Running any business heavily involves appointments. When it comes to online businesses specifically, the hassle of scheduling — sending emails back and forth with potential clients or customers — take up so much of the day to day tasks.
In between those messages, schedules on both ends get filled up, timelines change, and the conversation gets longer and more tedious.
If you’re still manually scheduling your appointments and filling up time blocks in your calendar, you’re doing it wrong. That’s exactly what Calendly is made to do for you, so you can allot that time on other more important tasks.
In this post, I’ll get into what Calendly can do for you regardless of what type of business you have, how it has worked for me (my favorite features), how I intend to use it in the future, and even things that need improvement. There are so many automation possibilities with Calendly, it’s a mistake not to get into it if you’re running your own business, more so if it’s mainly online.
What is Calendly?
Calendly is an online scheduling software that eases the process of setting up appointments or meetings with clients, customers, leads, and team members.
In the simplest sense, it allows you to choose the window of time of your availability, share the link to people or embed it on your website so they can choose what time best suits their schedule. Then, both parties are notified through email when an appointment is confirmed.
Calendly provides the solution to the laborious process of traditional appointment setting involving phone tags and emails. In effect, you don’t lose people and their interest in the long string of messages and the time lag in between that often turns them away from your business.
The service also gets more sophisticated as more features become available in the paid plans. This tool has worked best for business owners or entrepreneurs, freelancers, startups, and remote workers to improve their service and increase their bookings.
Best of Calendly
Personally, I’ve used Calendly and have enjoyed the many features it offers, both free and paid. It has helped me coordinate with my team and people’s schedules, especially since both my service business and online projects both rely on appointments and efficient scheduling.
For now, these are the best features I’ve found to be super useful in my business. This has become part of a system with which I try to organize it and it’s been successful.
1. Team Settings
On Calendly, you can create a team page and add everyone in it. As an admin, you can set up different team members for specific types of events. Then, clients and customers can choose to schedule appointments with specific people who are relevant to their concerns or needs.
This is what a team page looks like from the perspective of your invitees. This round robin event types allows equal distribution of work among your team, so no one is left with more appointments than another and invitees can also choose accordingly.
In turn, the process of connecting your team to your customers gets so much easier and neither you or your team needs to manually schedule it. The people concerned will just be notified.
2. Team-wide Page
A team-wide page is where you can see every person’s schedule and availability at a glance. Team settings also provide results in the form of metrics to track invitees and scheduling activity.
Without the need for manually inputting data, you’ll have this information at the ready when you need it. It helps immensely for evaluating how well your business is doing and how many people you’re attracting to your business.
3. Auto-assigned Meetings
Not only is Calendly useful for appointments with clients and customers, you can also use it for meetings within the team. You can set up auto-assigned meetings for people that you meet regularly.
You only have to schedule it once and have it repeat indefinitely every week, for example. Then everyone involved will be notified at the time you set before the meeting, so no one forgets it.
How I Intend to Use It For My Online Business
What interests me most about Calendly is the opportunity to use it for conversion. I can use the features simultaneously to drive more people to the Market Domination Method. If you’re not familiar, it’s a series of marketing training videos based off of 30+ tried and tested frameworks for home service businesses.
It can stand on its own as an information product, but there's an opportunity for it to be bigger and to help more people through personalized calls that delve deeper into their specific business and strategy.
Without revealing too much of how I intend to use Calendly to grow MDM, here are the following features and system I’m considering to transform how MDM serves home service business owners in the future.
Scheduling and Creating Events on Facebook
Since launching the Market Domination Method, I’ve held some video trainings on Facebook as a follow up guide to the frameworks and actionable steps that come after them. The problem is, people don’t show up!
You can probably count on two hands the number of people who view it and there’s no substantial way to track if people are actually drawn to the MDM because of it. I wouldn’t dismiss Facebook events completely since I already have the audience there in a group.
However, I think integrating Calendly to schedule a 20-minute call would be a better lead magnet for people to then act upon those videos and come in contact with me about their specific marketing concerns. I can also lead people who schedule a Calendly strategy call to those videos as Calendly allows links in the confirmation page in the paid plans.
