Booking free consultations has gotten a little out of hand lately. Here’s what happened and what I’m doing about it.
About 7 months ago, I put a scheduling tool on my niche services website on a “Schedule a Consultation” page. It gives visitors the opportunity to schedule a free 15-minute SEO consultation with me.
My friend Scott DeLuzio suggested that I do this, and I was seriously really skeptical. In my mind, I thought “Why would someone who doesn’t know me take time out of their day to talk with me?” It felt like too big of a leap, like asking someone out on a date when you met them 5 minutes ago.
Turns out… I was wrong.
I set up Acuity Scheduling (<– that’s an affiliate link because I love it) and started their free trial. As luck would have it, on the last week of the trial, I got an email that someone had booked my first free consultation.
(pop the champagne!)
It seemed like a sign, so I decided to keep the scheduler up… just to see if lightning would strike twice.
Fast forward a few months, and things are really picking up. I actually have so many consultations scheduled every week that I’ve decided I’m going to take the scheduler off my website.
Here’s what I’ve learned from this experience:
If you’re starting out in a new niche, start as many conversations as possible
Starting out in a new niche? Make it as easy as possible to talk with you. People may actually do it.
Try putting a scheduling tool on your website instead of making prospects fill out a big inquiry form and jump through a lot of hoops to get on your calendar.
These free consults have been such a good way for me to talk to members of my target audience. Not everyone has booked services with me, but I still get to hear why they’re interested, what they’re having trouble with, and what’s going on in their businesses.
I have learned a lot through these conversations about how I need to market myself and who the right type of client is with the right type of problems.
If you’re spending too much time on unqualified prospects, it might be time to try something else
Once you’re rolling and your marketing is really working… you might need to pivot.
I’m doing 3-5 consults a week, and for each one, I take time to look through their website, generate a basic SEO report, confirm the appointment with them, call them as scheduled, and then send an email follow up. My investment in each of these conversations is at least an hour, and not everyone is really qualified.
I’ve been feeling that I am spending too much time just answering pricing questions, and talking to new website owners who aren’t really ready to hire an SEO consultant.
I’m ready to put some barriers in place to make sure my time is well spent.
I’m going to set up a system soon that allows someone to give me just a tiny bit of information up front and opt in for a welcome and pricing guide delivered by autoresponse.
My plan is then to nurture them with a short email series (maybe including some video?) that answers the regular questions, teaches them something helpful, and then invites them to schedule a consultation if we seem like a good fit.
I think this will be a better, more efficient way for prospects to learn about services. And as a side bonus, they’ll also be added to my email list so we can keep in touch as their business progresses.
I’ll keep you updated on how it works!