Monday, December 15, 2014

Giving In-Kind Donations To Promote Your Practice

With the holiday season in full force, charitable events are in abundance. You have probably been asked many times before to contribute a gift certificate for a silent auction or raffle prize for some local fundraisers.  You most likely have one of the following responses: you say no, or you give them a basic gift certificate.   If you do give the donation, you either get a new client that comes in only when the have the certificate, and they never come back, or you never hear from the prize winner at all.  I see the complaints in the massage therapy forums online all the time.  So, what can you offer that won't break your bank, but will entice the new client to come in to try you out, and come back?  Here are a few ideas to try the next time someone asks you for a donation:

1. Give multiple gift cards.
 If it is a large event will well over a couple hundred of guests, I will send a few gift cards worth about half of a service.  My one hour massage is $75, so I may send 3 - $40 gift cards.  I give them with the stipulation that they must be given to different people and can not be used by the same person.  The people that redeem their gift cards, will also be paying for half of the service.  This will help with to convert them into a paying customer.

2. Offer something for each guest.
  Many events will have a gift bag for each guest.  You will be able to boost your marketing effort by giving each person something to take home with them.  This is a great time for a promotional product.

3. Develop a custom prize.
  Feel free to get dramatic on this one so that you create a real impression with the winner of your prize.  Create a gift basket to improve the presentation and include some items that you retail.  If you don't have any retail, a robe and a pair of slippers will do.  The more impressive your packaging is, the better your chances of redemption, also, the more chances for people at the event to talk about your prize.

4. Watch your expiration.
  Shorten the expiration on your gift cards to 3 months.  When people see a short expiration, it encourages them to redeem right away, otherwise they will hold onto the card and forget that they have it and never redeem.  Make sure to check your local law to make sure you can do this.  In Illinois, gift certificates must have a 5 year expiration on them, but only when payed for.  So, in this case, I am able to shorten the expiration on gift cards that I donate.

Do you donate prizes to charitable events?  Do you have any tips to share?  Comment below, or head on over to the Massage Marketing Toolbox facebook page to share your ideas.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Driving Awareness Of Your Brand With Fun

Today I am recognizing another business for a wonderful marketing idea that really worked for them.

East Village Spa in Iowa had a fun get together with their customers.  Part of the event was a holiday photo booth.  Now, I don't live in Iowa, but I have friends that do, and their pictures kept coming through my facebook news feed.  If I wanted to purchase one of them a gift card to a spa, guess where I would turn to?  I already know that they have been there (thanks to this lovely marketing campaign!).

What is a photo booth, and why would it have anything to do with marketing a spa?

A photo booth is an event on its own, but the smart people over at East Village Spa took it a few steps further than just props and photos.  There was an online social media contest.
 You can see more pictures of just how fun this was on their facebook page.  Their customers had a great time, and many brought their families along.  They shared their photos on their facebook, instagram, and twitter for a chance to win a spa package.

So what did this achieve?  Hopefully it garnered plenty of sales for this spa, but it definitely broadened the reach of their brand.  Their customers had a lot of fun while at the spa, which increases word of mouth (best type of marketing you could ever wish for).  Their social media pages had plenty of traffic, which increases their website SEO, which brings them to the top of Google when you search for spas in Des Moines, Iowa.  This ingenious photo booth marketing has increased the power of their brand. 

Kudos to you East Village Spa!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Adding Value By Bundling

Gathering items together and selling them together as one unit is called bundling.  Many massage therapists do this with series deals in which they bundle several massages together.  This is a way to get clients to book more frequently than they normally would.  Here is an example:

60 minute massage at regular price

3 - 60 minutes massages at 10% off

6 - 60 minute massages at 20% off

There is a different way to bundle similar or related items that can increase your individual sales.  Here is an example of one bundle I created special for December last year:

Book a 90 minute massage and get a complimentary Candy Cane Foot Scrub added to your appointment.

