Essence Healthcare is a leading provider of Medicare services and, since its inception in 2003, has grown to become one of the largest Medicare Advantage plans in the St. Louis area. By working directly with hospitals and physicians, and not through big insurance companies, Essence Healthcare is able to get their patients reliable, quality care at low costs. In 2020, Essence Healthcare provided health insurance to more than 64,000 seniors in the Midwest.
With a dated website that wasn’t providing their users the aesthetic or functional experience they needed, Essence Healthcare felt it was time for a change. They sought to modernize the site with a fully-responsive design that senior users could navigate with ease on all devices. Furthermore, they needed the site to be live and fully operable in time for enrollment season, which gave them a start to finish timeline of about four months–a remarkably quick turnaround for a website of this caliber.
Our Essence Healthcare partners came to the table having already completed an in depth user persona development and an approved sitemap which our team then helped to formalize. Our team was able to then work closely with Essence Healthcare to review and implement a site strategy that would deliver the results they sought in the time allotted.
We knew from the beginning that this site was going to need to be scalable and easily editable for the Essence team. Because of this, we opted for a modular WordPress design and implemented the WordPress Gutenberg editor to make future site additions and revisions as intuitive and adaptable as possible.
Rather than migrating the lengthy and messy hyperlinked list of Missouri counties into the new design, developers implemented a search by zip code feature that allows users to simply enter their zip code to access a comparative chart of local Medicare rates. Furthermore, we created two zip code search modules, a small version and large version that can be added to any page on the site or that can be incorporated into future marketing landing pages.
On a site of this magnitude, we had no margin of error when it came to ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliance. The client provided us a comprehensive list of ADA requirements and our development and UX/UI teams took every precaution to ensure that this site was easily accessible and operable for all.
Knowing that even the most robust FAQ page won’t adequately answer every healthcare-related question, we implemented a live chat feature for seniors needing answers immediately. The feature is easily operable for even the least tech savvy user and is monitored in real time by the Essence sales agents.
There is certainly no shortage of competitors in the crowded field of healthcare providers. For this reason, we had to take every step necessary to ensure that the Essence site was optimized top to bottom for high traffic healthcare keywords. And with such a strict timeline in place, seeing gains in the inherently slow SEO realm would be an even greater challenge.
First and foremost, we met the deadline. The Essence Healthcare site was live and fully operable well ahead of the Medicare enrollment deadline. Patients were able to learn, inquire and enroll with ease. And even with a short timeline, we saw huge gains in terms of rankings for local and regional keywords. Our assessment of SEO gains revealed that the Essence site rocketed from page three to page one for at least three high traffic local keywords: medicare v medicare advantage missouri, missouri medicare advantage, and medicare v missouri medicare advantage. They’re also sitting in Google’s top five listings for “st louis medicare advantage”, “CoxHealth medicare plus”, “Missouri medicare seminars” and a half dozen other keywords.
In website design, like any other field, you cannot guarantee a quality product unless you know your audience and understand their needs. Because the target audience for this website was almost exclusively users 65 and older, we had to make sure that the user experience we delivered was second to none. This site needed to be easily navigable, informative, direct, and operable from devices of all sorts.
Just weeks post launch, the Essence site saw a massive influx in traffic and continues to perform strongly, even during non-enrollment periods. This site was built with the intention of being a valuable resource throughout the year and a constant lead generator. With an optimized site that is informative and delivers a consistently positive user experience, users can see first-hand the value and market authority offered through Essence Healthcare.