What makes eHealth’s
content exceptional is something very simple: it is truly useful.
The pieces from the online
marketplace for health insurance do a superb job of tackling consumers’ and
businesses’ essential questions. Whether you want to understand the intricacies
of the Affordable Care Act or simply need a primer on the basics of health
insurance lingo, eHealth has the perfect resource.
Recently we chatted with Nate Purpura, Vice President of Marketing and
Communications at eHealth, to find out how the company approaches its content
strategy and creation.
Check out the Q&A below:
Q: Starting broadly, what is the
difference between good content and bad content?
A: Good content is useful.
Just to give you a really
practical example: When the Obama administration came in after the 2008
financial crisis, one of the first things they did was to create a subsidy for
COBRA, which is the insurance you get when you’re laid-off. The business that
we are in at eHealth is an alternative to COBRA, but we made a decision to still
create a lot of assets that would help people make informed choices about it.
We did that because it was the right thing for the customer, and that’s
ultimately a good business practice.
One of the pieces we
created was a basic FAQ about the changes. It stayed number one on Google search
results related to the COBRA subsidy for a month and a half. And it drove
thousands of phone calls and thousands of visits to our website. That was a big
a-ha moment for us. We saw that we could really help people, and that there was
a need for content experts in this space.
Q: What roles does content play
now for eHealth? What are the goals for it?
A: We’ve continually seen over and
over again that when we are focused on providing value to the customer that
content performs best in terms of engagement, and also helps sales the most.
When Trump was elected we
had an FAQ ready to go about how it might impact Obamacare. We put that right
on the homepage. A lot of ecommerce companies will tell you to only use the
homepage for things like buy buttons and straight sales, but we did an A/B test
with the FAQ on the homepage and it drove higher engagement.
That’s just a really
recent example of how we try to focus on what’s going through the minds of our
customers with our content. We want to help them feel less nervous, to be more
informed, and ultimately feel empowered to make better decisions.
Q: We really like the resources
section of the eHealth site; specifically how you tackle complicated questions
in a relatable way. How do you create that content? Is it all done in-house?
A: We create it all internally. My
background is in journalism, both print and broadcast, and I also have a senior
writer who is really good on my team, Doug Dalrymple, who has been in healthcare
for 20 years. We also have a great media relations person, Sande Drew, who does
a good job of refining our content. Then we have our wider marketing and sales
teams, who we leverage at the right times. They’re an incredible resource
because they’re talking to consumers every day.
Also, as an ecommerce company
we have access to a lot of both quantitative and qualitative research.
Finally, we have excellent
designers, like Jodi Li who does the concept designs for all of our eBooks. What’s
truly great about our content such as the video and ebooks are how visually
compelling they are and Jodi is really the wizard behind all of that.
Q: How do you ensure that your
target audiences find your content? Do you use paid media? SEO?
A: We do a combination. So we have email,
as well as organic social and paid social. We have a great new social media
person, Hannah Johnson, who does a really good job of finding that balance
between entertaining and informing.
SEO is also a major focus
for us. A lot of our search traffic is organic and driven by our content.
Q: Do you have a personal favorite
piece of eHealth content?
A: I really love the way we’re using
our YouTube channel. Specifically, a series of videos from a few years
In 2013 as Obamacare was
being rolled out we realized that people didn’t understand what was going on or
what was really going to change, including some members of the media. In
particular there was a ton of confusion around things like how the premium subsides
were going to work, or how the tax penalties would work. It was all very complicated.
So we lobbied for budget
to make a number of videos for our YouTube channel. We rented a studio, hired a
great actress named Jordan Fowler, and filmed 30 FAQs in two-days. Then we had
a great animator use Jodi Li’s graphic to animate the videos.
They performed exceptionally
well, without any paid promotion because the content was so relevant. We’re
still page one for eight YouTube organic searches like “How do
Obamacare subsides work?”
and other “Obamacare” related queries.
Q: How do you use that content for
To me this is the ultimate
example of “context marketing” where the content itself helps us identify
A person who searches for
“how do Obamacare subsidies work?” is much more likely to be in the market for
an Obamacare-related health insurance plan than someone I might reach through a
standard prospecting campaign.
This person has taken an
action that I know relates to our company and our services – that makes them a
high-value potential customer.
So, through YouTube
remarketing, I can use one of our branded videos like ”eHealth
makes Obamacare easy” to
educate this person about how we can help them.
It’s much less intrusive
than if they were to just run across the video at random, and we’ve seen it
increase brand-name searches for our company and lower our cost of acquisition
in search marketing.
Q: Final question, are there any
digital content trends that you are watching closely? What are you curious
about in 2017?
A: I’m really interested to see how
Snapchat evolves as a platform. We haven’t had luck yet in figuring out how to
engage on it. We know that that’s an important platform, especially for
reaching young people, but we haven’t mastered how to use it yet.