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Better Content Management Using Your Online Calendar

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Content Calendar

Whenever marketers talk about marketing and begin to construct a content calendar, there’s a phrase they like to throw out. And that phrase is “Content is king.”

It’s believed that Bill Gates coined the phrase back in 1996. And, it turns out, he was right. When you consistently create valuable content, it builds meaningful relationships with your audience. It also improves brand recognition and establishes you as an industry thought leader. Content is also crucial for SEO and marketing your products and services.

Here’s the thing, though. For content to reign supreme, you need to take a strategic approach. In other words, you can’t just wake up and wing it. For instance, by sharing random social media posts or writing a blog post for the sake of having content on your site.

Instead, it needs to be relevant. And more importantly, it needs to sync with your long-term goals.

While it is essential, this can be time-consuming. Thankfully, you can use your calendar for better content management.

Content Calendars: What Are They and Why Do You Need Them?

In terms of content planning, a content calendar is simply a spreadsheet or calendar that details the content you will be publishing over the next few weeks, months, or even years. Besides giving you a quick overview of your content schedule, your content Calendar can also be shared with your team to keep them informed.

Your blog probably doesn’t need a content calendar if it’s just a hobby. However, staying organized is crucial if you’re using content marketing to grow your business.

Your content marketing strategy can benefit from content calendars in the following ways:

Keeps you organized and saves you time.

You can compile your ideas with a content calendar whenever you have the time. As a result, you won’t need to multitask. As a result, you can spend your time on other things instead of wasting time on ideation and creation.

Ensures you post regularly and on time.

In social media and SEO, consistency is the key and is rewarded with better metrics. As well as keeping your audience hooked, consistent content can help you recall your brand more effectively. For example, to make your audience feel more personalized, you can select specific events, holidays, or seasons that are important to them and post accordingly.

Collaboration is made easier with your content calendar. 

With most calendars, you can collaborate with the calendar and have multiple editors and creators on the same calendar by using team collaboration tools. Team members can stay informed and work together more effectively this way.

Errors and mistakes are reduced for you and your whole team.

It is easier to proofread multiple times when everything is planned and organized well before time. Furthermore, since numerous eyes are on the content calendar, mistakes are spotted quickly and corrected immediately.

You can develop your strategies for distributing content and using social media.

By keeping everything in one place, you can keep track of all the activities on your social media. By thinking long-term, you can devise strategies for what to do next.

It keeps you up-to-date on the latest trends.

A comment on a trending topic will always get you more traction than a non-trending one. You can make content according to all the trends when you use a content calendar. Instagram hashtag contests could be a simple example.

Tracking and improving content performance is made easier with it.

You can identify gaps and improve upon them quickly when you keep track of your daily or weekly activities. A/B tests can help you determine the content mix that gets your audience the most attention using your calendar.

Content Calendar Best Practices

Content management strategies can be made more successful by developing a content calendar. These tips will help you create steady content that meets your marketing goals and elevate your organization’s content calendar.

Pick a format you like.

For hosting your content calendar, you can use a variety of platforms. For example, you can use a spreadsheet, content management software, or a calendar app. It really depends on what works best for you and your peeps.

If you want to track more than just deadlines, a traditional calendar may not be the right tool. If this is the case, a spreadsheet might be a better alternative. Why? Because you can neatly organize everything into columns and rows. And this lets you include more information about each piece of content, such as the author, keywords, current status, and links.

Calendar and project management functions are included in content management software such as Asana and Trello. To improve your team’s efficiency, you can also use spreadsheets alongside these tools.

Come up with content ideas.

After identifying the correct format and tools, the next step is brainstorming content ideas. In addition to being topics that fit your brand persona, they should address any concerns your audience may have and demonstrate your expertise in your field.

Looking for some inspiration? To get you started, here are some ideas:

  • Regular blog posts.
  • Videos, webinars, or how-to guides.
  • A recurring post, series, or theme, such as Motivation Monday.
  • Case studies.
  • Customer success stories.
  • Business-related infographics, statistics, press releases
  • Make use of popular culture, news, holidays, or trends.
  • Reading lists.
  • Product or service launches.
  • Interview with a leader in your industry or business.
  • Business behind-the-scenes.
  • Business-related infographics, statistics, press releases
  • Upcoming industry events

Also, to save time, look for ways to repurpose existing content. A blog post on how to use your product could be turned into a video, for example.

