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 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:
Useful, relevant content (for *your customers*)
Calls-to-action (you have to ask your customers to *buy*)
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…
Builds trust – in this example, you or your business is the authority on the topic of skin care
Provides actual value – reciprocity 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.
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?
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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:
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!
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.
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.
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 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.
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
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.
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 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.
A booking widget that sends SMS notifications automatically
It syncs with Google calendar
Your clients can book multiple appointments at once
It is available in 10 languages (translation-ready)
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.
Easy to use
Minimal design to make booking easier even for non-tech savvy folks
It sends automatic reminders to booked customers
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.
Integrated with other apps like payment apps or any marketing tools
Easy to use
Send out automated reminders to both staff and clients
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.
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
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.
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 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.
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
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!
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
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.
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!
To offer your services to new customers, you need to find them first.
Owning your own business means you run your own marketing team, which means you are the one responsible for driving a steady stream of high quality leads.
With all the competition out there, how can a small business owner get an edge?
In this article we’ll reveal how the top Pay per Lead providers work. For each provider, you’ll learn:
How it Works
Pro Tips (from real businesses that have been successful on these platforms)
How do I set it up?
Take advantage of the hours we spent researching. Cut your learning curve by reading this article, applying the knowledge, and learning how to get a head start on your competition with each of these platforms!
Intro to Service Lead Models: Pay per Lead
One customer acquisition model that has been revived from the dead in a big way is the pay per lead or introduction model.
If you enjoy pitching your services to interested clients then pay per lead (“PPL”) might work for you.
PPL offerings have grown in recent popularity as more and more individuals are going out and starting their own businesses (thanks to lower marketing costs, lower legal registration fees, lower healthcare costs, mobile productivity tools).
For the most part, you have to be more a pro-active to get the most out of these PPL platforms. You – the business owner – can pay for direct access to a client who is looking for specific services that you offer. Then it’s up to you to close them!
This model isn’t new. There are many platforms that offer PPL as a service.
These are the Online Lead providers that we will be reviewing in this article:
Angie’s List (now owned by Home Advisor)
Let’s get started!
How it works
HomeAdvisor is one of the pioneers of the PPL model. It was founded in 1998, formerly known as ServiceMagic. ServiceMagic was a simple PPL platform allowing professionals of all types (e.g., musicians, handymen, therapists, you name it) to directly pay for incoming leads and pitch their services.
In 2012, the company changed its name to HomeAdvisor, and started to evolve its ad products and focus purely on home services.
As a professional on HomeAdvisor, you can sign up and pay to join the network (similar to Angie’s List it’s a “pay to get access” monthly / annual fee). Once you’re in, then one of the main features is the ability to “turn on” leads.
What that means is you set a budget and HomeAdvisor sends you new business that you can try to win.
That new business comes from clients submitting job requests. HomeAdvisor lets clients complete detailed service requests.
These services include a diverse mix of home service jobs (e.g., landscaping, remodeling, cleaning, plumbing, etc.), the timing, the location, and more.
You – as the service professional – will get notified of these job requests and it’s up to you to close the customer. You can call the client, email the client, text the client – do whatever you think will win you that business.
As you can imagine, this type of marketing platform is ideal if you want to acquire new clients immediately, which would likely appeal to a new business owner. To have good success, you need to be energetic enough to pitch leads and compete for the business.
I highlight the top 3 tips from this blog for using a PPL platform like HomeAdvisor. They are absolutely spot on! These practices will help you maximize your return on investment:
1) Call leads immediately – ASAP!
“This is the single most important factor to making HA work for you, even more so than having good reviews. I’ve found that 9 times out of 10, if I call within minutes of receiving the lead, I get the business. Some customers have even told me that they always choose the first person that calls”
Check out this screenshot from the Lead Response Study linked below:
2) Sign up for small job leads
“Leads for big jobs are expensive at $50 and up. With price shoppers all over the place, this can eat into your profits really fast. That’s why I recommend only signing up for leads for jobs under $15. You will still get your foot in the door and can bank on the return business.”
3) Eliminate leads that don’t pay
“After you’ve been using the service for a while, it’s a good idea to go back over your leads and see which categories pay off and which ones provide mostly junk leads.”
4) Message the leads again
“If the leads haven’t responded, follow up again within 24hrs.”
5) Keep an eye on your costs
“Costs for leads stack up. Make sure you track conversions from leads.”
Get a game plan in place so that when you do turn those online leads ON, you are immediately ready to close them and beat out the competition!
Home Advisor has also invested in tools like Instant Booking and Instant Connect, which allows clients to reach out to you directly if they like your profile and reviews. These add on features are still a small part of the platform activity, but they are growing.
Watch the 2 mins ins and outs video tutorial. Then you can sign up for free.
The setup process is multiple steps. You need to provide references and background information as part of the registration process.
