How to Market your Esthetician Business on Instagram

Are you a solopreneur Esthetician or an Esthetics business?

Then you’ve probably noticed (in between ordering more facial scrubs and checking your inventory of lancets) that Estheticians are killing it on Instagram. Why do you think that is?

In this article, we’ll cover the absolute need-to-know tips for crushing it on Instagram with your Esthetics business.

But before we dive into that, the first thing you need to realize is…

Instagram is basically the modern-day landing page.

When clients look up your business, they’re officially more likely to check out your Instagram page than your website.

“Why is this strange phenomenon happening?” you might ask, bewildered.

The answer is something you might not expect and it’s called… honest signals.

HONEST SIGNALS

Honest signals refers to the concept that there are certain things you can fake in order to convey something and other things you can’t fake.

A website is something you can fake. Nowadays, with the advent of easily-accessible and idiot-proof website builders like Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace, it’s easier than ever to make your business come across divinely professional with little-to-no coding knowledge.

Just slap together a website in 10 minutes using a pre-built template and you’re good to go!

A business Instagram page, on the other hand, although containing less overall info than a website is actually more of an honest signal because of one thing: the pictures.

Most of us grew up with the web, so we’re accustomed to fabricated images (i.e. stock pictures) and can easily discern between them and “real” pictures.

On the other hand, creating a website professionally and easily at a low cost is now a widespread commodity, making it more difficult for us to determine a business’ professionalism just going by their website alone.

10 years ago, if the business had a nice website, you were able to trust that business with a high degree of certainty. It was an “honest signal” because 10 years ago websites were actually arduous, required custom development work, and super expensive to build, conferring onto their owners a true honest signal of value and trust.

This is what the client thinks:

“Well, if they can afford a website like that, or invested that much into it, they must be a legit company.”

Nowadays, just because you have a nice website, doesn’t mean your business will be the right fit for a client.

As of this writing, with that same website, the client thinks:

“The company probably just used a template from Godaddy website builder or Wix to throw it together in a few minutes.”

Instagram, on the other hand, features prominently the photos that you choose to display.

And unlike a cookie cutter website template, it’s hard to fake good photos (given what we discussed before regarding how folks typically have an eye for spotting fake vs real photos).

So now that we’ve exposed the tricky way Instagram forces business owners to put more of the ‘realness’ of their business on display, instead of hiding in front of a well-crafted template, here is the real question:

How do we as business owners take advantage of this format instead of letting it scare us into not posting anything? (Which might be the worst thing of all – to the modern-day world of service business clients, you basically don’t exist if you don’t post online)

There are three things I’d like to discuss:

  1. Useful, relevant content (for *your customers*)
  2. Calls-to-action (you have to ask your customers to *buy*)
  3. Using the bio link wisely (you only get one)

The first of which is useful, relevant content.

USEFUL, RELEVANT CONTENT FOR YOUR CUSTOMERS

The first mistake I see Instagram business profiles make is oversell (too many calls to action) without any actual substance (useful content).

The issue with this is that your content isn’t engaging, and doesn’t draw folks in.

So your Instagram page looks like a wall of tacky neon and multi-colored flyers for your business. In fact, this may be the majority of the content you post anyway.

Think about what would be useful for your customers to know.

One great example is to post ways that they can actually avoid using an Esthetician and do it themselves.

For example, post content about how clients can take care of their own faces so they don’t need to get a facial or extractions.

Believe it or not, this actually makes them want to come see you because it does the following…

  1. Builds trust – in this example, you or your business is the authority on the topic of skin care
  2. Provides actual valuereciprocity is a strong human urge. You can delightfully encourage folks to give back by using your service to thank you for the value you’ve given them, expecting nothing in return!

More examples of useful, relevant content for Estheticians:

  • How to set up your morning skin care routine
  • How to keep your skin young with [Insert Product Here]
  • How to prepare for your first extraction or facial
  • What to do after you have a facial so you don’t ruin your perfect skin
  • When to use mud versus milk versus oatmeal versus algae
  • Why massaging your skin can be game changing
  • How to deal with the sun…is SPF1,000,000 sunscreen high enough
  • Why using too many products on your skin can be very dangerous
  • How vitamins and water are literally all you need

So now we’ve talked about Instagram business profiles that have lots of substance and value added content (and as a result growing follower base and great engagement), we’re going to take it to the other extreme:

An Esthetics business owner who posts only great content, but never asks for the sale.

CALLS TO ACTION

You’ve got to ask for the sale!

Consider this, studies show: 90% of customers won’t buy unless you ask.

With a figure like that, and all of these possible customers browsing your Instagram, you’d be crazy not to at least ask occasionally for the sale!

But what’s the best way to do that?

Several ways:

  • You can use the comments section in each of your pictures to refer folks to your bio link, and have a link to your online store or your PocketSuite booking widget there.
  • Then there’s the bio link, which some folks will directly access without looking at the comments or your pictures.
  • Instagram Stories are a great place to put a call to action (it can literally be a video of you asking folks to swipe up to claim their offer) but your account needs at least 10,000 followers to enable it, so if you have less you’ll need to direct people in your Stories to access the offer by tapping the link in your bio
  • Finally, we have the description, where you should be placing an offer so irresistible that your potential customers are just aching to tap that bio link! As an Esthetician, try a free facial with purchase of a recurring membership.

At last, we arrive at the best practice tip, which is how to make best use of the sole link in your bio.

USE YOUR BIO LINK WISELY

…because you only get one!

Instagram’s single-bio-link “feature” constraints mean you can only have 1 link in your bio.

So how do you take full advantage of this?

The best advice I can give you is simple and to the point – paste PocketSuite’s booking widget in there so clients can book your services online, right from their phone or computer.

Combine this with an amazing offer in your description and you’ve got a recipe for a bunch of new bookings coming in out of the blue from your Instagram!

Trust me, you’re going to wonder how you ever lived without it.

Aside from that, with a service like Linktr.ee you can add a whole bunch more!

I hope these 3 tips have given you enough actionable content so that you can market your Esthetics business or yourself as an Esthetician solo-preneur on Instagram effectively.

If you haven’t checked out PocketSuite’s booking widget yet, try the 7-day free trial to test drive it!

Once you’re signed up, paste it into your Instagram and let me know how many extra online bookings you get!

Like this article? You’ll love our guide on how to generate leads for service businesses in 2019, and of course our Frustrations with Square article!

