Looking to move your service-based business online?
For the past 10 years, millions of businesses have taken their businesses online to expand their reach. While the trend of online migration has been around for a while, the number of businesses moving online has skyrocketed in the past few years.
It's just more convenient for both business owner and customers. Gone are the days when business owners relied on foot traffic or the accessibility of their physical stores. With a phone or computer and the internet, the possibilities are endless.
Are you a fitness instructor who wants to book more clients, or a private tutor who wants to start teaching online? With a few adjustments, you can start offering your services online in no time.
Why should you move your business online?
According to statistics, consumers are spending more time online since the pandemic, increasing online screen time by an hour. In 2020 alone, adults have spent 7 hours and 50 minutes per day on average on digital media. With almost everything online, the numbers are expected to go nowhere but up in the next few years. There’s no better reason to move your business online than this!
According to the Glimpse COVID-19 Consumer Impact Tracker, there was a 766% spike in searches for DIY haircut, 524% for dumbells, and 175% for yoga mat. It looks like your clients are missing your services as much as you miss them.
Give them what they need by moving your service-based business online.
How do you move your business online?
Shifting to an online platform as a service-based business may be complicated at first glance, but it doesn't have to be. Here are some steps you can take to build a successful business online as a service-provider.
Build an online presence.
Now that more entrepreneurs are moving online to keep in touch with their client base, it’s time you bring your service-based business into the Internet too. Technology has always been advancing year after year. As of 2022, there were a total of 24 million eCommerce sites across the globe! If you think that’s too much competition, don’t worry! Only about 1 million of these sites earn more than $1,000 annually. There’s definitely a lot of room for your business to grow.
Define your digital brand
Before anything else, it’s important to plan your branding. Digital branding is how you design your brand, its image, and how you present it on different online platforms. This includes the consistency of your brand logos, colors, and even language. By having a more consistent and well-crafted digital branding, your business becomes more familiar and easy to remember.
Choose your platform.
Although there are several eCommerce platforms for any small to medium-sized business owner (Amazon, Shopify, Magento, etc.), a service-based business owner like you could never go wrong by having your own website.
Having your own website makes you appear more professional and trust-worthy. It also makes your business easier to find through search engines like Google.
Don’t forget to add testimonials or social proof prominently on your website to establish credibility and to encourage trust.
Add an online booking tool
Skip the back-and-forth emailing and install an online booking tool on your website. Once your potential client is ready to meet with you, you need to provide an option to meet and engage.
Calendly does this job by syncing with your calendar and displaying your availability preferences.
Similarly, Oode does away with the back-and-forth messaging and acts as an all-in-one platform for your business with its own scheduling tool.
Now that your platform’s all set up, how do you bring your service to your customers without having to see them in person?
Lucky for many business owners, there are different ways to “meet” customers where they are with the help of digital tools.
Redesign your services to fit the virtual world.
If you can’t deliver your services in person, you may teach your customers how to do it themselves through group training and/or one-on-one Zoom calls. For example, if you're a hairstylist, you can easily conduct paid tutorials and training, with many people looking up DIY haircuts. Or if you’re a yoga instructor, you can do virtual classes for groups through video conference calls.
Offering services is also offering personal experiences. By going out of your way to engage with your customers albeit virtually, you maintain and build your relationship with your client base.
Set up payments: How do you get paid online?
Since online transactions have no room for cash, setting up safe payment methods should be your next move. The more ways to pay online, the better!
Receive payments quickly and automatically
One of the many things the coronavirus pandemic has changed is the need for contactless payments. As a service-based business moving online, it should be your priority to provide a safe and fast online payment gateway for your customers to pay through.
Don’t forget to add more payment options! According to a survey, 8% of customers don’t finish a purchase because the payment options were very little.
Here are payment options you’d want to consider for your service-based business:
- eWallet payments
This payment platform is one of the most convenient choices because it integrates different payment methods such as credit cards, debit cards, and other mobile wallets from all over the world.
With over 429 million users in 202 and available to 202 countries, this online payment platform is one of the most popular options. It charges 30 cents and 2.9% per purchase but adding a PayPal button on your website is fairly easy.
Since many users have their information linked to their Google accounts, Google pay is also another popular payment choice. You may use this option to offer more engaging rewards for every transaction they make.
Similar to Google Pay, Apple Pay can be added to your website or app. Its use of Face and Touch ID can be convenient to your customers, however this is limited to iOS apps, watchOS apps, and Safari only.
- Debit and credit payments
This payment option is most common for businesses. Provide options to pay via bank cards: Visa, Mastercard, JCB, American Express, UnionPay, Maestro, etc.
Give options to pay in installments
This is also a great payment method if you’d like to consider your customers who don’t have the funds yet. Klarna offers its users the option to spread out payments in installments over 3 equal payments. This will then be collected from its users’ linked credit or debit card.
No one wants to pay through a website they don’t trust. With so many scammers online and cases of identity theft, they can’t be blamed for being doubtful. This is your chance to assure your client that their information is safe and encrypted in your site. Use an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and add a trust badge for them to see.
Communicate with your clients: How can you win new clients?
Don't let your customers miss out on your move! Keep them posted by sending updates or making an official announcement that you're taking your service-based business online too.
Announce to old clients
Your former clients are still going to be online too. This means, they could always avail your services if you offer it to them on the internet. You can reach out to them via call or email, depending on your current opportunities for communication. Chances are they still need your services despite not being able to come to you in person.
Share the move on social media
Since almost all your former and potential customers are on social media, it’s one of the best avenues to announce your move.
Utilize your profiles on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or Pinterest and customize your posts depending on your target audience.
Promote your business through digital advertising
Unlike the traditional route, digital advertising is data-driven and could take your leads straight to you! Not only are the costs cheaper, it also allows you to check where and how your customers found you. If you’d like to learn how to get more customers online, check out an article on How to Generate Leads.
Going online is the fastest way to expand your reach
Going online means your business door is going to be “open” to your clients 24/7. With almost 4.66 billion active internet users in the world, there’s no reason you shouldn’t move online now!
Take a look at your progress right now and identify in which ways your move to the Internet is lacking. Do you still need to build a website, or do you still need to announce your move on social media? Now is the best time to make the move. Although the adjustment may take a while and a little more effort, the Internet is an amazing place to leverage your service-based business.