HomeAdvisor is pretty thorough in terms of its screening process, so setting everything up takes a bit of time. You get a dedicated marketing consultant contact who will reach out and who you can call or email with questions throughout setup.
Then you are prompted to set up your Home Advisor subscription and decide how much you would like to start paying for leads.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS?
In 2012, ServiceMagic changed its name to HomeAdvisor in an effort to re-brand itself. If you Google “ServiceMagic” you will see a laundry list of customer complaints about the quality of the professionals on its platform.
Homeowners complained that the service providers who performed the jobs did terrible jobs. But more so are complaints from the providers themselves talking about how the leads coming to them were bogus in a lot of cases, and they spend all this money to pitch customers with no business coming to them.
To shake their bad reputation, ServiceMagic brought in a new CEO in 2011 and changed its name to HomeAdvisor.
HomeAdvisor is also pretty expensive. It costs ~$250 per year to just be a part of the network, and then you need to pay to get leads.
We have heard feedback from participating professionals that you need to be careful turning your leads option ON, because if you don’t pay attention HomeAdvisor can send you a bunch of leads in a short amount of time and start charging your card on file instantly…
Stay on top of your online leads option and turn it OFF if you’re busy with work or taking some downtime.
Also, for a lot of business owners, this type of lead ad model is very tough to master. The risk is you spend a lot of money to get these leads with none of them panning out.
Sometimes you were too slow to call the customer so they went with a competing provider. Other times your bid was simply too high. Or customers can change their mind. You call them and they never pick up.
Just be careful on the upfront spend – before you know it you could be in the hole hundreds of dollars without any clients, any clicks, any “likes”, any reviews.
Moving on, up next we have a Pay per Lead platform that most folks are familiar with by now… Thumbtack, of course.
How it works
The Thumbtack model is similar to HomeAdvisor. The 2 main differences are: (1) there is no monthly or annual fee to join the network, and (2) the industries it services are not just limited to home improvement – but includes all types of service providers like dog walkers, lawyers, photographers, tutors, and more. As far as customer acquisition goes, Thumbtack is a treasure trove of possible clients.
Clients can go through a similar “concierge” flow, specifying their service needs and their job details get blasted to up to 5 professionals for that specific service and geography. Thumbtack sets the opening bid price for a lead’s contact information. If you win the bidding process, you get to pitch that lead – and the cost is paid in “credits”.
Each credit costs $1.67 to buy and leads can cost anywhere from 2 to 9 credits (so $3.34 to $15.30 per lead). That’s another difference between Thumbtack and HomeAdvisor – Thumbtack has more control over which leads you choose to spend money on (based on limited service requests and client demographic information).
Once the credits are spent – then it’s up to you to close that online lead!
Another consumer use-case is when clients actually Google a specific service name and the location, then Thumbtack’s page results actually rank high on Google and the service providers – you – are accessible directly by any customers.
For example, if I Google “dog walkers in Seattle, WA”, one of the results in Google is the link below to one of Thumbtack’s popular list:
Clients are able to review your profile (like description, reviews, photos, etc.) and “Request a Quote” from you directly. Note that you – the professional – will still be required to pay credits to Thumbtack to find out who requested said quote from you (as no website or phone # details are included on your profile for direct contact).
Converting first-time clients into recurring clients is crucial with Thumbtack as well. If it takes you multiple online leads before closing one, then your initial return on investment might not be that great, but if you can convert that client to book with you in the future, then your ROI could look great. Remember, customer acquisition is a long term game.
Set up software like Calldrip that calls your phone whenever a lead comes in, then calls the lead. It’s like having a concierge connect you to leads automatically whenever they come in. The software even whispers the client’s name for you or your admin before connecting the call. It’s basically magic:
Look up your profile from the client’s side. This gives you two great opportunities:
See how you show up from your client’s perspective. You never know what you might uncover! (Is that my personal email being displayed on there? Oh boy…)
Take a sneak peak at your competitor’s profiles! Get ideas on how to optimize your pictures, your description, and showcase your services in a more appealing manner. This is actually a perfect segway to our next point:
The setup process is pretty simple and straightforward. Along with setting up your profile, Thumbtack will give you a link to your specific profile – they encourage you to send this link to past clients to build you reviews. I would recommend doing this. More reviews and content on your profile will make their system rate you as more relevant (and higher quality) and, as a result, will send you more online leads to bid on.
Go to thumbtack.com/pro
Choose your City and Industry
3. Log in with Google, Facebook, or Email
4. Follow the prompts to set up your brand spankin’ new profile!
With Thumbtack being a similar PPL model as HomeAdvisor, similar risks around cold leads and tough bidding apply. You can wind up buying and using a ton of credits, and not get any new business when it is all said and done.
