For appointment-based businesses, taking online appointment bookings is critical if you want to increase your sales and ultimately build your business.
An online booking software will effectively keep your business open 24/7, reduce no-shows, allow your staff to spend less time on the phone and automate many different aspects your business (you can read more about the power of online appointment bookings here).
In short, if you aren’t making use of a schedule software, you are leaving a lot of business on the table. A survey of 18,000 businesses found that 50% of them grew once they started taking online appointment bookings.
Remember: 90% of customers prefer to book online (per the same study above).
If you are reading this blog post, you likely know the importance of online booking software for your business. You have a steady stream of clients, a relatively full calendar, but you are looking to get even more.
That’s exactly what we will show you how to do.
Without further ado, here are a bunch of tips to increase sales (both online appointment bookings and other sales) with online bookings.
1. Choose a Booking Software With The Following Features
There are a lot of choices when it comes to booking software, but not all are created equal when it comes to the features that they offer.
Choosing a booking software, however, with the following features will allow you to maximize your sales:
- A streamlined booking page
- Email and text reminders (i.e. a feature to reduce no-shows)
- Recurring appointments and rebooking features – here are 5 tips to rebook clients
- An online marketplace
- A client management system (so you can get to know your clients on a more intimate level and therefore improve your customer service by providing personalized service)
We go into more detail about each of these features in our blog post about choosing the best online booking software for your business.
2. Make It Very Clear That You Offer Online Booking
If you want to revolutionize your online appointment bookings, it’s important to take certain steps. This includes making it very clear that you offer online booking.
Remember: it isn’t just enough to install your schedule software; if you want to maximize your sales, it’s important to make it extremely clear that your business is accepting online appointment bookings and to continue plugging it over time as well.
If you have just started accepting online appointment bookings, one of the best ways to tell your clients about your new service is by reaching out to your past clients and letting them that you are now accepting online bookings.
In this particular case, it’s important to specifically designate an email marketing campaign to your new booking page. Incentivize them to book online by offering a coupon code, a freebie or something similar.
Once you have reached out to your past clients, the next step is to make it loud and clear that you offer online bookings via your website and just about every other place that your business is visible.
Potential clients will be arriving to your website via various pages, so it’s important to put a ‘Book Online’ link on every single page of your website. Ensure that you also have a strong call-to-action on your homepage and landing pages. ‘Book now,’ for example, is a strong call-to-action.
Here are a few additional ways you can tell your clients about your online booking software:
- Mention it in your voicemail
- Include it in your email signature
- Include a “Book us Online” link on your business cards
- Let them know email marketing (if you’re a Yocale user, you can send unlimited messages to your client’s via Yocale’s customizable templates)
3. Collect Emails and Market To These Customers
When you make traditional bookings over the telephone, you typically don’t ask for an email address. You ask for a telephone number and that’s about it.
That’s another great aspect of schedule software – an email is typically required to complete the booking process.
When it comes to business, one of the first things you will hear is the importance of building a database of emails on day one. According to Campaign Monitor’s 2016 Annual Email Marketing Report, email marketing delivers a return of $44 for every dollar spent.
Email marketing is the best possible marketing method out there, far surpassing social media.
In any case, once you have a database of emails, you can use email to reach out to your clients with exclusive content, special deals/promotions for appointments as well as any products you may sell.
If you’re a salon, for example, perhaps you are offering a sale on all in-store shampoo and conditioners.
Whatever the case may be, think of it email as another revenue stream for your business.
4. Sign Up For Reserve with Google
If your online booking software has partnered with Google to offer Reserve with Google (RWG), you have the potential to exponentially expand your online appointment bookings.
We have talked about RWG a lot on this blog before, so we won’t spend much time on it, but, in short, Reserve with Google allows people to book your services straight from Google search and Google Maps.
Those who have signed up for RWG will have a ‘Book Online’ button displayed beside their Google My Business listing, giving them a competitive edge.
It also means you don’t have to worry about whether or not you’re driving traffic to your site.
If you are already using Yocale, your booking button has already been added to your Google My Business listing. If not, you can sign up for free here.
5. Add A Booking Button to Facebook/Website
As a booking software user, you get access to the Facebook Book Now Button as well as the ability to add a booking button to your website. The point of these buttons is to meet your clients wherever they may be.
When it comes to increasing your sales with online booking, it’s important to ensure that you have added to them to your Facebook page/website if you haven’t already.
If you’re a Yocale user, here is how to do that:
- Go to your Facebook profile cover page.
- Click ‘Call to Action.’
- Choose ‘Book Now.’ Enter your Yocale URL (you can get this by clicking on Yocale Profiles on your top menu bar and then selecting your Profile page and then copy the URL ). Click ‘Create.’
This will allow you to keep track of everyone who has clicked on your ‘Book Now’ button.
6. Offer Memberships
If your schedule software offers the ability to offer memberships, this is a great way to increase your monthly recurring revenue.
Fitness-based businesses tend to only use memberships, but other businesses can use memberships as an additional stream of revenue and customize their memberships how they want.
Consider Netflix’s membership model compared to that of Redbox. In 2014, Redbox brought in 1.89 billion. Netflix, on the other hand, generated triple this amount via their subscription service.
If you’re a Yocale user, this tutorial will show you how to create memberships for your business.
7. Take Advantage of Your Booking Software’s Online Marketplace
Not every online booking software will offer an online marketplace, but if yours does, it’s a good idea to take advantage of it. That means completing your profile and even updating it with relevant information (such as changing business hours and so on).
In short, the marketplace will connect you with its own list of clients who are using that particular software to book appointments.
8. Reward Clients That Book Online
It’s much cheaper for customers to make online appointment bookings than it is to accept bookings via telephone, email and so on. Simply put, these methods put a strain on your resources.
One way to increase sales via online bookings, then, is to reward your clients that book online, therein encouraging them to book more. Whether you offer a small discount or some sort of freebee after they make an online booking, you can increase your sales by incentivizing your customers in some way.
The Bottom Line
Schedule software can dramatically increase your bookings.
But, remember: if you want to supercharge your online bookings, you should do everything on this list.
Sign up for Reserve with Google, add booking buttons to Facebook, ensure that your booking software offers text reminders and so on.
Do you have your own tips on how to increase sales via booking software? If so, we’d love to hear more down below.
Yocale is a leading online booking software. The best part? It’s free and super easy to set up. We also offer a free suite of business management and marketing tools. You can book a free demo here. For more information, click here.
We also blog about digital marketing tips and tricks (and more booking software tips) on the Yocale blog every single week-day.