B2B strategies necessarily differ from their B2C cousins. While most consumers are looking for some combination of novelty, functionality, and trust, businesses are mostly looking for proven ROI. The differences between B2C and B2B marketing can be vast, but there are some things B2C companies adopt that are worth looking at.
B2C companies have, by and large, adopted some form of online scheduling. This includes scheduling for their clients and for their employees. Your B2B company should do the same; online scheduling can drastically increase your lead generation in a number of different ways – some obvious, others surprising.
Online Scheduling Improves Efficiency
There are two things to unpack here: online scheduling improves efficiency, and efficiency improves lead generation. How the second premise works is probably obvious. When you’re operating efficiently, you can literally take on more clients than you would be able to otherwise. That means you’ll be able to schedule more conversations with prospective clients, and grow your business.
Business efficiency also means a good reputation, and good reputations lead to better leads. You probably know all of this, so let’s look at how online scheduling improves efficiency.
Online scheduling means you and your employees will be able to access schedules any time, at any place. Depending on your industry, this can lead to a lot fewer accidental no-shows. What’s more, you can provide viewing and editing access to any number of employees. That means managers will be able to easily view schedules and make adjustments when necessary – even if they’re away from the office.
You might even opt to offer online scheduling for your potential clients. This can create a number of lead generation opportunities. Clients who find your website or social media pages will be able to book meetings with you online. You can create landing pages that track information about which clicked to book with you, when, and whether or not they actually opted to book. This demographic data can help you refine other areas of your lead generation strategy, all while allowing clients to book meetings with you any time they happen upon your site.
You’ll Decrease Scheduling Conflicts
Online scheduling, when done properly, effectively bars you from any scheduling conflicts. When the calendars for you, your staff, and other key stakeholders are coordinated online, you’ll be able to see exactly when and what everyone has scheduled. You won’t even be able to schedule two things simultaneously, as software will grey out time slots that are already occupied.
This theory applies to online scheduling conducted by prospective clients. One of the most important things to keep in mind, then, is that you’ll need a method of prospecting clients who want to book but find you unavailable. There are a couple of ways you might mitigate this risk. The first is to have some slots perpetually open in your schedule for clients. The second is to prioritize client bookings over most (or all) other items in your schedule.
In the B2B world, there are so many different stakeholders to keep track of – online scheduling is a boon. Contractors who want to set up appointments with you will be able to access the online calendar – scheduling conflicts avoided. Flexibility is the key here. B2B can tend to have more remote work than their B2C cousins; you’re less likely to be in a retail space, and less likely to need a massive, dedicated customer care team in one location. By scheduling online, you can coordinate between parties around the world without ever seeing scheduling conflicts.
Online Scheduling Can Bolster Your Digital Presence
Boosting your presence online is complex; one strategy, search engine optimization (SEO) revolves around increasing how well your website ranks in search engine results. There are a lot of different tactics used in SEO – one of them is to ensure that your clients are interacting with your site in substantive ways.
When you use online scheduling in order to book meetings with prospective clients, they’ll (if you do it right) end up spending more time interacting with your website. SEO is particularly useful for B2B companies. Generally, B2B companies deal with more niche clientele; there will only be so many competing B2B companies in your region. Conversely, B2C companies will often have several competitors in any given city. Businesses will often find B2Bs via Google Search (though word of mouth is still incredibly important). By shoring up your SEO, you’ll be the first company prospective clients will find. What’s more, they’ll be able to immediately book a meeting with you when they find you – a positive feedback loop.
You’ll Boost Client Satisfaction
When you offer online scheduling to stakeholders, you save them a lot of hassle. No more calling in, being transferred to the right person, waiting on the phone as they check the schedule – you get the idea. The easier it is for clients to transact with your business, the happier they’ll be – and the more likely you’ll be to get that ever valuable word of mouth working in your favor.
You Can Integrate With Other Automation Software
Automation has a number of advantages. One of them is data collection. Collecting data when going through rote transactions as a human is cumbersome. With data collection, the more information you have available, the better your predictions will be. Varied data tracking can give you a more complete picture, and it’s easy to track data from online scheduling.
You can see how online scheduling could be easily integrated with email marketing campaigns – the online scheduling will incorporate an email field, and you’ll be able to prospect. With automated email marketing, you’ll be able to get prospects from your online scheduling, automatically input their email address into your automated marketing program, and send follow-up emails after your meeting or a certain amount of time.
How to Maximize the Benefits from Online Scheduling
First thing’s first: you’ll want to have a strong online presence. Online scheduling will help you bolster this presence, but you need to have established yourself to some degree in order to experience the most success. You should be active on social media platforms. This can seem a bit counterintuitive for some B2B companies, but keep in mind that your clients are just as likely to browse social media as anyone – you can keep them aware of industry news through your pages. What’s more, you can integrate online scheduling on your social media.
You’ll want to have a landing page for clients coming through various links. Exactly where these pages will direct to depends heavily on what kind of scheduling software you use. Nonetheless, a separate landing page for every ad, social media page, or website you’re running, links to your online scheduling is key. Landing pages allow you to track data about who is coming from where. They’ll also allow you to use multivariate testing on the visual design of your pages.
Automating client processes can be a bit tricky – long-term clients are used to the usual routine and may not understand new processes. Understanding what to know when automating client processes is essential. One of the most important things is to ease the transition for clients who are used to booking over the phone. The easiest way to go about this is to simply continue offering phone booking, while gently nudging clients to the online booking portal. You might not convert everyone, but the more people you get to schedule online, the less superfluous work you’ll have to do.
When it comes to highlighting online scheduling, there are a few ways you can go about it. Include the link in correspondence to clients. On your social media page, include the link in your bio, and create a CTA that makes the link (and its purpose) obvious. You’ll also want to create content that specifically highlights your new online scheduling platform and its utility.
The online scheduling page itself should have as few fields as possible. An optional comment field is acceptable, but keep it down to name, phone number, and email address – even less, if you can manage it. You’ll, of course, have a calendar that the clients will use to book. The reason you’ll want very few fields is to make things as simple as possible for mobile users; anyone who has typed in information on their phone knows how tedious it can be.
Finally, be absolutely sure to give your prospective clients enough time to meet with you and discuss their needs. That may well mean taking the amount of time you suspect you’ll need with them, then adding 15-20 minutes to the tail end, just in case. Clients do not want to be cut off because you have another engagement, and you don’t want to lose out on leads because you’re overbooked.
Kiara is a natural organizer and she understands how important time and resource management are for small businesses. That’s why she fits perfectly on the content team at BookedIN. BookedIN is an online appointment scheduling app that helps you get more done–with less.