There are some reports out there stating on average you win 16% of all leads you buy – in that case you need to make sure you are not spending a lot to buy said leads…or if you are, you need to make sure the final payment you get from the customer is a lot more than the amount you spent on all the other lost leads.
Another risk is that the bidding and pitching system typically leads to a “lowest price wins” game. Meaning, clients will often tend to accept the lowest priced service no matter how many professionals reach out to them.
Thus, similar to discount platforms, this model attracts customers who are looking for low price over quality, and the next time they need a service (the same service done again even), they will go back to the well for anyone who can give them “bottom-of-the-barrel” prices again.
There also seem to be frustrations regarding the quality of leads. Here is a recent post on Thumbtack’s forum that summarizes the issue folks have been having – it looks like Thumbtack is sending online leads to too many providers, and also the quality of leads seems to have diminished.
That being said, Thumbtack is still where droves of customers go to find a quality professional, and thus still remains a viable source of opportunity as far as getting new clients thru online leads for your service business.
Why don’t we go right ahead into our next pick: Talk Local.
HOW IT WORKS
TalkLocal has a bit of a twist. As a smaller company, it isn’t technically a PPL company, but more of a “Pay Per Conversation” type of app. And just as it sounds, it takes much more over the phone / conversational take to introducing a business to a potential customer.
As a professional, you can preview incoming customer leads for free over the phone (as in you get a call from TalkLocal and you can hear the information about the job request) and only pay when you actually opt-in and speak to a customer. It covers about 50 different service verticals, focusing on home improvement like plumbers, handymen, HVAC, and roofers, which are big ticket services. They require more salesmanship and quality and track record matters in addition to price. So when one of those leads closes, it typically pays for all of the ones that you lost.
Just like on Thumbtack, as a client you can go to TalkLocal and specify your location, the job or service details you are in need of, and contact (i.e., phone #) details. TalkLocal then blasts the most relevant service professionals in the area via automated phone call. When the pro picks up, they can opt in to accept the job over the phone, then TalkLocal immediate connects them to the client by calling the client’s phone. Once the client picks up, the business gets charged the “introduction” fee. Then it’s up to you, the business, to pitch your services over the phone.
HOW DO I SET IT UP?
Head to http://www.talklocal.com/claim/ to claim your business on the TalkLocal site. In addition to entering your business information, you select your job preferences, service area radius, and your desired call frequency/bid level all of which can be adjusted at any time.
Joining the Premium plan will send you a higher volume of leads, which the company says on average costs $16 per call introduction. The free plan only sends businesses jobs that member companies (like Yahoo! Local) have passed on.
Just like any other PPL platform, TalkLocal has its own quirks and pro tips. Let’s dive right in!
TalkLocal is sending out an automated phone call to all of the potential leads. This is different because it requires the lead to answer the phone.
But once this happens, TalkLocal then sends a follow up call to your phone – here’s where the magic starts.
Some things to keep in mind from a customer acquisition perspective:
Answer the phone professionally. Too many Pros are answering the phone like an individual instead of a business. To look more professional, try starting the conversation with a phrase like “Thank you for reaching out, we are a TalkLocal verified provider and I was wondering if you could tell me more about the project?” This sets the frame from the start that…
You are a professional company
Indeed responding to their TalkLocal inquiry
Focused on them and their needs
Get details up front. Too often the job scope is not communicated over the phone effectively. For this reason there is frustration on both sides because…
The Pro ends up feeling required to complete tasks outside of the job scope (because they’ve already accepted the job without detailing the deliverables beforehand)
The Customer feels confused and slighted (because there aren’t clear expectations set for the success of the job, and what is required to classify this job as a success).
For example: Pro answers the phone unprofessionally, doesn’t clarify the scope of the job.
Result: Customer is unsure of quality / professionalism of Pro, and is upset when some of the items that were expected to be completed in the scope of the job go undone. Customer reviews Pro negatively on TalkLocal and other review platforms. Customer, Pro, and TalkLocal all had a bad experience in this situation.
Another, contrary example: Pro answers the phone professionally and asks great questions to drill down on the requirements for the job.
Result: Customer is happy with the professionalism and feels proud of his decision to hire Pro. All job details are discussed upfront, so nothing is left to chance. Assuming the Pro completes all items on time and up to par, customer is happy and decides to hire the Pro on a recurring basis. This reflects TalkLocal and also the Pro well, and can result in additional recurring revenue for both!
WHAT ARE THE RISKS?
TalkLocal is small in size so the volume of client requests and introductions will be relatively small – take this into consideration when you spend time setting up and learning the system.
You should not spend hours of time with a platform that may or may not provide you a lot of new customer liquidity. But arguably it shouldn’t take you very long to get set up.
The company states that average cost of a new client introduction is $16. Keep in mind that this does not guarantee you will win this business. As soon as the call is connected, you are out $16.
