Consumerism in Website Design: The Power of Stories and Emotional Connections in Driving Results

By The SHSMD Team posted 15 days ago


Ramon Soto, Chief Marketing Officer at Northwell Health, was tasked with creating a new website that would lead to greater consumer recruitment and engagement. The first step was a year's worth of research and strategizing on consumer and patient needs.

The New Site's Mission Statement

After a year's worth of research and strategizing, the team identified the elements that would fulfill these needs. The new website, called The Well, included these features.

  • Dear Doctor. A new take on the classic and still successful advice column format.
  • So You're... Profiles of people undergoing procedures from a first-person point of view.
  • A Day in the Life. Photo-essays about people with interesting stories to share.
  • True Story. Personal narratives from community members offering perspectives not commonly shared in health care.
  • Well Informed. A forum for Northwell professionals to demystify health care topics.
  • 5 Things I Wish You Knew About... What people who live with medical issues wish others knew about their challenges.
  • Deep Dive. Features that tell the story behind the story through investigative and narrative journalism.

The launch of The Well included stories about an HIV advocate who was also a member of the LGBTQ community; a column about overwhelmed mothers; and an essay from a clerical support employee on the cardiac unity about what she learned the night a patient diet. It also featured a raw, emotional story about a woman's journey through the first year of breast cancer, from diagnosis through mastectomy, treatment and beyond.

Building on the Investment and Measuring the Impact

Northwell continues to invest in the content, personalization and promotion of the site. It produces videos internally and for other content, relies on internal staff and freelancers, including nationally acclaimed journalists and award-winning photographers.

According to Joe Leston, Vice President of Marketing at Northwell Health, Facebook advertising has been cost-effective. They saw a 10- to 20-times-to-the-dollar media efficiency of what they normally spent, with an average cost-per-click of 25 cents for The Well versus the industry average of $1.32. Click-through rates have reached highs of nearly 7% while the industry average hovers at only .83%. 

Northwell's customer insights team created an advanced analytics dashboard. To date, the site has received more than 1.6 million page views and upwards of 800,000 unique visitors. Eighty percent of visitors are women in the 25-54 age demographic, Northwell's target audience.

Clicks from The Well to the site's "Request an Appointment" page increased 253 percent from the first to the second half of the year, while subscriptions to The Well's e-newsletter increased 310 percent.

Leston advises anybody seeking similar results to focus on making human connections. "It's all about truth in storytelling. Be there with the audience. Find where they're at and meet them there. Dealing with a health event is scary. We want people to know they're not alone. We're trying to put the human element back into health care," he said.