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Online presence proves a healthy alternative

HEALTH insurance organisations are developing sophisticated online strategies to drive new business and deepen existing customer relationships.

A powerful online presence can be a lucrative tool within an overall marketing strategy for health insurance organisations.

The high profile ‘Ask Ted’ campaign has broken new ground by offering members services beyond the traditional health care arena.

However, it remains to be seen whether this innovative strategy hits the mark.

A competitive health care market has driven substantial investment in health insurance websites offering add-on benefits for members, including health tips and directory services.

HBF has developed arguably the strongest online profile with its ‘Ask Ted’ advertising campaign, which directs members to the HBF website and a range of services, including a surfing guide and horoscopes information.

www.askted.com has sparked a lot of debate within the industry about the online strategy for health insurance organisations.

HBF general manager member value Ricki Smith said HBF sees itself as more than just a health fund and this is reflected in the website.

“With almost 900,000 members we are almost constantly given the opportunity to provide members with offers and benefits but we’ve found it difficult to communicate this,” Ms Smith said.

“We identified a gap in the market … what we do is give members information about living in WA.”

The Health Insurance Fund of Western Australia recently launched healthplus.com after undertaking significant research into the role and value of the website.

Livewire Online was employed to look at HIF’s online strategy and work out how to best target members.

Livewire Online director online strategy and planning Simon te Brinke said HIF wanted to

look at how to mirror its positioning line “A Better Health Fund with Bigger Benefits” on the website.

“I started shopping around in the east to see if we could syndicate a content deal,” Mr te Brinke said.

From a strategic point of view, HIF wanted to use the content on the website to strengthen customer relationships.

The HIF site provides members with information on health related topics, including diet and natural therapies.

It’s a more conservative and targeted approach than that of HBF but one Mr te Brinke claims offers an obvious business benefit for HIF.

HBF invested a huge amount of money in its website and was supported by a strong advertising campaign that directed the general public to the site where you can ‘just ask Ted’ about almost anything.

“The HBF website has caused a lot of debate … I deal with developers every day and I’m seeing agencies asking why and developers asking why,” Mr te Brinke said.

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