How To Automate Your Coaching Client Bookings with Thrive Architect

If you run an online coaching business, you know that scheduling new clients can quickly become a logistics nightmare.

First the client reaches out to work with you by email...

...then you have to reply to their inquiry with all your basic explainer info as well as possible times for them to schedule their initial consult call.

But then they respond saying that the times you suggested aren’t possible — and don't offer any alternatives!

Pretty soon, you find yourself in a time consuming game of email ping-pong before the appointment time gets locked down. But of course the inevitable happens...

said client totally forgets about the call and no shows on you: Rinse. Recycle. Repeat.

If you’re an online coach, this sort of scheduling nightmare needs to become a thing of the past, but how?

More...

The solution is actually pretty simple and can help you eliminate such time intensive (and revenue crushing) email back-and-forths.

Ready to learn how combining the power of Thrive Architect with an online scheduling service can automate your new and current client booking and onboarding process — directly through your WordPress website?

Then read on…

What You’ll Need To Automate Your Client Scheduling

Let’s get right to it. Here’s what you’ll need to automate your new and current client scheduling:

  1. A WordPress website (because we always encourage solopreneurs like you to build a business on your own platform)

  2. Thrive Architect (to quickly build and launch your new client landing page)

  3. An online booking tool (like Calendly or Acuity Scheduling)

  4. And an online calendar tool (like Google Calendar).

Once you have these 4 key online assets ready to go, we recommend that you get started creating a new client landing page focused on converting your coaching site’s visitors into new discovery call clients.

Essentially, this website asset will become the first step in your new customer coaching funnel as it gives your online visitors a place to learn about your services and take that all important first coaching step with you — your initial consult call.

So assuming you already have your WordPress website up and running, let’s talk about how you can create your new client landing page lightning fast.

Give Your Coaching Business a Professional First Impression

If you want potential clients to take your coaching business seriously, a professional looking website that funnels visitors into a new client landing page is a fantastic way to offer them upfront value that builds trust.

With a professionally designed landing page, potential clients will be able to find you, understand what your coaching services entail and then self-book their initial coaching call with you if they do decide to take the plunge.

That’s where Thrive Architect comes in. With it, you can create that “Book Your Discovery Call with Me” landing page in minutes.

By using one of our pre-built landing page templates, you can quickly choose, customize and launch your landing page with just a few clicks and copy modifications.

To show you just how fast that process can be, I took the Thrive Biz “Guitar Lessons Homepage” template and converted it into an online physique & nutrition coaching landing page by simply changing the copy and replacing all the pictures in the template:

A New Coaching Client landing page modified from the Thrive Biz “Guitar Lessons Homepage” template. Only the images, copy and Call-To-Action buttons were modified to quickly create this landing page and integrate it with an online automated scheduling tool so new clients can self-book their initial coaching call with you.

To get the first iteration of your landing page done and shipped, you don’t have to make it more complicated than that.

Now let’s take a look at how you can integrate one of two online scheduling services with your new client landing page to completely remove yourself from the entire booking process.

The Easy Way To Integrate an Online Scheduling Service with Your New Client Landing Page

The two freemium online services we recommend you look into for this purpose are Calendly and Acuity Scheduling.

Although both services work great to automate your new (and current) coaching client bookings, they definitely have their pros, cons and pricing differences.

Both services offer a free version of their tool — but of course limit the features you get.

And because Calendly’s most expensive plan is equivalent to Acuity Scheduling’s least expensive plan, I’ll only be comparing the two companies' free and price equivalent plans for you below.

Let’s now take a look at the feature line ups of the two free service and two price equivalent paid service plans — followed by a simple way you can integrate whichever plan you choose into your new client landing page.

Calendly vs Acuity Scheduling’s Free Pan Features

Perhaps the best way to study the differences between Calendly and Acuity Scheduling’s free features is with a comparison table... so here it is:

Calendly vs Acuity Scheduling’s Free Plan Comparison Table

Features

Calendly

Acuity S.

