The proof is in the numbers: Demandforce can help your business grow

According to a financial statement analysis done by Sageworks, a financial information company, businesses with less than $5 million in annual revenue experienced, on average, a 7.8 percent annual sales growth in 2015. This follows the trend of continued growth in annual small business sales that we’ve seen since the Great Recession of the late 2000s.

If you’re a small business owner, prospects could be looking bright for you, but you still always need to work towards increasing your customer count, visits per day, and revenue per day, to continue to grow. Even if you have a loyal fan base, if you don’t have the numbers, you might run into cash flow problems. According to a U.S. Bank study, 82 percent of businesses that fail do so because of cash flow problems.

So how can you be proactive about growing your business? By investing wisely in three aspects:

  1. Your product or service
  2. Your team
  3. Your marketing and communications

Your product or service

This is the most obvious aspect of your business that you need to quality control and provide. If you don’t offer a service or product that is in demand, and that is of a high caliber, than you’ll have trouble attracting new business and growing.

Your team

The foundation of any great business starts with the people who work there. This goes for startups to large corporations. The dedication and passion your team members put into their work pays off in the quality of service your business provides. You and your team directly impact how well your business does, and so investing in yourself and your team is never a bad idea.

Your marketing and communications

You may be the greatest dentist, doctor, veterinarian, or mechanic in your town, but if you no one knows that, then your business won’t get off the ground, let alone grow. While traditional forms of marketing like word-of-mouth referrals and local advertisements are still valuable, investing in marketing and communications that reach a wider group of prospects is essential if you want your business to continue to grow. That’s why the best way to increase customer count, visits, and revenue per day is to invest in improving and optimizing your marketing and communications.

Take these stats: auto shops that sign up for Demandforce, a marketing and communications platform that provides tools and solutions to help small businesses (such as auto shops and more) grow, saw an immediate effect in all three of these areas.

Within just 6 months, the average customer count at auto shops using Demandforce increased by 4.89%. Average visits per day went up by 11% after just six months, and average revenue per day increased by 4.57%.

And the numbers continue to rise after a year of using the platform.

After a year, the average customer count at an auto shop using the platform increased from its original number by 12.48%, and average visits per day had increased by 13.21% in a year.

(Based off a survey of select Demandforce auto shop partners, 2017)

With just a bit of help, your business could start seeing immediate increases in these three key areas, which are all good indications of your business’ health. And one of the benefits of using an online platform designed for small businesses is that it’s easy to use. Setting up and sending out a custom email to inactive customers, for example, can be done in just a few minutes, by following the helpful walkthrough and using a ready-made email template. Demandforce specifically integrates with popular content management systems to sync appointment and customer data, so that you can set up helpful automated workflows, such as advanced appointment reminders and two-way text, completely contained within the online platform.

If you’re looking for immediate results, Demandforce can help. The platform offers a live demo and occasional special introductory offers. To find out more or to schedule a demo, you can either call (888) 272-7821 or visit demandforce.com and click the “See a demo” button.

Your cheat sheet to sending better emails

Email marketing continues to be an important aspect of patient communications, especially in regards to patient recall and retention. In a recent survey, 77% of respondents said they prefer to receive permission-based marketing communications through email. Further, all age groups named email as their preferred source for communication. If you’re a dental or medical practice that wants to improve the way you communicate with your patients, read this cheat sheet to sending better emails.

Spend time on strategy

Top performing emails – ones that get opened and drive visits – are ones that have had some strategy applied to them. Out of all the steps that go into creating, developing, and sending an email (this includes: the creative, segmentation & targeting, strategy, email layout and processing, and reporting), strategy has the greatest effect on whether your email is ultimately successful. So even if you’re sending automated emails for things like appointment reminders and birthdays, put some thought into creating your next promotion or recall campaign.

Test and track results

Unless you’re incredibly lucky or a natural marketing genius, the first email you send won’t be the best one you could send. With each communication you send to patients, you can learn valuable insights about what your patients want, and how you can tailor your practice and communications to better engage with them. So what should you test in your emails?

