I recently came across a poll by Harris Interactive that says Americans spend an average of 14 hours a week online—a figure that has doubled since the beginning of the decade. As people use the Web to keep in touch with friends, book travel, pay bills and everything in between, massage therapists can benefit by accommodating clients’ Web 2.0 lifestyles.
Like many people, I tend to think about getting a massage treatment after I’ve taken a long flight, worked a 12-hour day or woken up with a crick in my neck. But by the time my massage therapist’s office opens, I am typically wrapped up in the hustle and flow of my day and neglect to book that appointment. Now that there are a number of affordable online scheduling programs available to the massage therapist or bodyworker, it makes a lot of sense to let clients book appointments any time the inspiration strikes. By making your calendar accessible 24/7 on the Web, you make the scheduling process more convenient for clients and set the stage to increase your bookings.
Your marketing and advertising is likely to generate a bigger response when clients or potential clients can take immediate action. If a client opens your latest e-newsletter at 6:30 a.m., he or she can book an appointment while you are top-of-mind. Someone who comes across your magazine ad at a coffee shop can use a BlackBerry or iPhone to schedule an online appointment on the spot. A “schedule now” button on your Web site allows you to turn Web visitors into new clients.
As more people become active on popular social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, clients can easily refer family, friends and colleagues to you with a link to your online scheduling page.
In the same way iTunes has made it easier to enjoy music and OpenTable has made it more convenient to make restaurant reservations, you can make it easier for clients to book time with you.
Michael Wilson is director of new media for Schedulicity, a Bozeman, Montana-based company that offers online scheduling and e-mail marketing applications for service professionals. Learn more about Schedulicity at www.schedulicity.com/info.