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Do I really need a website for my allied health practice?

If your allied health practice has a website or you are thinking about starting one, make sure you consider the big picture to keep your business' online presence healthy.

Let’s kick off our discussion today by sharing some handy information with you regarding the growth of online activity in Australia – the graphs below illustrate both the increasing use of internet in Australian households (%), and the second graph highlights that over half of businesses in the Healthcare and Social Assistance industry have an online presence*.

Internet

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So, what does this mean for you? Whether you already have a website for your practice or if you are wondering if you should take the leap into the online world – here are some thoughts.

Why have a website?

1. Accessibility
Take a moment and think about your own habits - the way you find out information as a consumer. Do you sit and look through the Yellow Pages to find the services you need? Do you drive around your local area searching for the services you need? Or maybe you use your mobile phone or desktop computer to search for services you need and you do this at night after the kids are in bed, or before/after work, or on weekends? An online presence enables your consumers to access your business 24/7. They can find out what services you offer, discover answers to Frequently Asked Questions, all without having to physically walk into or phone your practice.

2. Marketing opportunity
A website can be a relatively low-cost way of marketing your practice and communicating your brand to your target audience. Think of your website as a way of showcasing the valuable health services you offer and sharing your brand message.

3. Build relationships with your consumers
The savvy modern consumer likes to make informed decisions and will search for information to help with their health needs and decision making. Your practice website can help build consumer relationships through education (e.g., Blogs), the provision of information (e.g., Frequently Asked Questions) and help establish your practice as credible and trustworthy.

4. Build relationships with your referrers
You must not forget that your referrers are your target audience too! Think about ways you can foster positive referrer relationships and make your referral pathways easy. For example, a section on your website for health professionals to access a referral guide and referral form.

But wait…don’t forget!

1. Your Overall Business Plan
Your website is not a standalone business tool. It must be aligned with and contribute to your overall business goals. Your website goals will be unique to your practice, as different websites have different purposes. You need to have written down what you want to achieve from your website, how this will contribute to your business, and how you will measure the success of your website in achieving those goals.

2. A poor website can be bad for your brand
If you have a website that has not been updated since the day it went “live”, or one that is not a good brand touchpoint for your practice, it can have a negative impact. Your target consumer will not feel confident that you are offering the best, modern healthcare service if your website is old and outdated. Therefore, you need to ensure you incorporate web management time into your business schedule.

I hope this helps you in your decision making. Remember, we are here to help - if you would like to access business education and personal support tailored to your practice, check out our membership information.

Source: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/8153.0

Marketing, Strategy


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