Alder Point Group Articles

Massage Therapy Practice Tips and Tricks

Schedule versus Pricing

How is your schedule? If it is empty, it may be time to re-evaluate your offering. Are you offering enough for the price you're asking for? How does your studio look and make people feel? What small bonuses do your clients get to enjoy? Even if its greeting them with their favorite incense or cup of tea, thoughtful gestures that don't cost you much can make the difference between a casual client and loyal attendance. If your schedule is very full, you may be underselling yourself. Raise your price gradually over 6-12 month periods until you start to see some customer drop off. You should be aiming to fill 90% of your desired schedule, allowing for eventualities like inclement weather and illness. Know your quality and your customers will too!

Capitalize on Products

There are only so many hours you can work based on physical limitations, and you have a limited number of days in a year. The major way you can increase your production is by selling products that play to your talents. What is your expertise? Are you aromatherapy master? Create your own blends for specific situations, employ them in your work and sell them for at-home continuance of healing. Are you a sports medicine expert? Compile recovery kits of proven items that will help your injured clients recover faster, while giving that personal touch. While you should avoid kitschy and mass produced items (ideally, these would be self-branded items) you can still turn a healthy profit while saving your clients time and providing extra value.

Premium Services

Too often, talented business owners with a wide array of potential offerings end up confusing their customers with a huge menu. Simplify your menu to massage by time increments and recontextualize your other offerings as premium services which can be stacked on top of the base massage. This way, you can easily incorporate advanced techniques, such as Ashiatsu massage and aromatherapy, or add additional time to the base massage length without trying to sell the client on "a different service". By viewing them as upgrades, your client feels they are getting something extra, which leads to customer loyalty. Periodically offer upgrades determined by their discovered preferences for free to your clients to familiarize them with the premium services concept, open up inroads to product sales, and reward them for their loyalty.

Streamline Scheduling

Set up a regular daily schedule for yourself that allows for flexibility, leaving time in the morning and evenings for premium scheduling. Each practice is different, and the type of clientele you serve may prefer to be pampered in the mornings, or perhaps are looking to unwind after long hours at the office. Situate your “regular schedule” solidly in the middle of these hours. If your most common appointment time period is 1 hour, consider arranging your schedule in two hour blocks. This way you have a built-in buffer for upselling clients on more table time, enough time for set up and clean up of other sold premium services, and most importantly, time for you to rest before the next client! This way you can capture extended business that wants to upgrade on the day-of, begin every appointment on time and always approach each appointment refreshed and ready to work.

Premium Scheduling

Beyond your set, advertised schedule, you will have time set aside before and after for your premium scheduling. Save this premium scheduling for your best clients, those who attend regularly, routinely enjoy premium services, and are known to have schedules that could not otherwise accommodate your normal office hours. Consider giving premium scheduling to those who buy packages, and have them schedule as far in advance to minimize the impact on your personal schedule. If you find that the bulk of your premium scheduled hours are in a certain time period, you should re-evalutate your “regular schedule” to assess if a change would accommodate more business.

Accept Insurance Reimbursed Clients

It might be difficult to set up the paperwork and proper channels in the beginning, but you're opening yourself to an entire market with little to no effort. By joining the list of providers who accepts insurance, you are gaining free advertising when you show up in provider searches. Once you’ve got the workflow for insurance reimbursement worked out, it is simple to repeat the process for returning customers. Remember to rely on technology solutions to streamline this process and reduce the burden of time, freeing you up to serve a greater section of the community.

Reward Loyalty and Regular Attendance

It may be tempting to default to a simple price reduction when trying to reward your best customers, however, the most effective loyalty packages are free premium services and packages of massage and products sold together. If you discount the price of your services too heavily or too often, it will condition your clientele to pay less. By focusing on product discounts, you will end up making more money while conferring a greater benefit to your clients. Discounting massages takes money out of your bottom line, while discounting products cuts into your profit margin on your product items. Overall, a small profit is better than any amount of loss. Your customers also enjoy the benefits of these additional premium goods and services, adding value to their treatment and relaxation.