How to Run Your Esthetician Business with PocketSuite

Are you an aspiring esthetician, a full-fledged esthetician-solopreneur, or an skincare business owner?

You’ve probably run into challenges managing your clients – after all, between making other people beautiful, creating beautiful marketing campaigns, and getting your beauty sleep, who has time for all of the admin work that’s involved in making your business run smoothly? You’re busy making your clients’ skin smoother than butter! (Shea butter of course)

Well, have I got a doozy for you. In fact, I’m about to share one of the industry’s best-kept secrets.

It’s no wonder that the ASCP (Association of Skin Care Professionals) deems PocketSuite “The app for Estheticians.”

There’s also a reason why over 10,000 folks have been using PocketSuite to manage their business.

In this article we’ll go over the best features that PocketSuite has to offer specifically for the Esthetics industry.

Get your Jade Rollers and Skin Scrubbers ready, because we’re about to take your Esthetician game to the next level!

In this article we’ll cover:

  1. Getting your Esthetics Business set up on PocketSuite
  2. Importing your Clients
  3. Setting up your Services
  4. Setting up Payments
  5. Key Features (important!)
  6. Best Practices

HOW TO RUN YOUR ESTHETICS BUSINESS WITH POCKETSUITE

You probably offer different services to your clients – from microblading to facials, maybe you even offer monthly discounts on recurring packages!

Either way, PocketSuite has you covered.

The first step would be to sign up and get your PocketSuite account set up.

You can easily go thru the onboarding process, which takes 30 seconds and will customize the app based on which industry you’re in. In your case, we’ll be selecting Health and Wellness -> Esthetician.

Now here’s where the magic starts to happen.

Next, we’re going to set up your services.

SET UP YOUR SERVICES WITH POCKETSUITE

Now we can get to the fun part!

Start by adding your services, ideally in groups of 3 (studies show that psychologically folks like to see items in odd numbered groups). If you have more than 10 services, turn on the “Categories” feature so you can group your services in a way that makes it easy for your clients to click and checkout online.

If you have 3 different prices, keep in mind that most folks will choose the middle price. Set up your pricing accordingly!

Finally, you can add your current clients. PocketSuite makes this easy because of the free importing provided to all signups, even on the free plan!

SET UP PAYMENTS

Are you currently accepting credit cards from your clients? If not, you can easily set that up with PocketSuite. Here’s 10 different ways you can accept payments using the app.

For now, we’ll walk you through setting up payments via accepting credit cards from your clients.

The benefit of this is you have their card on file, they get an automatic receipt texted to them, and you don’t have to ask for payment each time because their info is stored in your system!

It also makes you look like much more of a professional Esthetician. The kind they can feel comfortable referring to all of their friends!

You can also use these tips to help you get more referrals – after all, in the Beauty industry word of mouth is everything!

KEY FEATURES

Here we will be discussing the key features of PocketSuite that Estheticians in particular rave about. I hope you’re wearing 2 pairs of socks because the first pair is about to get blown off!

Online Forms

You can create beautiful forms for internal use (taking notes about your clients’ preferences) or client-facing intake forms (in order for clients to fill out their personal health history and skincare needs/preferences).

Waivers & Contracts

Say goodbye to using 3rd party apps to send liability waivers or contracts to your clients – a few taps, a signature, and PocketSuite has got you covered.

Products & Inventory Tracking

It’s a shame you’ve been tracking all of your products and inventory manually, since PocketSuite has a built-in online product sales and inventory tracking feature!

Gift Certificates

Gone are the days when you were searching for a third party tool that can send out gift certificates. Or were you just creating them manually in Google Docs? How do you even track those? Forget all of that, you can sell gift certificates and track the purchases with ease from your PocketSuite dashboard. Log in to the app today and try it out!

Smart Campaigns

We’ve got you covered here – auto-send SMS campaigns to your clients encouraging them to book their next appointment, share skincare tips and aftercare guidance, or even offer holiday/special discounts.

Did I mention you can re-engage past clients to build your recurring client base? Yeah, PocketSuite actually helps you to build your business and increase your bottom line. Which makes it practically pay for itself, not once but many times over. And that’s not even considering all the time you’ll save not typing the same message over and over, and customizing it for each client. Hooray for more money in your pocket and more time in the day to spend with your family!

BEST PRACTICES

Signing up new clients is a breeze with PocketSuite. You can literally take all of the pain out of the process. No more relying on spas that barely send you any new clients, just to take a huge percentage of your income.

Now you can be your own spa (not literally, but essentially you’ll have the back office that a spa typically gives you).

For example, a lot of folks get their massage therapy license, and then go back to get their Esthetician license in order to be able to give facials as well as deep tissue massages. The major reason is that they don’t have enough clients for their massage therapy business – but the issue is, the same problems that hinder your massage therapy business will also limit your esthetician business.

The reality is, if you have a stream of clients coming in, you need a system to manage all of them. How are you going to keep track of client preferences, payment info, client intake forms, liability waivers, recurring appointments, cancellations, and charges?

With PocketSuite, you basically get an app that does all of that and more.

Top Estheticians are crushing it with PocketSuite, simply because it gives them more time to focus on what they do best – namely top-of-the-line facials, extractions, and general skin care regimens.

How, you ask? Let’s dive into that now and I’ll give you the low down:

CLIENT MANAGEMENT

How about when clients cancel on you? Now you need to go back into your excel spreadsheet and mark that they canceled. What about keeping track of repeat offenders?

And then of course there’s the waitlist feature. If you’re all booked up, and somebody cancels, the waitlist feature automatically tees up the next person into the time slot that was canceled.

You can literally send out a group message that will alert all of the folks on your waitlist that a spot has freed up. All of this with just a few taps on your phone. No more digging thru SMS threads to find your customers and trying to remember which one wanted the time slot!

PAYMENTS

Not to mention that payment info is stored automatically so you’re not worrying about collecting credit card info or cash from your clients every time.

Your clients can update their own credit card information, saving you the hassle of having to ask them for a new card when one expires.

CANCELLATIONS

Want to initiate late cancellation fees? No problem, you need to protect your time and this also decreases no-shows dramatically (no surprise, huh?)

MARKETING / SALES

Now let’s move on to marketing. I’m assuming you have a Facebook and Instagram page for your business. If not… go make one now!

