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Ruby® is at ICON17, Infusionsoft’s Annual User Conference, in Phoenix from April 25-27! We’re thrilled to be showcasing our latest small business productivity tools at booth K103.

Stop by to say hi and hear about how Ruby can help small businesses make positive first impressions, manage their call volume, and increase productivity!

See the Press Release >>

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Lawyer Hero_2@4xRuby Receptionist is at Lawyernomics in Las Vegas, NV from April 20-22nd, 2017! You can find us at booth #114, where we’ll be showcasing our latest productivity solutions for lawyers.

Powered by our proprietary technology, Ruby’s virtual receptionists help lawyers capture new callers while WOWing existing clients. Stop by our booth to say hi and learn about how Ruby can give you the freedom and flexibility to impress your callers and work on the go!

See the Press Release >>

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Call to talk to a live virtual receptionist and hear why 10,000+ companies Ruby.

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Transitioning to a virtual office.

Reading time:
virtual office team transition

Sometimes, you need to pivot. And over the last five years, Americans have been moving away from traditional offices and toward a remote work life.

New technology and ever-evolving options have made remote work easier than ever. As more employees work virtually, more options become available—including the virtual office.

Have you made the decision to move to a virtual space? These tips can help you get off to a strong start!

Set your virtual office structure.

Most of the time, when you hire employees, they work in the traditional time-based payment and review structure. Employees have grown accustomed to being paid based on the number of hours they work—thus focusing on hours as a basis for expectations.

But, in a virtual office, expectations are much less hours-based. It requires both leaders and employees to look at job duties from a new, outcomes-based perspective. Employers have a harder time focusing on the amount of time employees spend “in the office” because they’re never really in an office.

Instead, the focus should shift toward quality and quantity over time. When setting expectations for a virtual company, it’s important that everybody understands these expectations. Of course, for this to happen you have to provide your employees with the tools to meet expectations.

Some key things to keep in mind:

Plan your transition to a virtual office.

Before you choose to make a move to a virtual office, put together a transition team. It’s vital that everyone is on board with the decision. While a virtual office has its benefits, the change might not be best for everyone. Some may be skeptical about the shift, and others may thrive in a different environment. The key to a successful transition is transparent communication.

You’ll want to communicate:

  • Why you’ve decided to make the transition
  • How the transition is going to look
  • When you’ll be making the transition
  • What the virtual office is going to look like

It’s important that you share the expectations, benefits, and logistics with your team upfront. Without a solid plan and communication transitioning to a virtual office can be a big hurdle to overcome.

One last tip: give employees an idea of what a virtual office will look like. People respond well to visuals, and everybody prefers knowing expectations on the outset. The idea of “virtual” can be scary!

Get the tools you need to succeed.

Show your employees how the available technology will make developing and maintaining an effective virtual office easier and more attainable than ever.

  • Stay connected: It’s key that a remote team stays in contact. Tools like Slack, Uberconference, Basecamp, GotoMeeting and so many other options make team communications attainable. When choosing what to use, think about your needs. Do you need video chat? Text chat?
  • Project management: Tools like Wrike, Jira, Trello, Dropbox, and Smartsheets make managing projects of all kinds easier, especially for virtual teams. Project management tools will keep your team in contact and organized.
  • Project-specific tool: What does your team need to succeed? Adobe Suite? CRM? Cloud-based graphic design tools? Industry-specific software? It’s key that you prepare in advance, so you get the right tools in the hands of the right employees!

And don’t forget, a virtual receptionist can help your virtual office grow!

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Pros and cons of a virtual law office.

Reading time:

When you operate a virtual law office, you’re foregoing the traditional brick-and-mortar office for one of two main options.

  1. You’re running your law office out of your home or on the go. This works much the way you would expect. You can set aside an office space in your home, work out of coffee shops and hotels, and keep all of your work organized online.
  2. You’re utilizing a co-working or virtual office network. The other common definition of a virtual office is a space that you rent out but share with other businesses. Instead of having a designated office, you sign up to be part of a network that allows you to reserve rooms for meetings with clients—giving you a physical space outside your home where you can host people. While you would still keep all your work “virtual,” you can receive mail and phone calls to the virtual office location. Often, these virtual offices have multiple locations, allowing you to work out of them as you travel.