Avoid Excessive Couponing

When you rely on coupons for new business, you are doing work for discounted rate and capturing an audience that is disincentivized to pay full price for your offering, let alone pay extra for your premium services. Only use coupons for your slowest months and make sure they expire in accordance with the upswing in your seasonal business. Gift certificates, on the other hand, are a great way to go about discounted services because they usually involve a happy customer bringing you new, quality business who saves money in the process. There are also a small percentage of them that will never claim the voucher and you keep that money for no work.

Focus Your Practice

Decide on what your expertise is going to be and focus on it. Massage therapy is a vast field that ranges from advanced medical practices to deeply spiritual energy work. Different clients will be seeking the satisfaction of various goals, from relaxation to physical therapy maintenance, and you need to narrow your practice down to the services that you absolutely excel at. Providing a mediocre service at any part of a client’s journey through your business will have an adverse effect on their overall perception of the process, no matter how well intentioned you are in an attempt to be a "one-stop shop". Partner with other local practitioners who have complimentary services to fill out any gaps in a treatment plan. This will free you to focus on what you truly excel at, driving your reputation for superlative experiences in the community.

Invest in Continuing Education

As a massage therapist, you are in one of the few positions where you are both the human capital and the producer of the product you sell. Investing in your education is a crucial step toward increasing your value to your clients. Expand on your own knowledge by taking classes, reading industry journals, seminars, attending conventions, becoming a member of a local massage therapy association chapter, exploring periphery fields, talking with other industry leaders and generally trying new things. Figure out who is working the related fields in your area and how you can better serve your community by combining forces. The more you know, the better you can serve your clients.

Technological Advancements

Investing in technological automation may have a start up cost in terms of money and time, but it will save you exponentially over the life of your business. There are many parts of your business that are repetitious and are consuming valuable time. Get ahead of the game with automatic scheduling, emails, reminders, promotions, mailing list, and blog/newsletter connections. Custom software solutions can streamline your SOAP notes, ensure HIPAA data management compliance and simplify payment processing without requiring a business overhaul.

Shifting Attitudes

Create a dialogue with your clients in person and through your blog and social media presence that shifts perceptions about massage and their identity as clients. Your prime audience sees themselves as health conscious, focused on maintaining their bodies and interested in the professional advice of an experienced and compassionate caregiver. Position yourself as a source of valuable information, answer questions and provide suggestions where appropriate.

posted on August 29, 2016 - permalink


About the author

Mary Rodarte

Director of Engineering for Alder Point Group. Consulting on a variety of innovative, research-driven solutions for human, process and safety concerns in the workplace. Originally from a medical sciences background, Mary has followed her passion for procedural excellence across a variety of technological, creative and public relations roles at every level of business. Entrepreneurs and highly motivated management staff will enjoy working with Mary for her keen eye for detail and no-nonsense approach to efficiency.


Enter your email address for a free technology assessment for your business

Massage Therapy Practice Tips

How full is your schedule?

Scheduling is one of the best ways to know how your business is doing.

If it is empty, it may be time to re-evaluate your offering. Are you:

  • offering enough for the price you're asking for?
  • How does your studio look and make people feel?
  • What "extras" do your clients get to enjoy?

Even if its greeting them with their favorite incense or cup of tea, thoughtful gestures that don't cost you much can make the difference between an occasional client and loyal attendance.

If your schedule is very full, you may be underselling yourself:

  • Raise your price gradually over 6-12 month periods until you start to see some customer drop off.
  • Make sure you’re not offering discounted promotions - your schedule is full anyway

You should be aiming to fill 90% of your desired schedule, allowing for eventualities like inclement weather and illness. Know your quality and your customers will too!

