30 Sep Manage and Convert Leads with Online Scheduling (4/4)
To round out what we’ve discussed in our last couple Blog Posts, and in an article in StreetFightMag, we’ve completed our final discussion of Online Scheduling. Today, we’re focusing on the best ways to use it in directing new business. While it’s important to implement your system properly and deploy it effectively with loyal customers, online scheduling can be incredibly useful in funneling new clients through to appointments and converting them into loyal customers from there. Incorporating your scheduling platform into your marketing efforts and loyalty programs can be crucial to assure that people choose to shop at your business when browsing online, and might convert them into a customer before they go somewhere first. Effective ways to use this include:
- Publicity – Issuing newsletters or flyers that include the scheduling link or widget prominently can also draw people to online booking in as few clicks as possible. Often businesses will include a QR code in their offline publicity that links to their online scheduling, again reducing the clicks needed to close an appointment. The versatility of QR codes actually enables a business to plaster its call to book online pretty well anywhere, whether it be a poster, billboard, business card, or included in the corner of an advertisement or promotional video.
- Loyalty Programs – These can be a great way to induce people to book online, particularly for an existing business that wants to encourage its existing customers to get into the habit of booking online. For instance, after 5 or 10 appointments booked online, a customer could get a particular service for free (maybe a head massage in the case of a hairdresser) or a 20% discount on their next appointment. Since online scheduling has a tendency to save time and cut costs, loyalty inducements also become easier to budget, and encouraging customers to schedule online through loyalty programs could offer business a nice little boost in overall revenue.
- SEO – Once online scheduling incorporates the appropriate design, text and prominence, the next best way to get more clicks is to invest in SEO. Browsers are constantly looking for services in specific areas, so when a local business incorporates Online Scheduling, they’re more likely to convert searchers into clients, but they won’t get the most out of it if they don’t get searchers to their site in the first place. The more content and index information businesses publish on their website and social media pages, and the more reviews they encourage from customers, and the more appropriate keywords they incorporate for local searchers, the higher their search rank is likely to be. This ultimately gets more out of Online Scheduling, as a searcher who is able to book an appointment instantly is far less likely to go looking for alternatives elsewhere.
- Social media – Since social media is often the first look many customers have at a business, scheduling should also be featured prominently on those pages as well. The booking option should be accessible from all your social media pages, either through a widget, URL or QR code, and through every post or advertisement you run. With the visual nature and insightful content present on social media, an appointment booking Call-to-Action is the perfect way to capitalize on customer interest. On Facebook, we had one beauty salon go so far as to turn their cover photo into a 3-step guide through our scheduling program, and then also have a giant red arrow point to the scheduling widget (simple, but effective!).
As a last note, Implementing all these strategies without tracking their ROI would leave businesses unable to evaluate what’s working for them and what may work better. It’s recommended to choose a scheduling solution that tracks key figures like:
- When and whether clients book more within a certain time frame
- Which services are booked most or least, and when
- What time customers are booking appointments, to confirm if they’re doing so outside working hours, and to target when would be prompted with new offers via email
- Overall revenue generated through Online Scheduling
From there, businesses could also evaluate how much time and money they’re saving through Online Scheduling, and this could go a great deal towards evaluating which elements to include, and which may not be worth your time. There is no “one size fits all” solution, but modifying your platform may be simpler than you think, and if you employ unique strategies to your business you will be sure to get the most out of it possible!