How to get more clients for your therapy practice on yelp!

Are you a newly-licensed therapist with a budding practice and you’re looking to bring on new patients?

Maybe you’re an established therapist that’s looking for a new way to get patients through the door.

Either way, this article is for you

For many years Yelp has been the go-to for service businesses to shine in the online space, displaying positive reviews and encouraging eager folks to book their services.

With the recent public criticism of Yelp, including a documentary called Billion Dollar Bully, don’t be fooled. As unfortunate as some of the claims that have been made against Yelp are, they are still the go to resource for many clients as it relates to assessing the online reputation of retail, restaurant, and service businesses. 

It would be a mistake to think that Yelp is no longer a viable source of new patients for your practice.

In fact, Yelp is still used by tens of millions of consumers to make wise decisions as far as which service business to give their hard-earned money to in exchange for top-notch services.

This does include therapy practices, so it makes sense to know the exact, practical steps you can take in order to make the most of your profile on the platform.

Not that you have a choice – businesses famously can’t opt out of their listing being displayed by Yelp.

It’s because of this that it is not a choice, but more of a necessity to put your best foot forward on Yelp. In this article, we’ll discuss how you can do just that with the least amount of pain and frustration possible.

Think of the upside – many businesses get the majority of their new clients from Yelp, and you can build your profile up to the point where the majority of your new patients will be finding your practice on Yelp as well!

Let’s walk through how exactly to accomplish this seemingly insurmountable feat…

Source: The Daily Beast

HOW TO DOMINATE YELP WITH YOUR THERAPY PRACTICE

There are a few key ingredients to an effective Yelp profile.

One is to build a steady stream of new 5-star reviews

Now you may be wondering, is there a way to cheat the system and either pay for or somehow manufacture fake 5-star reviews?

The answer to this is a flat out – no.

Yelp has famously punished businesses for attempting to defraud their review system, even going so far as to plaster a warning to consumers on your profile. 

If you flat-out offer discounts or extra perks in exchange for positive reviews, you may be hit with a Consumer Alert on your Yelp profile, such as the one pictured below.

Another way to get more patients for your therapy practice on Yelp is to encourage happy patients to review you.

“Sure, but how do I find and isolate the happy patients,” you cheerfully inquire, “if I don’t know which ones are actually happy with my practice?”

The simple answer is, of course, to ask them

Send out an automated email or text message (which is proven to have a higher response rate) after every therapy session (or at the very least, the first one) asking customers what they thought about your service.

For the patients that responded positively, send out a follow-up email asking those specific patients to leave an honest review on Yelp.

Provide a link to your Yelp profile in the email – you can even go a step further and find the link that directs them to write a review (just right-click on the ‘Write a review’ button on your profile and insert that link into the email).

In this way, you are pre-selecting the patients that are already happy with your service, and encouraging those folks to leave a review, which will inevitably results in more 5-star reviews on your profile.

Another technique includes calling the patients directly and soliciting their feedback and then asking the happy ones to leave a review.

Either way, you’re not technically violating any of Yelp’s terms since you’re not providing any kind of incentive for patients to leave a review – simply asking the right people

As a happy side-effect, you’ll also be able to deal with any qualms or frustrations that your patients have with your practice on the spot, before they’ve had a chance to run to online platforms such as Yelp and Google to voice their concerns.

As the mini cherry on top, you’ll also be privy to feedback that you can then use to change your practice for the better.

Another possible strategy would be to fight against the allegedly unfair algorithm that filters your positive reviews on Yelp.

You may even try intentionally asking for 1-star reviews, as a restaurant owner famously did in the Bay Area, which led him to receive overwhelming praise from business owners and a massive uptick in new business.

However, this strategy is reserved for those with thick skin and a determination to stick it to the man (or in this case, the platform)

Additionally, if you don’t reach critical mass to the point where publications like The Hustle are writing articles about you, this plan may backfire drastically and leave you with a downtrodden, 1-star review plagued Yelp listing.

