The holidays are here, and while some businesses are scampering to leverage the season for all its worth from a sales and revenue perspective, there is a large segment of small businesses that are using this time of year to prep for 2015 — the service providers.
For those of you in the services business, December may have been a weaker month – especially in terms of securing new clients. But, by utilizing lulls during the end of the year and the month of January correctly, you can prep for the year ahead and ensure you are ready to reach new people and improve your current client retention.
To do that, you need to ensure you’re ready to interact in the primary location people are utilizing to connect with businesses, their websites. With a majority of potential and current clients looking to engage via the traditional or mobile web, the logical first step for New Year preparation is to ensure your website is primed and ready for interaction.
While it may seem like an unachievable goal, there are simple steps service providing business can take during the holiday season and in the beginning of the New Year to ensure communication online is optimized for the best results in 2015 and beyond. Below are three easy tips I recommend to get the process started.
Be mobile ready… it’s easier than you think!
More than 64% of smart phone owners are using their mobile devices to connect with businesses online. With consumers turning to their mobile devices, having a mobile-ready website is now a necessity. But, creating a website that accommodates each device takes time, money and resources—all of which are in short supply for a small business.
Luckily, many do-it-yourself website services include a mobile-ready version of your site. That’s great if you are planning to revise your site, but what if you aren’t? Should that mean your prospects and clients should have to suffer through a poor experience when visiting your website on their phone?
Look for solutions that automatically generate a mobile-ready version of your existing site.
Another way to serve mobile visitors is to add a click to call or a contact form plugin on every page of your site. Those will provide easy call to action options on your site – even when viewed on mobile. These simple, hassle-free solutions solve the mobility issue in minutes without having to do a major revamp of your website.
Be available, even when you’re sleeping
You can’t compete with retailers, extending themselves to crazy hours during the holiday.
However, people still wish you’d be there for them at 7am before work or at 8pm after dinner.
The good news is that most of the public doesn’t expect you to provide service during those hours – just be there to respond to their questions, take appointments, payments, etc. As a service provider, you don’t need to extend office hours or be open on holidays to capture more business. Instead, leverage technology to capture and convert the online visitor at any hour of the day.
Look into easy to implement online vehicles and technologies that provide better interaction, and ensure that requests end up on your phone at any hour so you can respond faster than your competitors can, and capture the business opportunity. Isn’t this why you developed a website…to capture more business?
For instance, by leveraging online scheduling capabilities, you can provide the online visitor the appearance of 24/7 availability. Potential clients can engage, set or reschedule an appointment or a service request regardless of the time of day. If you want to take it one step further, you can complement these communication tools with automated responses and notifications so the prospect or client receives an acknowledgement and leaves your site satisfied that their inquiry has been received and will be acted upon.
Integrated marketing is a holistic approach, which includes both offline and online marketing. It is the crossroads of all marketing tools, approaches and resources to maximize impact on a customer or prospect and in turn, resulting in maximum capture and retention at minimum cost. The key to integrated marketing is a consistent message and calls to action. These calls to action are pivotal in converting a person into an actual client.
For example, you’ve sent an email promotion about your services. It’s now after 9 PM and it’s too late for someone to connect with you to take you up on your great offer. Now what? They move on to the next email. Good luck if they ever call you or even remember your name by morning.
Stack the deck in your favour. Include a call to action that actually tells people what to do and finishes that action with immediate gratification. Let the person complete the transaction right from the email.
For instance, add a “Book Appointment Now” link or button in the email. The prospect can check your availability, book the service and even prepay, on any device anytime. Or add a “Pay Now” button to your electronic invoice that lets the public and your client make a convenient credit card or PayPal payment.
By providing a call to action combined with means to complete the transaction, the prospect can act and leave your site feeling satisfied that their needs were met.
Service providers should use this time of the year to prep for 2015 and ensure they are offering the best business possible to their clients in the year ahead. It is no secret many customers and prospects are increasingly relying on a businesses’ websites to become a place where they can find information and directly communicate.
By starting with simple steps and combining web-based technologies into current communication and marketing tactics, a service provider can ensure your current and future clients have the ability to reach and engage you in the most efficient way possible, every day of the year.