Could Your Business Benefit from Offering Online Appointment Scheduling?

A growing number of service-oriented businesses, such as hair salons, barbers, personal trainers, massage spas and health spas, are utilizing online appointment scheduling and are changing the way they interact with their customers. Because many of these appointment systems are mobile-friendly, people are able to connect with these businesses wherever they already are, providing the 24/7 convenience today’s consumers demand. Allowing your customer to connect with you at any time of the day will keep them coming back.

Depending on your business’ needs and which system is selected, the many advantages of utilizing online appointment scheduling can include the following:

  1. Saving time spent booking appointments
  2. Needing fewer staff members to manage appointments.
  3. Easier management of staff schedules. Booking is real-time and staff is immediately notified when an appointment has been scheduled for them.
  4. Flexibility to choose when to collect payment: upfront collection at time of booking, or after services have been delivered.
  5. Clients are notified of cancellation policies and any fees incurred.
  6. Automated reminders to clients reduce the number of no-shows, which costs some organizations several thousands of dollars each year. By switching to online scheduling, some see a 50% or greater reduction in no-shows.
  7. Business or financial reports can be generated and provide informative data such as the number of no shows, the number of appointments each staff member completes, comparisons of location-to-location productivity, or the number of appointments that were booked because of a marketing promotion.
  8. Be integrated with back-office software to reduce amount of time spent on bookkeeping.

These benefits would be attractive to most companies, and especially to small businesses with limited staff resources. But the positive returns from using online scheduling do not end there.

Businesses will also notice:

  1. More appointments

    • People spend so much of their time online and appreciate companies who make it convenient to do business with them. There’s no waiting, as often happens with phone scheduling and they can book appointments at any time of the day.
    • Integrating your booking system with social media makes it convenient for people to make bookings when they’re already on sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
    • Include Customer Review integration to encourage NEW customers to book the first appointment with you online!
  2. Customer retention

    • Encourage customers to return, sooner. Send seasonal deals, or a birthday greeting with a coupon. Set these up once and let them run automatically.
  3. Increased revenue

    • Online booking makes your business available 24/7, allowing you to receive more bookings than you would via phone. You can also offer items your customers can purchase like gift certificates, promotional items or services, while they are booking their appointment.
  4. Increased efficiency

    • The calendar would also show you where there are gaps between appointments. You can utilize the time with special demonstrations or promotions that can be marketed ahead of time.
    • You can also assign resources (like a room or equipment) to specific services to help you prevent duplicate booking.
  5. Lower overhead

    • Fewer overhead costs because the need for a person(s) to handle reservations is eliminated.

Technological advances have changed consumer expectations and customers have become accustomed to getting what they want sooner than later. They appreciate businesses that provide services quickly, at a time or location that is always convenient; positive experiences with these businesses will encourage customers to return time and time again and they, in turn, will influence others to do the same.

Ready to get started with online appointment scheduling for your business? Fill out our checklist and send to UmeWorks to start discussing your business’ scheduling needs.

GET ONLINE BOOKING

The Importance of your Website’s About Page

You spend countless hours learning about the customers you are trying to reach with your website. The odds are pretty good that potential customers are going to make an effort to get to know about you as well before making any buying decisions. This is why the importance of your website about page cannot be understated.

Here are three reasons why you need the proper emphasis on this critical part of your web presence.

1. Build Understanding

Online consumers are just as interested in “who” you are as they are in “what” you are selling. Your “About” page is the key set of information that must tie this altogether in a clear and concise way. Attention spans are short, less than 8 seconds, so you need a clever combination of images and information to capture their minds and win over their hearts. Peel back the layer of corporate speak and let them see who you really are as a company. They need to feel that your company truly understands their needs. Once they understand what your company is all about, it will raise their level of comfort with your products and services.

2. Build Credibility

The Internet is littered with scammers and “fly-by-night” websites that promise greatness and all too often fail to deliver. This has created a new generation of online customer that is both more demanding and more scrutinizing than their predecessors. Your “About” page must build a foundation of trust between you and your customers. Clearly lay out the products and services you provide and tell your story of why you are passionate to deliver them. Most consumers will base their final buying decisions based on their comfort level with your credibility.

3. Build Connections

Once you capture their attention and build trust, you need to build the connection with a call to action. Many “About” pages provide excellent information but offer no way to take the next step in building a lasting relationship. Provide contact information and links to your online store. Give your new online acquaintance easy ways to make a long lasting relationship with you and your brand.

Telling Your Story Builds Trust

The “About” page is all about telling your story. It should be succinct and compelling like your elevator pitch, but your story should also convey your values and commitment.  Teddy Roosevelt said, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

Let us help you tell your story and what you care about. Using our digital marketing experience, we can guide you along the path to build understanding, credibility and connections with your digital customers.

Contact UmeWorks now at (323) 638-9328 to set up an initial telephone consultation.

How to Like a Facebook Page From Another Page

How to Like a Facebook page

As a business owner, do you ever wonder (or want to be reminded) of how you can Like another Facebook Business Page as your page, vs. as an individual? Perhaps you have a partner, a colleague or a member of your business networking group you’d like to help promote. Or perhaps you’d like to ask another business to promote your Facebook Page to help your company get more visibility.