  • The subject line
  • The message
  • The layout and images
  • The CTA (Call-to-Action)
  • The day you send
  • The time of day you send
  • The landing page
  • Your audience
  • The sender
  • Mobile layout and images

Design for mobile

In the modern, digital age, the last bullet is quite possibly one of the most important, so we wanted to split it into its own section. One of the keys to sending better emails is to design for mobile. Whatever email platform or system you choose, make sure they have considered how to optimize their emails for mobile viewing. Did you know that 75% of smartphone owners say they are highly likely to delete emails that they can’t read on their phones?

Mobile viewing isn’t a rising trend; it’s the new normal. By the end of 2013, the number of commercial emails opened on mobile devices had already surpassed the number opened on desktops. Yet there are still practices out there who aren’t using mobile-friendly layouts. Stand out from the crowd by designing and considering where and how your patients will read your emails. You can even go further with a marketing platform like Demandforce, and offer text reminders and two-way text to your patients as well, making it even easier for them to confirm and communicate with your practice.

For more information on all this and more, visit demandforce.com, or call us at (888) 272-7821.

3 quick tricks to strengthen your online reputation

Looking for 3 quick tricks to help you strengthen your online reputation? While nothing beats taking the time to nurture your brand identity and personality online with steady, consistent engagement, the following are 3 quick tricks to help jumpstart your online presence.

1. Leverage Social Media

You took the time to set up your Facebook page, Instagram account, Twitter, and LinkedIn – so now’s the time to utilize them! Collect and post customer reviews on social media, and connect with your customers through engaging, relevant social posts. Showcasing your business on social media increases your value and exposure exponentially!

2. Use Negative Reviews Wisely

Always acknowledge and respond to negative reviews, creating a conversation to reach a resolution. Never leave a negative comment unanswered on a Facebook post or your Yelp page. Even if you need to take the conversation offline, respond publicly so that other customers and prospects see that you responded in a timely matter, and care about working with the customer to come to some sort of resolution. Remember, some negative feedback can add more legitimacy to your positive reviews.

3. Measure, Measure, Measure

Never stop tweaking and learning from your posts and your customers. Establish a plan to track and monitor your online reputation, including these important indicators:

  • Volume
  • Velocity
  • Sentiment
  • Recency
  • Keywords

If you want to strengthen your business’ online reputation, check out the online reputation management tools from Demandforce. You can send automatic review requests, post directly to popular search sites, and manage your online reputation all from our easy-to-use online platform.

Call us at (888) 272-7821 to see a demo, or visit demandforce.com for more info.

[Infographic] 5 best ways to increase survey response rates

When was the last time your business sent out a survey to your current database of patients, clients, or customers? Surveys are important for your business for the following reasons:

  • You keep up-to-date on what your patients/clients actually want from your services
  • You increase patient/client satisfaction by showing that you value feedback
  • You get a more accurate view of your current brand / business reputation and perception
  • You can use the results to identify and improve services, products, or strategy

However, before you shoot off a long survey to your email database, you might want to consider a few things that will drive up response and make sure you’re not being a nuisance. Check out the infographic below for 5 Ways to Increase Survey Response Rates, and then when you’re ready to send your first (or next!) survey, send it through Demandforce! Demandforce offers customers the ability to send patient/client surveys directly from our easy-to-use online platform. To see a demo of Demandforce, call us at (888) 272-7821 or visit demandforce.com.

5-Ways-to-Increase-Survey-Response-Rates

How Online Reviews Get You Seen Online

If you’re a medical practice, dental office, veterinary practice, or auto shop and you haven’t considered what it means to rank high on Google or have good reviews, you’re missing out on key revenue opportunities.

Online reviews are now the most trusted source for potential patients, clients, and customers who are trying to choose between all the options out there. Over 80% of consumers now trust online reviews as much as a peer recommendation, and the more reviews you have, the better.

