Adam Lefton, director of Web strategy for Cancer Treatment Centers of America, discusses how search helped people looking for cancer treatment information.
Q: Why did you decide to focus your marketing efforts online?
A: We treat patients from all 50 states, whereas most hospitals tend to treat patients from within 50 miles to 100 miles. So the way we go to market is much different from other hospitals that get their patients through doctor referrals. We get 5% from doctor referral and 95% from our direct-to-consumer marketing, but this can be very expensive. We run direct response TV ads around the clock in order to get our phones to ring. We did a lot of research and realized very quickly that people who are looking for healthcare information tend to either go to their favorite healthcare portal or to use one of the major search engines to get information on their disease and its treatment.
Q: How did you work with Oneupweb to achieve your search optimization goals?
A: We discussed the benefits of organic search vs. paid search and realized that if we were going to have a sustained online presence driving people to a conversation with us, we really needed to focus first on building a better Web site. So all of our efforts during the first year and a half were 100% focused on organic search. It wasn’t until our traffic was about eight times more than it was before that we said it was time to initiate a paid search campaign to bolster what we already accomplished on the organic side.
Q: What did you do in order to optimize the site?
A: We added content related to the [most important] keywords. We completely rewrote much of the content on the site and reworked the HTML code. We also updated many of the tags within the coding. Before the update, people were typing in things like “Breast cancer treatment options” and “Fourth stage melanoma” and they weren’t finding us. Now they are.
Q: What were the results?
A: After a year and a half or so of only working on optimizing the site, our traffic increased to about 130,000 unique visitors a month — an improvement of more than 850%. Today, four years later and after adding in paid search, our Web site traffic is 300,000 unique visitors a month, and 65% of the people who get treatment in our hospitals visit our Web site before first contacting us.