To schedule content as far in advance as possible, you should come up with enough ideas. At least a six-month supply of ideas is ideal for me. But, there are some content ideas that I can plan further out. For instance, I can map out a content marketing strategy for the holidays a year or so in advance since key dates are pretty much set in stone.

Identify the channels and frequency of your publications.

Decide where and when to publish your content once you’ve brainstormed ideas. After all, there will be a different purpose for each channel. Using varying content means your content is written and relevant, uniquely suited differently to each channel.

Blog

Your business and industry insights are published as “how-to” content. A blog post should be published every day, ideally. The best thing you can do is share 1 to 3 quality posts a week if this isn’t possible.

Website

Using landing pages, videos, and gated content can improve your credibility. In addition, it improves your search engine optimization. If your business or industry changes, this type of content only needs to be updated once it is created.

Social Media Networks

You can promote your new content on these channels, build brand awareness, and engage your audience through social media channels. Depending on the channel, the frequency changes; Facebook once or twice a day, Twitter three times daily, LinkedIn once per day, Instagram 1.5 times per day, and Pinterest five times per day.

Video Sharing Sites

YouTube has become a great chance to mix your content up a little. YouTube is used to upload explainers, training, and interview videos (or even something funny about your company or brand). You can publish videos as often as you feel necessary. Don’t start thinking you can do a video every day if you haven’t made these vids before. Making YouTubes are hard to keep up with every day. Choose a weekly or every other week schedule to start out — depending on your audience. You will need to plan long video sessions where you get several done for your upcoming calendar obligations.

Emails

Content such as newsletters, press releases, surveys, and seasonal content should be tailored to specific audience segments. Find the best time for your emails through A/B testing. Avoid annoying your audience by sending arbitrarily timed emails.

Develop a content marketing strategy.

A content marketing strategy will help you achieve the best results from your content calendar. The first step is to determine your goals each quarter or year. Then, if you’re stuck, ask the following questions:

  • What is a content creator, and why do you create content?
  • Do you want your blog to attract more traffic?
  • Are you looking for more leads?
  • Do you want to be a thought leader in your field?

It is crucial to identify your goals before creating any content, determining where and when it should be published and how often it should be published.

Next, determine who will be involved in the content. Setting up team roles will help you determine how much content you can put out based on your team’s capacity, whether you have a dedicated content marketing team or outsource. During this stage, a content planner can be helpful.

To determine your context mix: and the type of content you will create, you need to identify your goals and establish who will be involved in the process. In order to get the best results, you should set up a consistent posting schedule.

Map out your content calendar.

The next step is to create a content calendar based on your content creation process and content marketing strategy. Depending on your business, your calendar will differ. To keep everything cohesive, you should only plan 2-3 months ahead. It’s also possible for content ideas and goals to change.

Here are some things you might want to include in your content calendar:

  • Title or Topic
  • Due Date
  • Publish Date & Time
  • Writer/Author
  • Target Keyword
  • Content Description
  • Promotional Channels
  • Notes & Resources
  • Status
  • Links

A calendar may also help map everything out. As Choncé Maddox explains, “I like to set up days dedicated to brainstorming, outlining, creating/scheduling, polishing, and promoting. Yes, the content production process is pretty tedious, but having a solid plan laid out in writing can make all the difference.”

Additionally, you can use your calendar to “set reminders to hold yourself accountable for meeting specific deadlines and allowing yourself enough time to prepare what you need to complete the content.”

Schedule posts.

“Once you’ve organized everything in your editorial calendar, you have another useful tool at your disposal,” suggests Max Palmer in a previous Calendar post. “Most blog platforms allow you to schedule posts to go live at a specified date.” Content for the upcoming weeks and months can be created by your team and scheduled to publish at the appropriate time. You can schedule posts for social media as well.