Starting a solo firm or opening a small law practice can be expensive, and as you grow, you often find yourself focused on minimizing costs as much as possible. Either of the above options provides you with the opportunity to skip the expensive overhead of leasing an office space. Instead, you have more freedom to work the way you want. While this flexibility is very effective for some attorneys, your actual success depends on your work style.

Operating a virtual law office has both pros and cons.

Pros of a virtual law office.

When you think about the advantages of a virtual law office, there’s a good chance you’re thinking about the price tag—which is, naturally, one of the most significant advantages. That being said, there are a lot of other pros to moving into a virtual space.

Some advantages include:

  • Lower monthly overhead
  • Eco-friendly and possibly paper-free
  • Greater flexibility to transition between stages in your business
  • Ability to serve a wider client base because you aren’t tied down to a single office location
  • Flexibility with the hours you work and more control over your work/life balance

Cons of a virtual law office.

While there are a number of advantages of a virtual space, it also comes with a few distinct disadvantages. As your firm grows, you may outgrow a virtual office at some point. So, it’s important that you keep in mind these disadvantages when choosing your office solution.

Some disadvantages include:

  • Lack of “traditional” office feel
  • Blurred lines between work and personal life—may negatively impact work/life balance
  • If you work out of a virtual office location, you may feel like a guest in your own space
  • You may need to take extra steps to ensure your state bar approves your software and tools
  • You may need to take extra steps to ensure smooth client communications
  • You’ll want to take extra security measures when working out of shared spaces
  • If you work out of your home, you may have to give clients your home address or find another meeting space

Whether a virtual law office is right for you depends on many factors. If you do choose a virtual office, it’s important to have the practice management tools and resources to adequately run your virtual office.

Check out our other resources about the virtual office:

Do you currently work out of a virtual law office? Share your story with us @callruby on Twitter!

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Most practices do not have an efficient and effective way to follow-up with leads (also called “lead conversion strategy”).  This is silly.  Lead conversion is easy, requires minimal effort, and with a little management, your team can produce significant top line growth.

To schedule consultations in the past, we have relied on potential patients to call us during business hours.  When they call, we don’t need to follow-up.  We schedule their consultation immediately on the phone.  However, more and more, patients are leaving their information on an appointment request or chatting online with our 24/7 live chat specialists at night.  Because this change has happened rapidly, most practices have been caught without a solid lead conversion strategy.

How do I train my staff to follow-up with these potential patients and convert the lead into a consultation?  How many calls should I expect my staff to make?  Is there a way to do it without being “pushy”?

In this article, you will learn exactly how to identify leads and effectively turn your leads into new patient appointments.  In the end you will come away with a step-by-step guide to implement with your team.

What is a Lead?

An effective lead conversion strategy is nearly free and requires little of the orthodontist’s effort.  But what is a lead?

With Ruby’s live chat, a lead is a potential patient who is inquiring about financing, Insurance, and/or treatment options. Our friendly live chat specialists start assisting potential new patients within 60 seconds of receiving a chat request. With information you provide, they can start answering questions and collecting the contact information you request. We recommend collecting the patients name, cell phone number, email address, and what their request is regarding. Once you have this information, you have a “hot” lead.

Live chat on your website delivers hot leads.  These leads are hot because these patients came directly to your site asking about your practice specifically. 42% of customers prefer to engage with businesses through live chat over any other channel. These leads are much more likely to schedule a consultation than leads collected from a drawing at a community event for free braces, for instance. 

Your lead information will look like this:

·      Name: Sarah Smith

·      Phone: 816-111-1234

·      Email: SarahSmith@Gmail.com

·      Regarding: Braces Consultation

Most people do not see the real value in this information.  But at our office, we look at this as a $5,500 new revenue opportunity (or “NRO”).  If we can convert this lead into a consultation, there is a high likelihood that they are going to start treatment. 24/7 Live chat can save you even more time by having our specialists answer FAQ’s regarding billing, insurance, and treatment plans. Fast and professional customer service has become an expectation, website chat will help you stand out from your competitors.  

Designing and Implementing a Lead Conversion Strategy

1.     Call hot leads immediately

For every minute that we wait to contact a lead, we are decreasing the likelihood that the person is going to schedule a consultation.  It is a race against time.

This is usually a team’s #1 error.  They simply wait too long to contact the lead.