Okay, now that you’ve made one (or already have one and are puzzled that I even needed to ask) it’s time to hook up your PocketSuite booking widget to your social media.

That’s right, folks can book appointments with you right from your Facebook / Instagram page. I know you’re getting giddy because this is the future!

How about selling products? Facial creams, tweezers, powders… whatever is in your inventory, PocketSuite’s new Inventory Management feature allows you to keep track of how many products you have, how many you’ve sold, and even alerts you when it’s time to re-order.

Not only that, but your products can be separate transactions from your services. It also allows you to apply different discounts on services without compromising your bottom line when selling your products.

Most top Estheticians make a handy profit by up-selling their products after the service, so if you’re not reaping this reward already, you need to get in on it! Studies show that 40% of top esthetician income is typically from product sales. That’s how you’re going to grow your business and ultimately your bottom line. If you don’t, you’re leaving money on the table.

What about following up with current clients? The handy Smart Campaigns feature handles that effortlessly. Simply tee it up and personalized SMS messages will automatically be sent out to your current clients. You can use this to upsell them, offer discounts, and ultimately get them coming back for more (the best way to increase your income without having to find and get more customers).

THE BOTTOM LINE…

If you’ve been puzzled wondering how your competition seems to run huge businesses without breaking a sweat, realize that every part of your business (except the direct services that you provide to clients) can be broken down and streamlined.

Additionally, when you then realize that most of these systems can be automated with a single app, it makes it a no-brainer to give PocketSuite a try.

There’s not a single app on the marketplace currently that makes it easier to run your entire esthetics business from soup-to-nuts.

Like this article? You’ll love our guide on how to generate leads for service businesses in 2019, and of course our Frustrations with Square article!

Choosing Software – Housecallpro vs PocketSuite

So, you’re looking for an app to manage your on-the-go business where you’re servicing clients at their homes.

In this article, we will be discussing the ups and downs of using Housecall Pro, how Housecall Pro compares to PocketSuite, and what app would be best for your business based on your needs.

Housecall Pro is famous for being especially suited to businesses that perform services onsite at a client’s home.

Since running a service business has a unique set of challenges, it’s important to choose an app or software that allows you to tackle these challenges head-on.

For example, some common characteristics of apps or software that allows you to manage your on-the-go service business are:

  1. Mobile-first design
  2. Scheduling
  3. Online Booking
  4. Estimates
  5. Invoices
  6. Marketing
  7. Etc…

It’s very easy to assume that just about any software that does scheduling and booking can help you. However, let’s take a look at the breakdown of two giants in this industry – Housecall Pro and PocketSuite.

Both apps are designed for pros that service clients at their location, so it’s worth your time to find out which one of these takes the cake in terms of value and pricing.

It’s important to choose wisely, as the software or app that you use will influence your clients perception of your business. You want that impression to be good, so this decision should not be taken lightly!

Let’s take a look at what Housecall Pro is capable of and how it compares to PocketSuite.

Housecall Pro

Features:

  • Scheduling
  • Estimates
  • Online booking
  • Dispatch
  • On-my-way texts
  • Live Map GPS
  • Custom text and email
  • Invoicing
  • Follow-up marketing
  • Payment processing
  • Recurring service
  • Instapay

PocketSuite

Features:

  • Marketing – Google-driven results (Partnership with PocketSuite <> Google AdWords).
  • Online Booking – Your customers can book you from their phone or computer.
  • POS – Charge customer’s credit cards with our built in card scanner.
  • Scheduling – One tap easy booking for you and your clients.
  • Invoicing – Collect payment upfront and/or when the job is done.
  • Discounts – Give specials discounts to brand new or existing clients.
  • Sales Tax / Surcharges – Uncle Sam’s payments are taken care of auto-magically.
  • Gratuity – Let your clients make it rain ☔ by giving you tips!
  • Custom Fields – Whatever customization you need on your appointments, PocketSuite has the power to make it happen.
  • E-Contracts – Send clients contracts over text or email and get them signed within 24 hours.
  • Forms – Complete private notes on the job and save them for future reference.
  • Recurring Appointments – Keep them coming back for more and lock in repeat clients.
  • Appointment Reminders – Your clients will never miss an appointment.
  • Multi-Services – Offer different priced services to your customers easily.
  • Reservations – Let clients book you for multi-day jobs.
  • Estimates – Send estimates with deposit requirements. Convert estimates into invoices and/or appointments with one tap.
  • Packages – Custom packages have never been easier – get paid upfront.
  • Subscriptions – Auto-pay is the easiest way to collect recurring revenue.
  • Staffing – Easy to assign jobs, pay, manage your team from one app.
  • Job Check In & Check Out – Keep tabs on your team and auto-update your clients on arrival times with location tracking.
  • Group Messaging – Business at the speed of thought. Clients just see it as text, but it shows up in your app as a client message!

As is abundantly clear at this point, PocketSuite’s massive set of features is more than enough for any new or established business owner.

It is also important to take a look at the financial commitment that is associated with each of these software tools. After all, it’s important to make sure you’re not throwing money down the drain!

With Housecall Pro, the interesting thing is that you get limited functionality for more money as opposed to PocketSuite’s fully stocked premium offerings that are less expensive and more powerful.

Housecall Pro Pricing

PocketSuite Pricing

PocketSuite’s free plan arguably has more useful features than Housecall Pro’s lowest monthly plan.

Additionally, the premium features that PocketSuite provides eclipse Housecall Pro’s by a longshot.

Let’s take a looksie at some of these extra features that you would NOT receive with Housecall Pro:

PocketSuite Free Version

  • Direct Messaging – Business messaging, the way it should be.
  • Calendar Scheduling – No more Google Calendar / Outlook confusion.
  • Payments – Get paid via Invoice or Point of Sale.
  • Client Note-Taking – Keep track of the critical preferences and other information for each client as your business takes on more and more clients.
  • Industry Leaderboard – See how your competition is crushing it, benchmark your income, and unlock growth!
  • Pay Now Button (Website/FB/IG) – Yes, folks can book your services right off Instagram or Facebook. Victory dance!
  • Flat 2.7% Processing (No Hidden Fees) – Rates lower than my eyelids after a 12 hour workday.

