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How to create a persona to attract new clients

Posted by: Alexandra Pohl on Jan 04 at 06:30AM CST

As an entrepreneur, your most important job is to grow your business. Few people, though, take time to visualize their ideal customer. Ignoring this important step can impede your sales progress and keep you from reaching your new clients most effectively.

Your perfect customer

Your perfect customer is more than just a demographic (e.g., males, aged 30 to 35); that definition is too broad. Instead, take the time to create your customer's persona. Visualizing a fictional character can help make your marketing efforts more efficient and fun.

Create your persona, today

Start by answering the following questions for your ideal client.

Demographics:

Where do they live?
What’s their occupation?
Male or female?
What’s their age?
What’s their education level?
Are they married?
Do they have kids?

Day-to-Day Life:

What does a typical day involve?
What do they value?
What do they do in their free time?
What specific personality traits do they have?
What are they trying to change or improve?

Use this free worksheet to dive deeper.

From this information, you can now create a story. Make sure to define your fictional customer's pain point, so you can identify how your service solves their problem. For instance, a fitness coach may create the following persona:  

Laura is a 32-year-old certified public accountant (CPA) and mom to two toddlers. She’s married to a wonderful man who is a financial advisor. They are a dual income family with limited time for themselves. Laura has a gym membership but hasn’t gone in three months. There is no time in her day to go to the gym or prep healthy meals. She eats a piece of fruit on her way out the door in the morning and eats an office catered lunch. She doesn’t leave work until 7 p.m. The kids have a nanny but it’s important for her to be home at night to tuck them in for bed. Laura has stopped taking care of her needs because she’s exhausted. Since her last child was born, a year ago, she’s gained ten pounds. She knows she needs to get healthy, but doesn’t know how to fit it into her day.

Once created, the persona exists as a living character used to filter all decisions. Asking yourself, “Would Laura like this?”

Now it’s your turn

Once you’ve created your perfect customer, create a growth plan. Include when and how to reach them. They need your service, so go plant the seed and watch your business grow.

Tags: business tips

How to Show Your Customers Gratitude and Give Thanks, this Season

Posted by: Alexandra Pohl on Dec 07 at 01:00PM CST

As the holidays approach, may you reflect on the goodness of the season and remember to give thanks to your loyal customers who help keep the doors open and the lights on. Without them, your entrepreneurial dream would cease to exist. So make sure to show them the gratitude they deserve.

Start by taking a minute to pause and reflect on the successes of your year. Did you acquire more clients than expected? Did you sell more widgets than originally anticipated? Did you get a rave review on an exceptional guest experience? Write down the “WOW” moments that made you grateful to be a business owner, and then develop a plan to thank your customers and show them that you care. Here are a few ideas to get you started.     

1.    Offer a holiday coupon for a free or discounted service.

Think about a service that would benefit your clients during this time of year. For example, salons could offer customers a free deep conditioning cleanse to help with the dry weather. This type of service is a minimal cost to incur, easy to add into the routine and a great way to make clients feel extra special. Plus, perhaps you’ll introduce a service that sparks interest in a future purchase. A win, win for everyone involved.  

2.    Giveaway sample products or goodies.

Consider ordering a promotional item to give away. Surprise your client with the gift after their service is complete. Make sure the item is branded and is something people will use. An ice scraper for cold climates or a bandana at a pet salon is a good example. 

Another easy idea is to set up a customer appreciation section in your store and provide free cookies and hot beverages. Encourage your clients to stop by to say hello and grab a sweet treat. Those who arrive for a service or walk in to make a purchase will be pleasantly surprised. 

3.    Teach an in-person or virtual workshop.

Help your clients learn something new by teaching a free in-person or virtual workshop. Select something that would enrich their experience with your product or service. One-on-one interactions like this will help you better understand your client’s needs, questions, and desires. It’s also a fun way to engage with them in a non-salesy way.   

4.    Host a customer appreciation event.

If you sell retail in addition to your services, here’s a fun idea for you. Host an after-hours party in your store for your loyal customers. If your budget allows, cater appetizers and drinks. Provide entertainment, like a local musician, and let attendees shop at a discounted rate. An event is an excellent way to get to know your customers in a casual and personal way.        

