Erik mentioned in his post the other week, we’ll be sharing details on the 10 finalists of the Dell/NFIB Small Business Excellence Award over the next few weeks. I think you’ll enjoy learning about some of the interesting and innovative things these companies are creating with technology. The next finalist we’d like to introduce to you is Vitals, from Lyndhurst, New Jersey.
The business of this company couldn’t be more topical. Vitals is an online doctor evaluation and comparison service that helps consumers find the right doctor for them. They have over 720,000 physicians nationwide represented in their database. If you think about it, it’s been easier in the past to find and compare things like cars or investments than it has been to search for doctors. And when choosing a doctor, don’t you want as much information as possible?
Vitals was founded less than two years ago when the three founders, Larry, Mitch and Erica, saw this opportunity and set out to build a very innovative and customer friendly physician referral database and Web site they possibly could. They tapped over 15,000 different information sources when creating this resource. Consumers can come to the site and search for a doctor based on an extensive array of criteria, starting with where the doctor’s office is located and what insurance he or she accepts and ranging to what procedures are offered, what languages are spoken in the office, what school the doctor attended and various quality scores available.
The company went a step further and built the site to also include customer reviews of doctors – users can submit both a numerical rating and/or a written review. Customer reviews include the waiting period before you are seen and the friendliness of the staff. The combination of reliable information about the doctor and customer driven reviews makes this site and company compelling. Vitals created the Yelp of the medical world. There are only two companies that even come close to what Vitals offers – and one of those charges for the same information Vitals makes available for free, the other has far less detail available and doesn’t allow user reviews.
The Vitals database has literally billions of data points and yet is flexible and streamlined enough to make it easy for consumers to use. This has allowed the company to establish a number of key partnerships with major insurers and health care providers.
There was clearly a need for this resource. Healthcare is the single largest search category on Google with over 72 million unique visitors per month. The Vitals team realized that success depended on being smart about search engine optimization to drive traffic. And the effort has started to pay off as they have over 100,000 daily users – a number that is growing exponentially.
Here’s a fact I really loved, they really have built that level of traffic through providing a great product and leveraging search engine technology. In 16 months, they have spent only $1,100 on marketing expenses. That’s pretty smart and with such an innovative business ideas and a clear focus on the customer, Vitals is one of the Dell Small Business Excellence Award finalists.
Congratulations to Larry, Mitch, Erica and the entire team at Vitals on being a finalist and good luck in September!
Stay tuned for our next finalist profile coming early next week.
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