Do You Offer Online Booking? You Should.

Online booking made easy

In the age of streaming movies, on-demand TV, and two-day product delivery service, if you are a small business or dental/medical office looking to attract more business and grow, you definitely need to offer online booking.

Online Booking Is The Future (Now!)

According to an Accenture forecast for 2019, by that year 66% of health systems will offer patient self-scheduling, and 64% of patients will choose this option as a way to book their appointments. In today’s competitive marketplace, not offering your patients or customers the option to book online might send them to your competitors.

According to a 2015 survey conducted by the marketing firm Yodle, 60% of consumers want the local businesses they frequent to provide online booking, and one-third say they expect it as an offering. So why not give your customers what you want?

It’s Easy to Implement and Offer

Implementing online booking isn’t scary or difficult, and if you use a marketing and customer communications platform like Demandforce, this feature comes ready to use. Online booking can be added to your Yelp page, directly to your website, and via your Demandforce Local page, so that new customers can request or book appointments immediately after they find you online.

This is helpful because over 42% of online bookings happen after business hours, and the majority of customers polled in a recent marketing survey stated they would rather make an appointment online versus an appointment over the phone. Offering online booking not only extends your potential reach for new customers, but it offers your current ones the convenience and features they want.

Be Mobile First with Online Booking

How often do you check your mobile phone? According to a 2016 Smart Insights poll, over 80% of Internet users own a smartphone, and over 50% grab their phone immediately after waking up. For on-the-go customers, it’s imperative now to offer mobile first compatibility for your customers, and online booking is a mobile-friendly feature that will immediately boost your profile online.

Online booking will help you stand out from your competitors online, assisting you in customer acquisition and recall. It will also save your office time, as you won’t need to send quite so many reminders or phone calls, requesting follow-up or return services. Instead, you could set up a custom email campaign that links to a place where customers can go to book online.

These are just a few reasons why you should consider offering online booking for your customers and patients. If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of online booking, and how Demandforce integrates online booking in with its other customer communications solutions catered to your industry, visit www.demandforce.com, or call us at (800) 358-5904.

The top marketing trends of 2016

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Wow, what a year! As 2016 comes to a close, we thought it would be a good time to take a look at the top marketing trends of 2016, and how they relate to your business.

Mobile email and mobile first

Mobile marketing saw a continued steady growth in implementation and use. It’s no surprise that more people are on-the-go and on their phones, and so marketing that is tailored to not only be mobile-friendly, but mobile first, did much better in 2016. 

Social media: not a strategy, but a channel

This was the year that saw a shift in how social media has traditionally been viewed. Social media is not a strategy, but instead a channel, one of many your business should utilize to support its broader campaigns. This is often why social media marketing as a tactic is often more effective than if it’s utilized as a campaign on its own.

Marketing automation

With better UI came a way to create easier multi-channel touch campaigns, and 2016 saw the merging of email marketing and marketing automation. More time was spent on marketing automations, and less on scheduled campaigns and email broadcasts. As it becomes easier to import third-party data to enhance a company’s information about its customers; and as technology continues to improve, marketing automation will become a foundation of future marketing campaigns and strategies.

Hyper-personalization and relationship marketing

This was the year of hyper-personalization and a trend towards relationship marketing versus the hard sell. Again, technology advancements in deliverability, testing, live content, remarketing options, and analytics helped create new ways to connect (and stay connected) with customers and prospects. Many businesses chose to focus on relationship marketing, which meant changing their marketing strategy to be longer-term in focus—building stronger loyalty and long-term customer engagement, rather than quick, short-term customer acquisition and individual sales goals. This helped many businesses develop strong, emotional connections to their brands that drive word-of-mouth promotions and lead generation. Relationship marketing and hyper-personalization go hand-in-hand, as the ability to know how to market to your customers comes from knowing more about them – through data.

Modular templates and interactivity for emails

An interesting marketing trend of 2016 was the choice of many major brands to begin a shift away from one-off, complex and unique emails for every campaign to choosing a more modular template design—one where you can have several different versions of an email from the same template. This saves time and creates a familiar brand identity for your customers, as they begin identifying a certain look to your company or service. Added to this was a rise in animation and interactivity in emails, as marketers sought to keep content fresh, unique, and engaging.

More visual content

Today’s world is one filled with so many different things competing for the attention and eye of your customer. This goes for emails and marketing as well. Your customers need more than plain text to engage. They want valuable content that not only educates, but entertains them as well. That’s where visual content can help. People remember visuals 6x more than plain text, and platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat are great forums for visual content.