Given this high risk / high reward, scenario, let’s talk about some techniques that don’t involve potentially flushing your Yelp listing down the toilet (and with that, the trust of thousands of potential new patients).

HOW TO RUN YOUR THERAPY PRACTICE BETTE

Being dependent on a single platform to spoon-feed you with clients is inherently dangerous.

What if Yelp changes their algorithm or decides to mark some of your positive reviews as ‘Not Recommended

Let’s delve into the nuances of how to grow your therapy practice without having to rely on Yelp to provide you with the majority of your new patients or patient leads.

BE VISIBLE ONLINE

As the internet gobbles up more and more brick-and-mortar businesses, you can ensure your small business is successful in the future by putting yourself everywhere a potential client might be looking.

I’ve said before that leads and sales are like oxygen for a business and without this your business will suffocate and eventually die.

So take heed and take some time to build a solid pipeline of new leads coming in.

MAKE SURE YOUR LEAD FUNNEL IS IN PLACE

The main reason you created a profile on Yelp is because you are looking for more patients for your therapy practice.

So without your own source of new clients, it can be tough to break free and build your small business from the ground up.

How do you build an evergreen pipeline of new clients, you ask

We’ve covered this before in our article on how to generate online leads for your service business, but let’s break it down specifically for your Therapy practice.

  • Build your online presence on sites like Google, Yelp, Thumbtack, and Online Directories
  • Advertise on the websites of local businesses
  • Ask your current clients for referrals
  • Run Google Ads (PocketSuite has a partnership with Google that allows you to easily market your business and send leads right to an online chat widget that you can receive messages from and respond to via text)
  • Create a partnerships with local clinics, private clinicians, attorneys, and accountants that are great trusted referral source

For more information on how PocketSuite can help you run your practice, check out our article on How to Run your Private Practice with PocketSuite.

From business messaging to scheduling, online booking to accepting payments, and a generous amount of other useful tools, check out PocketSuite’s Premium plan to help you run your entire practice from a single app

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!

Should I Implement a Live Chat Feature?

The eternal question of Live chat – should you install it on your website or not?

The pros are more clients, more sales, faster support, and a more professional looking site.

Some of the drawbacks include having to respond to client inquiries quicker than phone or email support, and not being able to install the widget on your social media… until now.

New studies suggest more than 30% of customers expect you to have live chat on your website.

On a mobile device, that number shoots up to a staggering 62%.

Even though live chat has been around since the 1970’s (believe it or not) it has been getting more popular recently.

In this article, we’ll get into the specific reasons why live chat is great for closing more sales, stepping up your customer support game, and automating your followup.

You’ll learn the practical ways that live chat can increase your bottom line revenue as well as make your prospective clients happier, and your current clients more satisfied with your outstanding service.

It’s easy to discount live chat as ‘just another widget,’ but let’s take a closer look at why this is one of the most game-changing features that you can add to your website. (Or as you’ll learn in this article, to your social media as well!)

WHY LIVE CHAT IS A MUST-HAVE FOR YOUR SMALL BUSINESS

When clients land on your website, chances are they’re looking for information – more specifically, answers to their questions.

They generally either want to know more about your business to decide if they will become a paying client, or they want to get in touch with you because they have an issue with their upcoming, current, or past service.

If you have a live chat feature on your site, this can be a wildly successful shortcut because it eliminates most of the searching that a customer needs to do in order to get the answer(s) they want.

For example, here are some ways that live chat helps:

INCREASE IN SALES

Live chat builds trust by reassuring the potential client that there is a real person behind your business.

By receiving answers to several questions about your business in real time, they can rest easy knowing that they aren’t just inputting their credit card information into a website that’s built by some scammer or con artist.

You can also have them input their name, email, or phone number, which allows you to take the follow up off-line and onto a communication platform that’s more accessible to them. After all, they’ll leave your website soon enough, and after that you need a way to be able to reach them for follow-up to close the sale!

Essentially, live chat becomes a lead generation system to help you close additional business by providing you with leads.

You’re essentially converting your website visits into client leads, like magic!

