This Spring, The Company Lab (CO.LAB) hosted our inaugural HealthTech Accelerator. Eight healthcare startups graduated from the 10-week program prepared to take their companies to the next level. One of the key outcomes for participants was an improved digital presence. This post is focused on expert suggestions for refining your digital media presence.

Those who have embarked on the journey of entrepreneurship know that running a startup comes with a multitude of challenges. As a founder of a startup, you’re not only responsible for developing the business— your role also requires juggling other important tasks such as social media management, bookkeeping, and website development— all areas that may go beyond your expertise.

At CO.LAB, our mission is to connect you with resources that make those challenges and responsibilities more manageable so you can focus on what matters most— growing your business. In the spring of 2019, we hosted our inaugural HealthTech Accelerator in partnership with Erlanger Health System and Unum. Over the course of ten weeks, CO.LAB staff, mentors and partners worked hands-on with eight startups focused on addressing challenges specifically in the healthcare industry.

One of the major projects for the companies was tackling their digital marketing strategies. Most of these entrepreneurs launched their businesses because they are experts in healthcare, not because they love website development. That’s why we partnered with Full Media, a healthcare Internet marketing and web design company, to help these startups refine their websites.

Full Media worked with each company to provide a “digital health assessment.” During the process, each company’s website, messaging, social media, advertising, and media collateral were reviewed. We even solicited feedback from our mentors in the healthcare-focused investor space.

At the end of the 10-week program, we sat down with Rachael Sauceman, one of our program mentors and a digital marketing expert at Full Media, to talk about some of the common areas for improvement for the companies. Below are her top five tips:

1. Identify the problem you’re solving

It is widely known that our healthcare system has major challenges and all stakeholders, from payers to health system executives, are looking for solutions. That’s where technology startups come in. There are many gaps to fill with an industry fraught with issues, so it’s important for your startup to identify its specific mission.

“Technology startups have a unique niche to fill, and that’s why it’s important for your website, as a marketing tool for your startup, to state really clearly what problem you are trying to solve and how your technology is the best solution available,” Rachael said.

“Clearly” is a key word here. Many founders get excited about the nitty gritty details of their product/idea, so their homepages tend to be complex and superfluous. While some audiences may want the technical details, it’s important to make your main pages accessible for all audiences.

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For the investors or customers that do want more details and data, make those resources available to them. Include white papers, downloadable brochures or even blog articles that explain the ins and outs of your product. However, keep your main pages focused on the problem your technology solves.

2. Navigating Next Steps

Once you have connected with a website visitor about the problem and they understand why you offer a unique solution, what do you want them to do next? Make it extremely clear how to get in contact with you. If you have multiple audiences, e.g. patients, hospital executives, physicians, payers, VC firms, make sure that you are telling each of them specifically what the next step is. You can include a contact form on your website, but also include your address, phone number and email so that they can easily reach out to you if needed.

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3. Trust Signals

For brand new companies, establishing credibility is important. Many of the startups we worked with in the Healthtech Accelerator had active customers or pilots, had gone through other accelerator programs, raised capital, or had tests or studies done demonstrating the efficacy of their technology. And yet, many did not promote these on their websites.

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“Make sure you are including trust signals on your website demonstrating the successes your company and technology has encountered so far,” Rachael said.

Startups definitely need to be careful about how much they share about previous investments or proprietary technology, but if you are looking to bring in new customers or investors, it’s critical that they see your technology has legs under it.

4. Mobile Friendliness and Site Speed

58% of all traffic to all websites is on a mobile device. While startups are usually looking to get a basic web presence up, almost like a “business card” to backup their in-person sales strategy, cutting corners by launching a website that isn’t mobile friendly is being penny-wise and pound-foolish.

If your startup is moving past the early stages and is developing a more robust marketing strategy, analyzing both your mobile-friendliness and your site speed is essential. Google’s entire index is now mobile-first, which means that they consider key mobile ranking factors, like responsive design, text size, visibility of key elements on a mobile device, and site speed— core factors that relate to where they put you in the search rankings.

Here are two resources Rachael recommends using to test your site:
Run your website through these tools to see if these are areas you need to work on: Site speed test and mobile-friendliness test. Ideally, your website should load in no more than 2 – 3 seconds.

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5. Own Your Brand

For many of the healthtech startups we worked with, they didn’t need extensive Internet marketing to reach their ideal audience. Trade shows, industry events, public relations and an extensive sales strategy can be more effective for some B2B models. However, most potential customers will look you up in a search engine after they learn about your company in-person. That’s why it’s important to own your brand terms in the search engine.

Rachael advises each startup to Google their brand to see what comes up. If you’re missing items from this checklist, then that should be an area you focus on improving.

  • Does your website show up when you search for your brand?
  • Are there competitors showing up, either through ads or organic listings, for your brand?
  • If your website appears, does your listing actually describe what your business does, or is it just random text taken from your website?
  • Does your logo and information about your startup appear in the “Google My Business” panel on the right of the page?
  • Do other valuable pages from your website appear in the search results listings too, not just your homepage?

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Most startups face common challenges when transferring their industry expertise into a website. Our participating healthtech startups were able to take these five tips (and more) from Full Media and put them to use for the benefit of their companies. Even though the companies Rachael worked with were healthtech-specific, this article should serve as a helpful resource for any and all entrepreneurs looking to boost their online presence.

— Katie Smith, CO.LAB