How to Build Your Booking Process in HoneyBook

Watch us build a booking process with a HoneyBook member, and read on to learn how you can do the same! HoneyBook Pro Diana Wei Fang shows how you can create your ideal client journey and save time.

Building your booking process in HoneyBook

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With HoneyBook, you can build your entire booking process from inquiry to project completion. If you’re used to conducting everything with multiple types of software, you can easily translate each step of your client journey into a HoneyBook account to consolidate and save time. 

We recently sat down with HoneyBook Pro Diana Wei Fang to help walk a new member through each step in mapping their process. Watch our video above, or read on below to learn how you can use the same tips to translate your unique processes.

Understanding Your Client Journey

First, consider what you want your ideal client journey to look like. For example, our HoneyBook member wanted to connect with her inquiries through scheduling a phone call first, then follow up with them through automations.

Once you have your ideal client journey, you can begin to make the connections between how you interact with clients and which tools in HoneyBook can make each step easier. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Where do your leads come from?

Do your leads mainly come through social media, your website, phone calls or a referral site? All of the above?  

  • How do you follow up with your leads?

Maybe you send a simple email to go back and forth and schedule a call, or you might send pricing information immediately. Also, consider how long it takes to follow up with leads after they reach out to you. 

  • How do you collect a contract signature and payment?

Are you sending each separately and collecting payment via check or cash? If you’re sending each separately, how long does it usually take to collect both?

  • Do you have a typical billing schedule?

This may vary by project, but your billing schedule may be 50% upfront and 50% at project completion, monthly payments or more. 

  • Do you have steps after collecting payment?

Once the client sends their final payment, do you follow up with them after? This might be through a project thank you email or questionnaire to gather their feedback.

Jot down your answers to these questions and start to consider where you can save time and effort. Perhaps it’s answering your leads quicker through automations and creating an easier way to schedule meetings with an online meeting scheduler. You might also find that you spend a lot of time waiting for clients to sign online contracts and submit their payments. Whatever gaps you have in your process, you can use HoneyBook to help fill them.

Part 1: How to Set Up Your Lead Capture Process in HoneyBook

Whether you’ve written it down or have it in your head, now it’s time to set up your ideal client journey in HoneyBook. In our webinar, we walked through the Online Meeting Scheduler, Contact Form, Automations and Proposal to help our members streamline and save time. For your process, keep in mind that there may be other HoneyBook tools that offer a direct connection to your current efforts.

Sourcing Leads Through the Scheduling Tool

Do you use Accuity or Calendly to schedule all your calls and meetings? You can easily do the same with HoneyBook to keep track of your leads and existing clients all in one place, without all the back and forth.

In the webinar, our HoneyBook member used a “Book a Call” link as a lead source on her website. If you have a similar CTA (Call to Action) on your website, syncing with HoneyBook’s online meeting scheduler can be more beneficial since the leads who book with you will automatically be added to your pipeline.

The HoneyBook Scheduling Tool syncs with Gmail and Google Calendar, so you can see all of your appointments in either place. If you have the HoneyBook Unlimited plan, you’ll also be able to add team members to your calendar so you can round-robin appointments and view everyone’s schedule easily. 

To create a great client experience, develop session styles and block out your time. For instance, you can create an introductory “Get to Know You” session that’s always available during evening hours. By blocking time, you’ll eliminate all the back and forth that usually goes into scheduling. 

Include meeting instructions that help set expectations for your clients and leads. When a reminder email is sent to them, they’ll know how to prepare and if they need to bring anything.

Capturing More Lead Info With the Contact Form

If you want to gain more information from your leads upfront, you can also use a HoneyBook contact form. Instead of letting them go straight to scheduling a meeting, the contact form will give you more information about them and their needs so you can mutually decide if you’re a good fit sooner vs. later. 

What’s great about the HoneyBook Contact Form is it allows you to save information about your leads directly in HoneyBook. With the information they provide, you can also set up automated emails that move them forward in your process. 

After you build a contact form, you can embed it onto your website or use a direct link to send to inquiries. The link is perfect for directing all your leads to the same form, even if they inquire outside of your website. Include your link in canned social media messages as well as your profile bios to direct more leads to inquire.

