Why don’t website visitors convert into paying customers?

Modern customers expect to make appointments with you any time of day, from wherever they are. No longer do they want to wait for your regular opening hours to call up and book an appointment. In fact, one recent piece of research found that more than 90% of people would like the option of booking appointments over the internet, and 71% of millennials prefer booking online to any other approach.

If you’ve added an appointment booking widget to your website, that’s a good start. However, simply making this a possibility won’t necessarily translate to a busy calendar full of bookings. Very often, these tools are confusing and hard to use. When they force your potential customers to hand over information or involve too many steps, it’s likely people will simply leave the page.

This isn’t totally unusual – one study of online shopping habits found that up to 40% of customers leave eCommerce websites the moment they are asked to hand over any personal information. Nevertheless, by changing a few things about the layout, design and information included on your scheduling page, you can see an uptick in the number of appointments people make with you.

5 reasons people drop off from booking your service online

There are many reasons a potential client might reach your online booking page then decide to go no further. Sometimes they were simply shopping around with no intention of booking your time at all. That said, resolving the following five issues can make a huge difference in the number of online bookings you receive.

1. Making them start an account up front
This is totally unnecessary. If a customer came into a physical store, they wouldn’t expect to hand over their email address and phone number just to buy a single item. The same goes for online booking. While a return customer will see the value in starting an account with you, this should not be obligatory. Allow new customers to create a ‘guest’ account, or even book without sharing any details at all.

2. Confusing or unfamiliar payment options
If you’re taking payments online, make it as easy as possible for new customers to part with their money while making them feel secure. We’ve all heard about online scams, so you want to make sue your customers feel totally at ease. Provide them with the common options for online payment – including PayPal and all major credit cards. Also, make sure your payment acceptance method is secure and trusted, including standard internet security certificates.

3. Ineffective copy on your page
You don’t need to be the world’s greatest writer to create effective copy that makes people want to book appointments with you. Write a short paragraph ‘about you’ and your service, explaining to your target customers how you can help them and why you’re special. It’s also important to clearly list all your offerings up front, with a brief description of what each service or product entails.

Also, utilize multiple ‘calls to action’ (CTAs). CTAs are usually buttons on a web page which ask the reader to do something – ‘order now’; ‘go to check out’, ‘book today for better rates’. So many businesses forget that the whole point in their website is to get visitors to do something – such as booking your time. Make it very clear for people to understand how to book your time and where they have to click in order to do so (see this article for more tips).

4. Not building trust
Building trust is so important when asking customers to make an appointment with you – especially if they have never worked with you before. There are several important ways you can do this, including:

  • Customer testimonials. People are way more likely to believe what your customers say about you, than what you say about you. Ask a happy customer (or two!) to provide a quote for your appointment booking page. Reading other people’s praise will may well push someone to make their appointment.
  • A smart, professional photo. Who would you rather buy from? A smart, smiling person, or a bland logo? If it’s right for your business, make sure you include a picture of yourself or one of your front-of-house staff. People trust people more than logos.
  • Provide an FAQ section. Answer common questions before people book with you, and they’ll immediately trust you more.

5. Make it easy to contact you
Although online booking lets people make reservations even when your business is closed, you should still make it as easy as possible for them to contact you via other mediums! Start by adding links to all your social media profiles (and your website, if you have one) to your bookings page. And of course, include your phone number, email contact and physical address somewhere prominent on the page.

Booking your services needs to be super easy

Succeeding with online booking is about making at as simple as possible for customers to book with you. Do everything you can to facilitate bookings, build trust, make people feel sure their data is safe and allow them to find out everything they need before getting in touch.

Want to make it even easier for your customers to make appointments? Check out Book Like a Boss today. Used by thousands of businesses like yours worldwide, Book Like A Boss makes the process of booking appointments over the internet as easy and intuitive as possible.

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Len is a tech and business writer who covers small business and startup advice and has appeared in many print and digital publications. He lives in London, UK, where he's also a sub editor on a national newspaper. He loves to travel and has lived in France, Spain, Senegal and Rwanda.

