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Five strategies to help NDIS & Allied Health Businesses Grow in 2023

Five strategies to help NDIS & Allied Health Businesses Grow in 2023

In its very early phases, the NDIS was a gold rush for new and NDIS businesses and established Allied Health businesses servicing the NDIS. Opportunities were abundant and competition limited. However, in the decade since it was first announced by the Gillard Government, demand for providers has accelerated market maturity, pushing it to saturation point.

In this blog, we’ll cover expert advice and strategies for marketing allied health and NDIS businesses and experience from an interview with Hydra Digital founder Matthew Cage. Read on for his expert advice on how NDIS and allied health businesses can adapt to the changing industry and continue to grow in a changing market.

The question for many NDIS and Allied Health businesses now is how they can adapt to new market conditions and grow in a mature market. And while the halcyon days of low competition and unprecedented business growth may have slowed, according to Hydra Digital director, Matthew Cage, opportunities still abound.

“While the halcyon days of low competition ad unprecedented business growth are slowing, opportunities still abound.”

Market assessment

Matthew Cage, who has been working with NDIS businesses on business / marketing strategy since the inception of the NDIS, says that, to thrive, NDIS providers must quickly adapt to dynamic market conditions.

“As anticipated, there was a rush of providers and funding to close the gap in support of this new and much-needed industry,” Matthew said. “We saw a new funding model that provided opportunities, not just for direct providers, but for all the allied and supporting businesses that supply them.

“It’s been a very large growth industry since its introduction and now, like any industry, it’s maturing. With areas of the market maturing at different paces, it’s leading to a new dynamic in the industry. And it’s becoming increasingly apparent that NDIS businesses that don’t adapt and respond to new market conditions will be left behind.”

While industry trends and analysis show that there is still unmet demand within the sector, growing competition means that NDIS providers cannot rest on their marketing laurels. For the more profitable companies, competitive advantage often comes through consolidation but changing tactics can also help smaller businesses and new market entrants. 

There is still plenty of opportunity within the market but competition is increasing,” according to Matthew. “We might see things like a slowdown in growth in the market, as it starts to become saturated. That need is met through consolidation. And while consolidation will inevitably see the most profitable companies acquire competitors, there are other consolidation opportunities in how businesses reach markets that can ultimately drive growth.”

Five strategies to help grow your business

  1. NDIS marketing 101: know your market

If NDIS businesses could master just one thing that would significantly improve their businesses, for Matthew, it would be knowing your audience intimately and building a relationship with them.

“Like any business, reaching their target audience is one of the largest challenges, which may sound generic but it’s actually not. It’s quite unique for NDIS providers in particular because of the dynamic of the way NDIS works. And with how the funding model works, unless you’re building relationships with the key players, you just aren’t in the game.

“Plan coordinators and managers are what I like to refer to as the EIPs (extremely important people) of the NDIS business world. If you are a provider of a service to NDIS participants, these people are highly valuable to have relationships with. If you think of it in terms of pure mathematics, you can multiply the coordinator by the number of clients they have. This means that choosing the right coordinators and plan managers to align your business with is critical.” 

“Plan coordinators and managers are the Extremely Important People (EIPs) of the NDIS business world.”

Matthew points out that, with competition for EIPs’ attention increasing, NDIS providers need to refine marketing strategies to reach them in a way that is both meaningful and profitable.

Key takeaway – know and segment your audiences

NDIS EIPs can make or break a business. Approaching these people and organisations in a way that isn’t just utilitarian, meets the needs of their participants, and helps form meaningful relationships that build trust from the outset, has to be the first, middle and last priority of any successful marketing strategy.

2. If in doubt, get back to first principles

“Being authentic really comes down to knowing your market and your place in it,” Matthew says. “It’s all about being very clear and consistent with what you are about, what you do, why you do it, and what makes you unique.

“Often, it’s easy to forget these things or to deviate away from them as you follow what is delivering you success. In many cases the reality of your business and where the profit is actually made shapes where you go versus where you thought it would. 

“So not deviating away from your first principles there, but if you need to update it, you should, and you should be very clear and consistent with people in the market that feeds into everything you do. If your content, your strategy, your target markets, your KPIs, are not driven by your first principles, or adaptations thereof, you’re not being authentic to your business, partners, and EIPs.”

Key Takeaway – Stick to your business mission

Effective marketing is about building relationships and relationships are based on trust and consistency.  Your key principles will help you keep on track.

3. Cadence and pace win the race

This is not a new concept but it is nonetheless a critical one: timing absolutely *is* everything.  Matthew Cage says the most concentrated example of this is where new businesses rush products, services, or tactics to market without having first done the groundwork.

“There’s a lot of energy when you start a new business or a new offering and you’re very keen to put it into the market to test it and to make it work as soon as possible. Who doesn’t want things to work immediately? But the reality is often that you need to put something into the market to refine it, to gain feedback, and to measure results, and begin the process again.

“The tendency of human nature is to rush. But there are some things that you just cannot rush if you want to do it well.” 

“The tendency of human nature is to rush. But there are some things that you just cannot rush if you want to do it well.”

Key takeaway – pacing yourself

The message here is simple – slow down, take your time, and learn the lessons that the marketing is delivering.

4. Channel selection

In order to select the most appropriate channels for NDIS businesses to share their message, they first have to determine the intent of the message. Whether it is to introduce brands to audiences, educate audiences on product benefits and features, share commercial information, or provide a platform for transactions, choosing the right channel is critical. 

“A mix of channels is always the best way to go for various reasons, but you’ve always got to remember why the people are using that channel and bring your strategy back to that. So you don’t want to interrupt people.

“When you try to approach people in a way that isn’t their intent for using a platform, you’re potentially wasting money on a low value clickthrough. For example, the person who just wants to flood their Facebook feed with cat and dog photos.

“Now, if your market fit is really good, then it might not matter but generally speaking that’s the way it works. Intent drives audience channel selection and intent should drive business channel selection.

“And the other point that I’d make about channel selection, is that if you put your eggs all in one basket and something changes with that platform, you’re done. That platform has all of the power.”

Key takeaway – channel selection

Know your audience and the platform and intent that they have when using the platform.  Define the goals on each platform and diversify your channel strategy to deliver robust and resilient growth.

5. Get them offline as soon as possible  

When it comes to prospecting for high value relationships, embracing strategies that get customers offline as soon as possible often make for stronger, more trusted connections. “Operating effectively online is critical and it does have a big part to play in prospecting, finding new clients, and building your client base, particularly for B2B businesses,” according to Matthew. “But as a rule we like to move those people offline as quickly as possible to have that one on one relationship to build that trust.

“If you think about relationship marketing – people buying goods and services from people they know – ask yourself if a social media channel, website, or app is the best way for customers to get to really know you or business. Consider the benefits of a personalised email, a phone call, a meet and greet, or regular check-ins because while your business might operate in the B2B space, it also operates in the P2P (person to person) space.

Key takeaway – engage your customers offline

Offline and multi channel interaction builds trust and relationships, digital marketing is amazing for attracting and converting customers and partners as part of your marketing strategy.  But, high value, long term relationships benefit from offline engagement immensely.  After all, people to business with people.


So, while the challenges for existing and new NDIS business are real and considerable, there is still tremendous opportunity for NDIS businesses within the sector. NDIS businesses need to think carefully about their market, principles, timing, the right channels to deliver their message or provide a platform for transactions, and offline strategies. 

With nearly ten years helping NDIS clients grow their business, Hydra Digital can help NDIS businesses turn these tactics into market-winning strategies. <Ask us how>.

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