Advanced Backend Dashboard

Calendar integrations: Google Calendar, Office 365, Outlook and iCloud

Client self scheduling

Automatic time zone conversion for clients

Schedule unlimited events

Unlimited event types

Only 1 event type allowed

Personalize your appointment scheduling link

Automated event email notifications

Intercom Integration

Zapier Integrations

PayPal & Stripe Payment Integrations

The three biggest differences between Calendly and Acuity Scheduling’s free plans — especially if you’re bootstrapping your coaching business and trying to minimize costs — are:

  1. Calendly allows you to integrate their scheduling service with your preferred online calendar where Acuity Scheduling does not,

  2. Calendly will send you and your invitees automated appointment and cancellation email notifications where Acuity Scheduling will not, and

  3. Calendly will automatically convert times to your client’s local time where Acuity Scheduling will not.

These are all critical features for your online coaching business. That's why we recommend selecting Calendly over Acuity Scheduling if you choose to use a free automated scheduling plan.

However, Acuity Scheduling does have a more advanced backend dashboard than Calendly does. It’s useful and allows for more convenient setup of things like your available times for coaching sessions:

Acuity Scheduling’s Backend Dashboard
Acuity Scheduling Backend Dashboard

The Acuity Scheduling backend dashboard comes with many convenient features including a calendar view of your appointments and blocked off times where clients can't schedule bookings with you. If you upgrade to a paid account, you can also sync your online calendar (like Google Calendar or iCloud Calendar) with Acuity Scheduling.

By contrast, Calendly’s dashboard is more simplistic, makes setting up available appointment times more difficult and does not display your scheduled appointments in a convenient calendar view:

Calendly's Backend Dashboard

The Calendly backend dashboard is minimalist. It shows your upcoming bookings in chronological order for you. You can click on a booking to get more details about it. You can sync your current online calendar (like Google Calendar or iCloud Calendar) with your free Calendly account.

These dashboard creature comforts aren’t mission critical though so Calendly is still the preferred option if you’re getting started as a scrappy online coach bootstrapper.

Now let’s take a look at the price equivalent plans ($15 per month) to see how the paid service comparison stacks up for you.

Calendly Pro vs Acuity Scheduling’s “Emerging Entrepreneur" Paid Plan Features

For $15 per month, you’ll get every feature offered by Calendly (in their top-tier “Pro” account) while you’ll only receive Acuity Scheduling’s basic paid feature set in their “Emerging Entrepreneur” plan (the bottom-tier paid plan).

Again, let’s use a plan comparison table to see what $15 per month buys you between Calendly and Acuity Scheduling:

Calendly vs Acuity Scheduling’s $15 /mo Paid Plan Comparison Table

Features

Calendly

Acuity S.

Advanced Backend Dashboard

Calendar integrations: Google Calendar, Office 365, Outlook and iCloud

Client self scheduling

Automatic time zone conversion for clients

Schedule unlimited events

Unlimited event types

Personalize your appointment scheduling link

Automated event email notifications

Customizable email notifications and reminders

SMS Text Message Reminder Notifications

Intercom Integration

Zapier Integrations

Payment Integrations

PayPal or Stripe

PayPal, Stripe &/or Square

Advanced Payment Features

Removable Scheduling Tool branding

Pooled availability options for teams

Offer classes, workshops, or group events

Zoom & GoToMeeting Integrations

MailChimp, AWeber, Constant Contact, ConvertKit, and MadMimi email integrations

Upon comparing the two $15 per month paid plan options, you can see that the feature sets are more or less equivalent. Many of the mission critical features Acuity Scheduling did not provide in their free plan become available to you in their paid plans.

And once you start spending money for an online scheduling tool, the important differences become:

  1. Acuity Scheduling’s superior backend dashboard​,

  2. Acuity Scheduling's integrations with several popular email marketing integrations. If you use one of these email marketing platforms for your coaching business (like MailChimp), then Acuity Scheduling becomes a superior option for you.

  3. Acuity Scheduling also has superior client payment options. This includes features like accepting payments and deposits through PayPal, Stripe and/or Square, vaulting credit cards for charging clients later, letting clients tip you, and allowing you to offer coupons or vouchers for discounts.

Because of all these differences, Acuity Scheduling will likely be the best option if you decide to select a paid plan for your online coaching business.

Paid Plan Recommendation Caveat for Online Teams

Pooled availability options for online teams don’t become available to you with Acuity Scheduling until their $25 /mo and $50 /mo tiered payment plans.


That means if you have a team of coaches or staff supporting your business, Calendly may be the better online scheduling tool for your business due to its team functionality at a much lower monthly price point.