How Online Reviews Help You Show Up In Search

Having online reviews doesn’t just help in getting patients to trust you… it also will organically help increase your business’ search engine rankings. All the major search engines – Google, Yahoo, Citysearch, and Bing – are fans of reviews. This is because users like reviews, and these search engines want to provide users with useful information. A practice, shop, or business that has generated online reviews will be shown higher on the search results page than one without reviews. Plus, if you’re searching say, on Google for a business, and your business has enough reviews and information about it to make it more relevant than other listings, Google will often showcase its Google Local business page in the search results, providing your business with a big boost in online visibility over competitors.

How Online Reviews Keep You High on the Page

One of the ways that search engines like Google and Bing make sure that their content is up-to-date is by checking for new content. Every time a customer reviews your business and posts it online, the search engines identify that as new content, and rewards that business and that page by keeping it higher in the search results. Both your office’s actual website and the review site for your place of business benefit from new online reviews.

How Having Multiple Business Listings Helps Online Visibility

Another factor to consider is that having multiple business listings spread across major consumer sites ensures that you get seen by the widest possible group of consumers, regardless of where they are coming from, and what search engine they use. Have you ever seen a Bing search result or review pop up on Google? Or a Yahoo review? Probably not, and that’s because the major search engines don’t want to provide their competitors with free traffic. That’s another reason why USER-generated online reviews are so important, as those are the only ones search engines will show (aside from ones on their own platforms).

This is why your business can benefit from having complete and accurate business listings on Google, Bing, Citysearch, Yellowpages, Demandforce Local, and more. You cover 95% of where local searches occur.

If just thinking about managing 4+ business listings makes your head spin, don’t worry. If you invest in a platform like Demandforce, you can just log into your Demandforce portal and manage all your local business listings in one place. We’ll keep your contact information and business hours updated automatically, so you don’t have to take care of it manually.

How Demandforce Can Help You Get More Online Reviews

As one of the many features of Demandforce, your business gets help with reputation management and collecting online reviews. However, we know that in order to leverage reviews on sites like Google, it’s not just about getting high numbers, it’s about how you collect and manage them as well. Demandforce not only provides you with ways to automatically request reviews from patients and clients, but they also allow you to showcase positive reviews on your website, Facebook page, and Demandforce business profile.

Demandforce also helps you make sure that the business reviews online are from your actual patients and clients. This helps protect your online reputation, and boosts word-of-mouth referrals as well. And while some lower-star ratings are actually useful (they help show that your business is ‘real’ and the reviews are legitimate, Demandforce also allows you to target certain patients for review requests, so you increase the likelihood that the review your clients post will be a positive one.

Plus, when a client submits positive feedback about your business, we encourage them to share their experience with their social network. We make it easy to post a link recommending your business on Facebook, so you get more business, and they get the chance to refer a friend or relative.

For more information on how Demandforce can help get you seen online, visit demandforce.com or schedule a free demo with one of our experts: (888) 272-7821.

How automated communications provide a better patient experience

If you’re the owner of a small business or healthcare practice, you are probably no stranger to appointment reminders. Studies have shown that appointment and reservation reminders of any type—voice, email, text, or postcard—can have an immediate and positive impact on the number of confirmed appointments and completed bookings.

Yet despite the benefits of appointment reminders and personalized communications with customers and patients, many small businesses and practices have not optimized this process, and staff can find themselves frustrated or overwhelmed by the time it takes to track down unconfirmed patients or organize a system of sending and following up on booked appointments.

When managed or set manually, appointment reminders and other customer communications can become unwieldy and stressful, especially for a small staff that already has a long list of day-to-day tasks they need to complete. Even with the best of intentions, small details can slip through the cracks, and the overall patient experience can suffer.

The solution: automated communications

The solution to this dilemma facing small businesses and practices is simple: automate as many communications as you can for your patients. This is a win-win solution, as it not only makes life easier for your staff, but it increases the entire experience for your patients.

What can you automate?