“Dashboard services like HootSuite allow you to enter posts and schedule them to go live on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, or all three at the same time,” he adds. “By always working in advance, a team also has the opportunity to tweak posts as needed before they go public.”

Promote and measure.

The final stage of creating a content calendar is promoting the content. Again, the most effective way to achieve maximum results is to plan a consistent posting schedule. Also, figure out what promotional channels you’re using and when.

You can measure your content’s success in a variety of ways. For example, you might measure brand awareness, lead generation, or SEO depending on your content marketing goals. Then, to plan for the next quarter, track these metrics consistently every quarter.

Be sure to leverage both web and social analytics, as well as revenue data. With this information, you can optimize existing content, such as titles, introductions, outbound links, etc., to increase visits and engagement.

The Bottom Line

There is no one-step formula for creating a quality content calendar. However, to achieve the best results, you must plan, create, complete (along with the image and SEO), and post steady content regularly. With a content calendar, you will remain organized, facilitate team collaboration, keep on top of deadlines, and increase your content marketing success.

This article was originally published on Calendar.com. Image Credit: Judit Peter; Pexels; Thank you!

5 Ways Your Business Can Better Leverage Social Media

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5 Ways Business Can Better Leverage Social Media

If your business is not using social media to its advantage, now is the time to start. Social media platforms are free to use and have lots of features to help businesses market themselves. These platforms get a lot of money from the ad revenue they generate from businesses, but you don’t have to give them a dime to see social media make an instant impact.

The truth is that modern consumers spend hours a day on social media sites. They will often use social media to ask about businesses and review their information and content. In addition, by posting content, you can reach new customers who were unaware of your brand before logging on.

That said, social media can be an intimidating space for businesses to get their footing. You might not know where to start or what you should be doing to reap the benefits of social media. These five tips will give you and your brand a helpful nudge in the right direction.

1. Truly Engage With Customers

When just dipping your toes in the water, you might think the obvious use of social media is to promote your new products or deals. You can attach links to your website, with the goal of achieving high click-through rates that result in sales. While this is a great strategy, social media can be used for so much more. These platforms allow you to engage with your customers on a more personal level.

Begin by posting content that addresses your customers’ wants and needs. Keep in mind the tone of voice you use in your writing and make sure that it reflects your brand accurately.

Above all, be consistent with your use of these platforms. You don’t need to post every single day, but your content schedule needs to deliver at a decent enough clip that customers stay engaged.

Another thing you can do is post a poll for customers to respond to. This can give you insight into how customers view your brand and products. Some companies also use social media for customer service. Team members will respond to comments and posts containing issues and complaints and try to come up with solutions. By reaching out to customers, you can often turn negative experiences with your brand into opportunities to build loyalty.

2. Post on Multiple Platforms

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Reddit, and more. There are so many social media platforms, each with its specific features and target audience. You can get comfortable with one, but you’ll find more success by using multiple different platforms.

While you will be able to reach numerous customers through Facebook, some users might have migrated to Instagram or another platform. If you’re restricting yourself to one, you won’t be able to reach all your potential new clients. Even posting the same content across channels can help with your brand visibility.

3. Use Integrations

There are plenty of useful tools you can use alongside your social media platforms. For example, Facebook allows businesses to integrate a schedule into their pages. Users who see your content and want to book a time slot at your appointment-based business can do so directly through this integration.

Other integrations such as Hootsuite and Buffer allow you to plan out your posts in advance. You can set up a week’s worth of content in a single workday and let the integration post based on your schedule.

4. Connect With Other Businesses

Especially for small businesses, the connections you make can be extremely valuable now and in the future. Social media puts you in a position where you can network with the right people. Businesses can create partnerships with other brands, sports teams, and even influencers that can increase their visibility and brand reputation.

You might have seen some friendly banter between Wendy’s and its fast-food competitors on Twitter. While this is done in jest, the comments and posts net all parties more viewers on their profiles and posts. This certainly isn’t your typical form of collaboration, but it’s an example of what two brands can accomplish together through social media.

5. Track Data and Analytics

The backend of social media is just as important as what the customers see. Data and analytics show you what posts are working and which ones are falling short. A video you spent hours developing might not have as big of an impact as a simple image. If you’re not tracking data, you might not realize this.