Integrating Your Online Scheduling Service with Your New Client Landing Page

So now that:

  1. Your WordPress website is up and running,
  2. You've selected the correct online scheduling plan for your business, and
  3. Your Thrive Architect built new client landing page has been launched...

...it’s time to integrate your online scheduling service with your landing page.

And there’s a super simple way to do this.

First, go into either your Calendly or Acuity Scheduling account and find your shareable scheduling link:

Calendly's "Share Your Link" Popup Window

The Calendly "Share Your Link" popup window. Access this area of your Calendly dashboard to find your sharable booking links: Click your account drop down menu in the upper right corner of the page >> then click the "Share Your Link" option at the top of the dropdown menu.

Acuity Scheduling's "Scheduling Page Link" Page

The Acuity Scheduling "Scheduling Page Link" page. Access this area of your Acuity Scheduling dashboard to find your sharable booking links: Click the "Client Scheduling Page" option in the left sidebar and then click the "Scheduling Page Link" option in the dropdown menu that appears beneath it.

With the link copied, next go back to your new client landing page (that you built with Thrive Architect on your WordPress website) and paste the self-booking page URL into your Call-To-Action button action setting:

Apply your client booking link to your New Client landing page CTA button by pasting it in the "Animation & Action" subtab in the left sidebar of your Thrive Architect editor window. Make sure to select the "Open in new tab" option when setting your link action setting up.

Now when your potential clients land on your new coaching client page and click the CTA button to book their initial consult call with you, they’ll be sent to either your Calendly or Acuity Scheduling booking page:

Calendly's Client-side Booking Page

An example of the Calendly booking page your clients will be sent to if they click on one of your CTA buttons placed on your New Client landing page. 

Acuity Scheduling's Client-side Booking Page

An example of the Acuity Scheduling booking page your clients will be sent to if they click on one of your CTA buttons placed on your New Client landing page. 

Once that’s done, you can finally say goodbye to the game of email scheduling ping pong — once and for all!

It's Time To Get Your Coaching Clients to Self-Book Their Own Appointments...

By setting up an automated scheduling system like this for your online coaching business, you’ll have more time to focus on finding (and keeping) new clients instead of letting them slip through logistical cracks.

If you’re an online coach, let us know what you think of this booking automation strategy to help boost the bottom line of your business by leaving a comment for us below!

Author: Matt Totten

Matt's a geologist turned online marketer and digital nomad. He's a Modern Manimal on a mission to cultivate a wild lifestyle – by design. When away from his tech, you can find him studying movement through practices like Aikido, AcroYoga and Barefoot Running.

  • Paul R says:

    SMS follow up is the key. Calnendly Wins in my book.

    • Matt says:

      Thanks for the comment Paul! Yes, I can see how SMS text messaging reminders is a crucial feature to get your clients to show up on time.

  • Nata A says:

    Thanks for this in-depth review. I love the way this could be integrated into Thrive Architect pages – didn’t realise this. I also suggest looking into youcanbook.me I’ve been using them for awhile and they are excellent, even on a free plan.

    • Matt says:

      Thanks for your comment Nata! I’ll look into youcanbook.me for future automated scheduling content as well.

  • Paul says:

    Very interesting reading, Matt. Thank you. I’m not an online coach. I have a WordPress web site and I am starting to teach jobless IT students how to become entrepreneurs, using my business platform. I will be meeting them at venues that hold up to 100 students. They need to book and pay up front. Can you offer me a system that will enable them to book and pay before coming to lectures?
    Paul.

    • Melinda H says:

      Check out EventBrite

    • Matt says:

      Thanks very much Paul! It sounds like you’re in need of an event ticketing solution like EventBrite instead of just scheduling. I think Acuity Scheduling’s paid plans can require invitees to pay upfront, however so that may work for you.

      Perhaps a similar piece of content around how to integrate event payment and scheduling with Thrive Architect is on the horizon now! ;-)

  • Don U says:

    Great article. I have been using a free WP Plugin called Easy Appointments. It allows for setting days of the week and time slots for customers to choose from. It then sends auto email and allows for export of the customers data. Works with Thrive Architect.

    • Herman Drost says:

      Thanks Don..I was going to ask if their was a free option

    • Matt says:

      Thanks for the heads up about Easy Appointments Don! I’ll definitely check it out for our future online scheduling content.