PocketSuite Premium Version

  • Unique Business # – Get a business phone number that you can put on your business cards and marketing.
  • Group Messaging – No more fumbling to send dozens of the same message to your clients.
  • Saved Message Templates – Easily send off messages based on custom templates.
  • Class Scheduling, Auto Check Ins & Attendance Tracking – Easily track job check ins and check outs.
  • Multi-day Jobs – Allow clients to reserve your time for multiple days. Viola!
  • Tasks / To-Do’s – Always know what you need to get done and don’t miss a single task!
  • Data Importing – Come on over. We’ll take care of getting your clients into the system.
  • Questionnaires / Forms – Collect data from your customers with ease. Painlessly organize and sort it.
  • Contract E-Signing – Need to send a contract out? Never fear, PocketSuite is here.
  • Estimates – I’m estimating that you will love this feature, especially how you can convert estimates to invoices directly!
  • Smart Campaigns – Follow up with your clients automatically – schedule follow-ups via SMS that bring folks back for more!
  • Add-On Products – Now you can sell products alongside your services.

I’d also like to mention one thing that normally gets lost in the shuffle when it comes to choosing a piece of software or an app to help you manage your business.

As you know, the learning curve for new technology can be very high. For this reason, should you run into some roadblocks or headaches when it comes to switching providers, it is important to know that the new software or app you’re using has your back.

As an example, I am very impressed with the support I received from PocketSuite when I tried them out.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that their support team is best-in-class, and you shouldn’t hesitate at all to reach out to them if you have questions.

If you run into problems, just shoot them a text (415-841-2300). They respond quickly and are extremely helpful. They went beyond the call of duty to ensure that my experience with their app was a 6 star rating in every way. And as a business owner, that makes me feel taken care of and happy to be a part of the PocketSuite community of Pros.

When it comes to choosing a business management app or software, I need something that is easy to use when I’m on the go (like when I’m doing appointments at a client’s home) and has full-fledged functionality (so I don’t have to look for 10 other apps to get basic business tasks done).

Housecall Pro has limited functionality and is primarily desktop-based. PocketSuite, on the other hand, is mobile-first in design and has all of the necessary tools that I need to run my entire business from my phone, using one app. How neat is that?

Like this article? You’ll love our guide on how to generate leads for service businesses in 2019, and of course our Frustrations with Square article!

Why a Booking Widget is Critical for your Service Business in 2019

Do you have a website where you promote your service business? Do you want your customers to book their appointment through your website? Is it even possible?

You can bet your tax return that it is!

This is what a booking widget is for. A booking widget (like PocketSuite’s own booking widget) is a plugin used for websites. When embedded on a website, your customers can just click and they will be redirected to your booking page where your availability and schedule is shown.

Is it free? Yes and No.

You need to have an appointment app subscription in order to get a booking widget plugin. The booking widget plugins differ for each scheduling app, and so are the ways and methods of utilizing them for your business and setting them up.

Before picking a booking widget, check first if you can easily set it up on your own.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Booking Widget

There are a lot of questions to ask yourself when it comes to choosing a booking widget. The problem is choosing the right booking widget that will work with your service business. Before adding a booking widget to your website, you should consider these things first.

  • The type of service business you have
  • The features of the booking widget
  • The compatibility of the booking widget with your service business website
  • Ease of use
  • Number of access points for staff or logins available
  • Flexibility to customize

To help you make a decision, we searched for the top booking widgets on online. Considering features and ease of use, here are the top 10 booking widgets that we found.

Squareup

Squareup is a booking widget that you can add to any website. It works with Squarespace, WordPress, Wix, and Weebly. This booking widget makes booking easier for people who need to schedule their dental checkup or for house cleaning. This booking widget is easy to use. Once you’ve added it on your service business website, your customers can simply click on it if they want to make an appointment. All available schedules will be shown on the booking page. An indicator shows if the date and time are available.

Features

  • It comes with a personalized ‘book now’ button
  • Easy to use even for elderly folks and non-tech savvy individuals
  • Provides options like highlighting the names of your service business staff (for customers to choose from)
  • Sends out automated reminders to customers with upcoming bookings
  • You can personalize the calendar

Mindbody

This booking widget is easy to add to any website and is easy to use. Mindbody also allows widget customization so you can change the calendar’s color or the font. The limiting aspect of this booking widget is that it only allows one booking at a time. If two of your customers booked at the same time, chances are, it will not work or they will get an error.

Features

  • It allows your client to choose their preferred staff from your service business
  • It has neat options for listing staff names (alphabetically or by availability)
  • The booking interval option can be turned on for this booking widget

Bookly

Bookly is a booking widget with full features. It’s basically like having an appointment app on your website. However, this booking widget is not cheap. It is a good widget app choice to use if your website’s platform is WordPress.

Features

  • A booking widget that sends SMS notifications automatically
  • Processes payments
  • It syncs with Google calendar
  • Your clients can book multiple appointments at once
  • It is available in 10 languages (translation-ready)

Launch27

Launch 27 allows your customer to choose their schedule when booking an appointment with you. This booking widget can be embedded as a booking form to your service business site. You can also add a link to the Launch27 booking page if there is not enough room on your service business website to fit the booking form.

Features

  • Easy to use
  • Minimal design to make booking easier even for non-tech savvy folks
  • It sends automatic reminders to booked customers

Jobber

If you are running a service business where your staff is always on the go, you should check out Jobber. Service business providers that do home service (technicians, cleaning) can use Jobber on their phone to check their next job order.

Features

  • Integrated with other apps like payment apps or any marketing tools
  • Easy to use
  • Send out automated reminders to both staff and clients

BirchPress

BirchPress is a popular WordPress plugin and booking widget that offers professional booking management assistance. This booking widget can be embedded on the WordPress platform. Once a customer books a service on your website, you can add an option to collect payment via PayPal or credit card.

Features

  • Customers can book appointments easily
  • It syncs with Google Calendar and Outlook
  • You can choose to have a customized email notification sent to your clients regarding their booking
  • This booking widget also has a reminder feature about your upcoming schedule

Booki

If your service business deals with reservations and appointments in order to run smoothly, you could check out Booki. Booki is a booking widget that can be used by service business providers in the industry of hospitality, resorts, driving lessons, hair stylists, and more.

