Google’s Coming for Your Appointment Book

TRANSCRIPT: Okay. Google. Yeah. Yeah. Once again, the pachyderms are on the move and it’s time to make sure that you’re moving your feet so that you don’t get run over, left behind, or whatever applies to you.

Let me ‘splain. Way back in the diz-ay I used to be really obsessed with trying to get information into the hands of the people whose websites I was building about online booking. Seemed to me, being the geek that I am, that online booking was a good thing. If only from this perspective, some people want to do it. I was thinking, you know it really doesn’t matter what you want.

What matters is what they want. If there’s a sizable amount of people who would come sit in your chair and you don’t offer online booking, well they’re going to take their biscuits and put them in someone else’s chair. That made sense to me. Overtime I found out that some people just don’t want to do that, and that’s cool. Didn’t really push the issue whatsoever, however, it’s time for me to journey back in that direction because Google is doing something kind of interesting.

They are continuously, continually, one more time again they’re trying to dominate the online space. Let me ‘splain what they’re doing this time. Do you have, or let me explain by asking a question first. Do you have your Goggle My Business stuff tight? Are you on the map? If I look up your name on the map, will I be able to find it or will I just have one of those little icons that says, “You are here.”

If you go to Google My Business, and that’s, can start the process with getting yourself on the map. It might be a little bit difficult. Might have a couple of struggles to make that happen because if you interpret Googles rules in a certain way you may think, “No, no. I can’t be on the map.”, and to that I said pshaw. Pshaw to you, because you are a business. You’ve got your own shingle. You collect your own fees. You do your own marketing. The only difference is you’re rocking it in somebody else’s chair.

There’s no difference in my mind between you renting a chair from a salon owner and that salon owners who’s either leasing or doing a mortgage from someone else. In my mind, get your happy behind onto Google Maps.

It’s only for this one reason, again going back to the fundamentals according to Sherpa. Be where they are looking. Some people do the map thing. Some people are all about Google. I know, there’s a lot of people into Yelp!. I know that a lot of people are into Instagram. I got that. However, some people start their journey on the maps. They go straight to Google, type in whatever, and then they start looking around, especially if they’re looking for services and they want to find something that’s close.

Well Google, for a long time now, I’m not even going to try and remember how many years, but they’ve had this map feature that’s really, really cool because if you are on the map, if you have the ability to be in the little three pack that they’ve got there with your actual name verified and all that, Google creates a mini-website for you. Now don’t get all happy happy joy joy, it’s not like your own website. It’s more for them than it is for you, but what it does is it publishes all kinds of really cool information about you for people who are trying to get to you.

What I mean by that is it will list your phone number. It will list your directions. It will list certain pieces of information about your business, accessibility features, services that you offer. Then of course, they can click on, How do I get to you?, and the map pops up from where they’re standing to where you’re at.

A nice little cool blue line pops up and they can follow it and tada, cheeks in the seats. Not only that, one of the other things I think is really, really, really cool, you tell Google what your hours are, and they put a little thing on this little mini website of yours that they make that says, open soon, closed now, that kind of thing. What they’ve added now, the thing where I’m saying they’re trying to get into your appointment book, is they’re adding an online booking feature. Literally.

In addition to finding out information about your business, right there in the maps section you can now book. Yeah. You can actually, there’s a new button there. If you’re using one of the affiliated sites, it’s not like Google does the booking, but while you’re on their platform if you find a place you’re interested in. You’re like, “Okay that’s cool. Let me book an appointment right here and right now.”

Can you see where having the ability to do that is a good thing? I’m hoping you can because if someone is looking you up on Google maps, they’ve got one hand on the cell phone. The other hand is on their wallet. They’re looking to drop some cha-ching on somebody soon. This is new booty. This is folks who have no relationship with you and they’re just looking. Maybe they feel some kind of way about the person who jacked their head up.

If you’re not there on Google Maps, you’re not even in the running, and if you are on Google Maps and you don’t have this feature, you are not … Let’s do it the other way. Let’s be positive about it, and you do have this feature, you are greater amongst equals. If someone has to click one button while they’re looking something up, that’s easier than them having to leave Google, go to your website, and figure it out. Go from Google, go to the phone feature, call you up and hope to get in there. They can click, Book Now, and up comes your menu of services, your prices, and most importantly what you’ve got available.

