Every website needs to have a purpose or a clear objective. For product-based businesses, the goal is easy – to sell. However, for the service industry, the main purpose of a website can be hard to pin down. Often we fall into the trap of just showcasing our services and hoping for the best. Let’s explore how we can tackle that lack of call to action (CTA) with an appointment booking plugin…
Selling products – the purpose is clear
Let’s start off by explaining a really well-executed purpose of a website. Imagine that you’re selling trainers (sneakers) online. The purpose is quite obvious; to sell trainers quickly through your website. You want users to visit your site, find the shoes they like, select a size, and order it. Simple.
Saying that not everyone is always going to be in a position to complete that objective right away. They could be just looking around at the moment, waiting for payday, or they might be unsure if those trainers will look right with their outfits. There will be thousands of reasons why people don’t buy there and then, and that’s absolutely fine.
This is where a sub-purpose of a website comes in, typically focussed on data collection. We want to grab users’ details and give them something of value in exchange. Perhaps a coupon to get money off their trainers or some form of PDF downloadable that’s going to help them, such as ‘How to keep your trainers looking white all year round’ (great question actually).
The reason we give something away is so that we can build our database of email addresses and client contacts. We can then sell to that database whenever we have a new product or service to offer. If you have a big database, the world is your oyster.
Selling a service – how can we make it work?
Now in the service industry, it’s highly likely that users aren’t going to just land on our site and want to give us money straight away. They won’t just contact us to say “I want your service, let’s get started!” – sadly, the world just doesn’t work like that.
So, what purpose can a service industry website have? Whatever objective we choose, we need to ensure it’s fully trackable as this will help us understand if it’s a success or not. The best way to do this is by using Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
It’s pretty typical to have contact forms but these aren’t great to use with KPIs as they don’t give an accurate depiction of your conversion rate. This is because contact forms may be used by tyre kickers and people who have no real interest in buying from you. Even worse, you might have people filling them in who are looking for jobs or are recruitment companies trying to get you to sign up for their service. Just looking at the number of contacts coming in from a contact form is not a valid purpose for a site, as it’s hard to track real, tangible leads.
Appointment booking plugins
What we see working for clients a lot is the use of an appointment booking plugin. The benefit of this is that you can put it directly into the site with a simple embed or use a booking plugin. A prospect can then select the date and time that they want to meet you, submitting their name, email, and phone number.
What’s really great is that this is fully trackable! We know that something is converting but we also know the identity and have some real data about the prospects. We know that there won’t be any tyre kickers booking appointments – only be strong leads.
The reason this works so well is that because it’s an appointment, they’re basically saying “Yes, I’m interested in this”. It forces the user to really think if they want to speak to you and is absolutely essential in getting more high-quality conversions.
How does an online appointment booking plugin work?
An online appointment booking plugin is a cloud-based software that integrates with your website and calendar to allow potential leads and existing customers to select and make an appointment with you. These can be appointments for a number of things from sales calls to booking hair appointments.
The main focus of these systems is that they provide easy touch points for customer service and in the back end help to manage your time without unnecessary admin.
Now as you’re reading this, you’re going to be thinking of logistics and coming up with a list of excuses as to why this won’t work. I bet they’re along the lines of:
- I don’t know what my diary is going to look like.
- What if they pick a date and a time that I can’t do?
- What if they’re really far away?
- I have lots of sales staff so this won’t work for me.
Firstly, the appointment booking plugin can link with all of your electronic diaries meaning they are up-to-date and synced.
Secondly, ensure you collect a phone number for the new lead. If you do have to ring them to change the meeting, it’s not a big deal. It still forces the user to fully commit, which is always the best option.
A great example of this is working with hairdressers. Potential customers can book a hair appointment to come straight to you. Likewise, some accountants give the option of a free review in which a prospect can book straight in for the initial chat.
At Strafe Creative, we use the same option through our Project Planner. People can fill in their details, note down their budget and book a time to speak to us. We actively use this system and it stops a lot of tyre kickers, making the whole process a lot smoother. We built this tool ourselves but you can embed a booking plugin that will do the same thing for you.
5 best appointment booking plugins
There are loads of appointment booking plugin options out there, but here are a few we really love
As I said at the start of this, once you’ve identified a clear objective you can easily track the results. Honestly guys, give it a try. It will transform your website from a brochure to something of value, which will show you actual results.
If you need a high-converting booking widget integrated into your website drop your ideas into our Project Planner below!
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