Really you’re just capitalizing on the website (or Instagram) traffic that is already visiting your page by converting them into a lead that you can call, text, or email!

To back all of this up, Forrester found that there was a 10% increase in order value from clients who engaged with a rep in live chat before buying.

HELPS WITH SUPPORT

Having a live chat feature also cuts down on the back-and-forth of email and eliminates the wasted time of having to look up answers from past client responses/message threads/emails.

One of the worst things you can do to a frustrated client is force them to be inconvenienced or have them wait to hear back, because this can lead down the road of them leaving negative online reviews on platforms such as Yelp or Google, which will negatively impact your credibility in the eyes of future potential clients.

The quality of your response matters, too. Kayako found that 19 out of 20 clients would prefer a high quality response, even if it took more time.

This can even cut into your current business, if your current clients happen to look your business up online!

Just make sure you respond – SuperOffice found that 21% of live chats get ignored. Don’t become a statistic!

OTHER LIVE CHAT PLATFORMS

Other live chats that you can make use of as a small business owner or solo-preneur are generally  platform specific. We’re talking about Facebook (Messenger), Instagram (DM), and Yelp (Message My Business Feature).

There are also a number of standalone live chat platforms such as Intercom, Weebly, Wix, and Olark.

The problem with these platform specific chat programs (as well as the standalone ones) is that they’re all generally stuck to the platform that they operate on.

PocketSuite is changing the game by having a portable live chat feature.

That’s right, you can now place your live chat directly onto your own website without the knowledge of how to code or get your programming degree!

But websites aren’t the only place you can install PocketSuite’s live chat feature…

LIVE CHAT ON YOUR FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM

How’s this for a mindblowing idea – did you know you can install Live Chat on more than just your website?

That’s right – PocketSuite allows you to install your live chat widget anywhere, including on your Facebook and Instagram profile!

You can engage your clients in real time while they’re browsing your social media, which is probably the best time to engage with them because you’re top-of-mind and they’re not distracted by the million other things that are occupying their busy day.

POCKETSUITE LIVE CHAT HIGHLIGHTS

The PocketSuite live chat widget defaults to OPEN, so your client’s definitely won’t miss it.

When clients submit their info or start a live chat with you, you instantly get a notification in your PocketSuite app, which allows you to start a conversation with them in real time.

You can message them through the PocketSuite app (which you’re hopefully already using for all of your other booking and payment needs) so it couldn’t be any easier to stay in touch.

Once the client inputs their phone number into the live chat, it will send them a text, which they can essentially use to continue the conversation with you.

Texts have a 98% open rate, so you can rest easy knowing that your clients have received your communication.

Just make sure you respond quickly – on average, customers have to wait over 2 minutes for companies to respond to their live chat inquiry. That’s troubling!

From there, they simply respond to the automated text, and their response gets funneled directly into your PocketSuite app for follow-up! PocketSuite automatically marks Live Chat messages as “LIVE” so you know to prioritize responses to those messages, if your Inbox is too full and you need help triaging responses.

It’s simply the best way to convert your website or social media visitors into leads and then into clients!

Speaking of getting more clients and making your current clients happy, have you checked out the best way to run your business using just 1 app – PocketSuite?

Upgrade your business with online booking, accept credit cards, process payments, scheduling, business messaging, and a wild array of additional features that will free up your time to focus on answering all of those live chats coming in!

Try the Premium plan if you’d like to take a look at one of the most powerful business apps out there. Of course, don’t forget to turn on Online Chat and add it to your website, social media, and any other online sites.

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 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!

Getting More Clients with Pokemon Go

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!

Turn Your Thumbtack Leads into Lifelong Clients

Use Thumbtack to win new customers.

Receive incoming job requests, bid via quote, and get notified when clients are interested…


Use PocketSuite to retain new customers for life.

Schedule jobs, secure payment and deliver your new client a seamless customer experience…

So who uses PocketSuite?…

Why do over 15,000 pros use PocketSuite?…

Direct Client Import

Add any client directly to PocketSuite or import clients directly from your iPhone contact list

Keep all client contact information easily accessible

Track all income earned from each client

Take notes (text, photos) on each customer for private viewing

Track and analyze lead sources by client (e.g., Thumbtack, Yelp, referrals, etc.)


