If your yoga business relies on in-person teachings, you already know that managing your schedule can be a challenge! Juggling multiple clients, a variety of services, email reminders, and rescheduling requests—it can be a lot to keep up with, whether you teach private sessions or own a studio!
Enter online scheduling software. Sleek, secure and multi-featured—finding the right scheduler for your business is the holy grail of business efficiency. But, it can also feel like a huge task to get in place. In this post, I’ll walk you through the 4 key steps to setting up an online scheduling system that’s a fit for your business.
Start here: classes or appointments?
Is your business is class-based or appointment-based? That’s the question at the core of any good online scheduler discussion. Yes, some software does both and a lot of businesses do also, but in reality you have one or the other that is your primary way of doing things.
Yoga studios are usually class-based. (ie. you have set days / times and you want people to sign-up for those set classes) and teachers who offer private or semi-private lessons are usually appointment-based (instruction happens in a 1-to-1 setting.)
Got it? Good!
Keep that primary service in mind as you start to explore the wide world of online scheduling service providers…
The right tool for the job
There are a ton of scheduling options to choose from and each of the top softwares have their own focus and set of featuress. I encourage you to do your research and give a few a try to see what you like. Most online schedulers have free trials available and sales teams that will even give you a guided tour if you ask.
Start by making a list of things you know you want to be able to do. Some examples:
- Accept payments
- Sell memberships
- Sell physical products
- Book classes
- Book appointments
- Register people for workshops
- Register people for event series (ie. teacher trainings)
- Manage staff and payroll
- Coordinate different people’s availability
- Send automated email reminders
- Send automated text reminders
Then, take that list and test drive some scheduling tools. Here are some popular ones to get you started:
- Tula Software
- Wellness Living
- Acuity Scheduling
- Booker by MINDBODY
To screen or not to screen?
Now that you’ve chosen the software you’re going to use, it’s time to think though the booking process you want to offer.
If you own a studio or rent an area in a public space with set hours, then you’ll most likely want students to be able to book on your website 24/7. This is one of the best advantages of offering online booking—your students can make purchases, schedule (and reschedule) themselves at their convenience, saving you hours of admin time.
On the other hand, if you meet students in private or offer classes in a home studio, you probably want to have a screening process in place before you meet someone in person. This may be a contact form with specific get-to-know-you questions, and/or a free consultation call. This not only helps you feel safe sharing your home address, but also helps both of you feel confident that your services are a good fit for their goals.
Onwards…to the website
Armed with your brand new scheduling account and and plan for how you’d like people to book with you, it’s time to buuild the process out on your website!
Look for widgets: If your scheduling software offers it, it’s always a good idea to embed your scheduler right on your website. Usually this is a simple code cut and paste from your scheduling platform onto your website. Allowing clients to book without leaving your site provides a seamless experience and builds trust in your business.
Contact page: If you’ve elected to screen clients first, be sure to set up a contact form that asks specific questions to get the information you need. Asking about their health goals, and experience with yoga are good background questions to start with.
Hidden scheduling page: With the screening set-up you’d want to direct all website prospects to a contact form first. Then, only after you’ve had a chance to connect with them you’d send them the link to your scheduling page. For extra security, you can even password protect this page.
Website navigation: if you’ve decided to make your booking page public, be sure to link to it in your main navigation. If possible, call out this key page by making it stand-out from the other navigation links. You can do this by making it a button or giving it priority placement.
While it might seem like a lot of work, it’s increasingly important to offer online booking to your students. Once set-up it’ll save you both time and frustration while making you look like a pro.