Most social media platforms have a business page where you can view data analytics. This will give you basic information such as number of impressions, likes, comments, and other engagement with your posts. This will help you modify your content to have a greater impact.

The longer you track data, the more information you’ll have to use to improve your business. Collected data will become more reliable over time, so get started as soon as possible.

In today’s digital-driven world, if you’re not on social media, you may as well not exist. To gain the visibility that will attract customers and drive revenue, embrace these five tips to make social media work for you.

Image Credit: Tracy Le Blanc; Pexels; Thank you!

5 Ways Businesses Can Bring In More Customers This Spring

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Bring More Customers Business This Spring

People tend to get out and patronize businesses more frequently when the weather is nice in the spring. However, they may also need an incentive to do so. That’s where marketing comes in. When running a business, you need to embrace the changing season and break out some fresh strategies that will bring in new customers.

Whether you’re a brick-and-mortar shop or a completely digital business, there are several things you can do to increase your customer base this spring. Here are five ideas to try en route to a successful second quarter:

1. Boost Your Marketing Efforts

Now that the weather is warming up, it’s time to turn the heat up on your marketing game. You must grab the attention of consumers as soon as they start making their way outside. If you’ve positioned yourself to stand out, then once the weather is nice, your business will be booming.

Use all of your marketing channels to promote your business. Create a “Spring Discount” post to put on your website and showcase your new products and service offerings on social media. Try to put some form of marketing out every single day to maximize your exposure.

2. Consider Growing Your Team

Another way to attract more customers is to grow your team. With added employees, you can accomplish more with your business, such as helping more customers in a single time slot or increasing your deliveries. There are three different ways to grow your team this spring.

First, look at hiring some seasonal help. This is something that delivery companies often do around the holidays when there’s a huge influx of packages. Seasonal workers don’t require a long-term commitment and will be a great help when you’re running small promotions.

Your other options are hiring additional full-time employees or contractors. For example, you can hire a new full-time team member who specializes in digital marketing. Alternatively, you could engage a contracted marketer who only gets paid for specific campaigns, like the ones you’re planning to implement this spring.

3. Know Current Trends in Your Business Niche

Trends in business are constantly changing. While your company should have a model of consistency, you need to keep an eye out for trends as they arise. Adding new looks and stylish offerings to your product and service lines can give you considerable boosts in sales and foot traffic when implemented correctly. After the trend fades, you’ll still have your established business model standing strong.

Let’s say you’re a wedding planner looking to book a bunch of springtime weddings. You’ll have better success if you know the latest wedding trends. This could be a specific flower arrangement, color scheme, or even a playlist that the betrothed couple fell in love with on social media. Have all of this at the ready, and use it in your marketing, and you’ll have plenty of customers asking for your services.

4. Watch Your Competitors

Your business won’t be the only one making moves in the springtime. Keeping an eye on your rivals will help you stay competitive as you strive to draw in new customers. If you’re not aware of the strategies they’re implementing, it will be more difficult to optimize your own.

For example, you might be the owner of a local gym with a competing gym a few blocks away. By doing your homework, you find out that they’re unrolling a program to incentivize new membership signups. With that information, you will know to offer something even better to attract those same new members.

You should also learn from the mistakes your competitors make. If a competing salon runs a first-time customer promotion and loses money, you’ll know not to run the same deal. Instead, make some adjustments to their promotion so it works better for your business.

5. Get Involved Locally

Your community will likely be putting on events to celebrate the changing of the season. Getting involved in these events will help you put your business on the map as well as give back to the customers who live in the surrounding area.

If you run a veterinary clinic, offer to set up a booth at the community pet adoption event and provide pet treat samples and discounted products. Own a med spa? Sign up for a space at the next community wellness event. Put up a banner, provide product samples, and hand out fliers, and you’re sure to pick up some new customers from each event you attend.

Whether your business typically slows in the winter or you’ve enjoyed a steady shopping season during the colder months, a little spring marketing can go a long way toward boosting your business. Shed that winter coat and get ready for the best spring your business has ever experienced. If you start laying out your spring marketing plans before the last bit of snow melts, new customers will be lining up outside your door in no time.