Appointment Calendar Sync

Sync all PocketSuite scheduled appointments directly to iCal

Pick and choose which calendars (i.e., Google, Outlook, etc.) sync with PocketSuite as well

Use a single calendar app to manage both client and personal appointments


Automate Client Reminders

Easily set appointment reminders for each job scheduled

2 hours prior to service? 8 hours? 24 hours? 3 days? We give you customizable reminder options

Clients get auto-texted ahead of each appointment

No need to spend time manually making sure your customers stay on schedule


Industry Low Payment Processing

Accept credit card payments for as low as 2.7% per transaction

  • Get paid for all your jobs entered in PocketSuite
  • Accept deposit payments
  • Reserve appointments with client credit card
  • Send invoices to clients via text

Clients can simply take a photo of their credit or debit card to pay for any invoice or appointment

Payments direct deposited in 1-2 business days


Mobile Messenger

Send instant text messages to any of your clients

Share photos, share contacts, share GPS pin location

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.

 

Best Communities to Help Personal Trainers Succeed

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

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

LindedIn Groups focus around fitness, health and wellness businesses are hyper-targeted and can add hyper value to your business. Groups that were recommended to us include Fitness Trainers and Coaches (52,815 members), Health & Fitness Industry Professionals (21,507 members), and The Health & Wellness Networking Group (60,790 members).

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.

Certification Programs

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.

Twitter Influencers

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.

Using Social Media to get you Clients in 2019

Social media has billions of users. No, that’s not hyperbole. Research shows that in 2019, there were over 2.7 billion users on outlets like Facebook and Instagram right now.

That’s a large demographic with some gold for you as a business owner. To keep your service business successful, tap into marketing to that audience.

We’ve painstakingly collected the best tips on how to utilize this massive pot of gold to connect with your audience and present them with more opportunities to purchase your services.

Here are seven ways to dominate social media with your service business in 2019:

 

  1. Set Your Profile Up for Success

 

When users land on your profile, hook them right away with a profile that is set up effectively. What, exactly, does that mean?

Each social media outlet has different standards for setting up a well-crafted profile. What is common across all platforms is that you need to have these three elements in your bio:

  • An opt-in to your mailing list
  • A clear, strong unique selling proposition so that they know what you do within three seconds of landing on your profile
  • 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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).

  1. Tastefully Tag

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.

  1. 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.

Conclusion

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!

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!

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?

Directories & Free Listings

Why are online directories helpful? For one – they’re free.

An important way to leverage these listing is to make sure your business profile and contact info are on as many of these free directories as possible.

Reason being – many clients clients do some sort of research about your business before they reach out about a job request. So the more your business is present across all these listings online, the more comfortable clients get that you’re a legit business.

In addition, as your business presence increases across many of these sites then this builds up your SEO (“Search Engine Optimization”), so that your business name has the higher likelihood of popping up high on Google search results when a client is doing a search for [service industry] in [city, state].

In addition, free listings give you a helpful platform on which to build public customer reviews and content, which will in turn help your business go viral.

What’s the deal?

Yelp is one of the more well-known websites when it comes to people searching for services.

Yelp has built a highly engaged community of consumers who are passionate about writing reviews on businesses. As a result, Yelp is very useful in terms of asking your own clients write glowing reviews to help you grow…that’s the magic here.

Once you set up a Yelp account, first – send every single client you’ve done business with in the past a link to leave a review on your profile. And don’t worry how your clients will react to this – this is not an abnormal request. Your clients won’t hate you for asking them for a review. Most customers know how helpful Yelp can be and just need to be asked directly to leave you a review. Your customers are busy with their own lives as well, so send follow up emails if clients don’t review you right off the bat. Send one, then another 1 week later, then one more 3 weeks later. Then stop. You want to remind clients to review you but 2-3 follow up emails is a good amount until emailed requests start becoming “spammy”.

