If you’re in the market for a new healthcare website and content management system (CMS), the process can seem overwhelming. The options seem endless. And the technology is constantly changing.

You start searching horizontal marketing technology (martech) providers. But, few seem to understand the complexity, nuances, and privacy concerns you face as a healthcare marketer.

You know you need a CMS solution vendor that can serve as a true partner, a provider that truly understands healthcare.

But how do you go about finding them?

Step One – Take time to clarify your goals
Without knowing what your organization’s goals for attracting new patients and inspiring loyalty in those you already know are, you have no way of knowing which CMS providers can actually help you. Having a vague understanding of your goals is not enough. Discuss your goals with everyone on your team to ensure you’re all on the same page. When documenting your goals, be sure to include everything you want your solution to do for you. That way, you’ll have a clear measuring stick when comparing potential providers.

Step Two – Remember this is not a solo venture
You’ll need more than your marketing team’s approval when it comes to choosing your CMS solution. For starters, IT will want to make sure your CMS provider meets their security and integration requirements. You’ll also need to get buy-in of other users (think web designers and developers) – so be sure to include them early on in the selection process.

Step Three – Research your CMS provider options
The first step towards selecting the right vendor is to understand your options, including the benefits and drawbacks of the three major players:

  • Marketing Agencies (Pros/Cons)
    • Typically most concerned with creating a site that looks impressive and wows you with visual elements
    • Less concerned with sustained engagement, conversion performance, and ROI 
    • May not fully understand the stringent privacy implications associated with healthcare
  • Horizontal CMS vendors (Pros/Cons)
    • Offers robust capabilities without considering how they can reach your business goals 
    • Serve a variety of industries and don’t fully understand the unique concerns of healthcare 
    • The features you want, such as provider and location directories, must be custom developed, which is costly and time-consuming
  • Dedicated healthcare partners (Pros/Cons)
    • Understand the unique needs and concerns of healthcare organizations 
    • Are focused on the healthcare consumer experience; solutions are designed to attract and convert prospects into patients (and keep them as loyal customers)
    • Will help maximize your investment by creating strategic cross-channel experiences that deliver real, bottom-line results

Step 4 – Get the answers you need to identify qualified CMS partners
Once vendors have met the basic criteria outlined in your goals or, if you choose to use one, your RFP, the next step is to have them demonstrate their technology’s capabilities and differentiators. Be sure to find out:

  • How their CMS solution can help you meet your goals 
  • How intuitive their user interface, dashboards, and analytics are to use
  • How simple (or complex) is it to build landing pages, format provider profiles, set up personalization rules, etc.

Step 5 – Get to know the people behind your chosen solution
When you choose a CMS solution, you’re investing in more than technology. A good solution also depends on forging a strategic partnership. Take the time to get to know your CMS provider’s team and how they will work to:

  • Understand the current and future landscape for healthcare CMS and consumer experience
  • Offer best practices that help you gain value from your investment
  • Provide service and support
  • Build a community of peers, thought leaders, and innovators that share your organization’s goals

Step 6 – Check vendor references
Don’t forget to ask potential vendors for their customer references. Then search your own network to find references beyond what the vendor provides. Once you have a good list, take the time to interview as many as possible. How well did the vendor help them achieve their CMS goals? What advice can they give you for implementation? Is there anything they would have done differently?

Making your decision (the final step)
Once you’ve made it through your process and discussed your findings with your internal team, you’re ready to choose a partner that best fits your needs and expectations.

Of course cost is always a concern, but you’ll get the best results by choosing the solution that will take you the furthest. Take the time to find the CMS provider who is most closely aligned with your industry and most focused on helping you meet your organization’s goals. You won’t be sorry you did.

Need more help choosing the right CMS for your organization? Read our white paper, The Definitive Guide to Healthcare CMS.