Someone’s suffering some severe Witchy-Poo going up top and they want to take care of it quick, fast, and in a hurry, this is a quick way for them to get in there. This is going to give salon, not Salon Iris, who is it? Oh. Style Seat. Yeah. It’s going to give Style Seat a run for the money because that’s their model. Hmm. Interesting stuff going on there. Interesting stuff.

Getting back to who’s doing the booking. No, it’s not Google. They’re not nice like that. What they did was they reached out across the internet and said, “Hey, we’re rolling out this cool little feature. You want some of this action?” There’s a handful of companies that said, “oh yes. I think so. Gimme.”

If you go to find out more information other than this quick treatment I’m giving it, just go to Google, of course, and type in ‘Reserve with Google’. You’ll go to, let me click the backspace so I can see what I’m talking about. They’re going to be right there at the top and you can see where it says Partners. You click Partners and you can see everyone of the companies, if you have an account with them you can kind of integrate it.

Now, I don’t know the deets and all that good stuff but I imagine it’s not too hard, but let me read off some of the names so you’ll know who we’re talking about. Appointee. Full Slate. GenBook. MindBody. MyTime. Pica13. Never heard of them. Rosie. Salon Runner. Wellness Living. Yocale.

And coming to, they’re not on board yet, they’re probably getting their geeks together but you’ve got Booksy, Envision, Schedulicity, Set More, Sure, SimpleSpa, Super Salon, and Time Trade. Are there going to be more? I don’t know. Don’t know at all. You know what I found interesting? Who’s not on this list. Not on the coming soon and not on the here now. Didn’t see Salon Iris. Didn’t see [inaudible 00:08:48]. Didn’t see Style Seat. All the big heavy lifters that I’m used to seeing, I would have expected to see one of them up there. Didn’t see a single one of them up there. There might be a reason for that. Not quite sure what it is but interesting. Interesting.

I know that if I were one of the big pachyderms, well actually they’d have to be medium pachyderms if we’re talking about Google. I’d feel some kind of way if I weren’t there because this is definitely, at least for a portion of the population, a threat to their business model. I am here to tell you, if Google has their way, because you know Google is kind of good at adjusting people’s habits. I mean, after all, what do we call looking something up online? Googling it. Think about that.

They’ve got a little bit of track record. If they sway the crowd, if they move the needle this much this is going to change how you do things going forward. What am I saying you should do? What’s the takeaway? Do I think you should run out and grab one of these companies and get on board with them? You know, I don’t know. I would say that that would be a little rash, but you know what isn’t a little rash? Get your happy behind on the map. That’s step one. If you’re not on the map, none of this makes any difference to you. If you are on the map, all the sudden you have choices to make.

Let me hit you with something that happened while I was working on a post. You know I do this podcast thing but everything I throw out on I Help Salons is not me talking into the mic. Every now and then, I actually do a straight up, old school blog post. I did one this past week because I’m putting together, I’m not even sure what you want to call it. It’s kind of a product but it’s not really. I’m trying to put the power in your hands because there’s a lot of folks that I come across who don’t want to hire me for services but still need some of this information so I’m trying to put it out there so that it’s accessible.

I had this thing where I was kind of laying out my concept of how you get your posting game tight if you’re doing the Facebook posting and all that. For a lot of folks, Facebook is the way to go and how you stay on top of that can be a bridge too far. It’s a lot of work, especially if you try to do it day after day after day after day.

There is a method to the madness. I figured I’d throw it out there. One of the things I came across as I was typing this, and sometimes I’m surprised at the things that come out of my mouth, one of the things that came across, that came out was, let me see if I can read this. I’m just going to read the paragraph and then I’m going to riff. Here’s the paragraph:

Keeping it simple. Two rules. We’re going to tackle this topic a little differently because you’re a booth renter and you do things a little differently. You wear all the hats and do all the work. You don’t have time for a complicated, multi-layer, marketing plan. You need simple and doable.