Adding reviews to your profile is crucial because the more reviews you build on your Yelp profile, the higher up you show on Yelp’s search results. Essentially you’re leveraging your clients to help with marketing.

Yelp gives your current clients a voice to express their opinion of you, which puts you more prominently in front of new clients searching for services in your industry and location. Put some upfront effort in to really get clients to leave you reviews. Heck, even ask a few friends to leave you positive reviews to get the ball rolling. It depends on your industry and location, but the global rule is the more positive reviews the more likely you will reach that #1 listing…

The secondary effect in building up a Yelp profile is that many other (smaller) directories use the ratings data on Yelp as their own reviews. Yelp allows other platforms to tap into business reviews, and display Yelp reviews all over the web. So building up your brand and quality rating profile on Yelp will indeed pay dividends for you across the web.

How do I set it up?

Make sure to “claim” your business profile here: https://biz.yelp.com/  Search for your business – just so you know, sometimes Yelp will auto-add businesses to their site or clients will add businesses even without being asked by the business owner. If you do not see your business listed, then just tap on the “Add your business” link towards the bottom of the page…

Setup takes just a couple minutes, and then you are free and clear to share your business profile link to all your current clients!

What are the risks?

Yelp has been known for its sketchy “fake review” strategies. That is, if you don’t pay to advertise on Yelp (we’ll cover that in the “Paid” section of this Handbook), then they’ve been known to sick fake 1-star reviews on your account to penalize you. This topic has been widely covered and has been consistently denied by Yelp management: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/yelp-extortion/

There’s no real way to fight this risk. The one thing I will say is to make sure you have your profile on other platforms (as discussed below) as well so in case the “review-extortion” happens to you, clients can see more legitimate reviews of your business elsewhere.

What’s the deal?

Google’s basic search platform has enabled local professionals to get discovered easily online. Local and Google My Business allows you to get listed and show up on Google search results in a more relevant fashion.

Google processes over 40k search queries every second, so it makes sense that your profile should show up in search results. Adding your business profile on Google will ensure you show up in the major search engine’s results list. Similar to previous free listing sites, fill up your profile with client reviews so your business can show up as close to the top of search results as possible.

Google is always a great place to appear because it’s just a box that can be checked – in the client’s mind – about your business’s legitimacy. Not to mention, setting up your business account will allow you to delve into other Google advertising products (as discussed herein) to evaluate their usefulness in terms of growth.

How do I set it up?

Set up your business to be listed on Google: https://www.google.com/business/  You’ll be able to find your business (if it’s already listed somewhere on Google), or add it yourself. In a matter of minutes you’ll have your profile live, and it’s up to you to start sharing it with clients to update reviews!

What are the risks?

Just like with many Google products, Google My Business has not seen a lot of active investment from Google (so it seems). That means the amount of information a client can find on your Google profile is rather limited. A screenshot below is an example of what your business will look like – not as content-rich as other listing platforms.

In addition (and the sad reality), your business is always listed next to competing professionals so the client can never really get a focused view on just you with a bit of distraction.

What’s the deal?

Facebook (“FB”) is typically known as a place to simply share photos and comments with friends, but the FB team has spent a considerable amount of time and money building up its business ecosystem – specifically for small business and service providers.

Facebook just recently launched it Facebook Services search product: https://www.facebook.com/services. FB users can now search, browse and book local service professionals direcly on Facebook (albeit they are in the early stages of this search directory). Translation: you want your business to have a Facebook Business page ASAP.

Similar to Yelp, once you set up your FB business page, start filling it up with content. First off that means reviews. Send your FB page to clients and friends (either email them your link or message them your link through FB messenger) and ask them to post reviews on your page. That not only will make you look like a higher quality business to prospective clients, but will now boost your ranking on the new FB services search…

Other “content” (as I mentioned above) means photos and posts. Show off your personality, build your brand – post pictures and any relevant articles or announcements that are relevant to your business.  Even post deals or coupons. Show visiting clients that there is indeed activity and engagement going on on your FB page. Let prospective clients know that there’s a person behind that business name.