Think of it like this:  You are shopping for a car and you want a reliable car with a low monthly payment.  When on Toyota’s website, you request more information about their financing via their online information request.  After filling out your name, phone, and email, you wait on a return contact.  After you visit the Toyota website, you then visit the Honda website and do the same information request.  If Honda contacts you back first, do you think Honda is more or less likely to earn your business? …Way more.

Don’t delay, call today.

2.     Text your hot leads immediately

Some people do not like speaking on the phone, and even if they do, many people screen their calls.  Unless they are receiving a call from a friend or family, they send it to voicemail.  By texting the patient, you might engage the person enough to speak on the phone with them to schedule a consultation.

Patients will find it convenient to text with the office and often develop trust with the office before ever speaking on the phone.  Also, although many people ignore their calls and emails, most people will not ignore a text.  It’s just too easy to respond.

3.     Email your hot leads immediately

Though we have already called and texted the patient, an email is important.  If the person is in a meeting without access to their phone, or they just simply prefer email, this is an effective way to contact the patients.

If you are using Gmail, you can create easily duplicable emails with canned responses.  This will allow you to be ultra efficient with your lead capture emails.

4.     Call hot leads every day for 10 days

At my office, we just finished calling a patient every day for 25 days.  We only left a message occasionally.  When we did leave a message, we used a specific script to build value into the call and avoid the feeling of inconvenience and nagging.

“Hello, Sarah!  This is Scott calling from Hansen Orthodontic Specialists.  I was calling as a courtesy to follow-up with you about your insurance question.  We are here to answer your questions at your convenience.  Please call us back on this number and we will gladly help you.  Have a great day!”

5.     Email/text your hot leads twice more

It’s easiest to use a few different pre-formed emails and texts to send as follow-ups.

Bonus – Establish monthly long-term follow-up for unscheduled leads & unscheduled recall patients

Every practice needs a way to follow-up with leads over the long term.  At our practice, we call, email and (soon) text the unscheduled recall patients and leads every month.  When you break it down per month, it makes the recall system manageable and measurable.

Interested in learning more? Download our ebook, all about the rise of live chat and how to make it work for your business.

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Multichannel marketing is the ability to interact with potential customers on various platforms—and it’s a key component of many successful marketing plans.

Think about where you go to learn about your favorite band.

  • Do you follow them on Facebook and Twitter?
  • Do you visit their website or blog?
  • Have you watched any of their videos on YouTube?
  • Do you subscribe to their emails?
  • Do they send you direct mail?
  • Did you pick up a flyer about their last show?

If even two of those are true, you’re part of the 72% of consumers who want brands to take an integrated marketing approach. But, at the moment, only 39% of consumers are actually getting an integrated marketing experience.

Now, put yourself in the shoes of your customers. How do they get your message? How can they contact you? Do they hear a consistent message from you on several platforms? Is your message muddled? Or, is there only one point of communication?

Multichannel marketing is one of the best ways to reach a wide target audience, meet their needs, and convert them from followers to faithful customers.

While a comprehensive campaign with a consistent message is important, there are three other aspects of multichannel marketing that will make the approach even more successful for your brand.

1. Keep Track of Your Customers

Data is your friend. Nowadays most companies keep robust dashboards full of follower, customer, and subscriber analytics—effective tools for building a successful multichannel marketing campaign.

Marketing metrics are a vital part of the attraction, engagement, conversion, and retention process you hope to achieve through multichannel marketing. Without data, it’s difficult to optimize your messaging and the channels you use to reach the right people, with the right message, at the right time.

Helpful analytics include:

  • Google Analytics. Google Analytics is your goldmine of useful data. To start I’d recommend looking at referral traffic. How are people finding your site? Are they searching it? Clicking on ads? Finding you on LinkedIn? Existing referral traffic is a useful hint for where you can build a presence that’ll make a difference.
  • Blog post analytics. Another useful place to look is your blog. How are people finding your blog posts (Google search, Twitter, other blog posts, etc.)? How much time do they spend on that post, and where do they go next? Spikes in traffic can help you drill down on hot topics and top sources of referral traffic.
  • Gated content. Say you create an ebook related to one of your products or services and put it behind a form. Gating your resource gives you lead data, and it helps you narrow down what content your readers are seeking. Looking at the data for this page and form had dual advantages. You get to see what channels are converting on each resource, and what resources are gaining conversions.
  • Social media analytics. When you look at social analytics, you can drill down into who is on each platform, what kind of content they interact with, and when they’re online. With these insights, you can determine what to post, what social channels to use, and when on social media to hit your target.