Let’s set a couple of ground rules before we get started. Rule 1, this is business marketing, not art class. You’re doing this, and I was referring to posting content online, you’re doing this for one reason. To put cheeks in the seats. If you need to exercise your artistic side, I suggest you wait until you’ve got someone sitting in the chair. Then you can be as artistic as you want to be. Rule number 2, there are only two types of content. You stuff and everything else. Don’t overcomplicate this. You stuff is anything you post that tells your story. That’s the important stuff. Everything else is just there to hold their attention until you post more you stuff.

That got me thinking. I don’t think I’ve ever really hit this little point so voila, here we are talking about it.

Here’s what I mean, you know what? I had so much fun with that let me read the next paragraph because I write down the importance of you stuff.

The purpose of booth renter marketing is to separate yourself from the crowd. It’s to take your target customer on a journey. At the beginning of the journey, they see you as a total stranger. No truer words could be spoken. At the end of the journey, you’re someone they feel that they know, like, and trust. Now the trust comes with a price tag. You have to give a little. Your audience needs to know who you are, where you’ve been, and what you stand for. They need to know you. You stuff is informational content that gets them there. If the idea of putting too much of yourself out there seems a bit much to ask, take a second and consider this. You’re a booth renter in the cosmetology industry. You have a very specific marketing challenge that most other professions don’t have.

A large part of your success depends on how comfortable complete strangers are with the idea of you being well inside their personal space. If you’re deciding on your marketing comfort level, just keep in mind that your comfort level probably isn’t the one you should be focused on. All right. That’s in there. There’s more stuff in there. I kind of get into a little practicality stuff, but that’s a philosophy thing.

The reason why I was talking about you stuff and other stuff, because when I’m talking to folks who I’m going to be working with or I’m just throwing advice at, I always want you to understand the different types of content. I always go, “Hey listen. When we do this, I want you to pay attention to what type of content you put online that people respond to.” I’m going to tell you right here and now, I’ve been doing a little bit of this, helping people with their social media game and one thing I have found, and this is an irrefutable truth.

I can post a thousand things, all kind of puppy dog pictures, cat pictures. I can post pictures of little kids. I can put all kinds of cute little phrases. I can do all the stuff people tell you is supposed to go out there, but as soon as you post one picture of work you’ve done in the salon, as soon as you post a little bit of you, as soon as you do that people are going to respond all over the place because they want you.

Here’s the thing that always tickled me, when you talk about social media marketing. “Well, you’ve got to be social. You’ve got to be social.” Yeah. You do, but you also need to be strategic. Understand that being social is still about getting cheeks in the seats. You’re doing it for a reason. You want them to know, like, and trust. The different types of you stuff get them to know, like, and trust you. If you put a bunch of content online that has no personality, they don’t see you, your opinions, or anything like that. It ain’t going to work. It just flat ain’t going to work. It’s not going to do what you want it to do.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again because this is really the root of the thing. This is why you stuff is so important. You’re the product. You’ve heard me say that before and I say it every time and I keep saying it because it’s so ridiculously important. You are the product.

People can go wherever to get what you do. You know what they can’t get? They can’t get you. They can’t get how you do what you do. For a lot of folks, that’s important. When folks go and check out Instagram and they hang out all over that, you remember that stalking thing I told you about, was it last week? Week before last? I kind of forget. That stalking thing where they check out your game plan for a long period of time before they ever reach out to you, that’s them getting comfortable with you.

They want to see your style. That applies to tattoo artists. That applies to hair stylists. That applies to quite a few professions. Just about all of them.

Give of yourself. Let them see you. Put the other stuff out there. Don’t get me wrong. You’ve got to put the other stuff out there. Actually in the article, I actually go through a bunch of the other stuff, but the point is the most important stuff you’re going to put out there is you stuff. If you want to make all this online marketing work, the first thing … okay.

Okay. Okay. I’m dog sitting so, yeah. If you want your online game to actually work, understand it’s all about people seeing you and getting comfortable with you. Stranger to know, like, and trust. The one thing that has to be there. You have to be in the mix. You can’t put just BS out there. You can’t put generic stuff out there. You’ve got to put you stuff out there.

All right. Hopefully that made a little bit of sense to you because that’s really the dime that I wanted to drop today.

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