My wife and I started a credit counseling service about two years ago. We figured with the economy in the shape it is, more and more people could use the service. It’s been a tough start. Like any new business we started off slow and have had to overcome a learning curve that happens when you start a new business. The challenge of course is bringing in as much business as possible to pay the bills.
At first we didn’t do any advertising. We went around the local Wal-Mart parking lots and dropped flyers on peoples windshields. This worked for a time, but it seemed that the market was saturated after about a month and we stopped getting calls. We did not have enough money to advertise on TV, so we tried our local radio station. You could not believe how expensive it is to do a 30 second spot. Too much for our young company to afford.
We decided to focus our efforts on online advertising. What we found was that we could target keywords in our web page and using google ad-words we could buy space when people looked for credit counseling services in our area. We started seeing traffic instantly but there was a problem. Most of the time the traffic came in after we were closed and the clients were unable to contact us to make an appointment. Since we were only open from 9 am to 6 pm we were missing the majority of our calls. Here is an interesting fact, the majority of our web traffic comes in between midnight and 2 am, leading us to believe that our clients are losing sleep when thinking about their finances.
We came up with a profound solution. We engaged a scheduling service that provides online appointments. It was quick and easy to set up. In fact, it even synced up with our offline calenders so we could reserve time for our other activities and have our busy times blocked out of our calendar. This simple move has been nothing less than astonishing for our business. Our bookings have picked up by over 500% in the first month alone. Now that we provide online scheduling we see that our conversion rate from visitors to actual clients have sky rocketed through the roof. This tool has been a god send. Plus, we no longer have to handle incoming calls as all the questions are asked and answered by the service as the client books the appointments.
Today, our business is growing at a profound pace. Our free time is ours to enjoy our life and even when we are not near the phone and are literally in bed, we are making money. Thank goodness for scheduling software.