Sending Automated Information to Your Inquiries

When you mapped your ideal client journey, was automation a big part of it? It’s often something that business owners need the most, and it can help save a lot of time. 

To automate your communications using client workflow automation software, you’ll need to set up project types within your HoneyBook company settings. From there, be sure to include a project type question in your HoneyBook contact form. Whenever someone fills out your contact form, you can ask what project or services they’re looking for, and the question will automatically include a drop-down menu of your project types. 

When your lead chooses a project, it categorizes them so you know how to move forward. Within HoneyBook Automations, you can trigger a specific sequence of messaging or files that are relevant to their needs. If you don’t need specific messaging, you can also create an automation for everyone who fills out the contact form, regardless of project type.

Part 2: How to Move Leads Toward Booking

As part of our webinar, our volunteer explained her two-step process for moving leads toward booking. She uses a file to outline expectations with her clients and ask final questions. With this step, she’s checking they’re on the same page before moving forward. Once everyone agrees on the project scope, she then sends the project contract and online invoices

When translating this process to HoneyBook, she can use two files– the Brochure and Proposal, which are actually built to work hand-in-hand.

Using a Brochure File to Clarify Needs

If you typically think of proposals as a sales tool or quote to send to leads, the HoneyBook Brochure file would be the best fit for that purpose. You can customize a digital brochure to include your services as well as any combination of text, images and questions to drive home the value of your services and set expectations. Creating a brochure gives your clients a great visual aid and interactive experience.

To help save time, build your brochure templates with as much information as possible and leave placeholders to customize for each client if you plan to use it as a customized quote. Like our volunteer, your brochure might include different sections, such as a project description, examples of similar projects and an outline of services.

After including everything you’ve discussed previously with the client, you can drop in a question at the end asking if they’re ready to move forward. At this step, you’ll know if you can send your project proposal. 

If you tend to spend a lot of time creating responses to clients who say no or that it’s not the best time, we recommend creating specific email templates for these scenarios. Instead of moving forward with a proposal, you can easily send out one of the templates and direct them to schedule another call or utilize one of your different services, such as a digital product.

Creating and Delivering a Project Proposal

When you’ve reached the booking phase of your client journey, HoneyBook’s Proposal Software is the most powerful tool to use. The file includes a contract and invoice, so your clients can review your scope of work and terms before providing payment to kick off the project. 

Within the proposal, HoneyBook will automatically include information you want to sync from your contact form, such as the project type, project completion date, client contact info and more. If you used a brochure in the step above and included service selections, your clients’ selections will automatically populate into a draft proposal.

No worries if you need to make any adjustments before they’re ready to sign–you can always edit the proposal draft before sending it to your client. You can even continue to edit the proposal after it’s sent if necessary, that way you always have complete control without having to start from scratch.

Once your client submits your proposal, you’re ready to kick off your project!

Take Advantage of HoneyBook Customization

HoneyBook’s customization is what makes it so powerful for your business. Everyone has a different idea of what makes their client journey ideal. Instead of shaping everyone into a one-size-fits-all solution, HoneyBook empowers you to develop the process that works best for you and your clients. 

For more HoneyBook help, visit our webinar series on YouTube. Each webinar, we sit down with expert business owners to help you solve specific problems by using your HoneyBook account. 

If you’re looking for one-on-one assistance with your account, you can also connect with our HoneyBook Pros. They’ll help you think through your client journey and implement it while maintaining your specific business goals.

 

HoneyBook, the best crm for solopreneurs, streamlines everything you need to manage your business into one place. Manage projects, book clients, send an online invoice and get paid through our online payment software. Now peace of mind comes with just one login.

What You Need to Know About SEO as a Freelancer

freelancer discussion

Standing out as a freelancer takes more than just having the right skillset. With over 1.1 billion freelancers in the world, you need to have a smart way to drive more eyeballs to your services. Creating actionable Search Engine Optimization (SEO) content is one of the effective ways a freelancer can market their services and get inbound leads. 

Whether you’re a freelance content writer, web designer or you help clients with Amazon product photography, SEO is a cost-effective way to drive leads and land new clients through search engine traffic. Additionally, creating optimized content for clients is a great way to position yourself as an expert in their industry.