Arguably, if you are talking to the customer over the phone, the chances of converting that client to a paying customer is higher than sending them a simple bid through a platform like Thumbtack – it’s more personal to talk on the phone!
But the jury is still out on that theory, so you need to do your own testing to see how convincing you are to win a customer at an average $16 per “opportunity”.
HOW IT WORKS
HomeGuide is another Pay per lead platform. The way it works is a bit different from the others – it still uses a credit system, but you can receive a refund for credits that don’t result in the customer responding.
This seems like an improvement on Thumbtack (which sends quotes to so many Pros, the conversion rate seems to be low) however HomeGuide doesn’t have as big of a network, so the frequency of new online leads may be lower.
HOW DO I SET IT UP?
The way to start is to tap “Join is a Pro” in the top right:
You may also have to confirm your email (and possibly your phone number) in order to verify your profile.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS?
One thing to remember is that you get to keep 100% of the revenue that you generate – HomeGuide doesn’t keep any of the money that is transferred from the customer to you as the Pro.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that you need to keep track of how much money you’re spending on bids.
Additionally it’s imperative to track how many of the bids you’re sending out are converting to actual customers.
This way you can track the revenue generated by the customers, compare that to your total costs of using HomeGuide (or any other PPL platform) and thus determine your Return on Ad Spend (RoAS).
Now we’re thinking like top Pros! Give yourself a pat on the back once you’re completed this tracking – it’s more than 90% of Pros do to ensure their business is running healthy!
HomeGuide has a clever way of getting new Pros – they actually send out a cold email blast asking service providers to put their Best of HomeGuide badge onto their site.
This creates 2 virtuous cycles:
Creates a backlink from the service Pro’s site to Homeguide, increasing their SEO and thus their search rankings.
Creates social proof on both sides:
For the Pro (look, I’ve been featured as Best of HomeGuide!)
For HomeGuide (this website categorizes service Pros, so they must be legit.)
So what’s the Pro tip here? You can put the image of their badge onto your site without having to provide a backlink! This creates exposure for HomeGuide (great for them) and also allows you to have more social proof on your website (good for you and reassures your customers that you’re a legit business).
What a journey we’ve taken! Let’s launch into some closing remarks regarding Pay per Lead platforms…
Overall Pay Per Lead Platform Thoughts
In this guide you’ve learned:
What are PPL Platforms
How they work and make money
How you as a service professional can capitalize on the vast amounts of potential customers looking for your services on these platforms
Things to watch out for
How to set each platform up
The risks of each platform
The PPL model for generating leads online is becoming more popular with a certain sect of consumers because it makes price shopping quite convenient for services. You tap a few buttons, and then in minutes you’ve got professionals calling and emailing you with specific quotes on cost of service as well as a nice little pitch to go along with it.
It’s almost like a concierge service for the clients, all the while delivering clarity around pricing – and that means lowest price in most cases.
As a result, we’re starting to see the likes of Google enter the space with Google Home Services. They’ve started first in the San Francisco Bay Area (in beta), so if you’re a provider in that area I would sign up. (Update 2019: Google Home Services and Amazon Home Services are now in full swing)
Clients can “Send Requests” for a quote from you directly from Google (without doing any extra work like visiting another site):
Angie’s List is testing out its “Lead Feed” product offering even, which is again very similar to the PPL model.
Point being, you’ve got an increasing amount of options to play around with to test out if the PPL model is right for your business. I would get a game plan in place as to what your course of action is once a warm lead comes your way, then spend some money to see what it takes to convert leads to clients and also get a sense as to how many of these new clients you’re converting to lifelong customers.
Pro Tips for All Pay Per Lead Platforms
Now that we’ve come to the closing of service business leads in the Pay per Lead form… Let’s discuss some hands-in-the-dirt strategies for actually applying everything you’ve learned about PPL platforms. How you can use them to dominate your local service industry?
Follow up fast. Like, lighting speed fast. Here’s another interesting graph from the Lead Response management study linked above. This one shows how important it is to follow up quickly in terms of leads that became qualified:
Always track your RoAS. Remember, you’re paying for each lead, not each customer. This requires you to track how many leads you have to pay for before you convert one into a paying customer. By tracking RoAS you are making sure that your initiative on each platform is paying off. To start tracking RoAS:
Track your total expenses for each platform (on a weekly or monthly basis). On PPL platforms this typically comes down to how many total credits you purchased
How many actual customers were generated from these efforts (per platform)
Revenue (and profit!) generated from customers for each platform
Extra credit: To improve your system further, track the conversion rate from:
Lead bids to responses
Responses to bookings
Avg revenue per booking (per platform)
This concludes our exhaustive article on Online Leads for Service Businesses! You should now have enough info to dominate your local area… and maybe even time for a victory dance!