Capitalize on Products

There are only so many hours in a day: Have you considered adding product sales to your practice?

Sell products that play to your talents. What is your expertise?

  • Are you an aromatherapy master?

Create your own blends for specific situations, employ them in your work and sell them for at-home continuance of healing.

  • Are you a sports medicine expert?

Compile recovery kits of proven items that will help your injured clients recover faster, while giving that personal touch.

While you should avoid kitschy and mass produced items, you can still turn a healthy profit while saving your clients time and providing a personal connection.

Premium Services

Is your menu easy to understand?

  • Simplify your menu of massage to a couple lengths - commonly 1 hour and 1.5 hours
  • Provide other services as add ons to the base massage.
    • Ashiatsu massage
    • Aromatherapy
    • Even an extra 10 minutes

By viewing them as upgrades, your client feels they are getting something extra, which leads to customer loyalty.

Streamline Scheduling

Make sure you set up a regular daily schedule that allows for flexibility, leaving time in the evenings for premium scheduling.

Arrange your schedule to take advantage of preferred times of day:

  • Evenings for office workers
  • Mornings for active clients after they work out
  • If you sell mostly 1 hour massages, try leaving a little extra room and offering an upgrade for an extra 15 minutes
  • Weekends are especially valuable for busy clients

Consider 2 hour windows for appointments.

This way you can capture extended business that wants to upgrade on the day-of, begin every appointment on time and always approach each appointment refreshed and ready to work.

Premium Scheduling

Do you know which clients make you the most money?

Find clients that:

  • Return often and consistently
  • Purchase upgraded service or longer than average massages
  • Refer other clients
  • Can’t attend normal hours but are willing to pay for special scheduling

Set aside some time to accommodate them, even if it’s outside your regular hours.

These can also be valuable hints to when your schedule doesn’t fit the needs of your clients - if you find yourself scheduling clients outside the usual hours frequently, it might be time to change the usual hours.

Accept Insurance Reimbursed Clients

Do you accept health insurance?

The paperwork can be difficult, it’s true, but it brings many benefits:

  • Free client referrals from the insurer’s network
  • Clients pay less out of pocket, making them more likely to return
  • Billing can be standardized, saving on negotiation and sales work

Reward Loyalty and Regular Attendance

Does it seem like you’re discounting every massage?

It may be tempting to default to a simple price reduction when trying to reward your best customers, but try some of these instead:

  • Adding free premium services on top of normal massages
  • Selling packages of massages including products
  • Partnering with other businesses to provide special discounts to your frequent customers

Avoid Excessive Couponing

Coupons can bring in business, but do you really need them?

Customers who come to your business based on a coupon bring problems with them:

  • You’re getting paid less for the same service
  • They rarely have an incentive to stick around unless you keep offering discounts
  • They’re driven by monetary value instead of the value of your services

Make sure that you’re using coupons to fill in time you would have otherwise been idle, not displacing customers who would pay full rate.

Focus Your Practice

Can you define your practice in 20 words?

Decide on what your expertise is going to be and focus on it. Massage therapy is a vast field that ranges from advanced medical practices to deeply spiritual energy work.

Different clients will be seeking the satisfaction of various goals, from relaxation to physical therapy maintenance, and you need to narrow your practice down to the services that you absolutely excel at.

Partner with other local practitioners who have complimentary services to fill out any gaps in a treatment plan.

This will free you to focus on what you truly excel at, driving your reputation for superlative experiences in the community.

Invest in Continuing Education

As a massage therapist, you are your most valuable asset.

Investing in your education is a crucial step toward increasing your value to your clients. Expand on your own knowledge by:

  • taking classes,
  • reading industry journals,
  • Attending seminars or conventions
  • becoming a member of a local massage therapy association chapter
  • exploring peripheral fields
  • talking with other industry leaders
  • Figure out who is working the related fields in your area and how you can better serve your community by combining forces.

The more you know, the better you can serve your clients.

