Mainway Physiotherapy looks to strengthen its community connection with digital
Mainway Physiotherapy had gotten comfortable being a word-of-mouth business. The Burlington clinic had seen organic growth over the past five years, adding clients through referrals and gaining accolades like the Burlington Post Readers Choice Awards for best physiotherapy clinic and best massage therapy.
“It’s all about service,” says Julia O’Rourke Gopaul, operations manager for the clinic. “There’s a physiotherapy clinic on every corner… you have to beat them on service.”
But then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, making it hard to serve anyone anything in person. It also meant a lot more people working from home in areas not designed with ergonomics in mind so the clinic quickly saw an increase in interest from people dealing with new aches and pains.
“We had a very basic website, which we knew and ignored,” says O’Rourke. “Then through COVID with the shutdowns, we realized we’ve got to do better at this.”
In a lot of ways, the business knew it was going to depend on that digital identity. Appointments would have to be virtual, and without the in-clinic presence, educating clients would play an even deeper role in the business. Gopaul started reaching out to companies to get the website designed knowing full-well the relaunch could end up being an expensive endeavour.
But then she caught a break. Her daughter, who works for Burlington’s tourism department, mentioned Digital Main Street, a program combining grants and one-to-one support from the Province of Ontario alongside partners like Google to help main street businesses strengthen their online capabilities and plan for the digital future.
Gopaul, who has a background in business, saw the value right away.
“I started doing the seminars then I saw the grant program and I was like, this is perfect timing,” she says. The clinic was in the midst of a pivot to cope with the changing environment (Gopaul was hand-delivering exercise balls and weights to clients) so the grant offered some relief.
Since working through the online seminars and receiving the grant, Mainway Physiotherapy has devoted the entire $2,500 to the website relaunch.
Gopaul says she’s always favoured a “guerilla marketing” approach to drawing in clients. “I’m constantly commenting on Facebook groups, offering a little bit of advice, not diagnosis, but leading them to contact me for appointments,” she says. But with the funds, she plans to turn the website into more of a resource for clients and potential clients. “It's become the priority for me… we need to look like a leader on this and our webpage is very average at best.”
To do that, Gopaul plans to use it as an educational hub. “I am super proud of the team we've created, hired and built – we’ve got a strong brand,” says Gopaul. And each team member brings a unique story to that team. “Cara went to school for a soccer scholarship in the U.S., Alan has been a physio for 28 years – can you even imagine the experience he has? – Andrew's been the physio for the Canadian golf team… we’ve got so many great people here and I don’t think we really tell the story to our clients in the community.”
It’s something she wants to do a better job of, something she says the new website will help her do. It’s all about making a connection between clients and their therapists, especially if the lockdowns continue. “You have family doctors for life,” she says. “A lot of people we have here have physios for life.”
Written by Andrew Seale
Digital Main Street was created by the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) with direct support from the City of Toronto. DMS is also supported by a group of strategic business partners, including Google, Mastercard, Shopify, Meta, Intuit QuickBooks, Square, Lightspeed, Ebay and Canada Post.
A $42.5-million investment from FedDev Ontario brought together the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas, Communitech, Invest Ottawa and the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association to expand the Digital Main Street Platform in order to support more businesses going digital as a response to the impacts of COVID-19 in Southern Ontario.