The Website: A Great Marketing Tool
Blog post by SimGHOSTS board member Lizzy Wooley, Simulation Technician at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas TX
One of the most important goals of a simulation center is to spread the word to all potential users in hospitals, schools, or even the surrounding community. While brochure marketing might have worked in the past, these days the website plays a crucial role in our internet and social network dependent work environments. After working on our website content development project at Baylor for about 6 months, I’ve learned several thing about this process that I would like to share with the simulation community.
1) Marketing Department
It is important to find the right person to start the project with. You might think website development belongs with the IT department, however in our case it was the marketing department that took the lead. I was able to connect with the website content manager to kick start our project.
2) Content Development
The purpose of a simulation website is to convey specific, helpful information to its audience so that visitors learn something new or are better able to understand the simulation program better. It should also be geared towards the average person so that he or she is able to easily understand. It may contain how to initiate the classes or training, supporting information, directions, instructions, etc. Most importantly, the website should be neatly organized and regularly updated. Photos and videos can be taken by a professional photographer, however, you must be sure to obtain media usage consent agreements from individuals who volunteered.
3) Layout and Design
I first started drafting my website design by using power point slides, where each slide represented how I would like to layout my webpage. This wasn’t a bad way to approach this, but I later discovered that there are many free online website design programs that make this process so much simpler. I eventually used an online tool which simplified and streamlined my work and provided specific ideas on how we would like to present our site. It’s also great for showing samples from other institutes. Keep in mind, though, it is the best to design your site in your own, customized way.
4) Legal Advice
It is very important to make sure all content is proper and meets legal criteria. Also, there are specific forms on how to write content such as the title of the staff, the name of organization, etc. that are useful and should be consulted. For these reasons, the content must be sent to the legal department before going live.
After everything is ready to be uploaded you will need to contact the marketing department once again to connect with the website content master. Once the website is updated, it is important to check that each logo, link, page, contact, and map is posted correctly. It will seem like you’ll always find something to edit and update, so keeping a good relationship with the marketing department is vital. I hope this post has been helpful for anyone who is planning on creating or updating a website in the near future.