There's literally an app for everything nowadays. That's a good thing when you're running a business and want to automate as much of your day as possible. Instead of hiring an assistant, you might be able to rely on techie solutions for a fraction of the cost.
Scheduling is something I've found technology to be incredibly helpful with. As much as I love my old-fashioned paper planner for scheduling my work, I can admit that it's not the best solution for scheduling meetings with current clients or prospects.
Calendly seeks to solve this problem, allowing your contacts to schedule meetings with you by connecting to your online calendar and choosing a time and date that works for them.
- Basic plan is free, but only allows for 1 Event type
- Premium Plan costs $10/month, or $96 annually, and includes unlimited Event types and reminders
- Pro Plan costs $15/month, or $180 annually, and includes all of the features from Premium, in addition to SMS notifications and redirecting invitees back to your website after scheduling an appointment
- Free 14-day trial
How Does Calendly Work?
Calendly is an online scheduling system that prevents anyone from being a bottleneck when it comes to setting appointments for your business. No more extra phone calls and emails with current or potential clients just to find time for you to meet to discuss a project or upcoming work.
Instead, you'll have a personal Calendly link, which you can send to anyone or place on your website so that people can automatically find slot that's open on your calendar and schedule a meeting themselves. Here's how Calendly can automate your schedule:
Scheduling meetings and events
The primary focus of Calendly is to simplify the process of planning any type of meeting for your business, whether its phone calls with prospects or Skype meetings with your project teams.
From your Calendly dashboard, you can create Events, or types of meetings, for people to schedule with you. For example, you might make a 30-minute consulting call, a 1-hour in-person lunch meeting, or a 15-minute onboarding session. For each event, you can choose a timeframe, the time zone, and what dates and times you're available for those appointments.
Here's what creating Events looks like in Calendly:
Once you have your event type set, you're ready to start giving your link out by sending it directly or placing it on your homepage or social media accounts. Others can use the link to go to your calendar and set their own appointments with you for this type of event.
You can also hide any event you don't want public, like those that are specifically for your team, from your calendar. You can send relevant persons a direct link to that event instead.
Calendly lets you and your invitees schedule different types of meetings depending on your specific needs. There's one-on-one scheduling, but also group meetings where several invitees can book the same time slot for a web conference.
You can also host a Collective meeting, which lets an invitee meet with several team members at once. This is great if you're looking for a new team member for your business and would like input from others who'll be working with that person. Or, choose Round Robin to have Calendly schedule your team's meetings based on their availability and meeting priority.
If you're like me, you rely on notifications to remind you of important thing that are happening. Most people appreciate a helpful reminder of their upcoming meeting, which is where Calendly comes in handy.
Instead of having to call or email your invitee to remind them of their upcoming meeting, Calendly will do it in a way that meshes with their preferences, either by text or email. They'll also get a confirmation email once they've booked a slot with you to remind them of the date and time they chose.
Calendly has numerous integrations with your other favorite calendars, payment processors, meeting apps, and more. By connecting your Calendly account to your other accounts, you can sync your calendar, encourage payments for appointment bookings, and track the performance of your event types. There are over 1500 integrations alone when you connect to your Zapier account.
I personally like Calendly's Embed feature, which lets you integrate your calendar with your website using your brand's style, making it look seamless. Using this feature, website visitors will be able to book with you directly through your website.
Workflows for teams
If you work on a team with others, you might find Calendly's extra features for teams beneficial. For example, you can create a team page that lists each person, their role, and their availability, allowing others to schedule with the right person for the job. As an admin, you can also create event types for each person on your team and set their schedules.
Calendly vs. Other Scheduling Solutions
Calendly has a lot of competition in the automated scheduling segment, so you might be wondering what the difference is between the various options, and which is most suitable for your needs.
WhenWorks, Appoint.ly, and SimplyBook.me are some of Calendly's top competitors, each allowing others to set appointments with you and helping you stay on track with meetings by managing your calendar. WhenWorks is only available on the App Store rather than on Android devices or the web, but it costs only $5 a month for its Pro subscription. Unfortunately, it doesn't have many team capabilities, like group meetings and team scheduling, as Calendly does.
Appoint.ly has a comprehensive Basic (free) plan with an unlimited number of appointments, no ads, and integrated calendar services, while its Pro plan with team collaboration and unlimited appointment types—like Events for Calendly—is comparable to Calendly's Premium plan and sits at the same price.
SimplyBook.me offers many of the same features as Calendly, but it's free only for 50 bookings. After that, you'll need to upgrade to a paid plan, all of which also cap your bookings. SimplyBook.me currently only offers a free trial for its Premium plan, which is regularly $59.90 per month.
If you're looking for an easy solution to keep track of a calendar and automate the process of booking meetings with prospects or clients, then Calendly can be a good option for you. However, there are a lot of competitors in this niche, so take some time to compare their paid plans and features before deciding. Most of them offer free trials to let you try them out.