So what is Acuity?
Simply defined, Acuity is a scheduling app that allows you to send a link and have another person schedule and book an appointment based on your availability. It has a tremendous about of integration with other tools that I feel I've just scratched the surface with and ultimately why I selected this platform. As their site says, “Acuity Scheduling is your online assistant, working 24/7 to fill your schedule.”
What did I need help with?
Time. I think to be able to automate as much as possible and book a time to connect without having to do the back and forth e-mails is huge. I also use it because I often would forget to put meetings on my calendar OR double book myself. I had a virtual assistant for a while (Ashley) work on this but still it wasn't as efficient as I would hope largely because it wasn't just me that was busy juggling a lot. It often was also the person I tried to connect with.
Integration. Another big thing that I looked for was integration. As you heard from the audio above, I use it to integrate with a slew of other tools that I use.
Not be limited by contacts. The real reason I left VCita was because I had a cap on the number of contacts. I set up a of intro calls and connection (sometimes 20+ per week) so I usually am on the go and have a lot of contacts throughout the year. Having a cap on the number of contacts was what sparked the change.
How do I use Acuity?
Acuity has been a huge gamechanger for me. I usually just send out my scheduling link and it integrates automatically with my Google Calender where I put everything. I have my time blocks–e-mail checking, gym, etc.–already on my calendar so someone can just book at any time without the back and forth e-mails.
I use it to set up my podcast interviews, to schedule face-to-face meetings “coffee chats (I book a time before we even coordinate a place–this was a hack within a hack that took a little more time to set up),” to book client appointments, to set up marketing consultations and more. The big thing is that I have different links for different purposes. Some are available and have set time restrictions while others are public and visible from my master list. I remember most of them because I use another PrettyLink (WordPress plugin) to make it a vanity link (e.g. http://progreshion.com/introcall).
Another big note: Because I used PrettyLink, it made the transfer from Vcita to Acuity seamless. I never send my direct acuity link and didn't really send my direct Vcita link. I would send my vanity link so I was able to go through and update it without any lost traction.
It also integrates with Zoom (podcast interviews), conference call (intro calls), Freshbooks (invoicing), MailChimp (CBNation e-mail newsletter), Constant Contact (Blue 16 Media e-mail newsletter), Insightly (CRM). It also can integrate with my websites but I just haven't set that up yet.
Check out this Podcast Guest & Acuity Scenario:
- We send an e-mail to someone that we've “
cyber-stalked” or researched and think would be a great guest on the podcast. We send out an e-mail to them and give them some info about the podcast and ask if there's any interest.
- If there's interest, I send more details and a public link to book a time to chat about the podcast.
- Once they complete a form, they receive a link to a conference call number (Free Conference Call) and I do as well and the time (according to my time zone and their time zone) we will chat. It's sent via e-mail but after they book a time, they can immediately download it to their calendar (e.g. ical, google, etc). This also creates a contact in Insightly. If they said yes to receiving the CBNation.co e-mail (Mailchimp) they are added to the e-mail list and/or if they said yes to receiving the Blue 16 Media e-mail (Constant Contact) they are added to the e-mail list. It also creates a contact in Freshbooks if they become a client down the line. NOTE: They have invoicing options but I don't use them.
- We have a good intro call and they're interested in being on the show. NOTE: If during this call, I wanted to schedule a followup, I can go right into acuity and it would ask me if I wanted to schedule a followup with that person.
- I send the questions, breakdown and a form to fill out for them to be on the show.
- Once they hit submit on the form, they go to a private scheduling link to book the time for the interview. They receive another invitation with the time and this time a link for the interview (Zoom).
Just booking the initial call would have taken years in the past and the thought of manually adding a person to e-mail list would have made my eyes pop out of my sockets. This means a huge time-saver.
How has it helped our business?
- Time = money. It's so important to be able to leverage 24 hours in a day to be as efficient and effective as possible. This has hands down been one of my best finds this year. There's no way I would probably have been able to ramp up my podcast the way that I have if I didn't have this process in place.
- Time Zone Differences. Trying to do the math for different time zones is not one of my favorite things to figure out. Especially for the podcast, it has been a way for me to skip that step and allow the person to book according to their preference and their time zone.
- Integration. Did I mention integration with different tools that I use? Please see above.