Features:

  • Unlimited booking options
  • This booking widget syncs with Google calendar
  • Sends automated confirmation for every booking
  • Comes with different calendar modes
  • Can process payments
  • Sends a reminder for each appointment (customized or automated)

Bookeo

Bookeo is a booking widget that you can integrate with your service business to make scheduling of appointments easier. Your customers can just click on the ‘book now’ button and they will get directed to the Bookeo calendar page. When integrated, your page URL or domain name won’t be affected hence your customers can still see your website’s name and not the Bookeo booking widget URL. Note: You cannot use Bookeo appointment app on your service business website if you have a Bookeo booking widget or vice versa.

Features:

  • Customizable booking widget on your website (you can even change the color and font size)
  • Customizable calendar page for booking (only shows what you want to show like available dates for the day, week, or month)
  • Customizable booking page
  • Easy to use for service business customers

Bookme

For a streamlined and easy to use booking page, you can try Bookme. Bookme is a booking widget that works across different platforms. By clicking on Bookme, your customers can check if there are available booking slots that they can reserve. For example: Say you are a cleaning service business provider. Your customers can easily check your availability and book right onto your schedule. Presto!

Features

  • Available appointment dates are made visible while taken dates are greyed out (to avoid double booking)
  • Provides access to multiple service business staff members, if needed
  • Sends out a customized email notification
  • The appearance of the ‘book now’ button for this booking widget is customizable

PocketSuite

The PocketSuite booking widget allows service business websites to have a customized ‘book now’ button. With a customized booking widget, your clients or new leads can easily pick an appointment. With PocketSuite, your customers won’t have to call anymore to make their bookings. A click of their mouse or a tap on their phone can easily lead them to your booking page where they can schedule an appointment, register for a class, or purchase a package from you.

Features

  • Allows multiple booking widgets in a single service business page
  • This booking widget allows you to have customized online forms and e-contracts
  • It provides a unique booking widget code that you can place on your email or your service business Facebook page, Instagram page, or website
  • Can process payments
  • Compatible with different hosting platforms like Wix, Weebly, WordPress, Webs, GoDaddy, and Squarespace
  • Overall has the most features for the best price.

When it comes to a booking widget, there are at least 100 options out there. Before you pick a booking widget, make sure to learn more about the features.

There are booking widgets that are specifically designed for a particular service business only. So make sure you check out one of our recommended ones first!

Ready to accept payments from customers with your brand spankin’ new booking widget? Great, now it’s time for a victory dance!

Like this article? You’ll love our guide on how to generate leads for service businesses in 2019, and of course our Frustrations with Square article!

What is Business Messaging

A new category of communication has arrived…It’s called “Business Messaging” and it’s designed for busy professionals and business owners.
If you find yourself asking “What the heck is Business Messaging?”, the answer is simple:

A mobile messaging tool to help your business make more money

Business Messaging focuses on 3 core benefits that can instantly bring your business out of the ancient technological traps of SMS and email, and delight clients (both old and new) to help your business make more money.

People in the 21st century want instant gratification more than ever.

Faster Customer Responses

That means, any inquiry or question a customer (or prospect) sends to a business, they want a response ASAP. The longer the client has to wait for a response, the higher the likelihood of the client moving on to another business.

To enable you (the business or professional) to respond as fast as possible to customers, you need to make sure you’re getting notified. In order to do that, you need to make sure your client list is organized so you can actually response as fast as possible.

The first key to delivering an instant customer response is being notified when the client reaches out.

That means ANY time a client wants to contact you (whatever the context may be), you need to get notified immediately — whether you’re sitting at a desk or out with another client.

This is where email falls short. You don’t want clients who shoot you an email or who fill out a form on your website, to have to wait for you to happen to pull out your phone and load your emails and then respond. This creates pockets of delays where clients can be waiting hours or even days to get a response.

Not only that, but with email spamming being a reality of life these days, parsing through unwanted emails to find your urgent client emails can be huge a time suck.

This bring up point #2 in delivering faster customer responses:

Client Organization

Email, yes, can have spam intermixed with customers. But even worse is SMS text message — not so much the spam aspect of it, but more so personal distractions.

80% of business owners we talk to use text message as their primary way of communicating with clients. The issue there becomes – on your texting feed, you’ll have a client, then a friend, maybe a family member. Your private life conversations and business get mixed together.

This creates (at no fault of your own, to be clear) an unorganized feed of your life’s thread of communications.

Not having a single, instantly accessible area where ONLY your customer messaging and history flows into, creates a problem. It’s a problem because:

  • You’re unaware immediately when you hear a text come through if it’s a client or friend or family member pinging you
  • You cannot prioritize messages to be followed up with in a regular SMS feed
  • Spend time scrolling and searching through a mix of people to find specific customers
  • Can only access a client’s message history — not calls, notes, payments, or anything else relevant to that client

A way some business owners get around this is to shell out  another $500+ on a new phone (for “business”). Then you’re permanently stuck carrying around 2 devices at all times: one for business, one for pleasure.

These days are now over.

Business Messaging keeps all your client communication in a central, mobile location. This will give you instant and organized access to all your customer’s needs. This makes your life less stressful while keeping your clients happily attended to.


A More Organized Day

Today’s modes of client communication are all handicapped mainly because they only do one thing: communicate.

We (over at PocketSuite) don’t really see any particular reason for why that has to be the case.

With your client communication (whatever that may be: phone, email, text, a fancy CRM system, etc.) being focused on just communication, then you depend on other tools for relevant information about each customer. That information includes customer:

  • Payment history
  • Upcoming appointments
  • Detailed notes
  • Signed contracts
  • Referrals
  • Call logs

Logistics and payments are all integral parts of any conversation you have with a client. Thus, these important items should be naturally weaved into the conversation and easily accessible by both you and your client.

Business Messaging does just that — it integrates all crucial transactional information into each customer message thread. WITHIN a conversation, you can transact with said client, while at the same reference important information about said client.

Combining all this information into one place that is instantly accessible anywhere turns today’s business owner into an efficiency machine.

Accessibility 24/7

Homeowners have graduated from having to flip through a single Yellow Pages book to search for a local business to hire.

With the growth of discovery platforms online, the ability for you to reach moreof your addressable customer market is easier than ever.

But that also means that clients are going to be reaching out to you on a LOT more platforms. That includes:

As you expand your business presence online, you’ll be receiving more and more incoming messages, inquiries, questions, quote requests, leads, and more, from a whole host of platforms. Each one of these different platforms has apps, account log-ins, special email addresses, etc.

Business Messaging reduces the mess and consolidates all incoming requests – no matter where they are coming from – into a single, organized channel.

