Serving the community since 1938, BlueCross BlueShield of Kansas City (BCBSKC) has a tradition of service and innovation. With nearly 900,000 members, BCBSKC is the area’s largest health benefits provider. The organization is a leader in adopting technologies and methodologies that help it fulfill its mission to improve the health of the communities it serves. BCBSKC discovered that their Web site was not attracting the traffic they had expected. As a result, it was affecting their ability to capture and enroll applicants for individual health and dental insurance. Frustrated by competitors’ higher rankings in search results, and lower than desired public awareness of the breadth of their offerings, BCBSKC called EyeTraffic Media.
To start the program, EyeTraffic reviewed the BCBSKC Web site, as well as those of their competitors, to evaluate what BCBSKC was missing, and what they were doing well. They also conducted collaborative fact-finding sessions with BCBSKC team members in IT, sales and marketing. EyeTraffic began an expedited program to optimize the BCBSKC Web site for search engine recognition, and to direct traffic to Web pages related to direct-to-consumer insurance products. BCBSKC had a new cost-effective Child Health Plan they were particularly interested in promoting. As the program continued, BCBSKC dental and gap insurance offerings were added.
EyeTraffic Media suggested an initiative that utilized both paid and organic search marketing programs. Organic traffic, as the name implies, comes to the Web site naturally and without direct costs. However, since this organic process grows out of referrals such as links from other Web sites and discovery by Web crawlers and spiders, it can take months of nurturing for organic programs to bear fruit. Therefore, a paid search marketing program was introduced to offer faster, almost immediate, search engine results. The goal of the initiative was quite simple: get prospects to the site and request quotes. The program would focus on two key tactics: key word phrasing and a linking program.
EyeTraffic Media’s research and expertise allowed BCBSKC to quickly identify key words and phrases that consumers might use in searching for their offerings. The paid listings also provided BCBSKC immediate empirical data on which phrases drew the most hits, such as “Student Health Insurance” versus “Child Health Insurance.” In addition to the proven purchased words, other words included in the searcher ‘s query were extracted from access logs. This provided fertile content for Web page titles and descriptions, which then expanded the organic side of the program. The key words and phrasing also provided valuable input for other traditional marketing outreach activities.
While long-term success relies on cultivating organic traffic, the immediate impact of the paid program was exceptional. A powerful argument for employing a program using both techniques is the program’s rapid results and clearly measurable ROI. After less than one year of implementation, BCBSKC is averaging 60-90 new customers each month via their Web site, at an acquisition cost of less than $10 per application submitted. The success of the program was immediate and tangible. What began as a one-time project has been expanded. EyeTraffic Media continues to help BCBSKC to tap new markets and create awareness while providing ongoing reporting, linking, key word testing, and discovery programs.