Once you have a plan, you’ll need to spread the word. You can create a flyer to handout in your store or on service calls. Advertise on your website and social media. Mail a personalized invitation. And, utilize your print or electronic newsletter.

At AppointmentPro, we make marketing your services and special offers easy. Just choose from one of our pre-made email templates to send your clients and then customize the message to fit your holiday theme. Use this space to let customers know about your holiday coupon, a special giveaway, or an upcoming event. The built-in customer management relationship (CMR) software lets you send emails to your entire database or target select demographics through distribution lists. All you have to do is plug in the information and hit send.

This holiday season, remember the many wonderful blessings that come along with being a business owner. Take time to acknowledge your supporters and show them you sincerely care. Happy holidays!  

 

Tags: business tips

Checklist: Crafting a Website Strategy that Gets Results

Posted by: Vanessa Pelley on Oct 27 at 03:30AM CDT

Long gone are the days of wondering, “Should I have a website?” If you’re in the service industry— like a pet groomer, insurance agent, or construction worker — the answer is yes. Statistics prove that consumers are searching for your services online, and if you’re not listed, the competition will win their business every time, all the time.

But, just having a website isn’t enough. You need a good website. Not necessarily an expensive designer website, but one that will convert interested prospects into paying customers. So how do you get website visitors to do what you want?

 

DO THIS:

 ✅  Set a Goal

 The difference between a good website and a great website is having a strategy. A good site showcases products, services, and information. A great site goes one step further and encourages action.

 Start by finishing this sentence, “I want my visitors to … (book an appointment).”

 Defining your goal first will drive the rest of your website strategy. It is also important to limit yourself to one goal, and one goal only. One clear goal will eliminate clutter and confusion for your visitors. 

 

✅  Communicate Clearly

Likely your website is a customer’s first impression. Therefore, you only have a few seconds to get them to book an appointment. So dazzle them by being intentional about what and how you communicate. Tell your visitors upfront what’s in it for them, and how your product/service fulfills whatever they lack. (Like the time and skill required to groom their furry friend!) Do this by crafting headlines that pop and eliminating unnecessary text. Unclear information is a sure way to get visitors to leave your site and not return. So, make it easy for them. State clearly who you are, what you do, why they need you, and how to take action. Learn how to write like a pro here.

✅  Use Good Pictures

 You know the old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Well, it still holds true today. Especially, in a world filled with clutter and distraction. Selecting pictures that tell your story, without words, will put you at a competitive advantage. It’s the simple details, like good imagery, that spark people’s attention and keep them scrolling down your page for more information. Find helpful photo tips here.

 

✅  Post a Testimonial

 Testimonials give your business credibility. But, don’t just choose one that says “You’re great!” Select a testimonial that describes why you’re great and how your service fulfilled a need. Here’s a good example.

“When the fire broke out on my job site, I called Pete’s Insurance, and he spent more than an hour on the phone assuring me that our plan would cover the damage. I was so appreciative of his knowledge and availability, as well as, his willingness to calm me down during a pivotal moment.”

 

Great testimonials like this can help build trust and overcome skepticism.

 

✅  Give a Clear Call to Action

 Lastly, state your call to action. Remember, this is the goal you set in step one. Ask your visitors to “Schedule an appointment today!” and then give them a way to do it. Today’s preferred method, especially among millennials, is online booking. Incorporating an online scheduling software, like Appointment Pro, into your website strategy will help capture immediate leads, and gives clients the convenience to book your services during business or non-business hours.

 

See how each step leads to visitors taking your desired action? Now it’s your turn. Use this checklist to craft a website strategy that gets results. 

 

 

Tags: small business tips , resources , website strategy , website

Best Photo and Editing Apps for Small Business Owners

Posted by: Vanessa Pelley on Sep 20 at 10:30PM CDT

How do you get consumers to notice your business? The million dollar question, right. Especially in modern-day when competition is fierce, and attention spans are short.

