BookingTimes Blog

People want you to have an online presence

Each week, I talk to many people about website development and I've found that there's a lot of confusion out there regarding what a website actually is. 

Some people have an online directory listing similar to the Yellow Pages and call that their website.  Some have a Facebook page and others have an email contact form and say that they offer "online appointments".

In reality, your website is the focal point for advertising your services AND interacting with your clients.

The other avenues are important, but they should be used to point customers to your website.  Once they're on your website, that's where the potential exists to turn them from browsers into people making appointments. 

1. Make Sure You Can Update It

There's plenty of people around who'll give you website and then tell you that you need to email them to make changes on your behalf.  You need to be in control of your own content and be able to change it on a whim. 

If the process is too hard to make changes, then you'll get weary of the process and stop making the necessary changes meaning it's not the right type of website for you.

You want your website to be showcasing your latest information, services, pricing, staff listings etc, so that your customers know what you offer. 

Remember, the first place most of your customers look to find information about you is online.

2. It Must Showcase All Of Your Information

Your business needs to show ALL of your information - don't even think of getting a website deal where you get 8 website pages for $x,xxx.

You need to be able to show:

  • An introduction to your business.
  • A list of your services.
  • Detailed information about each service - including prices
  • Information about you and other staff members.
  • Your business address(es) with maps.
  • Most importantly - Your contact information!

The more information you have online, the more that you will build trust with potential clients enabling you to convert them into clients.

Again, these things change so you need to be able to update these things on a whim.

3. Ensure It Has a Blog

Google's search engine loooooves blogs and so should you.  Google sees that your website is being updated regularly and it's one powerful way that you can get repeat visitors to your site - oh yes, Google's tracking how many people repeatedly visit your site too which also helps boost your Google rankings. 

While blogging probably isn't your favourite past-time, it's a great way to communicate with your clients and give them useful information.  It lets you showcase any events that you might be running and even the latest healthy snack recipes that you've found.

I'm hearing you say "You can put all that information into Facebook".  That's true, however, your audience is going to be limited to those who have liked your page and subscribed to your feed and Google will add your Facebook feed to your search engine results. 

The best way is to put it into your blog, then add your blog link to Facebook.  If you do it regularly (even once per month), then you'll start ranking in Google and get some initial traffic from Facebook.

4. Email Collection

Many people won't buy or make an appointment from your website the first time they visit your website.  Most will never actually come back to your website.

One way to get them back is to collect their email so you can follow up their website visit.

To do this, you either have a blog that they subscribe to, or better still, offer them something free like an eBook in exchange for their name and email address.

This does sound a bit daunting if you don't have a website, but once you have a website, this is something that you'll find invaluable to getting new clients.

5. Offer Online Appointments

Let me start by saying that an online contact form is NOT offering appointments online.  It's just a contact form.  Behind the scenes, it sends you an email saying "Fred Smith wants an appointment between 10am-12pm.  Please contact him tomorrow morning when you start your day".

If a potential customer comes to your website at 12am, they're looking then and there for an appointment and if they leave your website, then unless they come back and revisit your website page, you've lost them forever.

The best way to ensure that you've given yourself the maximum opportunity to convert your visitors into paying clients is to offer those visitors the opportunity to book your services online.

6. On-Going Support

Many website development companies take your money upfront and then once they've delivered your website, they leave alone and never talk to you again.

You should make sure that you can contact them and that they offer you on-going support for your website.  Having bugs in your website will drive away customers and make you crazy.

7. Make Sure It's Simple To Use

Way back in the day of Nokia and Panasonic mobile phones, Nokia became a world-leader while Panasonic fizzled.  I had to fix my grandmother's Panasonic phone and I couldn't figure it out.  The menus were hard to navigate and functions weren't were I expected them to be.  I gave up and went back to my Nokia.

The same goes for your website.  If it's hard to navigate, functions in strange places, then it's going to turn people away and you'll be frustrated.

Turning hard concepts into simple software is actually reflective of a good quality website.  Google is a great example of something incredibly complex under the surface into something so simple that anyone can use.

8. Ensure You Can Tweak The Technicals

Even if you don't know a website's technicals, at some point, you will need to be able to (or have the developer) alter the underlying technical abilities of your website. 

Some examples may be to have your site integrate a third-party online application such as MailChimp, PayPal etc.

You'll not want this when you initially get your website, but it's important to note that your business will change overtime and you may need to adjust the underlying technical structure of your website to support your business changes.

9. Buy From A Reputable Source

I appreciate that your nephew's second cousin will build you a free website aka fancy online brochure

We're talking about your livelihood here.  You wouldn't get them to build you a massage table or write your nutritional programs.

Your website is a key component to your business and you need someone who understands what things are important to business (your business) and can help you achieve measurable results.

 

If my blog post has helped you in any way, please like and leave a comment below :)

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Let me start with the bold statement that your small business needs a website!

It is the most valuable weapon in your advertising arsenal!People want you to have an online presence

1. People Are Looking For You!

People will find you by searching on the internet for “Chiropractors in Jindalee”. If you don’t have a website, you’ll be next to invisible. Even worse, they’ll find your competitor’s website and take their patronage there!

Your valuable services are needed by those people and you need a way to reach them.

2. Websites Provide 24/7 Advertising

A website can provide much more detailed information than an advertising flyer and it can’t be lost or thrown in the bin.

You can significantly improve your customer reach and provide high quality information to show people how you can help them.

3. Provides Basic Business Information

People want quick answers about your business:

  • Who you are?
  • Where you are?
  • What are your opening hours?
  • How do I make an appointment?
  • How do I contact you?

4. Improves Customer Confidence

A website detailing your services provides a better overall impression to your clients and a greater sense of confidence in your business.

My wife once described a treatment she had by saying that the practitioner waved a stick over her. By directing me to the website, we were able to determine that she was describing bioresonance therapy.

5. Reduces Appointment Hurdles

A website such as BookingTimes that allows clients to self-book their appointments reduces many of the hurdles that a client may have when making an appointment.

Some of these include the inability to make an appointment outside of business hours or being unable to find a convenient appointment time.

6. Frees up the phone

When calling many practitioners, I notice that many practitioners answer the phone during an appointment.

Rather than interrupt your appointment sessions, allowing people to research information about your business and make an online appointment means that people won’t need to bother you and your phone time will be reduced.

7. Saves Money

A recent mail out for a double-sided DL flyer cost us in excess of $1,500 when factoring in artwork, printing, stationary and postage costs – not to mention a large amount of administration time. A website can be updated very quickly and easily.

Maybe you have a receptionist who spends their time fielding phone calls. By freeing up their time, you’ll be able to focus on better activities that provide better value.

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