Thursday, December 17, 2009
You need a website to competeIf you've heard it once you heard it a million times. They say that your business needs a web presence in-order to compete in today's competitive marketplace. Yeah, having a website for your small business is a great idea. Getting a website for your small business is a whole different beast.
Most webdesigners or webmasters (although the term webmaster sounds so 1998ish) they are a dozen for a dime. Seriously everybody and their momma can build you a website, and what is more confusing is that pricing can range from 100.00-5,000.00.
There Is More To This...Have You Meet My Wallet?Wait a minute once you get the website now you have to concern yourself with something they call seo (search engine optimization). WTFlip? I know right, well if your site doesn't have good seo* then it won't be found when people are searching, and totally defeats the purpose of you having a website to begin with. Not to mention you will need a domain and hosting, and if you site is not turnkey* (easily edited and updated, by a non-technical person). *seo, hosting, domains and turnkey sites are extra cash out of pocket for you with most "webdesigners" just a lil FYI.
I worked at a salon that every time we were running a special the owner had to call her web designer person and shell out 75 per hour to have something updated. Who can afford that as much as I change my mind on a daily bases I would be billions of dollars in debt to a web designer.
The PauperpreneurNot everyone has a gazillion dollars to drop on their business' website. I know I didn't. Seriously I wore a hole in google search. I searched every possible way until I came across something called Stylenet. It is was probably 3 am in the morning and I googled upon this website that offered a 1 month FREE trial website. Hello, they were speaking my language.
So I signed up and gave things a try. I wasn't totally sold on the site because it was kinda Plain Janeish. I went through the trial and didn't do much with the site. It expired and I kept searching for something spectacular. My dream website.
That's What Friends Are For...or NOT!Meanwhile...I gave into peer pressure. My "close business associates" were kinda dogging the site. Saying things like I could do better, That they couldn't see me with a website like that. That I deserved more, a site that fit my personality. Dagnabit they were right, and I was going to get my dream website if I had to build it myself.
So I attempted to customize a site using Squarespace platform (which is amazing if you know html). Yeah that lasted all of 2 sleepless nights, and then I ordered a free 30 day trial at adobe 'somebodies weaver something' IDK...to just go on and design my own site and that lasted all of 5 minutes. The best way to describe those experiences are as follows...Not fun!
My H-Yeah MomentI am sitting in my treatment room at the salon one day and my phone rings and on the other end was a totally amazing southern accent. OMG! Instantly when I heard that voice I was flooded with memories of when I lived in Atlanta and how for lunch I would have buttermilk fried chicken, garlic smashed potatoes and coleslaw (I am getting hungry just thinking about it). Day dream Over!
Beth had called to check in with me to see how my trial went, because that is what good companies do. They contact people that have used their product or services and just check in with them. I told her about my insecurity about the website not being "fashionable" enough, and she understood my point of view, and she promised me that if I gave them a try I would not be disappointed.
She was so sure that I would love their product that she was willing to give me another trial. I had nothing to lose and time was of the essence. Spring was fast approaching, this is the start of my busy season. So I went for it, and I haven't looked back. Of the many business decisions that I have made in the last three years. This one to date has been the most profitable. In terms of driving new business my way.
Out of the gate my site was searchable in google. I came up when people searched for 'bikini wax Rochester, Mi'. Which was totally awesome because I didn't have to do anything to get started. Everything was already there for me. I was off to a great start and I know in my heart that I would not be where I am today if it weren't for Stylenet.
The Little Site That Could
The Little Site That Could
They offer online support, their sites come with seo. My site doesn't have a google page rank of 10 just yet but I know it will one day. If you are a freelance esthetician, a salon or spa. Looking for a website I highly recommend Stylenet. These guys can take you places. Thanks Stylenet.
Oh and by the way you get a domain, hosting, support, and a turn key site for $49 a month. BOOM how ya like them apples. I know I do. Clients absostinkingloutely adore this site. For every naysayer I have had 100 compliments...a few more apples I like.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
I have been using Schedulicity for the past 3 months and well yeah, we are in love. I mean it was just right, one of those this is meant to be, kinda deals. Schedulicity has totally made it easy for clients to do business with me, and that is just friggin' awesome. Ya feel me?
Clients love it, because they can book an appointment when it works for them and I love it because it saves me the...
client: do you have a 3 o'clock
me: no, but I have a 3:15.
client:Yeah that's not going to work for me. What about a 4:10
me: can you come at 4:30 (womp, womp, womp).
I know you've been there, right? That conversation gets stale ¡muy rapido! Now I am no-internet guru, but a girl is pretty savvy when it comes to certain things internet and online scheduling is definitely my bailiwick. It is part of my personality to be cutting edge. I likes walking to the beat of my own drum, and being able to provide online scheduling to clients fulfilled that need.
I actually had an account with another online scheduling/answering service/friggin' nightmare for over a year before I hooked up with Schedulicity. I am all about the overall experience...from the first point of contact until the deal is sealed. It is my goal to provide an experience worth sharing with friends and family.
Schedulicity helps me accomplish this. Clients are scheduling online now vs. calling me and risking getting my voice mail, and they couldn't be happier. In the beginning I was not totally sold on them, because they don't believe in nailing the No-Shows to the wall with a full charge for a missed session:-|. I was as skeptical as the next. I was like Yeah, No... there is no way this could possibly work. It's too nicey nice.
Hey I am a one woman show, and too many of them there no-shows are bad for business. As an esthetician I'd grown fond of my Big Bad Sass...I'll Charge Your freaking Credit Card If You Miss your appointment policy. The best way for me to describe their platform is like "Glenda The Good Witch"...Magically helpful, trusting, and believing that all things will work out for the better. Ah! freakishly scary if you are not used to that.
I was so not not used to that approach in the industry (it's like the wild west out here sometimes), but I gave them a try anyway (thank goodness, because they have spoiled me rotten) and with-in the first week I noticed an increase of clients coming in for services. When I cross referenced my sites analytics. I could see how they were helping to drive me more business. The clicks were converting into sales and this is SUPER MAJOR.
I had to do a Whitley Gilbert "Relax, Relate, Release" and let Schedulicity do what it do, and it is a Job Well Done.
Side bar...and by the way they are not the total push overs I thought they were...click on the pic to enlarge it and see how you can still pull off a Xena Warrior Princess if you have to.