Technological Advancements

Can your clients book themselves an appointment with ease?

Technology can be expensive, but it can also save you headaches.

Consider technology to manage your:

  • Scheduling and wait list
  • Appointment reminders
  • Billing and payment processing
  • Customer contacts and promotions
  • Note and treatment plans

This frees you up to work on your clients, not your business.

Shifting Attitudes

Are your clients engaged with you?

Build a rapport with your clients:

  • Educate them with online articles and newsletters
  • Create a conversation around your community or your interests
  • Help them make critical choices about how they care for themselves and others
  • Stay in contact through changes in life and congratulate them on growth

Position yourself as a source of valuable information, answer questions and provide suggestions where appropriate.

posted on August 29, 2016 - permalink


About the author

Mary Rodarte

Director of Engineering for Alder Point Group. Consulting on a variety of innovative, research-driven solutions for human, process and safety concerns in the workplace. Originally from a medical sciences background, Mary has followed her passion for procedural excellence across a variety of technological, creative and public relations roles at every level of business. Entrepreneurs and highly motivated management staff will enjoy working with Mary for her keen eye for detail and no-nonsense approach to efficiency.


Enter your email address for a free technology assessment for your business

Hiring for Value and Growth

sorry

The problem

Too many employers these days are infamously looking for "a purple unicorn" - an employee that delivers everything from technical to personal skills in a single package, starts at full production speed immediately, and never fails or even has an off day. This is an obviously unrealistic goal. When employers narrow their criteria to this extent, they run into a multitude of problems:

Competing at the highest levels doesn't always deliver best value

Sure, you can hire "Only A-Players", but you'd better be ready for your "Only A-Players" to demand A-scale salaries, benefits, and retention packages. You may find greater value and loyalty in employees that you hire based on their skill and trajectory, and invest in with education and training.

Rejecting flawed candidates means employers miss out on the possibility to blossom.

Over my career, I've worked with hundreds of people and I can't name a single one that didn't work hard to deliver benefits for their employer. If a highly desirable candidate is missing something crucial but trainable, you may find that internally investing in the candidate will have greater long term benefits for your company. If you never take a chance, you'll never reap the rewards.

Hiring isn't about superstars, it's about the team

Consider how candidates might fit into your team as a whole, and how they might be changed by it. Ask a professional athlete whether they'd rather have a high maintenance superstar or a consistent team player and I bet you'll hear consistency every time. A candidate's ability to learn as just as important as any skill they already possess: consider any subject that can be obtained in three to six months to be within the grasp of potential hires with skill gaps.

Impossible standards lead to impossible situations

Does the person you're looking for even exist? I've been asked if I had X years of experience on an X-minus-two-year-old system. It is crucial to understand what exactly you are hiring someone on for, instead of looking for a list of skills and experience. Having strict expectations without solid reasoning will also severely limit your chances for long term talent retention in a pool of otherwise trainable and talented workers.

No provision for coming up to speed

Judging a new hire based on their interview performance alone is like judging race card drivers by how they look sitting in the car. In a complex business, it may take three to six months before an employee really shows their true colors. Whether they turn out to be a hidden gem that grows into a valuable asset or an abrasive liability that drags morale off a cliff, it is important to allow your new hires to "breathe" and get a grasp of the company.

A solution

This isn't the solution, it's just my solution.

Hire the same way you would purchase an investment, not like you would purchase an appliance:

Invest for value

Look for employees that other companies don't desire but that can deliver substantial value. Often these people just need a second chance under good management to be a great deal - would you hire someone for 30% less money if they delivered 90% of the value? I know I would, in a heartbeat.

Invest for growth

As anyone who has looked at "entry level" jobs can tell you, two years of experience isn't "entry level". Hire someone who has good potential and a desire to learn and grow and you'll buy yourself a reliable, long term employee who can grow with your company. Hire people based on their trajectory, rather than accolades - after all, past results are no indicator of future success.

