Here is a collection of useful online resources for businesses in private practice. If you have a suggestion, please contact me for addition to this list.
Tools for your website
These are online tools you can use on your website, or for setting up your website.
Here are some recommended domain name registrars. Note that you can use pretty much any registrar you like, but some are easier to work with than others. We don’t like any registrar who tries to upsell dozens of unnecessary features – it just confuses things.
- NetRegistry is our registrar of choice, especially for Australian (.com.au) domains. They offer great value and exceptional service when you have questions.
- .physio is the new domain extension exclusively for the physio/physical therapy community. Although not open to general public registrations until 6 December 2014, early registrations are available for trademark holders.
Landing pages can help you make distraction-free offers with focus on visitor action. These can be used separate to your website, so they are great for trialling campaigns and sales spiels.
Surveys & forms
Surveys can help you get feedback and information from your clients and leads. These can be integrated into your existing website.
Email marketing is a cornerstone of online marketing. PracticePulse websites already have email marketing built in – the services below can be used in conjunction with any website. They also offer tools to collect and grow your subscriber list.
QR codes are similar to barcodes, however can hold a variety of information. These codes can be scanned with a smartphone to take the user to your website, save your contact details to the phone, offer special deals, show driving directions and initiate a text messages. Note that the smartphone needs to have a freely available QR code app installed to be able to scan them. Here are some places where you can learn more about and generate QR codes for your own use.
People often prefer to watch something than read about it. Video web-presenters are professional recordings of, well – presenters. These can engage your visitors with important information and a unique ‘Call-To-Action’. However, remember that it is not a good idea to use auto-play audio or video on your pages; let the visitor pres the play button.
Tools for your practice
These are online tools to help run your practice
Practice Management Systems
Practice management software is very useful for automating many aspects of your business. It can help you keep patient/client records, manage appointments and even handle basic communications. Note that there are industry-specific slutions around. So ensure you weigh your options and trial them in depth before committing – it can be difficult to change over to another provider later on. Here are some examples:
Timetabling & appointments
These tools make it easier for you to manage your timetables and bookings. If you are using some practice panagement software, you may already have access to such features. In any case, you should look for a solution that can be integrated into your website, so people can book directly.
SMS / Text messaging
SMS reminders for appointments is useful for reducing no-shows. Text messages can also be used for sending special offers. Just ensure you have permission to send messages to a user’s phone. Some practice management software has this feature built in. If you are planning on using an external service, check that they can send messages within your country.
Online accounting software can really help organise your business, inventory, tax reporting, income and expenses. However, before you decide on one, discuss your options with your accountant. It will help you and your accountant, if the data you maintain is compatible with your accountant’s software.
Now, I’m generally against practice owners selling physical products from their websites. So much effort has gone into getting visitors that it wouldn’t make sense to distract them from your core services with products that promise to leave you a few bucks profit. However, selling your core services is another matter; if you want to sell gift vouchers for an hour of massage, Pilates classes and the like, by all means – go for it. Look for a solution that can be integrated into your website.
Tools for social media
You can schedule your social media posts to cut down teh work needed to maintain a lively presence. It’s common for many businesses to schedule a week’s worh of posts across a variety of social platforms and then simply monitor the activity.
Facebook’s features can be extended with the use of Facebook apps. There are many apps out there to do things like grow your newsletter subscriber base, get more likes and even claim special offers.
Video editing / creation
Use these to create / edit your videos. But remember – videos are large files – so it may be difficult to get your original files uploaded first. You may then experience delays in using these systems due to bandwitdh requirements. These are recommended only if you don’t have suitable software installed on your computer.
These tools make it easy to touch-up or perform minor edits on your images. Most users will not need full-blown Photoshop type software, which is not only expensive but also have steep learning curves.
Website graphics and charts
Working with service providers
When working remotely with web developers, SEO professionals or anyone else for that matter, there are tools that help you get your point across.
- trello.com is great for sharing to-do lists, assigning tasks and checking that things are being done by other people.
- jing.com is great for capturing your computer’s screen and your voice into a video – that can later be played back by someone as though they were there with you in the first place.
You can also use live screen sharing tools, for real-time help from someone.