When I first contemplated a website for my physiotherapy clinic around 6 or 7 years ago, I was yet to be convinced my potential clients would locate me using an impersonal, electronic, new-fangled gadget. Much has changed, including my opinion. Your web page is now the most powerful window into your business for current and future clients. Let alone referrers and potential employees!
The website for a physio practice is a combined yellow pages ad, practice brochure (indicating hours, people, services, etc), geographical locator, health information site and shop front. Or at least it could and should be all those things if you want to maximise the value to your business.
Perhaps the most important contribution of your web presence is the contribution to your brand. The online image should be an authentic reinforcement of the brand of your practice. Not the logo – the brand. Those elements of your business that leave clients with a feeling or emotion associated with doing business with you. Feelings like ‘professional’, ‘ethical’, ‘trustworthy’, ‘safe’, ‘approachable’, ‘fun’, ‘friendly’ and so on. If you business brand leaves clients feeling ‘neglected’, ‘unvalued’ or ‘doubtful’ you should probably work on those problems long before investing in a website.
Another valuable contribution is the reducing the fear of ‘the unknown’ for people who have heard of you or better still been recommended to see you but who may be anxious or apprehensive about seeing a physio for the first time. Your web site can do much to allay their fears and replacing uncertainty with useful information (how they can pay, where they can park, what to wear) and confidence in your professional brand.
So, what should a physio practice website be made up of? How complex should it be and what role should it play in your business? This will differ from practice to practice, but I believe one element is common to all – get some professional help with design, composition and content. Being a fabulous physio doesn’t make you a top class web designer or techie. Trust me, I tried and failed miserably until I put my ego to the side and let a professional take the lead. Not only with my old clinic website, but also with my current business sites (www.redsok.com for example).
Possible contributions from your web site to business success include accurate descriptions of your team and the services they offer. A chance to sell them as experts long before the client actually comes in the door. Creating an expectation of quality is a good start. You might include health information pages on common problems you treat, or an online store for the products you sell (clients can pre-purchase and simply pick up, or ask you to post it to them). What ever you decide to include here is the golden rule: do it well and do it soon. Become the site of choice for physiotherapy in your area and show your brand to the world.
If you have a web helper already and are happy with them – stay on board. If not, or if you are yet to start looking, can I suggest the company that helped us completely rejig our website, online store (international workshops and products), newsletter systems and database building. A small and agile company with extensive design and construction experience in large corporate websites as well as small boutique clients. Located in Hobart this company served us so well here in Queensland we actually transferred our whole site hosting to them from a much bigger national company who basically took us for granted.
DataFirst IT Services is run by Tim Allingham and we are working together now to provide a more complete service for physiotherapy clients who want a web site that is an extension of their clinical expertise and professionalism. If you want to know more, click through to DataFirst IT and check out the ‘Site Options for Physios’ tab.