Look at each platform’s analytics individually, but also step back and look at the bigger picture to get an idea of your overall audience—allowing you to create an integrated campaign that has a more expansive reach.

2. Stay in Touch

Identify your target marketMost shoppers are looking for quick solutions these days, and a brand’s responsiveness can make or break a sale.

Customers take to social media with hashtags, photos, and even live videos to showcase their complaints. Luckily, often all it takes to turn those situations around is a genuine response and apology.

The best way to prevent escalating problems is to be prompt and transparent. Everyone loves feeling heard. If you don’t have the time for 24/7 monitoring, your solution can be as simple as an auto-responder letting customers know that someone will get back to them within x hours.

Then, stick to your word: if you make a promise, be sure to fulfill it. When you have a platform available, it’s important to have someone monitoring it. That means responding to Tweets, emails, Facebook messages, and answering phone calls. A communication channel isn’t worth a whole lot to customers if the communication doesn’t go both ways.

3. Know What Success Looks Like

The end goal of multichannel marketing is increasing sales—but it’s best to set unique goals for each channel.

Your social media focus might be on building brand awareness and engagement. You might use your blog to build authority and your e-mail for more direct sales. It’s the combined effort of all these platforms that drive your consumer towards your final goal: making a purchase.

Your key performance indicators (KPIs) will depend on your goals, so they’ll probably differ for various channels, too. Here are some KPI examples:

  • Emails – click through rate
  • Twitter – percent change in Tweet impressions
  • Facebook – conversions on ads
  • SEO – organic search position
  • Blog – traffic changes over a set period of time

While multichannel marketing can include a lot of moving parts, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Start with the platforms where you’ll find your target audience, and build from there as your business grows and you do more research.

Remember, multichannel marketing is all about choice. Your customers should be able to choose when and where to interact with you.

Even for small businesses, smart multichannel marketing is 100% in your reach.

Gabe Arnold

Gabe Arnold is the founder of Copywriter Today where you can get unlimited fresh content for all your marketing needs. If you want 250 free headline ideas for your next marketing campaign, use their free tool here.

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What is a virtual office?

Reading time:

There’s a lot of talk about “going virtual” these days. But what exactly does that mean?

According to Wikipedia, a virtual office is defined as

“the operational domain of any business or organization whose workforce includes a significant proportion of workers using technology to perform their work at home.”

Basically, a virtual office is an office that primarily exists in cyberspace and without a designated physical location. It empowers businesses to run from virtually (see what I did there?) any location via the internet.

How a virtual office works

When you choose a virtual office, you’re deciding against having a designated physical location where you and your employees go to work. Instead, your office is wherever you are—as long as you have internet access. And your employees’ offices are wherever they are.

Usually, people work out of a home office or a quiet space in their home, but that isn’t your only option. You can work out of hotels, coffee shops, coworking spaces, or even on the beach! In fact, there’s a modern movement of “digital nomads” who run their businesses as they travel.

Having a virtual business means relying on the web for communications and meetings. Instead of spending a big chunk of money on rent (even a small office is pretty expensive these days), you spend a much smaller amount of money on the tools that keep your team in contact. These tools usually include video chat software, text chat tools, and product management software.

Who a virtual office works for

Of course, not every company thrives with a virtual office. Working remotely works the best for small businesses with motivated employees—and it requires a particular kind of culture. To succeed as a virtual company, it’s important to empower your virtual staff by giving them the training and the tools they need to succeed.

Like most things, a virtual office space comes with its own set of pros and cons.

Pros

The advantages of virtual offices are especially impactful for solo or small businesses. If you don’t have any employees, or only have a few, this is often the most inexpensive way to run your business. There are also growth advantages—since transitioning from a virtual to physical office space is easier than moving from one office to a new one.

Benefits of a virtual office include:

  • No commute—unless you want one
  • Employees are empowered to work when they work best
  • Employees are empowered to work where they work best
  • Access to talent isn’t limited to a geographic location
  • Lower overhead costs
  • Lower turnover
  • Can help your company grow more quickly

Cons

There are, of course, situations where a physical location is necessary for your business. And a virtual office isn’t right for everyone.