20-minute Strategy Call
When you create an event on Calendly, you can choose how long those events will take. There are 15-minute and 30-minute events. For the MDM strategy call, 20 minutes would be enough to get into the problems my clients are facing and to somehow advise them on how to use the frameworks in MDM to work for their business.
I think calls would allow me to know what home service business needs more of and what actual problems they’re facing that the MDM frameworks can help with.
Set Up a Sales Team
Eventually, I would also like to build a sales team that would be equipped to take these calls. They would know the system of the MDM enough to handle customer objections and drive more people into the Market Domination.
The sales team will be made available for people who need regular support and guidance through the training. This is a more hands-on approach to the training itself, but at the very least, Calendly takes out the hassle of setting up the appointments.
Send Text Messages to Notify People
One of the best features for Calendly that I think is genius is the ability to send text message notifications to remind people of their appointments.
Even though the appointment gets scheduled into the (Google) calendars of everyone involved, sometimes people still forget. Some get lost in the influx of daily email they get. Calendly integrates sending text messages, if possible, to alert the person.
How Does Calendly Work?
When you first sign up to Calendly, you can immediately sync your calendar to it. It automatically does this when you sign up with your email, either Google or Outlook. Afterwards, you can also set up your time of availability.
Your availability will also change as you manually add events in your calendar, as long as you tag it “Busy”, and Calendly won’t make that timeslot an open schedule for the person to choose.
This is what Event Types look like. You can make as many as you like for every kind of appointment you offer. Some examples would be sales calls or product support calls, if it’s applicable to your business.
As I mentioned earlier, you can edit the time duration of these event types to only last how long you’re willing to give to your customers or clients. You can also set a buffer time in between appointments to have a few minutes of break time.
Invitee Scheduling Confirmation
When you’ve set up an event type, a link is automatically generated that you can share to people. This is what they’re going to see when they open the link and proceeds to choosing an available schedule.
Upon confirming the time and date, they’re directed to a page that looks like this where they input their details. The bottom text box is for the specifics of their concerns that they want to consult you with. This can be set to optional or required, if you want some context of what the call will be about beforehand.
Once this is finished, you and that person will receive an email notification about it. A following alert will also be sent closer to the actual meeting or appointment, so no one will forget.
Free vs. Paid Features
Everything I’ve mentioned so far is available in the free and basic plan. Even without the pro features, the free plan offers a robust set of features. It’s enough to set you up for business, especially if you’re just starting out and don’t require a lot of event types, users, or calendars.
Here’s what’s included in the free plan:
Everything in the free plan is included in the premium plan, but with plenty of additional features. For a bigger business that involves a few team members, it’s best to pay the minimum fee for unlimited event types, more users, and metrics and reports.
Likewise, the pro plan also includes all the features of the free and the premium plans. However, this is the plan that gets Calendly more integrated into your business.
It allows several calendars for users, if your team members handle different clients or accounts at once. You can also connect Calendly with Stripe or Paypal, so you can accept payment for every meeting or appointment scheduled with anyone in the team.
The SMS notifications, which I highlighted in the Best of Calendly, is only available in this plan, but is worth the price for the impeccable service you will be able to offer.
Room for Improvement
The number one critique about Calendly that I see online is the lack of integrations, particularly with Facebook.
Being able to connect Calendly with Facebook, so that people can be directed to an event type page from a Facebook ad, is a high-impact integration that seems to be lacking from the Calendly software itself. You may be able to do this but it would require a third party automation software or tool.
Another missing feature that a few people seem to be looking for is the ability to add an event manually. Some clients would still prefer the ease of verbally communicating a schedule for a meeting or appointment, and doesn’t want the extra task of choosing a schedule on a page.
Entrepreneurs and their team, on the other hand, is stuck without the ability to input that event manually. In turn, they can’t take advantage of the other features of Calendly like the automated email and SMS notifications.
Aside from the few critiques about Calendly, it’s still a useful and powerful automation tool for one of the most tedious admin tasks. It eliminates the need for an assistant to schedule appointments for you, and lifts off the burden of sending emails back and forth between business owners and clients.
There are several testimonials online of people whose business grew and thrived off of having this automated scheduling. It saved them time while also booking more people for their services. Calendly has worked for me with its simple and sophisticated features. I’m personally getting more excited to see how else I can optimize it for the Market Domination Method.