Before we get down to the nuts and bolts of SEO, what exactly are some of its major benefits for freelancers?

  • It is a very effective way for driving organic traffic to your site. 
  • It can help drive more visibility and leads to your sales funnel.
  • Clients sometimes prefer hiring freelance SEO writers that understand how search engines work

Now that we have that out of the way, here are some of the things you should know about SEO as a freelancer.

Conduct Keyword Research

Coming up with random topics to write on without keyword research like starting a journey without a map—it’s very easy to get lost. On the other hand, conducting keyword research allows freelancers to have a better insight into what their target audience is looking for on search engines. 

There are a lot of tools you can employ to conduct simple keyword research. Some of these tools are:

With these tools, you can see the estimated search volume for a keyword. Not only that, you can use them to uncover new keywords, their traffic potential and how difficult it is to rank for them. This information also serves as an indicator of the level of relevance and how competitive your seed keyword is. Most keyword tools will also suggest keywords related to your seed keyword.

Generally, doing keyword research gives you more info about your target market and how you can create content that is relevant to them.

Avoid Keyword Stuffing

According to Google Central Search, keyword stuffing “refers to the practice of loading a webpage with keywords or numbers in an attempt to manipulate a site’s ranking in Google search results.” And in the past few years, keyword stuffing is a popular black hat tactic that many use to get their content ranking on faster.

However, while this tactic used to work, search engines have gotten smarter in detecting keyword-stuffed content. Not only that, keyword stuffing can harm your site ranking which makes it counterproductive in the long run.

When creating content, it’s important to avoid:

  • Repeating keywords or phrases more often than it’s natural
  • Using keywords that are obviously out of context
  • Overusing block of the same keyword 

When you stuff your blog post with keywords, you’re prioritizing search engine robots over human readers. As a freelancer, you need human readers to consume your content with the hopes of converting them to clients. 

In general, keyword stuffing creates a bad user experience because they are hard for human readers to understand. With a bad user experience, you risk sending potential customers away from your site. 

Guest Post on Notable Publications

Most times, freelancing revolves around marketing a product or service to a certain audience. Writing guest posts for top publications in your industry will do a lot of good for your career as a marketer. Other than that, guest posting has a lot of additional benefits. 

  • It mirrors your level of expertise to prospective clients.
  • It enhances your website’s SEO authority.
  • It is a great avenue to reach out to new audiences.
  • It is one surefire way to build credibility.
  • Guest posting helps you generate organic traffic and build links to your website. You can add a relevant link from your website in your guest post.

To get started, come up with a list of notable publications in your niche that accept guest posts. It’s preferable if these publications have high domain authority. Get accustomed to the kinds of posts they publish. Is it a how-to blog post, listicle or review? Before pitching your ideas, take note of posts that performed really well on the site you’re guest posting by using BuzzSumo or Ahrefs.

Pro Tip: We’re always looking for great content from the community to highlight on the Rising Tide blog. Share your expertise and submit a post for consideration.

Optimize Your Images for Search Engines

Image optimization is as important as writing content. Blog posts and website content with images make your content more engaging to your readers. Additionally, adding context to your images makes it easy for search engines and humans to understand them better.

According to Google, you should consider the following when adding images to a webpage:

  • Provides additional value 
  • Relevancy to the page you’re adding them
  • Place image near relevant text
  • Use descriptive image titles, filenames, alt text and captions 
  • Create a good URL structure for your images 
  • Optimize your image for speed. You can use image optimization software like JPEG-Optimizer, Optimizilla and Optimole.

It is also important to use copyright-free images on your website. If you have the bandwidth to create your images, you should do so. However, if you don’t have the resources to do so, you can always opt for royalty-free images on sites like Unsplash, Pixabay and Pexels.

Create High-Quality Content

Different factors are contributing to quality content and one of them is readability. 

It takes  10 to 20 seconds to capture a reader’s attention. If your content is so hard to read, readers will leave your site for another website that has done a better job making their content easy to consume. By creating content that is readable and user-friendly, you’re encouraging your audience to spend more time consuming your content. It’s also a great way to increase your time on the page, which is an important ranking factor.