Image Credit: Thirdman; Pexels; Thank you!

Think Outside of the Box When Marketing Your Brand

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marketing your brand

Marketing  is an endless battle trying to win over new customers to give your brand a try. But, for new businesses especially, marketing your brand is how you get the word out about your products and services to close those first sales.

There are several tried and true marketing approaches that you can and should try. However, thinking outside of the box may provide access to more success by setting you apart from competitors. Here are some examples you can consider:

Host a Live Stream

Video has been crowned the king of content for the past several years. Video has proven to be quite successful at capturing the attention of consumers through the use of humor, graphics, or cinematography. In addition, videos contain many elements that can’t be captured in other forms of media.

One type of video many companies have yet to latch onto is live streaming. Instead of directing and shooting a scene that can be edited later, a presentation or event is held in real-time for viewers. A live video can be a daunting task to undertake, but the benefits can be astounding. Your Calendar will help with the scheduling, and some creative thinking will master the execution. In addition, you can gain confidence for live video work with practice.

T-Mobile’s former CEO, John Legere, is an excellent example of using live streams to promote a brand. He hosted a “Slow Cooker Sunday” show where he would share recipes with viewers while talking about the latest in T-Mobile news and promotions. By combining an entertaining hobby with his business, he built up both his personal brand and that of his company.

Encourage User-Generated Content

User-generated content is great for three reasons. First, it’s free content production! Your design team can take a well-deserved break to restore their creativity and let consumers handle the task instead. Second, the more participants you have, the further your UGC campaign will reach as well.

However, user-generated content is worth so much more than free labor. This approach gives customers a chance to express themselves and even earn prizes for the best contribution. In addition, your brand will seem much more personable as it connects with customers commending their hashtag ideas and merch photoshoots.

Last but not least, customers can develop a community around your brand by sharing content. The camaraderie that forms will boost retention rates as customers tie in friendships, followers, and memories with the UGC campaign you put together.

Customize the Details

All brands try to be unique, and yours should be no different. Making yourself and your brand unique is how you set yourself apart from the competition, after all. However, to really think outside of the box, you need to customize the details of your business that would typically be overlooked.

Take a simple business card, for example. You can spend hours on the color palette, font, and layout of your business cards, but these tiny details will essentially go unnoticed unless you really make them pop. How about focusing on the shape instead? A bait and tackle shop handing out business cards in the form of fish will easily be remembered.

Instead of stressing out about making your website or social media page completely original, think about the more minor details that customers usually wouldn’t notice. For example, a pediatric office can turn its lobby into a magical kingdom to make kids more comfortable before their appointments. A local restaurant can hand out crazy straws that are perfect for dinner selfies, and so on and so forth.

Try Out New Socials

When startups look to gain traction over the internet, they often look to social media. Unfortunately, more often than not, these companies focus on only one or two platforms where they’re most comfortable. While this is a great start, every brand should try out every available platform, even with many unknowns.

Just look at Tik Tok. The video-sharing app has seen explosive growth in recent years, and those who jumped on the platform, in the beginning, grew along with it. So even today, if your brand can produce content for the platform and escape its comfort zone, there’s a lot of exposure to be found.

When you try out new social platforms, you can find the winning competition for your brand. You might find out that Tik Tok just isn’t the app for you, but you will be surprised by how much traffic you’re getting by posting on LinkedIn. You never know until you try.

Put Your Name Somewhere Eye-Catching

Every business puts its name on social media, billboards, bus stops, and in front of buildings. Think of some different ways to get your brand name out there. For example, if you have a blank wall on the side of your building, commission a cool mural with bright colors that will be impossible to miss.

There are other marketing options available such as sponsoring a local sports team. You can get involved with a fun part of the community and get your name on a banner hanging in the arena. In addition, you can sponsor local activities such as the county fair, Thanksgiving fun run, and a holiday food drive.

Most publicity is good publicity, especially if it’s for a good cause. For example, if you see a blood drive coming up, volunteer to help in exchange for your company name to be displayed as part of the event. As a result, your brand will be associated with a good deed which will get more community members to check you out.

