The software industry is booming (PR Newswire). One of the major reasons is local business investment. Over the past few years, more SMBs have realized the need to adopt new tech tools and amp up their web presence. Some of your local business clients are thinking along the same lines. Maybe they want to take their brick-and-mortar store online for the first time. Or it could be that their own customers want an easier way to make communicate with them, like through SMS business text messaging. Perhaps they’re looking for better reporting for their marketing. If your clients are looking for solutions, you can help them by offering a white-label client portal. A portal gives your clients access to everything from ecommerce tools to reports.
Download the “State of Local Business” insight report to learn how small and medium businesses have adopted technology since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
How do you know which client portal to offer, though? Look for a solution with these features to ensure your customers get what they need—and more.
Look for a white-label client portal with built-in communication tools
Let’s start with the basics. No matter what your clients want to do with the portal, the platform should make it easy to communicate, whether with your agency or with their own customers. An ideal client portal, then, will have communication tools.
Ideally, the portal will allow several modes of communication. Look for integrations that let clients use SMS and apps like Facebook and Instagram alike. That way, your clients can use the portal to manage communication across channels.
If your clients want to use the portal to communicate with you, they can do that too. They can even use the portal to communicate with the other members of their team.
Communication tools make it easy for your clients to stay in touch, no matter who they’re chatting with.
Get powerful ecommerce tools with the right client portal
Next up, you’ll want to look for a client portal that offers a core set of ecommerce website tools. Almost every portal will offer a website builder to create an ecommerce operation.
What about other tools? You’ll want to think beyond the basics when you’re considering client portals. If the only thing the client portal offers is a website builder, local businesses could miss out on sales. You could miss out on upselling opportunities as well.
Look for a client portal that will do more for your clients. Tools like email automation are essential in helping local businesses convert more leads. With these tools in hand, your clients can boost their ecommerce performance.
Make sure the client portal has an appointment scheduler
Whether it’s booking appointments or scheduling a team meeting, businesses thrive when they have a meeting scheduler tool.
As a result, any client portal you consider should have this tool as one of its features. If the portal doesn’t come with one, then your clients will likely look elsewhere for a scheduler. This could be a lost opportunity to improve client satisfaction and stickiness in your services.
A client portal with an appointment scheduling app will usually offer better integration. That means the scheduling app can connect to the client’s website and team members’ calendars. In turn, it can sync with calendars and show potential customers which times are available.
This simple tool is a powerhouse of efficiency for local businesses, especially as customers demand better appointment scheduling (Forbes).
Give local businesses the power of analytics with a white-label client portal
Next up, you’ll want to be sure the client portal you offer has powerful analytics and reporting tools. After all, most local business leaders want to know if the new tools and services they’re adopting actually work.
With the right reporting and analytics, they can tell how well that new landing page converts. They can see exactly how effective those automated “abandoned cart” emails are.
You’ll want to look for a portal that allows for automated reporting. That way, your team doesn’t need to spend time collecting the raw data—and your client doesn’t need to wait on you. They can look at the numbers whenever they need the information—even if that’s 2 a.m. on a Sunday morning.
Make sure the portal allows multiple locations
Many local businesses, including cafes, retail stores, and restaurants, operate more than one location. Check to see if the white-label client portal you’re considering can accommodate that.
Consolidated reporting for all locations gives clients an idea of how their business is doing overall. Reports with by-location breakdowns can illustrate which locations are exceeding their goals. From there, you and your clients can determine why some locations are more successful.
Analytics provide the insight needed to create repeatable processes to drive success. They can also identify areas of struggle. Customized strategies for each location can help all sites flourish.
Check for extra fees and user caps
Another consideration for local businesses with several locations is whether there are caps on the number of users they can add. Will they be able to invite the whole team across all locations? Or will they need to be strategic and only invite a few people from each location?
Some client portals only let you add so many team members. Others will let you keep adding people—for a fee. The best client portals, though, let local businesses add every team member they need to add. That makes team communication easier, even if the client’s employees are in different states or countries.
Make portal use seamless with more integrations
A client portal helps streamline a local business’s workflow. It gives them tools that make it easier for their team members to do their jobs.
Integrations boost the usefulness of any portal. Think about communication again. A portal that allows Instagram and Facebook messaging is always more useful than one that only handles SMS.
The same is true for other key tools and services that today’s local businesses need in their back pocket. Your clients have billing and invoicing software, accounting software, calendar software … the list goes on.
A client portal can streamline their access to all of those different platforms. With the portal, there’s one login and one “hub,” where your client’s team members can access everything they need.
Some white-label client portals offer more integrations than others. You’ll want to look for one that offers popular integrations, like Google Workspace, Quickbooks, and many more. Also look for a platform that offers more options. That way, your clients can keep using their favorite solutions when they adopt the portal. That eases the roll-out of the portal, and it makes it easier for clients to use.
Offer tools on a try-before-you-buy model
You’ll also want to look at what other integrations are available. That way, your clients have the chance to add new tools they aren’t using yet.
Think about add-ons for SEO or reputation management. Social media marketing tools are also popular. What tools come built-in with the portal? What other options are available for you to offer your clients, so they can do more within the platform?
The best white-label client portals come with access to a Marketplace, where you can find more tools. Since they integrate with the portal, you can add them in for your clients. Better yet, some portals offer freemium solutions. With them, your clients can test-drive new tools before they buy upgraded versions.
Why your clients need you to offer a portal
Choosing the right white-label client portal is easy when you look for these features. You might still be asking a core question: Why do you need to offer a client portal for local businesses at all?
The answer is your clients want one. They want to streamline their tools and their processes, and a client portal can help them do just that.
Your agency is in an excellent position to offer them this solution. Although you might think you’re not a tech company, the right client portal lets you become one. Your customers already trust you to deliver quality services. They’ll be delighted if you offer them a client portal that helps them grow their businesses.
Why you need a white-label client portal
Since you’re offering your clients a portal, you want to be sure it has your branding on it.
White labeling lets you package a great solution from a trusted partner, then deliver it to your clients with your branding on it (Technology Advice). That, in turn, helps you grow your agency by improving your brand experience and value, while you help your clients grow their own businesses.