Have any further suggestions for how to use Pay per Lead platforms effectively?
If you liked this content, check out our Frustrations with Square article! You’ll never feel so vindicated in your life. 😉
And of course, if you’re a service Pro and you want a way to manage your entire business from your phone, check out the PocketSuite app. We’ve been featured on TechCrunch, Forbes, Wall Street Journal, and more.
When you are building your therapy, clinical social work or mental health business, growing your customer base and getting exposure can be challenging. With more and more competition, standing out from the crowd can be difficult.
Joining a therapy or health marketplace can be a great way to establish your practice and build your clientele in a high quality way. A lot more so than simply being listed on Yelp, Angie’s List, etc.
We’ve been speaking with dozens of founders of therapy marketplaces and organizations over the past few months, and we wanted to share our thoughts.
Below are nine different types of marketplaces eager therapists can join to help your practice grow, depending on your business’s niche and needs.
Big Brand & Reach
GoodTherapy for Mental Health
As one of the largest mental health directories in the world, GoodTherapy connects patients to professionals in 30 different countries. Each month, the network receives over 1.5 million therapist searches.
GoodTherapy focuses on collaborative care, with a focus on non-stigmatizing language and the client and therapist working together to identify solutions. For mental health professionals, GoodTherapy offers a wide range of continuing education materials, such as webinars, best practices and marketing seminars.
The platform also tracks visitors to your profile as a therapist. You can get access to real-time analytics as to how many clients are visiting your profile, how many are calling you, tapping on call-to-actions, etc.
To become a member it costs $29.95 per month, with discounts if you sign up for longer term memberships.
Platforms Doing Good
Open Path Psychotherapy Collective for Mental Health
Open Path Psychotherapy Collective believes everyone should have access to quality mental care, regardless of income. The mission of the site is to provide middle and lower-income people to affordable psychotherapy and mental health education services.
Individual clients can see a quality therapist for $30 to $50 a visit (well below market pricing). The mental health providers that are part of Open Path’s directory are either therapists building their practice and reputation or established professionals giving back to the community.
There are currently over 2,300 therapists in the community, but with rising client demand, many more are needed. To join this non-profit network, therapists complete an online application and send in a copy of their license and liability insurance. For most, the process takes under 10 minutes there are no fees whatsoever for participating therapists.
International Therapist Directory for Mental Health
The International Therapist Directory (“ITD”) is a global listing of professional therapists, counselors, psychiatrists and psychologists who offer cross-cultural therapy. Spanning 40 countries, therapists can connect with clients and also network with other healthcare providers.
As our world becomes more and more culturally blended, with people living and working in new countries, culturally-sensitive healthcare providers are essential to provide relevant and helpful therapy.
The site is focused on professional therapists with credentials at the master’s level or higher, with a thoughtful understanding of the ‘Third Culture Kid’. Healthcare providers in the ITD network have a tendency to connect with one another to refer patients and share their expertise, so their referral network is growing quite considerably.
Member fee is just a $35 annual fee.
Directory, Community, Web-building & More
TherapyTribe for Mental Health
TherapyTribe is an online therapist directory that also offers online support groups with wellness tools and activities. Offering support for people with mental illnesses, addictions and diseases, the site has a professional directory of thousands of therapists as well as self-help materials.
As one of the largest directories, TherapyTribe receives tens of thousands of visitors each week from people looking for help. In addition, therapists listed with TherapyTribe are featured to support group members using geo-targeting to match by location.
TherapyTribe is now offering members a free professional therapist website included with their membership. A membership with TherapyTribe gets your business in front of a national pool of potential clients for a monthly ($20) or annual fee ($199).
Where Physical & Mental Intersect
Essential Yoga Therapy for Holistic Approach to Psychology and Fitness
Essential Yoga Therapy (“EYT”) connects customers with specialized yoga therapists who prepare customized plans to treat chronic pain or illness. EYT focuses on yoga therapy as the evolution of the healing process.
In addition to giving yoga therapists greater access to potential clients, the site also has quality educational resources. For example, there are sessions on how to teach a class with individuals dealing with scoliosis, covering techniques and pose adjustments that will not hurt the client.
The site is tailored to certified yoga therapists who focus on the holistic needs and therapeutic practices for individuals. Essential Yoga Therapy also offers in-person training for its professional community to learn new techniques.
International OCD Foundation for Niche Mental Healthcare
As one of the oldest resources for people with obsessive compulsive disorder (“OCD”), the International OCD Foundation connects individuals and families with disease state information, support materials and healthcare providers.
The site has a targeted group of therapists 1,200 strong. In addition to a directory listing, professional members also get access to the annual conference access, entrance to the behavioral therapy training institute and clinics with providers specializing in the treatment of OCD.