Remember that not every marketing campaign will take off. There will be some trial and error before you find what works well. Just keep thinking outside of the box, and eventually, you’ll figure out the best strategy for marketing your brand.

Image Credit: fauxels; Pexels; Thank you!

Think Outside of the Box When Marketing Your Brand was originally published on Calendar by Hunter Meine.

4 Ways to Up Your Social Media Marketing Game

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4 Ways to Up Your Social Media Marketing Game

Let’s get straight to it. Your company’s success relies on social media. Why? Because that’s where the consumers are. Today, there are about 3.78 billion social media users worldwide. And these users have high expectations. 

In today’s ever-changing and demanding world, consumers expect a lot from their social media feeds. They want to be informed, engaged, and entertained. They also want to learn something new from time to time. This puts a lot of pressure on businesses, particularly new ones trying to establish a social presence. 

Building an engaged and involved social media following takes time. Setting your social media goals is a true first step in establishing your social media game. With goals, you have a clear sense of direction for your company’s brand. Not to mention, you also have a plan for you and your team to get behind and work toward. 

Read on for four ways to give your social media marketing a boost. 

1. Post Consistently 

This is arguably the easiest but also the most fruitful way to gain more followers. Posting consistently creates a rhythm to your platform. It helps create a sense of reliability and continuity. Your users will start to expect content at certain times of the day, month, or year. 

Here’s an example. Let’s say you’re managing a new restaurant’s social media. Users will be looking for food content at times they are hungry. If you post a special menu photo at 5 p.m. each day, that will resonate with users who want to try the restaurant for dinner. The next time users are looking for a place to eat, they may return to your social channels. 

However, if you only post that menu photo once and then don’t post anything for another week or two, users will quickly forget about your original post. Your audience won’t be engaged and will be unlikely to return to your feed. 

Maintaining a consistent social media schedule may seem daunting at first. Luckily, there are tools such as Hootsuite and Agorapulse that can alleviate the stress of scheduling social media posts. 

Struggling to create content in advance? Seek out special holidays and observances such as Freedom Day (February 1) or Retro Day (February 27) for some inspiration.

2. But Also Post Consciously 

Social media users are constantly sharing and reacting. Sharing and reacting to world events. Sharing and reacting to other posts. Sharing and reacting to a brand’s stances. It’s you and your company’s responsibility to stay up to date on what is happening both on and off social media. 

For example, June 2020 was a monumental month for the social world. The Black Lives Matter movement grew significantly and steadily due to social media. Businesses that reacted sensitively in the moment retained their loyal followers. On the other hand, companies that posted inappropriately worded content or ignored the movement altogether took a major hit. 

So, what does this mean for you? While there isn’t one right way to handle any situation, there are wrong ways. Be conscious of what is happening — even while you’re on vacation — and pivot your planned social tactics accordingly. You don’t necessarily need to be the very first company to react to something. However, you should create a strategy when major events surprise the social world.  

3. Be Flexible and Adaptable

Setting up a new social account or taking one over can be intimidating. What works one day may not work the next. However, think of social media as a world of opportunities. If a company is stuck in the past, it won’t be moving ahead. This opens up the door for newer ones to take up space in a crowded field. 

Consider this example. Just recently, Instagram announced it was no longer just a “photo-sharing app.” The platform will be focusing on video content and entertainment in the months to come. Why? It’s likely because the app is looking to compete with popular video platforms such as TikTok and YouTube.

This news could shock a lot of businesses, particularly those that focused solely on posting photos and copy. Instagram’s algorithm will make it harder for users to see these brands in their feeds. Therefore, companies need to adapt, and so do their social media feeds. By posting Instagram Stories, Reels, and IGTVs, for instance, businesses can better stay ahead of the game. 

4. Tailor Your Posts to the Platform 

What works on Instagram may not necessarily work on Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube, or LinkedIn. Users adapt their needs to where they are. So a cute cat photo on Instagram won’t really be appropriate for LinkedIn, for example. 

Getting to know your customer is part of tailoring your posts effectively. Keeping an eye on your social metrics can also help you determine what kinds of posts work best for your business. 

