Cell phones, tablets, laptops, oh my! Technology is providing us with new tools and a media presence that can jump-start a private practice! It can be both exhilarating and intimidating. Luckily there are supports out there for those who want to explore the benefits of media in their marketing and branding. Consider media experts who support mental health professionals, such at FYLMIT.com, which provides professional marketing videos to therapists around the country in support of growing practices and facilitates a connection between the therapist and a potential client.
If you are in a place of wanting to explore secondary income within your private practice, consider developing an app that could support your clients or community. The following tips and helpful hints can help you feel prepared for navigating the journey into technology of creating an interactive app!
Know how to select the best developer
Have a clear vision about what you are trying to accomplish by developing an app. Create a written, detailed plan and place it on a freelance site such as upwork.com to receive proposals from interested parties. Review proposals from freelance web developers and computer programmers and explore their ratings on the site, including response time to inquiries, availability to take on a new project, and references from former clients. Lastly, don’t hesitate to interview your top choices to get a sense of their communication skills and strengths as you will be communicating a lot with them should they join you on this project!
Know your budget
The costs of an app can be broken down into start-up costs and ongoing costs to maintain the app once it’s live. Depending on the complexity and components of your desired app, expect a quote from a web developer between $4,000-$20,000 to create it. Consider the ongoing costs of maintaining, updating, and structuring the app features to support your desired audience. In addition, explore each web developer’s payment plan to determine if they invoice for the work completed, expect a certain amount at the beginning of the project, and/or are willing to develop a payment plan with you.
Know your audience
Who are your desired users and how can you reach them? If your app utilizes several internet sources, perhaps it the best fit to develop a web app that requires internet connection and is built on a web browser. Or maybe your desired audience is accessing your app more on their phone where a mobile operating system first builds the app which is then pre-installed on their phone through an app store. Identify how your desired audience will find and use this app and select the option that gives them the greatest access. Also remember to think long-term about costs of maintaining or updating the app and how updates can be built into the app program to keep your audience engaged.
Know the legal implications
Engaging clients or community partners through an app can have it’s challenges. Be sure to consult with a legal representative on confidentiality and client identifiers. You may be advised to develop and use liability disclaimers to not assume responsibility for misuse of your app by those who use it. Explore intellectual property law with a free consultation by a trusted legal source to determine if trademarking, copywriting, or patent are appropriate options for content of your app. Finally, don’t forget to also consider having your web developer sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) to protect the content you create from being shared or sold to a third party.
Know what sets your app apart
Your app is in production, now it’s time to determine how to market it. Researching apps that others use in our field can assist in determining the value of offering your app as free, having a one-time fee, or ongoing costs to a user that are justified as improvements or additional features as part of an upgrade. Consider the audience interest of your app by exploring if there are similar apps out there in use. Know your competitors and explore what would encourage a user to select your app over the competition, such as a streamlined, more user-friendly interface or affordable price.
Finally, your app is ready to go live! Working with the tips above, you will have invested in a piece of your business that reaches new audiences beyond your private practice and an interactive component of technology that can have a lasting impact! To learn more about our personal experience in creating an app, check out our guest podcast with The Private Practice Startup here.