Small businesses everywhere are adapting to the changing times by offering online classes and virtual services to their customers. Use these pro tips from Vistaprint to get started.
- Staying connected with customers
- Keep driving business
- How to set up your video-based virtual service
- How to collect payment
Sign Up for Video
Create an account in whichever video service provide best meets your needs.
Read our Video Platforms for Small Businesses article to learn about our top picks and runner-up video platforms.
Wherever possible we recommend $0 free solutions to help small businesses get started with virtual, innovate, and stay in business with little-to-no upfront investment or sunken costs.
Set Up Your First Class
- Pick a date and time for your first class.
- Set up your space to be quiet for clear sound.
- Make sure there is good lighting to show your facial expressions.
- Plan out your content and rehearse a few times until the content and delivery (and timing!) feel right.
Pro tip: Record your rehearsals to see what your clients will see and tweak accordingly.
- Tell the world! Add you class schedule to your Vistaprint website in a clearly marked and easy-to-find location.
Get the Word Out and Collect Registrations
- Blast out the heads up about your class
- Social media
- Your Vistaprint website
- Include the details
- Video conference call-in details
- An easy way for your customers to register
- Link to the class schedule
- It's posted on your Vistaprint website
- You are offering 1-on-1 consultations
- Customers can schedule their consultation via a free online appointment book like Setmore.com
- You add your unique Webex Personal Room URL to the email notifications signature
Pro Tip: These extra steps are great for your and your participants' security and privacy.
- Webex automatically generates unique meeting passwords for each meeting.
- Your Webex Personal Room URL is evergreen for all your meetings so it can go in your email signature or on your website, but you’ll need to separately share the correct meeting password with each of your participants.
- You can also customize the settings for your meetings to lock out late entrants after a certain number of minutes.
Read our Video Platforms for Small Businesses article to learn more about Webex and your Vistaprint website.
Your payment provider and the kind of service you offer determine how you should collect payment from your customers:
Free to join, tips requested
Pay any time
Choose what works for you.
Use a paywall when it is 100% required that a customer pays you before your video/their service begins.
Square is free to get started and will charge you fees for each transaction.
Setmore has a free basic plan.
Learn more about Setmore’s online appointment book and how to connect it to your Vistaprint website in our Online Appointment Booking article.
With Patreon.com, you can require your customers to become paying subscribers (“patrons”) in order to access exclusive pre-recorded video content.
Patreon is free to get started and takes percentage of the patron revenue plus transaction fees.
For other cases, you may want to
Request payment by posting your Venmo handle on your Vistaprint website and social media, or emailing the customer the link to your Paypal.me page.
Upon receipt of payment, share the video call-in details with your customers via email, text, DM, and/or calendar invite.
Our research did not find free paywall services for live streaming.
Free To Join, Tips Requested
When you live stream a large class on Facebook Live (or YouTube), you want as many people as possible to tune in and share the experience with their friends. This may also be true of pre-recorded video you upload for viewers to watch later, on-demand.
Publicize your class as free to join, this keeps the barrier to entry low.
Request tips or donations during the class by talking about it to your audience, showing the exact place to pay onscreen, and including links to payment wherever possible. See this example:
Pay Any Time
For some businesses it is fine if clients pay before, during, or after the virtual service. This may make sense when you have a close relationship of trust with your repeat clients.
- Include your payment details in all communication like emails, calendar invites, social media, and your Vistaprint website.
- Example: can add a “Payments” page to your Vistaprint website with price lists and a link to your payment processor.
- Don’t forget to follow up after the virtual service to thank your client and remind them of payment. Set payment deadlines and communicate them in writing.
Run your Service or Class
It’s show time! Break a leg!
- Ask your clients for consent to be photographed, then take a photo or screenshot. You can share this later.
- Thank your customers for their time and their loyalty.
- Ask for feedback. Virtual services are new to many businesses and customers, so of course there is room for improvement!
- This is a great time for payment reminders for fees, tips, or donations.
- Post a photo on social media and your Vistaprint website, showing future customers what your class or service is like.
- Ask for a public review and send them a link
- Tell your customers about future classes and virtual services, loyalty programs and discounts, and encourage them to book again.
- Write notes on what you want to adjust before the next class or appointment.
- Webex generates unique meeting passwords for each meeting, so send out a reminder of the correct meeting password to your next client.
- Keep innovating, stay connected with your customers, and keep driving business!