Let’s go back to the restaurant example. If a Facebook post introducing a new menu item doesn’t resonate, look at what the call to action is. Could you make it clearer to the audience that this item is “back by popular demand”? Could you say the item is “available only for a limited time”? Using these types of words could help. 

If you’re still not seeing the traction you want, try another platform. The same photo could work better on Instagram and garner more attention if that’s where your foodie audience is. 

These four tips aren’t the only ways to up your social media marketing game. They are, however, strategies you can start to implement today to meet your goals. Be aware, though, that it takes time. Just like your business wasn’t built overnight, neither will your social media presence be.

How to Boost Appointment Numbers Without Increasing Your Marketing Budget

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How to Boost Appointment Numbers Without Increasing Your Marketing Budget

Want to increase the number of appointments you get each day without increasing your marketing budget? It sounds like a picture-perfect world for appointment-based businesses. However, this scenario is far from a fairy tale. There are definite ways your business can increase appointment numbers without adding a dime to your marketing spend. 

By using the following tips in conjunction with your existing marketing campaigns, you’ll fill your calendar with as many appointments as you can handle. Here’s how to get started:

Book Follow-Ups in Person

Each time a customer walks through your doors, it’s an opportunity to sign them up for another appointment. No marketing resources are required — just your best customer service skills and leveraging a great window of opportunity. 

Setting up a return appointment in person is quick and convenient. It also provides an opportunity for you to engage with customers and develop a relationship that will increase their attachment to your business. Use your online appointment software to send follow-up information and appointment alerts even when your customers are booking return visits in person.

Review Calls to Action

When your business relies on online appointment software to bring people in, your website will often be your first interaction with new customers. If you want to maximize the appointment conversions you get from website visitors, you need a good call to action. 

Your call to action ought to be short, sweet, and to the point. It should be just enough to hook a customer’s attention and draw them in to deeper content that will persuade them to book an appointment. Examples of a good CTA include the following:

  • Book today and get a free product
  • Sign up and start earning rewards now
  • Visit today and get 15% off your appointment
  • Download our free resource 

Using data analytics, you can experiment with a few different calls to action until you find what works the best. Changing just one sentence on your website can see a spike in engagement rates and increased bookings. 

Focus on Organic Reach

Social media is a powerful tool for businesses. What’s important to note is that you can create successful social media campaigns without pouring money into them. While a well-calibrated paid campaign can be very effective in bringing in new customers, you can have a lot of success by focusing on organic reach.

Organic reach refers to the views and engagements you receive without paid amplification. Organic posts can sometimes get lost in the sea of content that fills customers’ feeds. To beat out the other posts competing for your audience’s attention, use the additional tools at your disposal. Stories and live video, for example, have proven to yield high engagement rates and longer view times than other forms of media.

Now let’s talk about content creation. How can you improve your organic reach without increasing your marketing budget? The truth is, you don’t have to. Photos and live video can be taken right on site, providing an authentic feel to your social media content at little or no cost to you. 

Start a Rewards Program

A good rewards program will boost your customer retention rate and also attract new customers to your establishment. It incentivizes appointment bookings and will naturally raise their number even without a heavy marketing campaign behind it. 

The costs of establishing a rewards program are minimal. Most of the effort goes into setting it up, whether you put together a punch card or a points program online. Talk to customers at your business location about signing up for the rewards program, and word of mouth will do the rest.

Speaking of word of mouth, referrals are a business’s best friend. Customers who are referred by family and friends tend to be more loyal and make more return appointments. Sweeten the pot by treating both parties to a special deal when a friend is referred and books their first appointment. 

Improve Your Booking Process

A user-friendly booking process will keep your conversion rate high. Slow loading times on your website, on the other hand, will drive impatient customers away. Placing your online booking platform somewhere easily visible and accessible ensures that customers can easily find it on their own.

Look at your online appointment software from the perspective of a new customer. What changes would you make if you were in their shoes? Little things like using a bigger font or reducing the number of screens users have to click through will go a long way. 