No need to “Google” it – here are the instructions right here:

How to Like a Facebook Page as your Page:

    1. Go to the Page you want to like.
    2. Click below the Page’s cover photo.
    3. Select Like As Your Page.
    4. Select a Page and Submit.

To see a list of all the Pages that your Page has liked, go to your Page and scroll down to Pages liked by this Page in the right column.

To see posts from pages that you’ve liked as your Page, go to your Page and click See Pages Feed in the right column of your Page.

Want help with your website and Internet presence? Contact UmeWorks in Torrance at 323 638-9328 or info@umeworks.com to discuss your website needs.

Why Having a Child Theme is Important for Your WordPress Website

You and your website designer have finally selected the WordPress theme (from the thousands that are available) that you feel is the best fit for your website. However, it’s not completely matching your vision and you want to make adjustments to the design. This is where using a child theme comes in.

It’s important to understand what a child theme is and its relationship to the original, or “parent” theme. The parent theme is “a complete theme which includes all of the required WordPress template files and assets for the theme to work.” The child theme inherits the look and functionality of the parent theme but can be used to modify any part of the theme without touching the parent’s core files and assets. The child theme overwrites specific assets of the parent theme, while maintaining the rest from the parent.

Benefits of Child Themes:

  • Allows you to easily reproduce or move your modifications
  • Keeps your customizations separate from parent theme functions
  • Parent themes can be updated without deleting your modifications
  • Save on development time as you are not starting from scratch

Although it may initially feel a bit intimidating, it is not that difficult to create a child theme in WordPress. There are three main steps to set up a child theme:

  1. Create a theme folder in your wp-content/themes folder.
  2. Create a stylesheet that you will put in that child theme folder that designates the parent theme stylesheet.
  3. Enqueue stylesheet by creating a functions.php file for your child theme and include the enqueue PHP script.

For the full instructions on how to do this, visit the WordPress theme handbook page.

You should avoid making changes directly to the parent theme files, as your customizations will be lost once the theme is updated. Some people will then skip theme updates in order to avoid this, but it is not advisable to do so; the updates may include important bug fixes and new features and skipping them could result in security and compatibility problems.

For Website Owners, your Key Take-Away is this:

Before you engage a new website designer, be sure s/he understands the importance of Child Themes, and plans to implement one on your new WordPress website to prevent problems and unnecessary work maintaining your site in the future.

UmeWorks has built many WordPress websites and implements child themes as part of our usual practice. If you want an experienced website designer and developer, schedule a free initial phone consultation with UmeWorks to discuss your website needs.

Contact UmeWorks Today

How Much Does it Cost to Maintain a Website?

The Cost of Website Maintenance

Congratulations! You’re glad your beautiful website is built. You’re done, right? Well, not quite…. Website owners need to be aware that building their website is only the first part of the process – regular maintenance and updates are as important in keeping your site healthy and effective.

There are two main types of website maintenance:

  1. The first type is updating your website content.
  2. The second type is maintaining the integrity of the website software and programming code. These are what allow your website to display and function.

Just as with most equipment and appliances we use, and especially those that run with software, regular maintenance is required to keep websites running optimally. Software updates to plugins, extensions, and your website framework are needed to reduce bugs and hacking.

How Much Does It Cost You NOT to Maintain Your Website?

You can choose not to do either type of website maintenance, but this is not recommended in both cases because:

  1. Your Search Engine Ranking Position (SERP) can be hurt if you do not update/supplement your content on a consistent basis. Search engines will view your website content as stale, and bias towards websites with fresh, unique content, will serve them up in response to keywords searched.In addition, you need to provide users a reason, i.e., new, valuable content, to return to your website.
  2. Some individuals who opted NOT to keep current with their software updates have come to me for help after their website was no longer displaying properly or was hacked. Most often, more time was spent repairing these websites than regular maintenance would have taken. In some cases, older software updates were no longer available, and the website had to be rebuilt completely with fresh software.

Content Update Maintenance Options

This post-publication choice should be discussed before the website project commences as this can determine the best method/platform on which to build your website.

Option 1: If your website will have frequent content updates and your business has sufficient in-house staff, having a website built on a Content Management System (CMS) is the best option for businesses with non-coders. Your team will be trained on how to make at-will basic website content updates

Option 2: If content updates will be infrequent or your business does not have the bandwidth to make content updates, then outsourcing your content updates to a website firm may be your best option. UmeWorks offers this service and will make content updates to your website per your requests, and bill those at our hourly rate.

Website Software Maintenance Options

Option 1: You can opt to perform the maintenance yourself, depending on your:

  • Technical capability
  • Time available
  • Priorities
  • Budget

Option 2: You can opt to outsource maintenance to a website firm so you can concentrate your efforts on what you do best – building your business and providing service to your clients. UmeWorks offers maintenance service and will check for software update availability, make updates as needed, troubleshoot and resolve compatibility issues at least once per month. You may also opt for updates-as-released maintenance to minimize vulnerability. These services are billed at our hourly rate.

Related Services: Site Security

Recommended services are site monitoring, malware removal and hack response. There are firms that specialize in this such as Sucuri.* You can either manage your account, or hire UmeWorks to respond to alerts for our website on your behalf.

What if you opted not to use this security monitoring service, but your website gets hacked? Sucuri also offers immediate help for hacked site, with various response time price points.

*Disclosure: UmeWorks is an affiliate of Sucuri and may receive compensation for referrals to them from this website.