Dianna Giles Grawbarger – a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine – and business partner Laura Kelly – an alternative medicine professional and clinician – have served North Bay and surrounding areas for over 20 years. They provide functional natural medicine for the entire family through their clinic, Infinity North.

Infinity North is the only clinic of its kind in Northern Ontario. An ongoing challenge for any small business located in this part of the province is connecting with, and serving, a clientele that is thinly spread over a large geographic area.

Challenge: How to market online with industry restrictions

As the pandemic set in, Dianna and Laura realized they could no longer suffer a clunky and archaic website as their online calling card. They also saw an opportunity to connect with and serve clients beyond what had been their typical geographic range, with new virtual services.

Where other businesses can lever customer ratings and endorsements to help drive web traffic, Infinity North cannot under the rules that govern the practice of functional natural medicine in Ontario.

Instead, a new and improved website had to be based on the strength of Dianna and Laura’s subject matter expertise and personal appeal as veteran practitioners. Their team had to be able to quickly update web content in-house, so that they could engage new clients and better serve existing ones, with their perspective on any number of timely health topics.

“We wanted more control over the presentation of our website,” Dianna said. “And be able to provide any commentary from a content marketing side quickly and efficiently.”

The clinic also needed a new and more reliable online onboarding system that would be easier for patients to use versus the glitchy old one.

Solution: The guidance to create and self-manage a new website

But as it often is for small business owners for whom there are not enough hours in the day, Dianna and Laura’s plans for a stronger digital presence repeatedly went by the wayside.

Then they learned about Digital Main Street (DMS) through the Northwest Business Centre. DMS is a government-funded program specifically designed to support small customer-facing businesses across Ontario with grants, training, hands-on help and various resources.

Infinity North qualified for one of DMS’s $2,500 Digital Transformation Grants. The grant gave Dianna and Laura the nudge they needed to act. DMS’s free educational resources and Digital Service Squad – run by The Business Centre Nipissing Parry Sound – added the smarts they needed to make the most of their grant.

“DMS provided us with the guidance to create a whole new website and learn how to manage it ourselves,” Dianna said. “Now we have a professional, polished website that is a game changer for us.”

“Working with DMS’s Digital Services Squad was such a great experience,” Laura added. “They were an excellent and knowledgeable resource that was able to answer any questions along the way. They went out of their way to find solutions to any questions or challenges we had and even executed an extensive audit of our site to check for any errors.”

Infinity North’s new website supports a more active and responsive content marketing program, as well as a new platform that takes patient onboarding completely online.

Results: Resources now in place to drive online growth

“Negotiating ever-changing COVID-19 policies and staying current with protocols is always top of mind for business owners,” Laura said. “Being in control of editing our website allowed us to change and adapt, with the most relevant and up-to-date policy changes, in order to communicate and reassure patients.”

Dianna and Laura are now working to expand the online side of their clinic, with video and virtual counselling. Their goal is to shift 20 percent of their service delivery online over the next year.

“Patient feedback regarding the new site is nothing but positive,” Laura said. “Patients are better able to negotiate the site, access intake forms, find recipes and other resources. We’ve seen an uptick in patients reaching out to our clinic directly using the ‘contact us’ on our website.”

And it all began by deciding the time had come to seek professional help … just like they encourage their patients to do.

“Our old website was like an old car that you put up with until it finally breaks down and leaves you on the side of the road,” Dianna said. “The world is changing and as a business owner, you must also change to keep up. So, throw your ego out the window and ask for help from experts like the team at DMS. Then you will find the results that you are looking for.”

Dianna and Laura’s story is just one example of how main street small businesses across Ontario have taken advantage of the Digital Main Street Ontario Initiative.

For more information, go to www.digitalmainstreet.ca  

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