Now that there is a little more clarity to how organisations within the NDIS Western Australia will work, it’s important to clarify what this means from a digital and online perspective and how best to move forward.
First, a quick summary. The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has been trialled in various areas across Australia since 2013. The national trial ended in June 2016 whilst the Western Australia trial has been fraught with issues around governance. It was announced on February 1st 2017 that these issues have been resolved and that WA will roll out the NDIS under a nationally consistent model that’s administered locally. The roll out starts on July 1st 2017
At Start Digital we’re working with a number of businesses that work within the NDIS sector. This has given us first hand insight into the challenges being faced, as business models transitions from one that was largely block funded to one that’s driven and controlled by customer choice.
Whilst we’re identifying a number of pain points with business systems and their associated process, one of the biggest issues being faced by organisations is the need to effectively market their services. In the old world model, marketing simply wasn’t a priority. Funding was allocated based on services provided. In the new world this has been turned on it’s head and many organisations are working with tools that are, in many ways, no longer suitable.
Now the goal of any organisation working within the NDIS should now be to engage and attract clients, highlighting the services that can best assist them. The big question that needs to be answered is; ‘what makes your services attractive to existing and future clients?’
This is where marketing plays an important role.
It doesn’t matter what line of business you’re in. Understanding who your clients are and how you should communicate with them is critical if your business is going to succeed. Similarly you need to know how to differentiate your business from your competitors so that people choose you above anyone else.
Easy right? So how to do it?
There are a few items that each and every organisation within the NDIS sector should be considering if they want to connect with their audience:
- Messaging. Explain your service in a simple, effective way. This can be through a clear ‘call to action’ or just a simple one sentence ‘elevator pitch’.
- Branding. Branding is so much more than a visual or logo. It’s who your business is and it should be embedded across the business. From the way in which you communicate and web design through to printed brochures and social media – consistency is key.
- Design. Many businesses don’t seem to understand the power of good design. A service that’s presented well and looks professional will always stand out and engage people ahead of businesses that have little visual appeal and therefore, are unappealing. Who’d of thought it.
- Presence. In a competitive space it’s not enough to simply exist. How are your clients going to know you exist? Promoting your services in a cost effective way is critical. Traditionally this has come in the form of ‘spray all’ marketing – newspaper, flyers, radio, tv. In a digital world marketing is streamlined and targeted at specific groups and search terms. This creates qualified leads and a higher conversion rate.
So, how can Start Digital help the NDIS sector?
- Websites. Creating a strong and lasting web presence should be the focus of every NDIS organisation. From design and accessibility through to messaging and online security, a website needs to convey trust and understanding, whilst also ensuing it meets the needs of the site visitors. When we talk about web design we’re not only thinking of the sites aesthetics but also how it works – sites structure, internal page links, external links – are all key items that need to be considered. Additionally, we place extra importance on ensuring any client data thats entered into the site is safe and secure by including SSL certificates on all NDIS websites.
- Marketing. It’s difficult to move from a funded model to one that is essentially commercial. One of the biggest challenges faced by NDIS organisations is needing to promote themselves in a competitive market. How do your prospective clients know you exist? What means do you use to attract new clients? How do you demonstrate your knowledge and experience? From raising your profile on Google using organic SEO and creating a powerful social media presence through to leveraging more traditional marketing methods and paid online advertising, we help you connect by finding the most appropriate way to reach your audience.
- Social Media. Social Media platforms are one of the best ways to create instant, ongoing relationships with your present and future clients. As more NDIS funding becomes available organisations need to branch out into other online channels to help promote their services and build meaningful online relationships. The Start Digital team work with you to create content thats relevant and engaging, and builds trust with your audience.
- Business systems. In our experience with organisations affected by the NDIS we’ve noted that most are using hardware and software that is no longer suited to a forward thinking, commercial enterprise. With this in mind we work closely with organisations to help understand business process and find the most appropriate way forward. We manage the migration from old school, legacy systems to more efficient, cost effective cloud based environments and help educate affected staff. From Customer Relationship Management (CRM) through to email marketing platforms, we work closely with you to create simple, long term solutions that allow you to focus on the things that matter.
Facing the new challenges..
Of course the changes ahead will bring a whole other set of challenges. From process change through to organisational upheaval there will be plenty of bumps in the road over the next 3 years. Over time we anticipate that organisations will structure themselves with consideration given to marketing, design and IT support. In the mean time, Start Digital can provide a suite of support services to help businesses transition into becoming structured, forward thinking, commercial enterprises.