission to better connect LMHS to the residents of Estero and Bonita Springs.

BUDGET: Site development, coding, updates, hosting and e-newsletters $2600. Staff hours to create the site, keep it updated and create e-newsletters over a 12-month period: approximately 60 hours.