Hey, everyone, Nate Stockard from Blue Atlas Marketing here, and today we’re talking about increasing your online bookings and growing your revenue online for your day spa or salon. We’re going to jump into some steps that you can take to grow your business and some things you should be looking for in your booking software, but if you don’t already have online booking, you need to get it, and here’s why.
You can potentially grow your revenue by 25% if you offer online bookings, recurring bookings, group bookings, and things we’ll talk about a little bit later in another video. You can do all these things online, and they will grow your business.
Online Appointment Booking – If you don’t have it, get it.
31% of customers say they will only change to a new provider if they can book it online. They don’t know you, they don’t get your texts, they don’t have your cell phone number, maybe they’ll call, maybe not, they don’t know how the system works.
They’d rather just go online, book the appointment, and then hope for the best, hope they have a great experience, but they want to book online. 31% will only do that, and so out of those a hundred people out there, you’ll miss 31 potentially that won’t even book with you if you don’t have online.
Now let’s switch gears into those steps for increasing your online bookings assuming you already have it, or you’re going to get it in place.
1) Online Booking – Make it Easy to Find
First things first, make it easy to book online, make it easy to book on your website, make your call to action or book now highly visible in your website design. We’ve done a lot of workshops for day spas and salons and other industries as well and it’s crazy how it come down to this similar snippet of conversation:
Us: What’s the action you want them to take on your website?
Client: I want them to book.
Us: How do they book?
Client: If they scroll down here, click here, find this buried link, they’ll book online.
Nobody’s going to do that. They need it to be very bold and visible.
People scrolling through the website or even existing customers, they want to know where to go to book. You say you have somebody that’s coming in for years. You refer them to the website, they want to know where to go to book it.
Even if they don’t, maybe they call you, but then today just happens to be a day they’re on their phone, maybe they’re getting nails done and they just don’t want to get on the phone or something, but they’re going to come see you next week, they want to roll to the website, and find a place to book. If they don’t come to your website often, it needs to be highly visible.
One way I recommend doing this is in your menu bar, maybe put a book now with a whole different background.
If you look at some of the websites that we’ve put together and some of the recommendations that we have, you’ll notice that a lot of those call to actions are a different color in the menu bar, there may be a bold button in the top header. We’re trying to make it as obvious as possible in as many different places as possible for that main call to action.
At the end of the day, what do we want people to do? Book services, come in, get in our chair, and get some stuff done. Really, everywhere you get a chance, you should have a “book now” from your top of your menu, your footer menus, throughout all your information.
If you have a blog, make sure there’s a book now available in a sidebar or something like that, but you want to make it as easy as possible for people to book. You’d be surprised and if you look at your website, you might even surprise yourself going, “Huh, it really isn’t that easy for somebody to find it if they don’t know what they’re looking for.” So, make it easy for them to find it.
2) Reward Self-service: Offer Discounts/Specials for Online Bookings
Let’s cut down on the phone calls and things like that and maybe offer some coupons or discounts for first-time online bookings or every time they book online. They get maybe an extra little, small service; something that doesn’t cost you too much, but it’s an added bonus and they’re booking online, and so it keeps your people checking people in and out, greeting people that are coming in the door.
So you’re basically working on the revenue instead of sitting on the phone talking about booking a service that wastes their time. They’re not working on the revenue, and at the end of the day, we want to make it a little more streamlined, that’s why we’re talking about increasing your online bookings.
Consider coupons or discounts for the first-time online bookings or even ongoing every time they book online depending on if you’re able to offer something unique that’s not too terribly costly for you to offer it to them.
3) Reach Out to Past Customers
You’re probably going to book a customer that always calls you, or they’ve been coming around for a long time, they may text you, say, “Hey, I need to book an appointment.” You go over and you’re doing it and everything just like we talked about on the last step. That is a lot of wasted time, you’re not making money.
You’re not working on revenue, you’re not working on the client that’s there with you or you’re working later than you want, you’re missing that first glass of wine because you’re still booking all the appointments that texted you all day. You don’t want those kinds of things in place if you can give them a streamlined opportunity.
There are those customers you want to talk to and you like the individual interaction, sometimes getting phone calls from them, but at the end of the day, if they can book online, they’re going to come see you in person. You’ll get to have that interaction when they come see you, so let’s encourage them to get online.
Let them know that you now are offering online bookings. If you’ve moved the call to action, you make it really easy and say, “Hey, by the way, if you go to our website right at the top, you can hit “book now” and you can find the time available and schedule it and book everything on your own so that you’re in control.”
Don’t pose it as, “I don’t want to talk to you. I don’t want you to text me, I don’t want you to call our salon, I don’t want you to call in and bother the front desk staff,” don’t pose it that way.
What we’re trying to do is say, “we’re encouraging you to be in control and to really be able to handle this on your own without having to wait for us. Maybe being put on hold and things like that, you can do it as quick and whenever you want. At midnight, you realize you want to schedule something, you can bring it up, tap that book now button at the top of our website and book your appointment.”