Guide to striking deals via email

When an email from a new lead lands in your inbox, the way you respond can be critical. The initial negotiations with a potential client, where you find out what they want and what they’re willing to pay can be complicated – especially when the entire conversation happens over email.

Psychological research has found that up to 90% of face-to-face communication is non-verbal, meaning that it’s a lot harder to gauge what a client wants when the only interaction you have with them is written in the body of an email.

Nonetheless, people are increasingly reaching business deals with people and businesses they’ve only spoken to via email messages – and millennials in particular say they prefer contacting clients over emails than phone calls.

If you find email a complicated medium, let’s look at some useful ways you can build rapport over email, which will make more of those promising leads turn into profitable customers.

Striking Deals Over Email

Let’s take a look at some simple steps you can follow to boost the chances that the email conversation will turn into real business:

1. Avoid hitting people with quotes and brochures up front
Unless the lead asks to receive price listings or other material immediately, you should not overwhelm them with this kind of content. Rather, aim to build a conversation and find out what their problems are and what they want you to help them with.

2. Meaningful subject lines will help everyone
An clear email subject line makes it easier for the client to find your email in their inbox – and it also tells them what the email will be about before they open it.

3. Keep the conversation flowing with questions
Don’t expect your leads to write long, detailed messages. It’s not uncommon for emails to be short and to the point – this doesn’t mean there’s a problem, you just need to keep the person’s attention. A simple start is to keep the conversation going by asking them friendly questions which mean they’re more likely to answer.

4. Cut length, boost clarity
Lengthy emails will just confuse potential clients. While you don’t want to appear blunt, you need to make it easy for them to respond to you and your questions. Bullet points or listed questions are easier for them to answer in turn.

5. Close off longer emails by summing up
If you need to write a longer email, aim to sum up the key points of your message at the beginning, and also draw out any specific requests or actions you need the client to complete at the end of the email

Happy emailing

Email can be a powerful tool for closing business deals – but unlike a face to face conversation, misunderstandings are more likely, and you can lose a warm lead with slow or confusing replies. However, just a couple of changes to your emailing style can make a big difference, and turn more leads into customers.

7 Timeless Tips on Advertising from Ogilvy

You’ve probably heard of David Ogilvy and his timeless marketing book “Ogilvy on Advertising”. If you haven’t, I strongly encourage you to pick up a copy here.

I’d like to share with you a few of my favorite nuggets of wisdom that I’ve found in his book and have used for my clients, successfully, and that you can start using today to help your business grow. Let’s jump in…

Speak Visually. Create an infographic with Visme

Marketing Tip Number One:

It pays to give most products an image of quality. A first class ticket.

Marketing Tip Number Two:

Big ideas are what it takes to attract consumers to your product. (Which leads us to…)

Marketing Tip Number Three:

How to recognize a big idea.

Did it make me gasp when I first saw it?
Do I wish I thought of it?
Is it unique?
Does it fit strategy to perfection?
Could it be used for 30 years?

In a recent post I wrote about harnessing the power of mass desire on to your product, I covered why some ads run for 30 days and some run for three decades. You can check it out here.

Marketing Tip Number Four:

Positioning (what it is and what it isn’t)

Positioning is not a buzzword. Simply put, it is “What a product does and who it is for”.

Marketing Tip Number Five:

For local advertising you get [much] better results when you name the city/location in your headline.

Marketing Tip Number Six:

Recall increases by [an average factor of] 28% when you put your headline in quotes.

Marketing Tip Number Seven:

Story Appeal (use it). Add photos that arouse curiosity and entice the prospect to read the copy.

When it comes to marketing your business you have to take a unique approach, because after all, your business is unique and the problems you solve and face will be unique as well.

Copying what others do won’t get you there. Learning principles, tips and “hacks” that are proven effective will help. However, it’s up to you and your team to find the groove that makes your product irresistible to your customers.

These tips can get you some of the way there but don’t look for all the answers on the internet. Use your mind, trust your gut (you understand your business better than anyone else) and rely on the facts that can help you leverage your marketing efforts further.

When you’re creating your next marketing campaign try to remember these tips and this quote from Steve Jobs. I find it both insightful and motivating, I hope you do to!

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
– Steve Jobs