If you can't buy it, build it

Training people to do a job is time consuming and difficult, but it delivers dividends over the long term. Not just in terms of those employees by themselves, but by building your company's reputation as a place for learning, growth, and interesting challenges. Instead of just paying lip service, you'll create a positive long term attitude, keeping your workforce motivated and encouraged.

Optimize for lifetime value not short term ROI

Promotion from within is one of the strongest ways to create a stable and ongoing company culture that delivers results. Nothing sours a work environment faster than diluting all that hard work you put into creating a safe and challenging workplace. Consider what your already talented staff wants out of their career and encourage their growth for the combined benefit to themselves and the company at large.

posted on August 25, 2016 - permalink


About the author

Justin George

Principal, software developer, and process manager at the Alder Point Group.

Prides himself on a hands-on approach to understanding business needs, involving learning as much as possible about the business before attempting to reach any conclusions.

Over 10 years of small and medium business experience with startups, sole proprietorships, and multiple different subject areas.

Has led and mentored other business people, development staff, non-technical colleagues, and has helped managers understand technical and business process analysis results.

Personally sets standards of excellence for all work produced by the Alder Point Group.

Github


Enter your email address for a free technology assessment for your business

Winning Strategies for Massage Therapists

Evaluate your schedule vs your pricing

How is your schedule? if it is empty, it may be time to re-evaluate your offering. Are you offering enough for the price you're asking for? How does your studio look and make people feel? What "extras" do your clients get to enjoy? Even if its greeting them with their favorite incense or cup of tea, thoughtful gestures that don't cost you much can make the difference between a casual client and loyal attendance. if its full, you may be underselling yourself. Raise your price gradually over 6-12 month periods until you start to see some customer drop off. You should be aiming to fill 90% of your desired schedule, allowing for eventualities like inclement weather and illness. Know your quality and your customers will too!

Capitalize on products

you only have so many hours you can work based on physical limitations, and you have a limited number of days in a year. The major way you can increase your production is by selling products that play to your talents. what is your expertise? are you aromatherapy master? create your own blends for specific situations, employ them in your work and sell them for at-home continuance of healing. Are you a sports medicine fanatic? compile recovery kits of proven items that will help your injured clients recover faster, while giving that personal touch. While you should avoid kitschy and mass produced items (ideally, these would be self-branded items) you can still turn a healthy profit by

Premium Services

Too many people focus on a huge menu. simplify your menu to massage by time increments and recontextualize your other offerings as premium services which can be stacked on top of the base massage. this way, you can easily incorporate advanced techniques, such as Ashiatsu massage and aromatherapy, or add additional time to the base massage length without trying to sell the client on "a different service". By viewing them as upgrades, your client feels they are getting something extra, which leads to customer loyalty. Periodically offer upgrades determined by their discovered preferences for free to your clients to familiarize them with the premium services concept, open up inroads to product sales, and reward them for their loyalty.

Streamline your scheduling

set up a regular daily schedule for yourself that allows for flexibility, leaving time in the morning and evenings for premium scheduling. If your most common appointment time period is 1 hour, consider arranging your schedule in two hour blocks. This way you have built in buffer for upselling clients on more table time, enough time for set up and clean up of other sold premium services, and most importantly, time for you to rest before the next client! This way you can capture extended business that wants to upgrade on the day-of, begin every appointment on time and always approach each appointment refreshed and ready to work.

Premium Scheduling

Beyond your set, advertised schedule, you will have time set aside before and after for your premium scheduling. Save this premium scheduling for your best clients, those who are regular, regularly enjoy premium services, and are known to have schedules that could not otherwise accommodate your normal office hours.

Accept insurance reimbursed clients

It might be difficult in the beginning, but once its set up, you're opening yourself to an entire market with little to no effort - the marketing channel through their insurance company gives you free leads.