There are millions of people affected by OCD (1% of the U.S. population to be exact), but finding therapists who are knowledgeable in the disease is difficult. This site connects individuals to specially trained professionals.
The foundation is thoughtful in making membership affordable to its professionals. There are 3 tiers of memberships – from students preparing to be licensed therapists, to institutional memberships – with a sliding scale of membership costs.
Regional Therapy Organizations
The Georgia Society for Clinical Social Work for Regional Care
There are a growing number of regional therapy marketplaces on a state-by-state basis, including the Georgia Society for Clinical Social Work (“GSCSW”) as an example. Since 1980, the GSCSW has worked to advance clinical social work practices and empower professional social workers in the state of Georgia.
By becoming a member, social workers can network with other local professionals, access continuing education resources, and keep informed about legislation affecting the field.
Social workers can join the network with an annual fee ranging from $20 for a student, to $110 for a licensed practitioner. Upon joining, professionals are listed in the local directory and gain access to a forum of other professionals to pose questions and receive support.
On Demand Mental Health
7 Cups for Mental Health
Recently launched 7 Cups provides affordable, on-demand mental health services, connecting users to compassionate and trained professionals around the clock. From everyday stresses to more severe needs, 7 Cups offers users a safe space.
With over 800,000 site visitors a month spanning across 189 countries, the 7 Cups platform is rapidly growing and expanding their services. The benefit to the platform is that therapists can provide care online via messages through the app. All therapy is done through the HIPAA compliant platform, and allows clients to get online (and mobile) access to therapists without having to move a muscle.
For the therapist, the fee is $29.95 per month to be listed. In addition to 40% per client interaction if the client decides to book communication time with you.
For people who want traditional in-person care, 7 Cups also offers a practice directory. Professionals can get connected to thousands of potential clients the old fashioned way as well.
Alternative Therapists Network for Non-Conventional Care
The Alternative Therapists Network (“ATN”) focuses on multiple modes of therapy and self-care for patients. ATN connects clients with counselors, yoga practitioners, life coaches, and music and art instructors. It offers a space for clients and professionals to find alternatives to conventional therapy and medication. This is a known challenge to established beliefs.
Users can find out about practitioners, their experience and their approach to therapy before ever contacting them. That way, they can ensure their therapist shares their ideals and philosophies before beginning sessions.
Clients can schedule appointments directly through the site, which makes it easier for therapists and instructors to build their clientele. For a fee, professionals can join the network, get connected to users and get access to webinars and training seminars.
Recommendation: First Research, Then Join A Network
As a therapist or healthcare provider, building your own practice can be daunting. Joining a professional network or marketplace can help you establish your presence and credibility. For a small fee, you can increase your clientele as well as network with like-minded professionals.
It’s a worthwhile investment that will expand your practice.
The obsession of Pokemon Go isn’t just affecting eager consumers and gamers alike.
It actually has potential to affect your business…but in a great way.
And it won’t cost you much.
To sum it up from a local business marketing expert:
“[Pokémon Go] is so popular that people are sometimes crowding parks and other locations, chasing their favorite Pokémon characters in order to capture them. Local businesses can take advantage of this phenomenon by purchasing “Lures” to entice players into their stores.”
If you haven’t hear of Pokemon Go yet, in short it has been THE most downloaded app in iTunes history (you can download the app for free). It’s an “augmented reality” game, wherein gamers create their own character and go from location to location (yes, in the real world) to search and capture Pokemon characters using help from their smartphone’s camera.
The game is so addictive, it has attracted hoards of people in areas like parks and public city places as they hunt for Pokemon to track down.
As a business owner that offers services or runs group classes outside, it’s a new and very exciting way to tap into large groups of potential clients to gravitate towards you while you’re in a park or outside running a class.
Attracting Potential Clients:
Leveraging the game to capture new (real life) clients is quite simple.
What you can do is purchase what are called “Lures” within the Pokemon Go app, which will entice users to come to a particular location (determined by you) as they hunt for Pokemon characters to capture.
Some fun (and helpful) terminology:
Pokecoin = currency inside the Pokemon Go app ($0.99 for 100 Pokecoins)
1 Lure Module = 100 Pokecoins
PokeStop = a local business or location
A fun (and easy way) to attract a group of Pokemon Go users:
1) Use social media to pre-announce a Pokemon Go promotion you’ll be running
2) Purchase a Lure Module to lure Pokemon Go users to your PokeStop – your location during a specific time window
3) Be attentive and capture the contact information of location visitors or offer discounts for services right on the spot!
Try even printing signs or wearing a flashy outfit to make your presence known as groups of potential clients come flocking to your location.
Chat that client up, pitch your services, then pop that lead directly into PocketSuite for immediate session booking!