Good marketers know that a captivating photo can help get content read. Finding and choosing photos, however, can be frustrating, especially when you don’t know where to look. But, thankfully today, there are many free — or very affordable — tools available to small business owners like you. 

Check out these insanely useful photos and editing apps to help get your brand noticed.

Visuals

To be taken seriously, you need professional images. Selecting appropriate pictures for your website, blog, newsletter, and social media is key to your success. Original photography is ideal, but isn’t always practical and is often cost prohibitive. Luckily a variety of websites offer free stock photos without copyright restrictions. Here are two that Christopher Gimmer featured in 21 Amazing Sites With Breathtaking Free Stock Photos.

* Important Note — when searching for free stock photos always look for copyright restrictions. For businesses, the creative license must state for personal and commercial use. Sometimes attribution is required. 

•   StockSnap.io

•   unsplash.com

AppointmentPro makes it easy to add your selected photos to pre-made website and newsletter templates. Learn more here.

Photo Editing

Photo editing isn't just for pictures you take yourself. You can edit stock photos too. Editing is a great way to make your visuals unique (Google likes this!) and can easily be done from your smartphone. Get started with these apps.

•   Snapseed (iPhone)

•   Pixlr (Android)

Snapseed and Pixlr offer basic and advanced enhancements like cropping, filters, stickers, borders, red-eye removal, teeth whitening, and blemish removal. These editing apps are best for your website, blog, and newsletter images.

•   Rhonda Designs (iPhone)

•   Cupslice Photo Editor (Android)

Rhonda Designs and Cupslice provide basic editing tools plus add a polished flair with designer text, stylish colors, and creative masks. These editing apps are ideal for creating eye-catching social media images.

So there you go. Four easy ways to add professional photos to your website, blog, newsletters, and social media without assistance from a marketing pro. Use these simple tools to elevate your professional image and start attracting your ideal customers today. 

Don’t have a website or newsletter? Check out AppointmentPro. We offer an entire suite of marketing tools. All you have to do is drag and drop your images into our pre-made templates. Each template is integrated with our online booking software. Learn more here.

Tags: small business tips , resources

The Secret Formula You Must Have Before You Get Clients

Posted by: Vanessa Pelley on Aug 22 at 01:00AM CDT

For months you’ve been dreaming of your successful business — the type of customers you’re going to have, where you’ll find them, and why they need you. You’ve identified the services you’ll provide and the equipment you need.

Now the day has come, and your business is legally registered, your bank account is set-up, and your website is live. All you need now are clients, right?

Wait. Let’s step back a minute.

As a service provider, it’s easy to focus on the big picture or the result.

But remember, your title is business owner now. Your duties reach beyond the daily tasks, and your primary focus is keeping the doors open, indefinitely.

Here is a proven formula that will get you clients and keep you booked.

Plan + Consistency = Success

Make a plan; a well-documented strategy that clearly identifies how your business will run. Think systems like who will perform what tasks and how.

 

Start by establishing a written instruction manual that outlines your daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly operations — no matter the size of your business. It will keep your path consistent on your way to success.

Here are two resources that provide free planning templates that can be downloaded and customized.

  1. SCORE — A nonprofit organization that connects entrepreneurs to free business advice and mentors. Check out their business planning and financial statement gallery. All templates come with questions to help guide you through the planning process.
  2. office.com or apple.com — Both Microsoft and Apple provide professionally designed templates complete with charts and checklists. This option is better for a specific template rather than a full business plan.

When planning, keep your customers top of mind.

Without customers, your business will cease to exist. So make sure your plan includes the client journey from hello to goodbye. Take time to map out exactly how they will get in touch, book you, and follow-up. Make this process easy and professional, and then wow them with your services. AppointmentPro can help with this.

It’s this type of attention to detail that will keep your customers coming back.

Starting the plan is the hardest part.

Once your system is in place, though, you’re done. Your strategy will likely alter over time to reflect change and growth, but your foundation will remain the same and forever remind you of what you set out to achieve.

All successful business owners have a strategic plan. You should too. Take time to map yours out today, and then spread the word that you're open for business.

Tags: business tips