Have packages that reward clients for loyalty and regular attendance

loyalty packages like free premium services, sold packages of massage at a discount, packages of massage and products sold together are best because the margin on the products is lower than many monetary discounts would be, yet confer a greater benefit to the client than a simple discount would.

Avoid excessive couponing

you're doing work for discounted rate, and you're capturing an audience that is disincentivized to pay full price for your offering, let alone pay extra for your premium services. Only use coupons for your slowest months and make sure they expire in accordance with the upswing in your seasonal business. Gift certificates, on the other hand, are a great way to go about discounted services because they usually involve a happy customer bringing you new, quality business who saves money in the process. There are also a small percentage of them that will never claim the voucher and you keep that money for no work.

Focus your practice

Decide on what your expertise is going to be and focus on it. Massage therapy is a vast field that ranges from advanced medical practices to deeply spiritual energy work. Different clients will be seeking the satisfaction of various goals, from relaxation to physical therapy maintenance, and you need to narrow your practice down to the services that you absolutely excel at. Providing a mediocre service at any part of a clients journey through your business will have an adverse effect on their overall perception of the process, no matter how well intentioned you are in an attempt to be a "one-stop shop". Partner with other local practitioners who have complimentary services to fill out any gaps in a treatment plan. This will free you to focus on what you truly excel at, driving your reputation for superlative experiences in the community.

Invest in your continuing education

As a massage therapist, you are in one of the few positions where you are both the human capital and the producer of the product you sell. Investing in your education is a crucial step toward increasing your value to your clients. expand on your own knowledge by taking classes, reading industry journals, seminars, attending conventions, becoming a member of a local massage therapy association chapter, expanding knowledge into periphery fields, talking with other industry leaders and trying new things. figure out who is doing the related fields in your area and how you can better serve your community by combining forces. the more you know, the better you can serve your clients.

technological advancements

Investing in technological automation may have a start up cost in terms of money and time, but it will save you exponentially over the life of your business. There are many parts of your business that are repetitious and are consuming valuable time. auto scheduling, auto emails, reminders, promotions, mailing list, blog/newsletter, SOAP notes, data management

Shifting attitudes

dialogue with your clients in person and through blog/social media that shifts perceptions about massage and their identity as clients. Audience sees themselves as health conscious, focused on maintaining their bodies and interested in the professional advice of an experienced and compassionate caregiver.

posted on August 25, 2016 - permalink


About the author

Mary Rodarte

Director of Engineering for Alder Point Group. Consulting on a variety of innovative, research-driven solutions for human, process and safety concerns in the workplace. Originally from a medical sciences background, Mary has followed her passion for procedural excellence across a variety of technological, creative and public relations roles at every level of business. Entrepreneurs and highly motivated management staff will enjoy working with Mary for her keen eye for detail and no-nonsense approach to efficiency.


Enter your email address for a free technology assessment for your business

Is Your Business Website Efficient?

Does your website function in all the common browsers?

The most commonly used internet browsers in the United States are Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari and Firefox. For any one of these browsers that your website does not function on, you are closing yourself to an entire market. Ensure that your website has enough bandwidth to support your visitor load, that all of your menus work correctly and your pictures load. Your website may be your first impression, and new customers will take these details into account as an indication of your attention to quality assurance.

Does your website work on mobile devices?

It is increasingly common for people to access the internet through mobile devices, especially when shopping or doing research into products and services. According to the most recent federal government Digital Analytics Program survey, nearly 36% of internet traffic is being conducted by mobile devices. By having a website that responds effectively on desktop and mobile platforms, you inspire confidence in younger, tech-savvy customers that your company is able to perform in today’s high tech economic environment. You also create opportunities to capture customers who are searching on-the-go for a quick solution to their needs. Optimizing your website for mobile access may be the key to greater lead generation and walk-in business.

Does your website have all the pertinent information on the main page?