Clients receive messages via SMS text – just like any other message – and can respond to you in real-time
Market deals, discounts and send group announcements
Keep all your communication and transaction history organized in a single message thread for each customer
See what our pros have to say themselves…
Brio Photography Los Angeles, CA ” I love the deposit feature! Requiring a deposit for booking has made a big difference in my client follow through. “ www.briophotography.com
Adriana’s House Cleaning San Francisco, CA ” PocketSuite has helped me simplify my customer schedules and payments. It’s helped me grow easily in San Fran, and I’m now expanding into Los Angeles. “ www.adrianacleaning.com
Beverly The Pooch Coach San Francisco, CA ” Online booking is amazing! I used to play phone tag a lot with people trying to set up appointments before PocketSuite…and I know I lost a bunch of clients in the process. “ www.poochcoach.com
Wells BR Fitness Baton Rouge, LA ” I’m literally setting up my entire week’s worth of classes from my phone in minutes with this app. Life saver! “ www.wellsfitnessbr.org
Check us out in the press:
Tap here to learn more about all the different features and tools PocketSuite can offer your business today.
Being an independent health and fitness professional can feel lonely. You don’t have co-workers, you don’t have any staff – it’s you and your clients.
As fitness-focused groups and communities have grown online (on top of what already exists “offline”), fitness, health and wellness professionals are starting to take advantage of the vast wealth of knowledge and benefits out there. Being a part of a group or community won’t just help you get more clients or help you learn tips/tools from successful peers, but they can also act as your psychiatrist – helping you connect with fellow fitness and health professionals across the world relating to your daily frustrations, questions and concerns.
We’ve spoken to thousands of personal trainers, wellness professionals and yoga instructors to get a sense as to the most powerful communities (online and offline) to help them get the upper hand when it comes to building their own small business.
LinkedIn Groups can help your fitness business in two ways: (1) Shed light on great educational resources (2) Connect with peers to help your sanity
These groups are best described by a summary from Fitness Trainers and Coaches. “Allowing professionals in this industry to network, gain knowledge and share techniques among other group members so that the common objective of improving the lives of our clients, can be achieved along with the advances in technology.”
LinkedIn Groups are great because the members of these communities share training tips. They share useful blogs and they share tech tools that will help their peers succeed. The fantastic thing about these communities is the professionals don’t consider each other competition. Members are open and happy to be helpful to other professionals – it’s not a zero sum game in this community…everybody can succeed together.
LinkedIn is also a great way to connect with peers to help vent any frustration. On top of public communication feed, you can create direct and private relationships with other trainers on the platform. You can share stories, experiences and advice (public or private). Advice based on any working situations or experiences you’ve had with clients. You can decide if you’d like act as social media shrink doling out advice to peers. Act as the patient with a sea of eager fitness, health and wellness entrepreneurs who are willing to help.
Don’t get me wrong – getting a 3rd party certification as a fitness trainer or health professional is work. Discovering the program that will benefit your business, analyze its benefits, pay money for the certification, and then actually prepare and take an exam to complete certification. The return on this investment can be huge for a variety of reasons.
Popular certification programs include ACE Fitness, IDEA Fit, and NASM. Becoming a part of these certification programs is great because it not only opens you up to a network of other professionals, but allows you to leverage the network for benefits. Things like employment listings, exposure within a client-facing directory, liability insurance discounts, product discounts and more. Here’s a great comparison table detailing the variety of benefits across certification programs.
Communities like these are more active and force you to do work. In return the amount of work you put in can yield tremendous dividends. About 100,000 trainers across the U.S. are part of these certification groups.
There are a lot of these “influencers” on Twitter that dole out useful tips, tricks and advice. Especially relevant within the fitness and health industries that thrive off it. Typically most of these people cater to consumers who are looking for D.I.Y. advice. This is not as relevant to eager entrepreneurs looking to build their own business. Similarly there are many influencers you can follow on Twitter who talk about broad or niche topics that you will find interesting. Therefore, you can then pass on to your clients in the form of consulting advice or enhanced services.
Adam Bornstein (@BornFitness) provides great content and articles around a whole host of educational fitness topics. Meaghan B Murphy (@meaghanbmurphy) is an ACE certified trainer and also provides useful tips focused on training integrated with a healthy lifestyle. Jen Sinkler (@jensinkler) has a hyper focus around female heavy lifting (niche industry for some trainers). Bobby Strom (@BobbyStrom) is known as the “trainer’s trainer” with must-read tips revolving around not just fitness but medical help as well. Bob Harper (@MyTrainerBob) is meal oriented and clearly one who is friendly with food-conscious celebrities. Point being, there are all types of fitness and health personalities you can follow. To further your entrepreneurial career, depending on your business needs.
Twitter communities keep you and your specific industry in-the-know on a variety of topics. Never let any trends, topics or tips slip under the radar – turn this knowledge into power by improving your client relationships and services.
