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Christopher Webb - Ambulance Marketing Consultant

Ambulance Marketing: Ambulance Web Sites and Why You Need One
Christopher M. Webb
Denver, CO - Sept 4th 2012

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When I consult ambulance companies, one of the action items on my list is to ensure that the company's web site is both professional and search engine friendly. However, many ambulance companies I come across in my consulting work have no web site at all.

Think you don't need a web site? Well, ponder this for a moment; You're in a room full of people and somebody asks "hey, I want to order Chinese, do you know the phone number for one nearby that delivers?".

What's the first thing people do these days to find this information? Do they pick up the phone book? Do they call 411? The answer is no. In fact, in today's culture many people don't know what 411 even is and the thought of trying to find a phone book and searching through it just sounds crazy doesn't it?

What people do these days is pull out their cell phone and do a quick search online. There are numerous smartphone applications and search engines designed just for this purpose. Google Maps, FourSqaure, and Yelp are just a few.

Now ask yourself this question; when a nurse or case manager needs the phone number for an ambulance company (assuming they don't have it memorized already) what do you think they do? Pick up the phonebook or call 411? Nope. They either go to the web from their computer or from their cellular phone and run a quick search. This method of finding food, gas, hotels, and even ambulance companies is instant gratification that you can't accomplish any faster any other way. People will follow the path of least resistance and a nurse or case manager looking for an ambulance company's number isn't going to do any different.

Now, you can of course circumvent this if you have managed to get a business card posted to the wall or some other promotional item directly in front of the nurse's phone but if it's not there, then what?

Tips for building your web site

Always think SEO

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization is one of the most important things you can do to increase traffic to your site and ultimately, calls to your dispatch center. Wikipedia has a great article (primer) on SEO including its history and use in your own web sites.

The thing to keep in mind is that every single piece of content on your web site needs to be optimized to be found by search engines. This includes your meta tags, image "alt's", proper use of current HTML standards, accessibility for the sight and hearing impaired, and more. Learn all you can about SEO and how to make it work for your company and the next time a nurse searches for an ambulance company with her phone, you might just be the first one that pops up in the results.

Make it Look Good

You've probably heard me say this before but I cannot emphasize enough just how important it is to look good in every piece of marketing material you create. Nurses, case managers, and facility CEOs and Administrators most likely will never come down to your station, see the inside of your ambulance, or have any knowledge of the workings of your company.

Instead, your customers look to what is available either publicly or handed to them by your marketing associate to determine the value in your company. You could have a great company in all respects but if your web site looks bad...you look bad. The flip side is even more true for companies just starting out; if your web site looks great, you look great which will help to send more business your way.

Fill it Up!

Search engines and web users alike are looking for content that is both timely and relevant. The more content your web site has that uses the keywords for your company, the more hits you'll get. Additionally, by keeping new and fresh information on your web site, you'll keep users and search engines coming back for more which will eventually equate to more traffic to your site and better search results placement.

Keep your job postings, news articles, and other content up to date and fresh!

Pictures Speak a Thousand Words

On the web, THEY REALLY DO! One of the design elements provided by HTML standards is the ability to not only insert a picture into your web page but to also describe that picture as well. Descriptions are used by screen reader programs for the hearing impaired as well as by search engines. Think Google Images here; how do you think they are able to provide a photo of an ambulance simply because you typed in "Ambulance"? The key is in the descriptions.

For those of you who are savvy to HTML, even just a little, look at the following line of HTML.

<img src="images/Christopher_Webb.png" width="101" height="45" alt="Christopher Webb - EMS Marketing Professional" longdesc="http://www.mikmarket.com/cw.html" />

In the above IMG tag, you can see that we have two descriptions; one long, and one short. THe short description goes in the "alt" section of the code where a much longer description about the image can be found at http://www.mikmarket.com/cw.html. THESE ARE EXTREMEMLY IMPORTANT!

Always make sure that every image on your web site has at the very least a short description in the "alt" section of the IMG tag.

This concludes this short article on ambulance website marketing strategies but keep coming back for more as I find the time to write them :)

 

About the Author

Christopher M. Webb brings over 15 years of marketing experience through multichannel development to the private EMS industry. He is the Vice President of MiK Market Systems, the creator of EmergiTrack, the inventor of www.LinkEMS.com, and the author of “Marketing 911” ISBN 978-1-4507-9243-1(available at amazon.com). He can be reached at c.webb@mikmarket.com.

 

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