The great thing about FB is that clients can like, comment and message you – loads of ways to engage with current clients and show off engagement to leads. Not to mention – the average American spend 40 minutes a day on Facebook, so you’ll be showing activity where your future customers are spending tons of time.

How do I set it up?

Setting up is easy and free. Just go to “Create a Page” FB. Choose “Local Business or Place” as your entity, and then choose the correct “category” and sub categories…these and also your location are important so that you show up on the relevant search results when FB users are searching for service professionals around them.

One other crucial setup piece is to make sure – once your FB page is live – is to give clients a CALL-TO-ACTION on your page. That means giving them something to do once they arrive on your page, read your content, and are ready to reach out. FB added a “Book Now” call-to-action. You can link to your website or any nifty booking tool you have already set up (e.g., like an FB booking link).

What are the risks?

Facebook requires a good amount of time to keep investing in. If you set it up and don’t continue to post status updates, announcements, photos, etc., then your business can look a bit dull and inactive. That might reflect on your very brand – inactive, not particularly caring, unresponsive even. Now, that’s probably not true (since we know that most professionals like you are simply busy), but with so many professionals to choose from and so many platforms to search through, prospective clients have the ability to be picky and jump to conclusions.

Get in the habit of posting at least 2-3 times a week some sort of relevant content to make your clients feel comfortable that you are the man or woman for the job!

What’s the deal?

Craigslist used to be one of the highest trafficked sites across the internet. It was the place to go if you want to buy or list any services, products, etc.

It still is highly trafficked although not as “professional” (per se) in terms of purchasing and offering local services as its peers. But don’t get me wrong – interested clients are still on the platform.

Clients can go on and search the Services section of Craigslist:

So depending on the industry they are searching for, prospect clients can search in an industry section and browse the postings of those people who offer the requisite services. Searching for a music lessons? The choices are plentiful of local folks willing to help – each posting can be clicked on with your – the professional’s – details.

As you can probably see for yourself, the marketplaces and directories today are enhanced versions of this type of model with better design and offerings. But at the end of the day, this is commerce at in its most basic form, and a place where you can absolutely meet interested customers.

How do I set it up?

Go to the account creation page on Craigslist, and all you need is an email to set up an account. No one can browse your profile – people can only browse classifieds (that’s what Craigslist calls job posts) that you post. So go create one.

Go to your home screen and tap on the top left where it says “Post to classifieds”. Choose the “Service offered” option so your post fits in the proper category.

There you’ll be able to fill out the specifics of your skills and offerings. You can post as much or as little detail as to the services you provide in each posting. I would try to appear as legitimate and detailed as you can. Especially since Craigslist doesn’t have reviews or other types of fancy content ability as others. You can share your business information where potential leads can research more information about you.

What are the risks?

Craigslist unfortunately can be known for some sketchy dealings. There’s limited oversight so posting can definitely filter into the “adult services” bracket, which generally attracts sketchier types of folks.

Due to this risk, some people advise hiding your contact details on the postings on Craigslist at the risk of you getting low quality or sketchy people calling you. Craigslist supports hidden email addresses so clients can reach out to you via the job posting, but they can’t see your actual email address.

The site is declining in overall traffic so you can attract some potential clients on it today. Three years from now I’m guessing this won’t be part of your overall lead generation strategy.

Overall Free Business Listing Platform Thoughts

Yelp, Facebook and Google really are the “Big 3” when it comes to listing your business online to get consumers to find you.

Some other directories include Yellow Pages, Porch.com, Manta, Merchant Circle, and the Better Business Bureau. A good resource if you want to dig deep into online directories can be found here.

If you have the time, set up profiles on all these websites – it can build your SEO as you can link back to your website or Facebook Business page. Meaning you will show up organically when people Google for specific services near you.

The goal here is to just attack that low hanging fruit. You’re doing your business a disservice actually by not being listed on these directory platforms. They provide many potential clients with the easiest ways to find you. Don’t make that step difficult – you’ve already got enough things to worry about!