Business Messaging comes with messaging widgets that can be placed as links practically anywhere. From a single website, social media, directory to a lead gen platform. That means, that no matter WHERE a customer finds you, all their reach-outs will be directed into your Business Messaging feed.

This allows you to respond smartly and instantly to any new customer coming your way. You are 100% accessible so a new customer never slips through the cracks, and a repeat customer never feels ignored.

Smartphones Beat PCs in Speed, Cost, Convenience

WHY THIS IS HUGE NEWS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

The release of the iPhone X has proven one major headline: smartphones are now faster than PCs.

Chips inside computers and smartphones are referred to as central processing units, or “CPUs”. The faster and higher quality they are, the quicker your PC or smartphone runs. The CPU inside the new iPhone X is referred to as the “A10” chip, and that chip not only outpaces all other Android smartphones, but it has now caught up with Intel’s laptop CPUs.

That means that common tasks are (for the most part) now faster to perform on your mobile device than on your desktop or laptop. Retail consumption trends show just how important processing speed really is, with people are buying smartphones at five times the rate they are acquiring new PCs. iPhones alone saw 75 million shipments last quarter vs. 72 million for PCs.

But it’s not just your average consumer buying up more iPhones and smartphones for their day-to-day enjoyment. Small businesses and professionals are now flocking to this newest wave of faster and more powerful technology.

Speed and Power

Speed and power are crucial and a much-needed added benefit to today’s small business owner.

If your business runs faster and more efficiently, you have more time to grow.

Many businesses and on-the-go professionals have been resorting to their laptops to deal with customer transactions. The speed and flexibility of their PCs were providing platforms for scheduling, invoicing, contracts, etc. Despite being on their feet and in the proverbial field each day, mobile was not quiteadvanced enough to support all their real-time needs.

As the power of smartphones has now surpassed that of the most popular computers, the adoption of mobile in business continues to see an upward trajectory. It’s perfectly natural for home and local businesses to want to have the fastest, most capable, and most convenient tool at their fingertips to stay ahead of their competition. In fact, they deserve it.

Hardware-less

The lighter you are, the faster you move.

Small businesses are shifting in droves from lugging around laptops (and even tablets), to moving towards the more practical, lighter-weight tools.

The iPhone X, for example, has now removed the need for wired headphones by removing the jack. This is a major step towards something bigger than just mobile – wireless. The indirect result means that other clunky hardware like Square swipers will soon be defunct as the business world continues to turn light-weight.

Shedding excess baggage and hardware weight gives mobile professionals the agility they need to better serve their clients. This leaves much more time and energy to focus on the day to day business and clientele… the real revenue driver.


All-in-One

The fundamental offering of any smartphone is the combining of the most basic workflows. From being a communication device, location awareness, to a high resolution camera.

Native and 3rd-party applications further build on top of this foundation. Specifically for businesses includes tasks like note-taking, scheduling, payments, client management, and more.

The advancement in smartphone technology actually presents an exponential benefit for small businesses. That is to say, it doesn’t just make a single workflow faster – it makes all of your daily workflows faster.

This small device supports all your core workflows on a single device. Professionals are starting to save tremendous amounts of time by taking care of all client related things in the palm of their hand. The beauty is without going back to their desk to use their computer or a pen and paper.

In addition to a time saver, moving mobile is a cost saver. Instead of paying thousands for the newest PC, any business owner can pay just hundreds for a powerful smartphone. And instead of paying for 5 different workflow tools, mobile apps can now support all core workflows in a single app. For less.

The Future of Work

The future of work and business is fast. It’s cost-efficient, time-efficient and mobile.

Small business owners and freelance professionals alike are growing to accept today’s mobile world. This is not just due to the aforementioned benefits above. Their clients have come to accept this as the norm.

The average consumer and homeowner checks their phone 85 times a day. It’s convenient, it’s with them at all times, and it’s enjoyable to interact with. The increasingly accepted mode of consumer communication is SMS text, with phone calls and emailing on the secular decline .

As more professionals make the switch from PCs to now faster smartphones, that allows them to further engage clients on their device of preference – mobile. Happy clients turns into to more referrals, which means more revenue.

Mobilize your Business

The world is going mobile, and so are your clients. That means you should too.

For some business owners and entrepreneurs, initial reaction to the terms “mobile” and “text message” may seem unprofessional.

For some professionals, after a long day of running the day-to-day and dealing with clients, having to sit in front of the computer for busy work is just a necessary evil of being a small business owner.

Well, the times they are a changing…and mobilizing. 

The benefits of text message far surpass the “what I’m used to” feeling you might have while sitting in front of a desk.

Payment speed, customer convenience, workflow efficiencies, relationship building, marketing and more — these are all fundamental reasons why your peers and competitors are rapidly adopting apps and mobile tools to help their businesses succeed in today’s mobile world.

And your clients? Not only do they accept mobile with open arms, but nowadays they expect it.

You should be happy that your clients live in apps and over text message. As evidenced below, this mobile wave will actually help you build a lightening fast business without causing you any stress.


Here’s a fun (yet slightly depressing) fact: the average time it takes a customer to pay a standard invoice is 14 days.

Newsflash: the average time it takes a customer to pay a PocketSuite invoice (sent over text) is 1 day. (See more)

Why is that (you’re probably asking)? Well we asked some of our 15,000 business owners on PocketSuite, and they responded simply: “Because it’s easy”.

Clients don’t need to get cash from the bank, or remember to mail a check, or go back home to their computer to log in somewhere online to make a payment. On mobile, your customers can pay anywhere, and they can pay over SMS text message. This isn’t some new technology or app your client needs to learn in order to make a payment. Heck, they don’t even need to create an account (i.e., PayPal). It’s a simple tap to pay. Or how about “text to pay” 🙂

In short – you’re not moving mobile for selfless reasons. You get paid quicker. Seize the day!


There are two types of businesses I run into these days when it comes to scheduling: (1) Tech Savvy, and (2) Old School. Now, there are of course others who don’t fall into these 2 groups. For the most part, these are the 2 main types you might fall into.

Tech Savvy
You’ve got some business software with a proprietary calendar. It helps you add really detailed stuff to your calendar, it’s on the web, has a log-in, sends reminders, maybe has some other cool business features, etc. The problem with the ‘TechSavvy’ approach is that the software that is being used is completely isolated from the rest of their life and it’s at your desk. Most software out there does not sync with your personal or any other calendars you use (i.e., Google, iCal, Outlook, etc.). If you want to see your business schedule, well you need to log into some portal from your desktop and view what’s on tap. You can’t see if you have a lunch scheduled that day, or if you have a doctor’s appointment, or your schedule to pick up kids, etc. You’re stuck seated, isolated. No bueno!