And when they stay for long, it helps your content rank higher. You can achieve readability by making use of shorter sentences, correct punctuation/spelling, bullet points, headings and smaller sentences/paragraphs. Tools like Grammarly and Hemmingway Editor can also improve your readability. 

Quality content must also be engaging. Engagement boils down to building up an emotional connection with your audience. One way to do that is to identify their pain points and come up with a feasible resolution at the end of the content.

Utilize Internal Links

Internal links are hyperlinks that direct users to pages of the same domain. This should not be confused with external links that link to pages of other domains. When you are strategic with the way you utilize internal links, it improves the chances of your content ranking higher. Also, it’s a great way to encourage readers to spend more time on your website.

Freelancers should always note that Google locates, indexes and has a deep-rooted understanding of pages linked on the web. Consequently, this is one of the major reasons why content with internal links ranks higher than the ones without.

Now that you are familiar with internal links, here are some of the things to take into consideration before using internal links:

  • Add links that are relevant to the source content.
  • Use a decent amount of internal links 
  • Natural links improve the level of engagement. Therefore, add links that are natural to the reader. 

 

Create Long-Form Content

Ordinarily, you’d think people don’t like to read lengthy content. But the reverse is the case. The truth is long-form content tends to rank higher on Google. This claim was backed by SerpIQ in a study that indicated that the average content length of the top 10 search results was over 2,000 words.

The thing is, Google understands the user’s plight. Users won’t like to search for content bit by bit on different pages. They like to have everything on a single page. When you look closely at top-ranking long-form content, they possess every bit of information and data on a particular subject. 

However, long-form content won’t guarantee that you’ll be ranking on the first page of Google. It takes more than word counts. Your content has to be valuable to the reader. It has to provide in-depth information and answers to the reader. 

Understand Search Intent

What is search intent? And how can it improve your SEO? Search intent is the motive behind every search inquiry. Google prioritizes content that understands and fulfills a search intent. When you vet content on the first page of a search, you will realize they take note of the search intent to the letter. 

Let’s say we enter “How to make pancakes” on Google. The top search result will be recipes that include “how-to videos” and blogs. Not e-commerce pages or a brick-and-mortar pancake restaurant. As a freelancer, you need to create content that matches your audience’s search intent. 

If you’re creating a piece for your target audience, make sure it provides an in-depth answer to their pain point. Doing so will increase your chances to rank better on search engines. However, search intent is not always as easy to spot as the pancake example above. Here are some types of search intent to enrich your understanding of how you can align your content with search intent.

  • Commercial Intent: Searchers with commercial intent are looking for a product but are yet to make final decisions. An example of this kind of search intent looks like this: “Why should I hire a freelance designer?” 
  • Transactional Intent: Here, the searcher is in the decision-making stage of the buyer’s journey and is ready to decide on a product or service. Transactional intent looks like this: “Best Webinar Software” or “Best Video Marketing Tools” 
  • Informational intent: With this intent, the searcher is making inquiries about specific information. This inquiry often starts with what, when, who, where and how. It could be “when did women start voting in England?” Or “how many countries are in Eastern Europe?” 
  • Navigational intent: The intent behind a search tends to be navigational when the searcher is looking for a page or website. Searchers with the navigational intent search for pages like “Twitter login” and “Reset Gmail password.”

Ensure Your Page Loads Fast

When it takes forever for your site to load, it frustrates users and has adverse effects on ranking. Page speed has been a ranking factor on the web (since 2010) and mobile devices (since 2018). Apart from that, it plays a significant role in higher conversion rates, lower bounce rates, engagement and longer visitor duration on site.

One of the factors that affect the speed of a page is the image size. Heavy image files can make your page slow. You can fix this by compressing the image to reduce the size. Also, free tools like Google PageSpeed Insight, GTmetrix and WebPage Test can be used to check your speed page.

Wrapping Up

With everything that has been said here, I hope you have picked one or two SEO tips to employ  when writing your next strategy or piece of content as a freelancer. However, when it comes to SEO, consistency is the key. Creating one or two pieces of content optimized for SEO can get you to the first page of search engine result pages or lead to streams of inbound leads.

Now that you’re learning more about implementing good SEO strategies in your content, consider using a client workflow automation software to streamline your work process.