Visually oriented websites are a positive growing trend, but you can’t let your beautifully crafted imagery replace the essential information a visitor needs to know about your business. If they can’t figure out what you offer right away, they will likely navigate away from your site. If they can’t find your contact information immediately, they may move on to a company that is easier to contact. If you have a business where customers come to you, you must have your address and hours clearly listed, readily visible in the first moment they visit your page. Retain more visitors by removing obstacles between you and the customer. Does your mobile site allow customers to call you directly? Does your desktop site allow customers to contact you through company email or a contact form? The easier and faster it is to find your information, the more likely you are to capture their business.

Is the information in your website arranged in a simple and clear way?

You may have a lot of goods/services to offer, but too many links can clutter a page, make it slower to load, and make it harder to use, all of which could lose you customers. Ideally, you could simplify the amount of information on your page to only what is pertinent to your visitor’s interest: your offering. If you have several options to navigate, utilizing drop down menus could not only make your website easier to navigate, but more pleasing to use. If you have multiple linked offerings, consider breaking them into different websites. This removes distractions for potentially focused visitors, allowing them to get the information they need easily. A clear website creates opportunities to start the conversation with your visitors. Your contact form should be readily apparent and quick to fill out. Labor intensive first contact forms will deter people. After you have verified their email address with a quick thank you email, you can contact them to schedule an appointment or supply them with your quote generation metrics. Do not load down your webpages with these details because your potential customers may decide to “come back later” to figure out your questions and move on.

Does your website allow flexible communication to start the next step?

Often times, people are performing research into products in a few spare moments and don’t have the full amount of time it would take to call you to start their quote or scheduling process. By allowing your visitors to contact you via a simple form, they can essentially ‘bookmark’ your business for future review. Getting the process started over email gives you a solid connection to the customer while allowing them to be as flexible as needed in the modern busy schedule. If the customer is more comfortable talking over the phone, you can establish that in your primary email communications.

Does your website have a way to reach out and share with the community?

What is your company doing to benefit the community, and how are you letting them know that you’re doing it? It may be tempting to try to tell the customer “too much” on the main page, but remember, they are visiting your site because they are interested primarily in your offering. The correct place to share details about company events, goals, successes and side projects is in your company’s blog or articles. This creates a community around your business and generates interest in those who may look forward to working with you.

Does your website have a mailing list or product sign up club?

No matter what kind of business you have, you will have news, sales or promotions that you will want to share with your community. Having a simple sign up option on your website to be included in this news stream helps generate positive word of mouth and keeps your business in the minds of your community members. Allow positive word of mouth to be passive advertising for you, while creating opportunities for new lead generation through exclusive deals only available to your contact community. The more benefit a potential customer gets from being part of your community, the better. Having a product delivery club not only generates repeat income, but it gives you the opportunity to be a positive event in their lives. By making every delivery a beautiful and joyous occasion, you turn a “purchase” into a “present”.

Are your product lists or catalogs readable and searchable?

Perhaps you have a vast inventory, or you have a beautifully photographed brochure that you want to showcase, and you are tempted to simply display .pdf images of your offerings for customers to peruse. However, this will ultimately end up hurting your business; Inventory lists must be at once human readable, computer searchable and available for easy copying into another document. Any obstacles between your visitors and a purchase should be removed, and this extends to difficult to search inventories. Commonly, your visitors will be using search functions both on the internet and inside your webpage, and if those don’t turn up the result they are looking for, they will move on.

Are you measuring the effectiveness of your website?

Determining the effectiveness of your website is more than counting the number of hits. Distinguishing unique visitors, how they are coming to your site and how many pages the visitor sees before entering their information into the contact form is a key part of determining if your website is providing the information your visitors are looking for. By examining which pages are receiving the most traffic, you can reduce the time it takes for your major audience to get to those pages, increasing their likelihood to contact. You can also determine whether your audience is passively engaging with your blog, giving you a better idea of your ‘broadcast audience’. If the percentage of visitors who leave before contacting you is high, its time to re-evaluate the presentation of your website. It is also important to consider how many internet leads are converting to sales, and what path your visitors are taking through your website to get there. Increasing the percentage of people who take this path can be a major boost to your income.

posted on August 17, 2016 - permalink


About the author

Justin George

Principal, software developer, and process manager at the Alder Point Group.

