Why aren’t your website visitors booking appointments? 0 47

Your clients expect to be able to make appointments with you any time of day, from wherever they happen to be. No longer are they happy to wait for your regular opening hours to call up and make an appointment. In fact, one study found that over 90% of people would like the option of organizing appointments over the internet, and 71% of millennials prefer booking online over any other approach.

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

This isn’t completely 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 details. Nevertheless, by changing a few things about the layout, design and information included on your scheduling page, you can massively boost the number of appointments people make with you.

5 things stopping people booking appointments via your website

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

  1. Forcing them to create an account up front

This is the deadliest sin of online booking – and 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 with online booking. While return customers may 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.

  1. Complicated, limited or suspicious payment options

If you’re taking payments online, make it as easy as possible for new customers to part with their money while also making them feel secure. Provide them with the common options for online payment – including PayPal and all major credit cards. Also, ensure your payment acceptance method is secure and trusted, showing standard internet security certificates.

  1. Ineffective page text

You don’t need to be Shakespeare to create effective copy that makes people want to book appointments with you. Write a short paragraph ‘about you’ and your service, and tell 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 is.

Also, include multiple ‘calls to action’ (CTAs). CTAs are normally buttons on a web page which ask the reader to do something – ‘order now’; ‘proceed to check out’, ‘book today for better rates’. A surprising number of companies forget that the whole point in their website is to get visitors to do something, such as booking an appointment. Make it really clear for people to understand how to book appointments with you and where they have to click in order to do so (see this article for more tips).

  1. Failing to build trust

Building trust is incredibly 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 far 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 it might just push someone to make their appointment.
  • A professional photo. Who would you rather buy from? A happy, smart, smiling person, or a bland logo? If it’s appropriate 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 or photos of inanimate objects.
  • FAQs. Answer people’s burning questions before they book with you, and they’ll immediately trust you more.
  1. Be easy to contact

While 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 in other ways too! 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.

Make it as easy as possible to book your services

Making a success of online booking is about making at as easy 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 taking online bookings as easy and intuitive as possible.

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How should small business owners price their services? 0 46

In a survey released earlier this year, 15% of small business owners said one of their biggest early mistakes was pricing their products or services too low. When a business is starting out, it can be tempting to try and draw new customers in with low prices. However, this can be a deadly mistake, meaning you never earn enough to really get yourself off the ground.

But how should you work out how much to charge for your services? Unlike companies that sell products, working out the material value of your services can be tricky.

There’s no secret formula to deciding what your services are worth. That said, the following tips can help you draw up a decent estimate.

Determine your hourly rate

Calculating your hourly rate can, in certain businesses, be an effective way of charging for services. To estimate your hourly rate, you first need to decide what you want the business to turn over this year.

Say your target is $100,000. Within that total, you need to account for all your business expenses, including all salaries, overheads and tax, and factor in profit too.

Next, decide how many hours you and your employees will work each week, and minus any holiday.

At the end of this calculation you should be able to work out roughly what your business’s hourly rate is.

Charge a fixed price

Charging a fixed price for your service has pros and cons. If you end up taking a lot longer than anticipated to do the work, you might be disappointed. On the other hand, as you get more experienced, you might be able to complete the job a lot faster, making the business more profitable.

Competitor prices

While it’s not best practice to focus too much on your competitors’ pricing (because you want customers to see you as unique, not cheap), it’s worth keeping in mind roughly what others in your space are charging. If, for instance, your competitors have all raised their prices, you could be doing yourself a disservice by staying low.

Perceived value

Ultimately, people will only be willing to pay what they feel is a fair price. You need to do some market research to get an idea of what customers are willing to pay. Win customers over through a great customer experience and build trusting relationships with them.

Pricing your products and services is not an exact science – the most important lesson to learn is stay flexible, constantly reviewing whether your current pricing model is working for you. Good luck!

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