Upgrade Your Technology and Grow Your Practice
“I don’t have time for all that computer stuff, I focus on people.”
Does that sentiment sound familiar? Many therapists shy away from technology because it feels very far away from the people-work they signed up for.
I understand. Technology can feel like the enemy when it sucks our time or when our systems are so complicated we are distracted from our higher work.
Yet in 2020, people insist on using technology to find you, interact with you and even praise you.
Caring for People With Technology
Serving people and embracing technology are not mutually exclusive. At its core, technology is simply a tool that exists to do a job so why not put it to work helping you with your practice?
Because you focus on people, it’s smart to consider their entire experience with your company, not just what happens when they are in a session. Potential clients are making decisions about you before they ever step foot in your office. And if they have a poor experience, you may never get the chance to even meet them.
The average consumer is spoiled by technology. We carry around mini-computers in our pockets and interact all day with huge companies that spend billions to make sure we have a seamless online experience. We become agitated when things aren’t fast enough or seamless enough.
So if your tech is stuck back in 2002, you are likely frustrating the very people you want to help. Don’t let techno-avoidance causing you to lose clients?
Now, I am not suggesting you have to try and compete with Amazon or Google. But you can definitely remove the stumbling blocks that are keeping you from getting or to getting and retaining new clients.
Upgrade Your Technology and Grow Your Practice
1. Make it easy for people to find you online
Today, people use the internet as they used phone books in the last century. So, if you aren’t there, you might as well not exist. To be found on local search, make sure you have these in place:
- Set up a Google-my-Business account and spend time every week and post to GMB. This an absolute must if you want to be found in your local area. It acts as a second website and can drive people to your office.
- Have location information and a map on your website. This is an important driver for Google to know how to deliver your site when people search in your area.
- Directories: make sure your information on directories and lists is correct and consistent. It is important to have your info on local lists as well as niche publications and associations.
- Use your blog to talk about the things that your people are searching for
2. It’s how people want to interact with you
People don’t just show up to your door. 97% will go to your website and then some will browse over to your social media. They want to consume your content as a way of interacting before they take a next step.
If your online presence is outdated and neglected, what message does that send? Remember people are all spoiled with technology, so when a company doesn’t take care of their online presence, they make micro judgments about whether they can trust you.
What happens when that person shows up on your site and a contact form is broken or a link won’t download? Often they get impatient and move on.
So once they land on your site, what do they need to do or see?
Make it clear by answering three simple questions
- What is it? Be specific and stay away from obscure language
- Who is it for? People need to see themselves in your text
- What do I get? Your text needs to focus on the needs of the other person and not on your business. Nobody cares about how amazing you are, they are always asking ‘what’s in it for me?’
Make it easy to get information and book appointments
Your website doesn’t need to be fancy or complicated, but it has a job to do…and clunky, old technology can be a hindrance. Here are a few things you can do to make it easy for your visitors:
- Declutter! Too much on every page is the most common problem for people who maintain their own sites. Clean, simple and consistent portray a modern feel and makes things easier for your visitor. Be aware of too many fonts, too much text, too many images and too many colors!
- Use straight-forward language in your menu. Novelty can be confusing.
- Make sure information is formatted to promote scanning by using images, headings, bullet points, larger fonts and narrower columns.
- Use infographics and downloadables occasionally as a break for long patches of text.
- If you want them to call, make sure the phone number is prominent on every page.
- Make sure location info is available on every page.
- New people who hit your site are not usually ready to contact you. They will want to consume content and gain some trust first. But when they are ready, they want access now and prefer the schedule on their terms. Integrating a simple appointment system will help you retain more of your website visitors.
Do this exercise: have a friend go through the your website while you watch. You will gain a lot of valuable info if you care to pay attention.
3. Make sure your staff knows what they are doing
One of the reasons your online presence might not be up to snuff is that it’s a bigger job than you imagine. Most practices are small and rely on office staff to handle marketing and to maintain the technology. And while modern tools make it possible for us to learn almost anything, they are often deceptively complicated.
In a busy office, the receptionist or office manager might not have the time to learn the ins and out so online marketing or how to properly maintain a website. So it goes along fine for a while, but a couple of years in things stop working or are so cobbled thogether it looks unprofessional.
Here are a few things to keep in mind.
- Someone needs to own it. When it’s everyone’s job, it quickly becomes no one’s job
- Give them adequate training, support and time to do the job well
- It is easy to spot a site where becasue it looks fragmented and cobbled together.
- Starting off with a solid design, but things get added with no thought for how it affects the bigger picture, soon, you have a cobbled
- Routine core updates and security monitoring
- Everything that is built must be maintained. If you do not have one person who can dedicate work hours to this, things will declined
- Get some help. We don’t know what we don’t know…..or the questions to ask. Spending a few of your marketing dollars on coaching is a great way to get expert eyeballs on your stuff and bring some training to your staff
As you grow, it is easy to develop gaps in your marketing. Join me for a friendly chat to explore your business needs, analyze your online presence and brainstorm your next steps. You will come away with 3-5 things you can do right away to create a vibrant online presence that gets you results!