  • Randal V says:

    Hi Matt,

    Coincidentally, I spent the past week researching calendar plugins and services. There are dozens and dozens of calendar apps. So, it was a little daunting, especially since I’m a little OCD when it comes to research.

    Finally… finally, I came to what is the “killer-app” for me. It’s called Schedule Once. It hit the nail on the head for my needs. Its benefits and features are too extensive to go over here. But if your calendar app search is still fresh in your mind; you might want to have a look at Schedule Once. Be prepared to be amazed!

    Best,
    Randal
    P.S. Oddly enough, my use case was for a fitness website – imagine that :-)

    • Matt says:

      Hey Randal, thanks very much for the heads up about Schedule Once… I’ll definitely look into it for our future online scheduling content!

  • Victor M says:

    Also booklikeaboss.com and bookafy.com are worth looking into ;-)

    • Lexi Rodrigo says:

      I use–and like–Book Like A Boss. I got a lifetime deal on it, though, and don’t know how the subscription rates compare with other solutions.

      • Matt says:

        Thanks for the suggestion Lexi!

    • Matt says:

      Thanks for the additional scheduling tool suggestion Victor… I will look into them for use in future tutorial content!

  • Stephen says:

    Great article Matt. One thing I did on my site was to embed my Calendly scheduler into a Thrive Leads ThriveBox. Then I created a pop-up window using the “Action & Animation” feature in Thrive Architect on my button. This allows them to schedule without ever leaving my website.

    • Really good Pro Tip, Stephen. Thanks for sharing!

    • Lexi Rodrigo says:

      Cool solutions! Thanks for sharing :D

    • Dylan N says:

      Yes – I’ve done this too and it works great!

    • Matt says:

      Thanks Stephen and awesome idea for embedding the Calendly scheduler into a Thrive Leads ThriveBox! I’m definitely going to create a sweet piece of content around this to show other Thrive Leads users exactly how to do this for their business too.

      Thanks so much for the clever ThriveBox use case!

      • Stephen B says:

        Thanks, Matt. I look forward to seeing what you put together.

    • I followed your advice and did it as you explain. Now I have my page ready.

      Thank you, Stephen.

  • Thank you very much, Matt.

    This is a very handy tutorial. I use Calendly, but the only thing I do, as part of one of my email sequences using ConvertKit, is to include Calendly´s link so that my lead can set-up an appointment if desired.

    Your approach is much better and, for that, I thank you once again.

    Luis.

  • Joam says:

    I use Acuity paid plan and love it! I never do the back and forth emails anymore…I also love the students pay up front and Acuity sends 24 hour reminder.

    • Matt says:

      Thanks for sharing your experience using Acuity Scheduling Joam! The payment and reminder features on the Acuity Scheduling paid plans do look very good.

  • Jeff W says:

    Hubspot also has a decent free scheduling feature.

    • Matt says:

      Thanks for the suggestion Jeff!

  • Kerry says:

    A bit off topic: do you all have an article about Related Posts plugins?

    • Matt says:

      No articles reviewing Related Posts plugins, but Thrive Architect and our Thrive Themes do have Related Posts features you can use Kerry.

  • Herman Drost says:

    I decided to create a coaching page so the music teacher landing page popped up on time. Any free options for scheduling calls?

    • Matt says:

      Cheers Herman! And when you ask “Any free options for scheduling calls?”, are you asking about free video conferencing tools like Skype, etc.? Otherwise, the actual scheduling tools would be Calendly, Acuity Scheduling, youcanbook.me, booklikeaboss.com, bookafy.com, etc. …

  • John Seiffer says:

    I prefer YouCanBook.me the interface is much simpler for people booking appointments.

    • Matt says:

      Thanks for the heads up John!

    • Richard F says:

      I agree, I’ve been using them for years and really like the simplicity and ease of use.

  • Santiago Naranjo says:

    I have used https://www.appointlet.com for some time now and love it! They have a hearty free plan, or full plan for $8 month.

  • Dami says:

    Solid article Matt.

    I was just setting up my Calendly (free version) and noticed they offer the option to setup an advanced calendar similar to that offered by Acuity. Here’s a screenshot of what I mean http://prntscr.com/ozsf3t

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