Old School
You do scheduling your own way. So a paper calendar or you use your Google Calendar because it’s handy and it gels with all the other personal events you’ve got going on in your life. The problem with the ‘Old School’ approach is that you’re missing out on tons of efficiencies that can help you save tons of time running your business. I get it though – “time” is tough to value. But think about a calendar that gels with your life that’s also mobile, that also sends automatic reminders to clients, that puts appointments directly on your customer’s calendars FOR them, that supports “credit card confirmation”, that auto-sends Thank You! when the appointment is complete, and more. Things you do yourself and things you also can’t even imagine doing yourself.

Start adopting a tool with the best of both worlds. Make sure it’s easy, make sure it syncs with your entire life schedule, and (most of all) make sure you can use it anywhere!


If you work in an industry where your client needs to trust you, then communication is key.

If I’m hiring anyone to come to my home, or to depend on for a special occasion, or to take care of a love one (animal or human of course), or who I’m simply paying a lot of money — I want to make sure I can contact that professional at any time. And that doesn’t mean I’m going to call you at 4 o’clock in the morning to ask you a question.

There’s a reason why people have adopted (and LOVE) text messaging as a mode of communication — it’s convenient, fast and reliable. So why not give that feeling of convenience and reliability to your CLIENTS when building a relationship with them?

Have you ever simply forgotten to respond to an email? Or lost an important email in the midst of junk mail? Or had a client be upset at your “email response time” (however reasonable that might actually be)?

Be available when your clients need you, and give them that warm & fuzzy convenient experience. Build mobile communication into the core of your workflow, and form a deeper and more direct relationship with your customers.


Give Customers Mobile Convenience

We’re talking CONVENIENCE across the board here.

Payments, scheduling, messaging, e-signing documents, and more.

In a major way, introducing all these parts of your business to clients in the palm of their hands is incredible. Your clients can be literally ANYwhere and pay an invoice you send them….Get a reminder about tomorrow’s appointment…Field a text saying “Running 15 mins late”…Receive a waiver to sign. Literally ZERO effort on them to take any action.

And that last sentence ties into why convenience is good for YOU. The “zero effort to take any action” I just mentioned? Well that “action” typically drives the success of your business — your getting paid, winning a new client, filling up your schedule, etc. 

Give clients what they want and good things will happen 🙂

Get A Fresh Phone # For Your Small Business

Communication is a key building block to developing a lasting relationship with your customers.

Ever hear a client ask: “What’s the best way for me to get in touch with you?”

The answer to that question can vary. It could be email, text, phone call, social media, etc.

Most customers these days expect the convenience of the text message experience as a way to communicate with anyone – even businesses. But for business owners, there can be some initial hesitancy in giving away their personal number to customers as the core communication channel. Reason being, by giving your clients the same number on which your friends and family contact you, issues around privacy, organization and overall professionalism in the eyes of your clients can arise.

Getting a dedicated phone number for your business can not only mitigate any aforementioned issues, but can go a long way in actually developing better relationships with your clients. Here are 4 key ways why getting a unique number for your business can help you thrive.

1. Privacy & protection

Having your personal number listed across the web and social media can create a dangerous cycle.

The issue with using your personal number as the primary contact number for your business is that it will be publicly available for the world to see. Spam and scam calling is something that is increasingmore and more these days – and this increases the risk of your number being stored on spam list not only in the U.S. and but international as well. So your personal contact details will be shared and passed around list after list without any control. That that become a lifetime nuisance.

The other issue is from time to time, every business can attract certain demanding clients. There is even a podcast dedicated to these types of customers… the “crazy” ones. This can cause the growing number of people who you do not want contacting you, to be able to reach you day and night. The realities of running a business is you’re going to come in contact with customers and potential customers who either do not respect business ethics, or do not treat you like a real person, or can become harassing.

Having a dedicated business number will protect you from all the above wanted callers and interactions. Instead of making your personal number go viral, put your business line on business cards, the top of your business website, social media profiles, etc. Make it easy for clients to reach you at the right place (i.e., your business) while protecting your personal life from the many unwanted callers across the U.S. and globe.

2. Keeping you organized

The added benefit to having a dedicated business number is it adds much needed structure to your life, especially if your business is growing fast.

For the same reasons why entrepreneurs and business owners set up a personal email address and a work email address, you should do this with a phone number as well. You will be able to maintain all your client communication threads completely separate from those of friends and family. Any history of client notes, messages and even phone call logs can be accessed at any time in seconds.

Not only can a dedicated business line keep you organized as you keep tabs on client records, but it can also help you stay organized in real-time as well. If a new client decides to call you out of the blue, when the phone is ringing you should be able to tell if this incoming phone call is someone calling your personal line or your business line. Depending on which phone number is being dialed, that can determine how you answer the phone, how you prep for the caller, and the immediate tone of the phone call.

Keeping business and pleasure separate can save you tons of time and headache when needing immediate access and information to your customer base.

3. Accessibility: The key to great customer service

There are many different reports about how important customer response time is to clients when interacting with a business or professional.

Having a separate business line increases your ability to respond faster, plain and simple. If all your client messages and reach-outs are organized in a central location (separate of texts from friends and family), then that’s less information and contacts you need to sift through. You will be able to access your customer’s request more quickly, drowning out any noise, and respond at the drop of a hat.

In addition, having a dedicated business number will make you feel more comfortable to push your business line to go viral (you won’t be worried about your personal number getting in the hands of spammers). Thus, making your business number front and center across the web – wherever your business is listed – will make it dead simple for any customer (young or old) to know HOW to reach you.

Overnight you will become more accessible to new and recurring clients, which will delight each and every inquiring customer. The more you delight your clients, the more they will stick with you, and the more they will tell their friends.

4. Act like a professional

Portraying yourself as a true professional goes a long way with your clients – especially the new ones.

You do not have to invest in expensive website development or fancy design on your business presence online to seem professional. It can be very simple to act like a real pro – and a lot of this starts with your phone number.