  • Appointment reminders & confirmations
  • Requests for online reviews
  • Patient feedback via surveys
  • Email campaigns and recall reminders

Automating communications doesn’t need to be expensive or complicated either. Demandforce offers a complete patient communications solution by providing automation assistance for all of the above and more. For example, Demandforce offers an online scheduling system that automates the booking process and the reminder process, making tedious tasks an afterthought. Email and text reminders can be sent through the system automatically without any additional actions required by your staff.

A better patient experience

By automating your patient communications, you are making sure that your patients and customers connect with you in a seamless, consistent manner. This removes gaps in the communication timeline, and also eliminates instances where you contact a patient only to learn that they have already been contacted previously. A platform like Demandforce also integrates with your current practice management system, and leverages the information you have there to make sure that all your communications with patients are relevant and timely to that specific patient.

In today’s modern world, patients expect more than just a one-off positive experience – they want to establish a long-term relationship with their healthcare providers, and one way you can make your patients and customers feel special is by sending them customized messaging that syncs with their previous visit history and other preferences.

It’s becoming easier for patients to widen their search for healthcare providers, and so offering a better patient experience through automated communications solutions will help you stand out from among the crowd.

Why mobile first matters for your business

Did you know…

Over 50% of smartphone users grab their smartphone immediately after waking up. (ExpressPigeon, 2014)

Think about that. We have become so attached and reliant on our smartphones, often they are the first things we reach for each morning. And this shouldn’t necessarily be a distressing fact. Our smartphones connect us to the world and help us communicate quickly and effectively with a much wider world than we ever had access to before.

But what does this mean for small business owners who want to connect to new patients, customers, and clients?

Some stats on the importance of being mobile first

  • Google says 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing, and 40% visit a competitor’s site instead (MicKinsey & Company)
  • Mobile email opens have grown by 180% in the last three years (Email Monday)
  • 91% of mobile users say that access to content is very important (Wolfgang Jaegel)

Your business needs to not only be mobile-friendly, but mobile first.

In an age where 80% of Internet users own a smartphone (Smart Insights, 2015), you need to be thinking about how to immediately connect with your patients and customers online. This includes:

Demandforce offers a complete communications solution for your business.

Demandforce helps you automate your communications and send relevant and timely communications to your entire customer base. These communications can all be optimized for mobile delivery and viewing, keeping you in front of your customers and available where they are most: online, and on their phones.

To find out how Demandforce can help your business be mobile first, visit www.demandforce.com.

Find out how to get more Google+ reviews

If you’re a small business owner, you probably already realize the importance of Google+ reviews for your business or practice. Google is often the first point of contact between a potential patient/customer and your office. The idea of searching on Google has become so ubiquitous, “Google it” is an instantly recognizable phrase.

Therefore, Google+ reviews are strong online currency that can boost your online reputation and make you the first choice for new customers. Online reviews strengthen your social proof, which refers to a human’s natural reliance on feedback and the actions of others to determine what is good or bad in a given situation. Social proof is the reason why studies often show that an overwhelming majority of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations when making a purchasing decision.

A 2014 study done by the marketing firm BrightLocal found that the more reviews a business has, the more trustworthy it is deemed by customers; plus, most customers read up to six reviews to make up their mind about a business.

How many Google+ reviews does your business have?

Don’t worry if that number isn’t as large as you might want it to be. There’s a simple way to generate more Google+ reviews for your business: request them from your previous patients and customers!

With Demandforce, this process is simple to set up. Google+ does not accept third party reviews, so we have created special email templates that you can send out to your database, to request Google+ reviews.

Here’s how to set up a Google campaign in Demandforce

Click on CAMPAIGNS and turn on your ONE-CLICK CAMPAIGNS, and select the “Review us on Google+” option. You can preview the email, and edit the audience or scheduled delivery to best fit your business. By default, the email will send to all customers who rated your business on Demandforce Local or another logged site four stars or above, and will run once every two weeks. However, rest assured – a single customer will only receive the email twice a year.

GoogleReviewExample.png

Once your email has sent, you can view the sent and open rate results in the RESULTS section of the CAMPAIGNS tab. You can also edit or stop the campaign at any time in this area.

For more detailed information on how to set up or use the Google+ campaigns, click here.