Direct them to your website to get information on your business
No matter which platform you choose, whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, or YouTube… you need those three things in your bio.
Create a Content Calendar
This is a crucial step. When planning out your social strategy, do not skip this.
A content calendar keeps you on track for what to post each day. Don’t assume that you’ll remember what you want to post on which days.
Let’s say that you’re planning the launch of a new product or service. Using social media to get the word out is a great way to do that, but if you don’t have a content calendar planned out, then you will end up posting items at random and it will not serve you well and will lead to lower sales for that new product or service.
Creating a Content calendar is a tedious process, but it is one that you need to set aside at least one or two hours for to create it and then at least 30 minutes every week to update it.
Keep in mind that your content calendar won’t always look like another service business’ content calendar. That’s okay! Use what works for you and it will help you stay on track with posting the right content, on the right days, so that you can attract more sales and leads online.
Use Captions that Convert
Now that you have your calendar planned out, it’s time to create captions that will wow your target audience.
This is where you need to spend the most time planning out your social strategy to get clients for your service business.
Do not–I repeat do not–skimp on your captions.
Create captions that are at least 50 words long.
Tell a story
Use power words; words that hook people and convert them to engaged leads.
These three tips alone will give you more likes, clicks, and shares on your content. The key is, watch for growth within one to two weeks. Seeing a change overnight is a great story, but it’s not the norm.
Make sure you are tracking your analytics to see what captions are working best for you for your target audience. This tells you how to communicate exactly what they want to hear from your business.
Don’t Skimp on the Photos
As the saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” That is even more true on your social profiles.
Make sure that the photos you’re sharing accurately and compellingly represent you and your service business.
Your photos don’t have to look super polished, airbrushed, or like the fancy destination trips that have now become the norm for marketing from business owners, especially solopreneurs.
You don’t need a fancy photoshoot. You don’t need a fresh set of flowers. You don’t need to go sit by the beach with your laptop, smile, and type away in the sand.
All of those things are good and have their place and time. For you, however, your audience will be more engaged when you share the real nitty-gritty photos of your service business.
Sharing your process makes you more relatable to your target audience. Be real. Stay authentic and you will be rewarded with loyal followers and new clients. Use every chance you get to do so with a photo.
Almost anything that happens in the daily life of your business is a shareable moment.
Share photos of your wins and photos of your process. For example, a photo to share could be right after you sign a new client. If you have a certain ritual that you do afterward, like drinking some tea, show your tea mug in a photo and share that you have signed this new client.
If you’re really hard pressed for photos, choose free stock photo resources that have the same look and feel as your business and select photos to share from there. Don’t worry about being perceived as a fraud or a copycat. The resources are there to keep your business successful.
Hashtags, Hashtags, Hashtags
In real estate, it’s all about location, location, location. On social outlets, it’s all about hashtags, hashtags, hashtags.
Hashtags are a way for people to find you more easily and get to know your business if they are not familiar with it already. Hashtags are important because they connect you to a broader audience and help you get in front of people who you can have as clients or people that you can partner with.
Remember to create a specific hashtag for your business. This helps you with branding your business in a professional way and it will also help you when you’re looking through your post and seeing what has been re-shared. After you’ve created a business-specific hashtag, focus on hashtags that your target market is searching for on social media.
Don’t just copy someone else’s hashtags. Find hashtags specific to each of your posts, save those in a file for later, and switch them up every other post so that your social profiles have a variety for each post. In addition to the fact that your audience will appreciate this, the algorithm that evaluates your social profile will love you for this as well. In no time, and with some luck, you’ll be able to hit the Explore page on Instagram! (That’s a huge win if you can do that).
Along with accurate hashtags, tagging profiles who are similar to yours is a good option as well.
The key is tastefully tagging. Do not tag at random. This does not help your business and it can also get your account shut down. No one wants that.
If you have recently worked with a media outlet, an influencer, or another brand, it’s a good idea to tag them within your next one to three posts.
If you’re trying to gain the attention of an outlet, influencer, or brand, and get new clients, tag them, but do it as a shout out where you’re talking about how you admired something that they do in business. That is a tasteful tag.
Don’t Sell in Every Post
Getting clients on social media really comes down to not selling every single post.
Build relationships with your target audience. Get to know them, ask them questions about their life, their business, their kids, their pets. Don’t get so caught up in the fact that you want them as a client that you forget to see them as a person.
To get clients on social media for your service business, the best way to do that is to use the 80/20 rule. That rule says that 80% of your post should be focused on your audience or providing value to your audience. Then 20% of your post should be presenting a way for them to work with you or buy your product.
By following these steps, you set yourself up for success to get clients from social media for your business. Go over each one carefully and refer back to the list often. This is the key to get clients from your social profiles for your service business.
Do you crush it on social media? Leave a comment and let us know!