If a client is calling your business, and they get a voicemail that is tied to your personal number for friends and family, they might have second thoughts. Clients might jump to a conclusion that your business is not large, or might not be structured to handle a lot of customers (thus you don’t have experience), or might not even be a real business! A simple automated voicemail by you with your business name and indication as to when you typically return phone calls can nip this potential in the bud.

The added benefit to a dedicated business line is consistency. That means whether a client is the one texting / calling you, or the if you are the one texting / calling your client, that same business number is always at the forefront. The client is never getting a notifications or messages from numbers (or short codes) they do not recognize. And if you make sure text message is your core line of communication, then you can remove the need for clients to regularly check their Gmail or Outlook for appointment invites or even physical mailbox for mailed invoices.

Having a simple and consistent line of communication can go a long way in making the communication lines with clients incredibly convenient.

Communication and customer relationships

There is a direct correlation between better customer communication and increase referrals and retention.

The one thing business owners focus most of their time on is delivering great service! As a result, some of the “little things” can be overlooked.

But to the client, customer service, professionalism and organization are key components in building up customer confidence and enjoyment when they think about your brand. The simple act of getting a dedicated business number can go a long way in delighting your clients – whether they be prospects, brand new clients, or customers you’ve seen for years.

And with more customer delight, comes more dollars in your pocket 🙂

Top 100 Ways to Meet New Customers

No matter what your field is, getting new customers is a lot of work.

When you run a small business, budgets are tight and your time is limited. Making the most of your money and resources is essential for your business’ success.

The truth is, it shouldn’t be that hard to meet new customers.

So we’re here to help.

The below 100 tips (yep, one HUNDRED) can help you market your small business effectively and connect with new customers.

1.     Create & launch a website

2.     Create a Yelp profile

3.     Ask clients to review you on Yelp

4.     Add a Google Local profile

5.     Launch a Google AdWords Campaign

6.     Start a YouTube channel with tutorials and advice videos

7.     Join Thumbtack to buy leads

8.     Subscribe to HomeAdvisor

9.     Do an Angie’s List trial

10.  Get on Groupon or Living Social and post deals

11.  Sign up for Superpages

12. Respond to Craigslist job requests

13.  Join TalkLocal to get new leads via phone

14.  Get a new client from an On Demand service, then pull them off platform

15.  Get BBB accredited

16.  Connect with leading city bloggers and ask them to review your business or sponsor a post

17.  Advertise on area blogs

18.  Write a D.I.Y blog and disseminate to your clients

19.  Write an “Ask the Expert” column for a local paper or city blog

20.  Guest blog on influential sites

21.  Engage in blog forum discussions in your area

22.  Send 1 business-oriented Tweet every day

23.  Make a Twitter list to connect with local influencers

24.  Post 1 business-oriented photo on Instagram every day

25.  Start a Facebook business page

26.  Ask clients to review you on Facebook

27.  Kick off a targeted Facebook advertising campaign

28.  Give a discount to clients who share your Facebook page

29.  Offer giveaways and promote them on social media

30.  Promote your clients online, encouraging them to share with their friends

31.  Partner with other local businesses to offer packages

32.  Join your city’s Chamber of Commerce

33.  Make flyers and hire a TaskRabbit to pass them out on neighborhood doorsteps

34.  Print business cards and hand them out to / leave them for clients

35.  Leave flyers with local apartment complexes and homeowners’ associations

36.  Place flyers in local businesses to advertise your services

37.  Advertise in church bulletins

38.  Set up a display at a farmers’ market or craft sale

39.  Sponsor a non-profit event or fundraiser

40.  Submit your business for community recognitions

41.  Attend conferences

42.  Contact local universities and offer yourself as a speaker

43.  Post your information on community boards at libraries and grocery stores

44.  Sponsor a local sports team for kids

45.  Attend new resident meetings to showcase your services to potential customers

46.  Volunteer in the community to connect with other leaders

47.  Leave branded pens behind at local businesses

48.  Advertise on pizza boxes or grocery store carts

49.  Create keychain tags and give them out at fairs

50.  Attend traditional networking events

51.  Create bookmarks with your info and donate them to the library and local schools

52.  Donate a gift certificate to charity auctions

53.  Do pro bono work for charity (networking!)

54.  Offer appreciation day specials for teachers, veterans, etc.

55.  Ask friends and family to share your information on social media

56.  Give clients a 25% discount on each referral they send your way

57.  Send happy birthday texts/emails to clients

58.  Send a thank you text when a client refers you to their friend

59.  Survey customers to identify areas of improvement

60.  Send a thank you note or update after completing a job

61.  Throw in some freebies—like candy—whenever meeting a client

62.  Start a loyalty program

63.  Send exclusive holiday offers to current customers

64.  Send a monthly newsletter to your customers

65.  Offer a coupon to new newsletter subscribers

66.  Distribute a press release to your local newspapers

67.  Write a letter to the editor of an online publication

68.  Create a media kit for reporters to use when covering your business

69.  Create an online magazine

70.  Monitor your online reputation

71.  Write an eBook

72.  Get attention – challenge other industry influencers in your writing

73.  Start a podcast

74.  Host webinars

75.  Create an e-brochure to share on region forums

76.  Join HelpAReporter.com and offer yourself to journalists as an expert in your field

77.  Write whitepapers and distribute them to people in the industry

78.  Create an online portfolio of your work

79.  Teach your expertise in an online course

80.  Buy marketing lists for email campaigns

81.  Advertise on the radio

82.  Advertise on a billboard

83.  Advertise in other people’s newsletters

84.  Cold-call new leads each day

85.  Offer mini-trials of your services

86.  Include a link to your website and a coupon code in your email signature

87.  Sponsor a Pokemon Go location

88.  Host a Meetup in your area to network and find prospective clients

89.  Put a magnet with your contact info on your car

90.  Wear a company-branded t-shirt

91.  Use Fiverr to get new logos, flyers or brochures

92.  Research the competition’s pricing and adjust as needed

93.  Offer a satisfaction guarantee

94.  Provide outstanding customer service

95.  Set up a professional answering service

96.  Post your pricing on your website

97.  Get a QR code

98.  Offer free tools or downloads

99.  Create a promotional calendar

100. Film testimonials or customer interviews.

While you may not be able to do everything on this list, experimenting with different ideas outside of your comfort zone can yield impressive results.

During the next slow season, use these tips to kickstart your marketing efforts and connect with new clients. Or start today – what are you waiting for?