Never position as you’re trying to pawn them off, as “I don’t have time for you,” or, “I’m trying to make more money.” No, always position it as you’re putting them in control. But reach out to those past customers, let them know that they can book online, and if you decided to offer customers say every time they book online a special service, you can let them know, “Hey, when you book online, you get X service for free,” or, “You get X discount every time you book online.” So, let past customers know what you’re doing.
4) Add Online Booking Info to your Voicemail and On Hold Messages
Next, change your voicemail or your on-hold music. When somebody is calling in or on-hold, one of the first things you should have is say, “Hey, if you know when you want to book, instead of calling us next time, book online. Go to our website, click the link at the top of the website.”
You see how this is a common recurrence of making it easy for people to find and the reason why. Because there’s a lot of other places you’re going to tell people to go there, like your voicemail or on-hold music. Let them know that they can book online.
If there’s incentives in place, reiterate those incentives, so you continue to encourage people to book online and you’re not tying up your front desk with more of the phone calls. Like I said, do that either on your on-hold music or on voicemail depending on how your business is set-up. If you always have someone answering the phones, on-hold music, but if they are calling and leaving voicemails that you respond to, include that in your voicemail.
5) Include Online Appointment Booking in Your Emails
Next, update your email signature, and this can be your regular email, this can be automated emails, really anything, any kind of email that goes out to new customers, prospects, past customers, et cetera.
Any of those emails, always include a link to where they can book now and a little bit of a call to action. That could be like a colored box that you put at the bottom of every email, it could just be a text link, really, depending on how you want to set that up, or, let’s say, it’s your newsletter that you’re sending out. If you send out a monthly newsletter, maybe it’s a better, bigger call to action so people will see it and not just scroll past it.
In every kind of email communication that you have, let people know that they can book online, especially if you include that incentive if they’re an online booker, or if they’re first-time online bookings and you’re offering a special, include that. Which is why there may be a need for like a graphic or a box that has a little bit more information in it.
These are the five steps that we want to give to you to how to increase your online bookings. Online bookings mean your people are busier making money, working the revenue, checking in, checking out guests that are paying customers, and reducing a lot of the back and forth that’s happening with the phone. As I said, we’re not trying to kill the social interaction, we’re not trying to reduce the conversations that you’re having with customers, but we want to have those conversations when they’re in the chair paying you money, not on the phone talking about getting in the chair to pay you money.
Let’s get them in there, make some money, and then you can have fun while you’re doing it when they’re in-person. So you want to increase your bookings by offering and informing your customers that they can book online.
Features Your Booking Software Should Have
I mentioned earlier that we want to also talk about your booking software because this is sometimes a big barrier, or it could be a big bonus for your business even though you offer online bookings. We talked to a lot of salon and day spas and said, “Hey, do you offer online bookings?” They said, “Oh, yes, I offer it.” Then you go to the website, it’s buried, or when they click it, it goes through this ugly third-party system. You’re like, “Is this even the same place?”
People that are hesitant to give their credit card online anyway, it looks like it’s a completely different site. They go, “This looks scammy, let me just pick up the phone.” You’re defeating the whole purpose of having an online booking if your booking software and your website is not built to make the process as easy as possible. Sometimes you’re restricted by how much your booking software or your customer client management system will allow you to customize and change, but that also may be a reason to look at different systems to make sure that the online booking is going to look great and work great for your customers.
You want a great system that works for your team. But also think about the people that pay that team are those customers, and if the customers can’t book, they can’t pay you, you can’t pay your team and you know where that goes. Let’s talk about booking software. I’ve got five things I want you to think about with your booking software.
1) Streamlined Booking Page
One, it needs to be a streamlined booking page. If it’s real clunky, like I said, it looks completely different from your website, it’s clunky, they click about 16 times just to book something, it’s hard to find, if it’s not streamlined, people are going to abandon it. It’s just like e-commerce of any type.
If it’s not easy, they’re going to abandon it, you lose money, and you risk upsetting the customer. As we said earlier, there’s 31% of the people out there that they only want to book online when changing to a new provider. If they can’t book with you because your booking system is, eh, okay, well, then they may not book with you and they go on somewhere else and you lost the possibility of a long-term/lifetime client.
2) Email and Text Reminders
Next, email text reminders. You really want a booking software that provides email and text reminders automatically for you. It’ll really reduce those no-shows. It keeps people, “Oh, yes, I’ve got an appointment.”
Often, we make an appointment for all kinds of services and forget that it happens, but with those email reminders like, “Oh, yes, tomorrow I got to get that appointment.” Even if they need to cancel, at least they’ve cleared that spot in your books for somebody else. If somebody calls in and says, “Hey, do you have any last-minute?”, it’s open.
You really want to keep the customer aware of the appointment, so you don’t get the no-shows. A lot of different salons will go, “With no-shows, we start to charge,” a lot say, “No, we don’t charge it, but it is a hole in our day that if we’re on time with everything, now we’ve got a gap we could have been making money.”
