It has been nearly 4 months since I have been on this discussion board! I mentioned in a previous post that I had planned on being busy for the summer and I meant it! I have talked a lot about planning for the slower periods in our businesses and that is what this is: a business. Before the summer I talked about really marketing yourself and that is what I did. So the summer was a little slower for me, but not much slower So it is great to be back on here.
Recently, I had a lengthy conversation with a friend who was asking me what is it that makes my business so successful. I couldn't believe what I was hearing! He had said that less than 1% of all online or web-based business succeed and generally have about 10 good reviews. So here is what I answered him with:
1. Resond to requests for services quick. This shows potential clients that you are involved
2. Be open-minded to other ways of generating revenue. Thumbtack isn't everything!
3. Talk with clients in-person and not behind instant messaging, texting, etc.
4. Listen to the customers wants. Customers are interested in what you can do for them!
5. People don't care how much you know; they want to how much you care. We live in a"high-tech time" and people still want to be valued.
6. Have a good profile with stellar reviews. Right now I am at 162 hires and 81 5-star reviews. This can be the selling point for any business.
7. Be consistent. Find what works and stick to it. I have been doing the same thing for 6 years and will not deviate from it!
All of the best to those who take the time to read this!!
@pgrether This is an interesting post as I am sure that there are many on these boards who say that they do all of these things and are not getting the returns that you are seeing (or even a percentage of the returns you are seeing).
Regarding your comment that said "He had said that less than 1% of all online or web-based business succeed and generally have about 10 good reviews. So here is what I answered him with:", what did your friend say when you listed off those tips? Did he or she believe they were doing those things?
I ask because the results here are so variable. Some report great results, others report very much the opposite. My opinion is that these tips, though very good, are only 1 part of the puzzle and while TT works in some pro areas and geographies, it does not in others. The inconsistency is really a big issue.
I realize this goes to the heart of Tip 2 - but would love feedback on the TT experience itself and theories as to why the inconsistency we see between pro types and geographies.
My friend's response was that he would share it with his sales team. Now I know that this doesn't apply to every business model out there. This is what I do for mine. There is not a one-size-fits-all approach so we need to be creative and make adjustments where needed. It didn't start out like this for me either.
What I have observed about TT is that there are many issues with the website and app that really need repairing. One is I get connected to have to pay for leads that do not apply to my business. For example, I live in Southern California. This does not mean I am going to drive 2 hours away for a free introductory music lesson (that is the service that I provide). So the app is not very thorough and clients do not how to use? One of my newest students who hired me for guitar lessons is a prime example.
This new student is in her mid-thirties and I was trying to get a review from her and TT told me she was a minor and therefore her request blocked/deleted!!
Aside from all of these things, we need to be remain steadfast and make our businesses work! So all of the trivial things like that really do not matter on the grand scale of things, but they can add up in costs when paying for the wrong leads; that is why I am not using "Target" for leads.
I repeat I do live in the Southern California area which is the entertainment capital of the world so music lessons do fit here. So we need to find the needs of our area and make it unique . . .
It is good to hear the positive feedback for the online business model. A few years ago we moved away from online and went back into the local marketing rather than the online business space. It has been very successful for us probably due to the economic recovery and a concentrated focus on ouor vertical market. Our business has been good. We constantly keep our ear to the ground to determine if we see an opportunity to try it again. So the positive feedback is good news. Thanks for sharing.
With the use of Target (or not) there really is no secret to making it work. The major things are getting reviews, having a great profile, and not giving up! It is so easy to want to give up and give in to the negative self-talk. We cannot afford to think like that. Sure I get discouraged many times, but, no matter what, I stay with it! Again, there really isn't a secret. Just don't give up!
That is good advice. Never give up!
We simply found a one size fits all approach in our photography verticle market (boudoir) is completely ineffective. There are too many issues & options to book appointments without appropriate conversation.
We were unable to make a profit with our TT bookings. So a traditional approach of local marketing has worked better for us. We shot a fair amount of volume using the TT system but it was not profitable volume. If we increased our pricing we were eliminated without an understanding of what we were offering. I think there needs to be a more thorough quote template with enough information to prove the end client is actually interested in a service. We are simply not going to bid on business that we do not want.
We maintain a ratio (booking on proposal) in our local market of about 90% of what we bid and we have never had anything other than a five star review in well over 20 years. Our booking ratio with TT was about 15%. Therefore I would like to see an effort from TT to "help" the pro increase their booking ratios and make money rather than such a focus on the TT profits. It seems like that would make for a more functional system. Maturation & consolidation of the online model should help longer term. I am glad for those that have been able to make it work.
From our perspective there are three parts to a successful model offering intro to services.
1) a satisfied end customer
2) a satisfied pro after the business is completed.
3) TT profits and image.
Anything other than the success of all three is nearsighted and only a short term strategy.