Perfect the Customer Experience

A whopping 91% of young consumers trust the business reviews they read online. Yes, that includes both the good reviews and the bad ones. If you want to boost your appointment numbers, do everything you can to make those reviews positive.

That doesn’t mean you should try to entice your customers to leave positive reviews in exchange for discounts. Instead, encourage them to be honest when leaving a review for future customers. 

While positive reviews will ring true and bring more people in, negative reviews will point out the flaws in your business so you can make needed changes. Be sure to respond publicly to discontented customers and tell them how you’ll make things right. Showing customers that you value their input will increase brand loyalty and bring in new faces every day.  

Ready for this call to action? Start applying these techniques today to boost your appointment numbers. You’ll see an increase in bookings as well as higher retention rates without spending big bucks.

7 Ways Appointment Software Supports Sales and Marketing

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7 Ways Appointment Software Supports Sales and Marketing

You know online appointment software can help customer service teams up their efficiency. But believe it or not, it can also make life easier for your sales and marketing teams. 

If you’re already licking your chops at the thought of squeezing in more sales meetings, then keep reading. This article will outline some of the ways appointment software can help you attract leads, close sales, and chisel your brand:

Online Booking Is Enticing

The simple perk of being able to book an appointment online is music to most customers’ ears. No longer will they have to wait on hold to ask about your availability and to hopefully get the slot they want. With appointment software, all they have to do is log onto your website and complete the booking process with a few clicks.

Ask your marketing team to come up with a campaign alerting new and existing companies of your new system. Social media and email marketing costs are minimal. Then, they can add small details to bring appointment software to the forefront of your branding, such as adding a “Book Now” button to your homepage.

Not only are buttons helpful for customers, but they also bring in new business. In other words, everyone wins. 

Customer Relationships Improve

A huge part of the sales process is building a relationship with the customer. The stronger the relationship, the more likely a customer is to commit to a purchase. 

Online appointment software starts the relationship-building process early. It incentivizes loyalty and makes it easy for customers to commit due to its sheer convenience. The software also tracks customer information for sales representatives to use when they reach out to clients.

Data Delivers New Insights

Speaking of tracking information, nothing helps a marketing team more than cold, hard data. Otherwise, marketers are forced to guess at what sorts of tactics and talking points lead to conversions.

There are a variety of data points appointment software can track for you. Some examples include:

  • No-show and late appointment rate
  • Age and gender demographics
  • Booking link clickthrough rate
  • Proportion of bookings per service line
  • Average amount spent per customer

This data can help your marketing team spot gaps in your audiences and services. If only a few women book appointments in a given month, for example, maybe it’s time for a campaign targeted specifically at them. If late appointments are common, maybe you need to institute buffer periods. 

Budgeting Becomes Easier

If you don’t know how many appointments to expect in a given month, it can be difficult to budget. How much you spend on office upgrades should depend on how much traffic your office gets, for example.

The more money you save, the more you can reinvest in your sales and marketing operations. Marketing might want to throw a live event as soon as the pandemic is over. Sales may need a new video conferencing tool, or perhaps a year-end reward to work their tails off.

Bookings Get Made 24/7

Your online appointment software doesn’t take breaks or expect weekends off. This means that your customers can continue to book appointments even when there’s no one around to answer the phone. 

This constant flow of customers also takes work off your sales team’s shoulders. They can focus on chasing down high-quality leads, rather than pursuing those that would have booked anyway.

SEO Gets a Boost

How your website ranks for relevant keywords has a lot to do with how much business it brings in. A higher position not only produces more traffic but also improves your brand’s credibility. 

Google puts a premium on the user experience. Making it easy for customers to book online improves your site’s UX, which should also help it appear higher in search engine results pages.

Knowing the Workload Dictates the Day

When customers book through online appointment software, your sales and marketing team members get a better sense of their workload for the day. Even if they aren’t directly serving customers, they probably get roped in regularly.

For example, on days projected to have few appointments, your sales team can make cold calls in an attempt to fill more slots. Your marketing team can also jump on board, perhaps by developing new ads or discount offers.

Online appointment software can make a night-and-day difference for every role on every team. Nowhere is that more true than sales and marketing. 

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