Prides himself on a hands-on approach to understanding business needs, involving learning as much as possible about the business before attempting to reach any conclusions.

Over 10 years of small and medium business experience with startups, sole proprietorships, and multiple different subject areas.

Has led and mentored other business people, development staff, non-technical colleagues, and has helped managers understand technical and business process analysis results.

Personally sets standards of excellence for all work produced by the Alder Point Group.

Github


Enter your email address for a free technology assessment for your business

Key elements of winery and vineyard websites

Talk about your wine first

Why do people come to your winery? It's the wine! Give it the front and center attention it deserves by making sure people know what you sell. You don't sell sweeping views or grape vines - make sure the first thing visitors see is your wine bottle and a lovely glass of your wine. A short description and a call out to get more information are easy to incorporate on the front page of your website. You'll sell more wine!

Focus on your goals

Where does your business make money? Is it bulk wine sales? Is it the event space? Is it the wine club? (You do have a monthly wine club subscription, right?)

Your site should focus on driving that business by making it easy and available. Measure the results you get from your site and use that feedback to improve it over time. If you're not getting measurable results, why are you paying to build and host it in the first place?

Keep it simple

Your website is about your business. Make sure that everything on it is relevant to that business. Every extra page you build is time, money, and attention lost, so make sure everything is on target.

If your main page has more than 4 options, you're losing visitors just to sheer confusion. Don't make people decide, solve their problems.

Here's an example list:

  1. Wine

  2. Weddings

  3. Directions

  4. Contact / Signup

Boom, you're addressing problems: What do you sell, how do I get there, can you tell me more?

Get in touch with your users

Speaking of telling them more... Staying in touch with your customers is one of the most valuable things you can do. Just occasionally emailing them with something short and useful will generate repeat sales and word of mouth.

Provide an easy sign up for marketing - newsletters, discounts, or event announcements are a great way to get people to engage and think of you when they think of wine.

On your contact page, you need ease of use. If you only have a phone number, or just a link to an email address, people will simply leave instead of hassling with it. Provide a simple form, and make sure you get their email address, front and center. You'll also want to immediately send them a thank you email. This makes sure they feel heard and also validates that email address so you can respond directly to their concerns.

Sell your event space

Many wineries break even on their wine sales and generate most of their profit through events. You'll want to extoll the virtues of your event space, and provide lots of photos and information about it. You can even make this a separate site entirely - that way you can focus on wine sales on one site and event management on the other.

You'll also want to make it quick and easy for people to enquire about booking - allow them to pick a date, see what is available, estimate an event size, and generate extra income from offering them catering or hosting services. If you can get them to imagine themselves at your venue and book a time, half of the job is already done.

Make sure it works on mobile

Many websites these days see more traffic from smartphones than from desktop computers. If your website doesn't function effectively and easily on the majority of smartphones, then you don't actually have a website for up to 80% of your visitors. Can you afford to walk away from 80% of your sales?

If you're still not sure, contact us and we'll do a free evaluation of your current website so you can see where you measure up.

posted on August 17, 2016 - permalink


About the author

Justin George

Principal, software developer, and process manager at the Alder Point Group.

Prides himself on a hands-on approach to understanding business needs, involving learning as much as possible about the business before attempting to reach any conclusions.

Over 10 years of small and medium business experience with startups, sole proprietorships, and multiple different subject areas.

Has led and mentored other business people, development staff, non-technical colleagues, and has helped managers understand technical and business process analysis results.

Personally sets standards of excellence for all work produced by the Alder Point Group.

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