How to Integrate Calendar Booking Tools on WordPress
Due to COVID-19, there has been a big demand for offering online booking and calendar scheduling tools on business websites.
As more businesses shift to remote work environments and virtual sales presentations, adding an online appointment scheduling option to your site can certainly cut down on the time for prospects to schedule sales calls with your team.
With WordPress, there are numerous tools and third-party calendar integration options available. Before you start installing a plugin, consider these 5 tips to get the best results from your new booking feature.
Select the Best Calendar/Booking Tool
Because of the popularity of WordPress, the most popular online scheduling systems make sure to offer options to embed or integrate themselves into WordPress sites. When selecting an option, consider the sales team requirements and how the system will integrate with your existing CRM and email systems.
Pick a system that will be convenient for the sales team to use and review any existing internal platforms that may offer a calendar feature. For instance, if you are already using a CRM like HubSpot, then you can easily set up their calendar appointment tool for WordPress.
In general, there are 2 approaches for a calendar or appointment booking tool. Your first option is to select a third-party software and then integrate it with your WordPress site. The other option is to utilize a WordPress plugin that offers calendar scheduling features.
Option 1: Integrating a Calendar Software
Calendly and Acuity Scheduling are two popular systems that are specifically designed for online appointment scheduling. Both of these options integrate with WordPress and other popular website platforms.
While there is a monthly fee for these types of third-party systems, the advantage is that you get access to numerous features and can integrate the systems easily with email systems and CRMs, in addition to the website. For Calendly, you can embed the appointment scheduling form either as an in-line widget or as a pop-up form. Acuity’s calendar tool is also easily embeddable on any website page.
If you prefer, you can also adjust the messaging on your website and link out to your custom third-party landing page as pictured here with Calendly.
Hubspot is another popular scheduling tool, especially if you are utilizing Hubspot as a CRM or marketing platform. You can install the Hubspot WordPress plugin to set up the calendar tool on your site.
When evaluating a scheduling tool, look for a platform that offers a WordPress plugin or options to embed an appointment form into a WordPress site.
Option 2: Using a WordPress Plugin for Scheduling
There are also numerous WordPress plugins available for online scheduling and appointment booking. The most popular ones are paid plugins, but the cost is typically lower compared to a third-party platform since there is only a one-time or annual purchase for the plugin.
The one downside of a plugin solution is that most do not offer two-way sync where appointments can sync with your email calendar systems, so it may require more hands-on management.
Booked is a popular appointment booking plugin with tons of features and add-ons. With the paid WordPress plugin, you can set up a calendar, customize the time slots, and easily place the calendar on your website using a shortcode or widget. Another advantage of Booked is that you can set up multiple sales team members and create a nice profile for each one on the site.
Another popular plugin is Bookly Pro, which recently added a nice Zoom integration feature. Similar to Booked, you can customize everything from the calendar to the appointment forms on the site with Bookly Pro.
When selecting the best WordPress plugin for your site and sales process, it’s helpful to consult with a WordPress web team. Every WordPress plugin has a profile page where you can see the reviews, the number of sites it’s been installed on, and when the plugin was last updated. Look at all of these features in order to find a quality, well-maintained plugin.
Adjust the Calls to Action on Your Site
After selecting your calendar system or WordPress plugin, you’ll need to determine the best place to put this feature on your website.
You’ll also – perhaps more importantly – need to adjust your website messaging. Some changes may include adjusting the Calls to Action on the site and updating the text on buttons to state, “Book a Consultation” or “Schedule a Call” as pictured on the Birchwood Capital site here.
The presence of Calls to Action are important elements for conversion optimization and will help guide visitors to the next step. There’s no one-size-fits-all option here. You may find that you’re able to keep your existing Calls to Action, but you need to adjust the layout of your Contact page to seamlessly add in the appointment form.
Whatever you do, keep your web visitors’ needs in mind.
Also, review the settings for what happens after someone books a consultation with your team. Does the customer receive a calendar invite? Are they sent to a thank you page? If you are utilizing a third-party platform, review and customize all of the messaging for default notifications and emails. All of these little details will create the first impression for your prospects.
Keep in mind that while you may adjust some of the messaging, it’s helpful to keep alternative contact options on your site for visitors who aren’t ready to book an appointment. Scheduling a time can feel like a big commitment for a prospect who may be in the early research stage. Offering a phone number and a live chat option can increase engagement on your website.
Improve How Your Site Qualifies Visitors
While offering an online scheduling tool can streamline the sales process, you don’t want the sales team’s calendars to be flooded with unqualified appointments.
Your website design and messaging should attract and convert your ideal clients. The one downside of an appointment tool is that a prospect may take up a spot on a salesperson’s calendar and then end up not being the best fit for your services or products.
You can improve how your site qualifies visitors by providing key information about your offerings. Describing different levels of service can help answer some of your visitors’ basic questions. Also, consider creating a strong call to action page that describes what this first call entails and who is the best fit for it.
You may even want to add some messaging during the appointment booking process to let visitors know of any requirements you may have. For instance, finance website designs will often mention on their call-to-action page that prospective customers will need a certain amount of assets and investments before booking an appointment for financial planning. The website for Swiss American Wealth Advisors has a good example of this on their discovery page, pictured here.
Monitor Analytics and Conversions
Offering a booking and appointment option is definitely worth testing this year, but after implementing the change, watch the data.
As with any web design trend, you want to evaluate whether it’s a successful one for your business. Review the analytics on your website and make sure you can still track conversions with your chosen booking software or calendar features.
Calendly offers options to set up tracking in Google Analytics for appointment bookings, and Acuity has similar steps.
In addition to reviewing the website data, check in with your sales team and get data on whether the scheduled appointments are quality leads. If not, see step 3 on how to adjust the content on your site to better qualify web visitors.
If you are seeing a drop in your website conversions, you may want to test other options with contact forms and even live chat. The online appointment tool is not the best fit for every sales process. Some businesses have more complex sales processes and you may want to have an intermediary step before booking the first call with prospects.
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