For service-based businesses that have been forced to rethink their business model or structure due to Covid-19, you may find yourself turning to an online business model in order to stay afloat. Whether you're a personal trainer, SAT tutor, accountant, martial arts instructor, or any other service-based business, you need to sell your services online and diversify your offerings.
Here at Bounce House, we help small businesses start selling 1:1 sessions and group classes online through simple web pages for services, with booking and payments built right in. Learn how to begin selling your services online, using Bounce House as an example:
1. Set up a simple page to sell your services
The first thing you need to do to bring your business online is to be online (duh). Maybe you have a website already, maybe you don't - but either way you need a presence outside of a social media profile in which people can learn more about you, schedule a session or class with you, and pay you easily.
To sell online means to move beyond Venmo, cash and IOUs. Legitimize your offerings through a proper booking and checkout process that feels secure to both you and your customers. Having a website domain name that is yours is a great piece of online real estate to own and nurture, as oppose to relying on marketplaces and social platforms that can change rules and algorithms overnight.
Getting a web page up and running can be easy! Consider using Bounce House, where you set up a service and can start driving new bookings within minutes. For real!
2. Accept credit cards, right into your bank account
You've certainly bought things online before and are used to choosing a product, checking out securely, and getting automated confirmation and receipts. A class or session is no different - offer the same e-commerce experience for the service you sell by exercising the same protected payment flow.
There are many points of sale systems out there, often connected to website builders, or embedded via PayPal, Square or other. They all have their pros and cons, to read more about various POS options, read our guide to switching from Venmo.
3. Automate your schedule and availability
Whether you're functioning online or offline, the time it takes to manage your schedule, make updates with customers, or rearrange and reschedule based on multiple schedules... that's a lot of time that you could put towards running a class or session. Wasting time to find time to work sucks. So, why not automate it?
Calendars today are super powerful, and they can pull off a lot of that back and forth work for you. But it requires you, as a small business owner, to enforce online scheduling as a normal practice with customers. Learn how to transition customers to online scheduling.
To effectively get customers in the habit of scheduling, rescheduling or canceling all through your website, then you have to be diligent enough to differ most inquiries about upcoming changes instead of doing the back and forth. That being said, sometimes it's worth taking a moment to call a customer and humanize the experience too. But, for normal changes - embrace the automation.
4. Send reminders and follow up communication
With Bounce House, don't have to worry about sending reminders for 1:1 sessions or group classes. For in-person and online classes, we'll send out reminders the day before and the day of with pertinent information and Zoom or video links.
Selling online allows you to enter the wonderful world of email communication, social media posts and stories, pandemic or not, it is good practice to keep personalized communication going with customers. Learn about social posts you can use regularly, and ideas for starting an ongoing email newsletter.
5. Announce your online availability
Once you've set up your infrastructure for booking and payment, let loose! Announce to your audience, family, friends, clients and followers that you're open for business. Read our guide for getting new customers.
If you offer a localized service, lean into directories, groups on Facebook and LinkedIn, your town's chamber of commerce, and see if other local businesses can be helpful in fielding customers your way through mutual partnerships. If you offer a service for anyone, local or beyond - you can now start marketing outside of your region! You sell online, which means your state, your country and the entire world has potential customers for you. How cool is that?
7. Incentivize to get new customers
While traditional marketing and advertising mechanisms are excellent ways to drive new business, you can also lean on deals and coupons, referral systems, and new business incentives to sign people up to work with you. For businesses that run group classes, consider first time offers, free consultations, or weekly community classes that run on donations. There are many ways to get a foot in the door, and some of them require a little creativity.
Here at Bounce House, we help one person businesses sell services online. If you're interested to learn more on how you can build your website, manage customers, and get paid all through Bounce House - check us out!