Obviously, we don’t want no-shows, so you need to utilize a booking software that has email and possibly text reminders or both, all of the above, that can send those reminders and then maybe even make it easy for them to reschedule or cancel from a text message or from an email, so you don’t get a no-show. Because if it is a challenge to reschedule, they’re like, “Oh, yes, I’m going to go to the website,” and they get busy and they forget, and then you got a no-show. Think about that with your software.
3) Recurring Appointments and Rebooking Features
A lot of booking software make it really easy to go in and book an appointment and there you go and that’s it because that’s the easy part. I chose it, I did it, I’m out. But if your system could offer recurring appointments where they say, “Hey, I know I’m going to come in every six weeks, let me just set it up.” They set it up and say, “On this time, on this X day every six weeks, let’s go ahead and make that appointment.” The email reminders and text reminders will go out to remind them of those appointments, but they’re already set in your system.
It helps you because you already have revenue. Obviously, they got to come in and spend the money with you, but you can already do some forecasting and some planning that you know how busy you should be in the next coming weeks and the next coming months because you already have recurring things booked.
Then once that booking is already done, a lot of systems offer the option of, say, a feedback or a referral, but one of those things needs to be the rebooking feature. If it’s not part of your system, I highly recommend putting a link in to say, “Hey, you’re ready to book your next one?” if you can put custom texts, and it’s just a link back to your booking software, but it still looks like a rebooking opportunity.
As soon as someone gets done, if you’ve done a great job, they’re ecstatic, they’re taking selfies, they’re telling their friends, “Hey, I just got my hair done, I just got my nails done, I just got a great massage.” They’re ecstatic. That’s when you want to sell again. Don’t hope that they’re going to remember how great of an experience they had in six weeks. Four weeks, six weeks, sometimes it goes 8 to 12 weeks. 12 weeks from now life can be completely different out there, so rebook with them when they’re on their high from the service they just received. “Had a great time, yes, I want to go ahead and book my next one.”
Probably this is happening at the desk at checkout, you should be trying to rebook before they ever walk out of the salon, but you should have some automated follow-ups that at least say, “Hey, thank you for coming in,” but use that rebooking feature at that time to get them rebooked. You’re going to grow your revenue if you do this. I promise you you’ll grow your revenue. If you’re not doing this now, add this and you can guarantee that there’s going to be uptick. How much? Who knows? It depends on all the rest of your systems, but I guarantee there will be an uptick in revenue if you add this to your system.
Next make sure it’s mobile-friendly. Don’t test or look at our booking software, if you’re changing or buying a new one, don’t test it only on desktop. Look at it on desktop. You need to look at it on desktop, laptop, whatever you’re looking at, but you to go to the phone. At least 50% of your customers are going to be using a mobile phone. In many cases, it’s 75% to 80% are going to be on their mobile phone, so make sure it’s mobile-friendly. Make sure it looks good, it’s easy to use.
Now, easy to use on the desktop a lot of the time does not translate to easy use on a mobile device. Check it out and make sure, and if your existing booking doesn’t, isn’t very mobile friendly, you need to talk to your provider and say, “Hey, are you all planning to fix this? Do I need a different version? What do I do? Because I need people on mobile able to do this and check out within minutes, not 20 minutes, hours. I don’t need it to be a drawn-out process and it needs to work very well for them on a mobile device.” Make sure that’s working for you.
5) Integrates with Your Client Management System
Number five is your client management system. Now this one can get a little tricky, so I saved this one for last, because this one can get a little tricky. If you have a separate booking system from your client management or your operations system, you may have a hard time getting them to talk together.
A lot of times your client or operation software will offer online bookings, but then if you start looking at all these other features that we just talked about in the booking software, you may say, “I don’t know if I want that.”
There are fortunately a lot of options that can make two different pieces of software talk together, where your booking can feed into your operations software through API integrations and some little techy speak that you probably had to get a developer in place. But if it’s not in place, you probably would want to spend the time and a little bit of money to get that done one time so that it makes the connection back and forth.
If your system does offer online booking and you’re using that, make sure it’s friendly for your staff. This really doesn’t apply to the user, but it applies to your staff and you want to have a software that works very well for your team and makes it very easy and effective for them to handle the bookings but be also very easy and effective for your clients to book.
The Takeway: Where to Begin?
We talked about increasing your bookings with a lot of steps there, and then we talked about your booking software.
I guarantee, if you go through this, and really, not all of them, you don’t have to implement every one of these, but if you start taking some of the big points, and usually some of those first ones like making sure your call to action is great and easy to use to book. Make sure it’s in great place, easy to find on your website; slide in some language in some of your follow-up emails for getting those rebookings.
Just taking a couple of things we talked about today will increase your revenue. I can almost guarantee it. I would say almost 100%, but I can’t guarantee that to everybody because I don’t know everybody’s systems, but I can almost guarantee if you implement just a few of these, you will increase your revenue online, getting more people in the chair, make you more money for your salon.
Catch us next time on our next video. This is Nate with Blue Atlas. Have a great day.