The disadvantages of a virtual office include:

  • You’ll need to seek out a location for client meetings, as you won’t have your own conference rooms
  • A lack of face-to-face interaction can make building a company culture hard as you grow
  • Coordinating meetings and projects may be difficult if employees are in different time zones
  • A lack of separation between work and home is sometimes problematic—when you work where you live, it may be difficult to “clock out.”
  • Employees who work remotely have to be self-driven

Whether or not a virtual office works for you depends on your personal and company needs. Not sure what office type is right for you? Check out our examination of four different office types!

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Most companies, whether they realize it or not, are using multichannel marketing at some level of their business.

If you have a Website, a brick-and-mortar shop, send out regular flyers, and maintain a Facebook page—you’re headed in the right direction. Each element of your marketing strategy is helping you find and connect with your customers.

If you truly want to get to know your customers—and define your target audience—multichannel marketing is the strategy for you. Creating a comprehensive plan that integrates a variety of platforms puts you where your customers are spending their time. It gives you the choice to break down your targeting even more, while letting your customers choose when and how they want to interact with you.

It’s is all about choice.

Multichannel Marketing: What It’s All About

Multichannel marketing is a tool used by companies to both, directly and indirectly, interact with customers, with the end goal of boosting sales.

It combines traditional strategies with new technology to empower companies to reach their customers at every touchpoint.

  • Direct marketing—outbound or push marketing—is when you proactively promote your product or services. Everything from coupons and catalogs, to television, radio, and print ads, fall under direct marketing.
  • Indirect marketing—inbound or pull marketing—uses less obvious tactics to raise brand awareness. It attracts prospective customers in a way that’s more personal, less sales-driven, and, hopefully, memorable. Indirect marketing includes everything from your company’s blog, social media presence, and newsletters, to SEO and new technologies like virtual reality.

Direct + Indirect = Multichannel Marketing

Multichannel marketing mixes all these elements together, so customers have the power to choose the way they interact with your brand.

By integrating multichannel marketing into your business model, you’re able to delight your customers in more ways, improve your relationships with them, and avoid exhausting or annoying them.

Why Multichannel Marketing Helps You Grow

Think about your average morning.

You might pull out your smartphone when you wake up, scroll through Facebook, Twitter, or your e-mail inbox. Perhaps you turn on the morning news while making your breakfast. Or maybe you flip on the radio or a podcast in the car for your morning drive. And if you’re waiting for an appointment, you might pull out a magazine.

As you go through your daily life, you’re almost constantly exposed to media, even when you’re not aware of it. In fact, you’re being exposed to indirect marketing right now, from your computer or mobile phone—indirect marketing is often fun and interesting! It isn’t advertising at all, so it doesn’t feel like marketing.

Top two reasons companies use multichannel marketing

  • You reach your customers through multiple avenues. Think of a coffee company that has TV advertising, ads in the newspaper, and a Facebook ad that you scroll by on your way to work in the morning? Thirsty yet? Your exposure to this coffee company has now tripled, thanks to multichannel marketing.
  • When you focus all your marketing on one channel, you risk missing out on much of your target audience. If all of that coffee shop’s advertising is on Facebook, they’re missing everybody who doesn’t spend time on Facebook. They’re even missing Facebook users who aren’t online when the ad is running, or the post was posted.

Are You Investing in Strategic Multichannel Marketing?

Multichannel marketing campaigns are more thorough and user-friendly than those that are focused on a single avenue. They allow you to build on a theme across channels, create integrated but unique components for different platforms, and truly discover what users on each platform prefer. And the longer you use these strategies, the higher your engagement, and success.

Your target audience members are being exposed to marketing campaigns every day; multichannel marketing is the tool you can use to make sure they’re being exposed to your campaigns, not your competition’s!


Once the marketing works, who’s answering your phone? Discover the power of virtual receptionists to help you grow your business in our free ebook!

Free ebook: Grow Your Business With Ruby


Gabe Arnold

 

Gabe Arnold is the founder of Copywriter Today where you can get unlimited fresh content for all your marketing needs. If you want 250 free headline ideas for your next marketing campaign, use their free tool here.

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