Here is one that many clients look forward to in May:

The Royal Treatment includes a 60 minute Signature Massage, a paraffin hand dip, a 4 oz. sugar scrub to take home, and a $10 gift card to use on a future visit.

Since the bundles I created for December and May were limited offers, my clients knew they had to book theirs right away or they would miss out on a good deal.  This creates an urgency and fills up any gaps in your schedule pretty quickly.

Not only can you bundle your services, but you can bundle retail items together as well.  I teach infant massage classes.  Most of the time, someone comes for a class it is because someone gave it to them as a gift.  I sell Infant Massage Books, baby massage oil, and handmade baby blankets.  I put together a basket with all of the items with the gift certificate and wrap it up for my customer. I don't discount it, but having done all the work of putting it together for them is enough to get them to purchase all the items together instead of just the gift certificate alone.  It saves my customer time, and it increases my sales.

This was a holiday bundle in which I used small Christmas stockings to hold the bottle of baby massage oil and the gift certificates together with a handmade baby blanket. 

Do you bundle items or services together in your practice?  I would love to hear your ideas.  Comment below, or in the Massage Marketing Toolbox facebook group

Monday, November 17, 2014

Holiday Grab Bag Promotion

Here is a promotion that is quick and easy to put together as a last minute holiday effort.  Last year during the month of December, I had a surprise grab bag that my clients were able to pick from at the end of their massage appointments.  I had small envelopes with either a sample of Foot Balm, or a packet of Emergen-C.  Here was the verbiage from the promotion:
Book your appointment in December and have a chance at winning anything from a free Foot Balm, $5 - 25 gift cards, hand massagers, and more! One lucky person will get a free 30 minute massage!!!

I used a large red bag (think Santa Claus) to hold the items and if the client had more than one appointment during the month of December, they were able to pick multiple times.  The gift vouchers had a three month expiration and that helped to bring them back right after the holidays. 

Feel free to use this idea and add your own twist to it to make it yours. 

I would love to hear what you've come up with.  Share your thoughts here, or at the facebook Massage Marketing Toolbox group.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Dress Up Your Gift Certificates To Boost Sales This Holiday Season

You should be selling gift cards year round, but your sales should skyrocket around the holidays.  My gift cards are business card sized.  I got the original idea to do them this way from the Massage Hacks blog. (She has some great posts, if you don't follow her, you should.)  Ever since I changed my gift cards to this size, I have been able to sell many more throughout the year, and I have also raised the redemption rate.  My clients are able to hold on to their gift cards in their wallet (since they fit so nicely in them) so they have less of a chance to lose their cards.  

Sooo....back to the subject at hand.  How to dress up your gift certificates to boost your sales this holiday season.  Being that the size of my gift cards are business card sized, it makes it much easier to find gift card holders for them.  The best prices come after the holiday season is over and they are on clearance, but you'll have a chance to prepare for next year's holiday come January.  

Head to your local dollar store if you have one, or any card store and purchase small pillow boxes as your gift card holders.  They usually come in packs with three or more included, with quite a few varieties to choose from.  I have purchased three for a dollar (less if on clearance!).  Another option is to use greeting cards that double as gift card holders.  In the picture above, Santa and the Penguin are holding greeting cards while the snowman and the holiday bear have pillow boxes.  I purchased the stuffed toys from the dollar store, so to dress up a gift card it cost me less that $2, and my clients loved it!  It looked much more thoughtful on their part when giving the certificate, especially since I matched everything up for them, and for free with the purchase of the gift card over $40.

Decorate your space, or take a picture of your dressed up gift cards and make a poster letting your clients know that you have them available for purchase.  After each massage appointment from after Thanksgiving (you can start a few weeks before if you like, but it always rubs me the wrong way when a business pushes a holiday before another one has gone past) through to you last days of the year, ask your client if they would like to purchase a gift card for someone on their gift giving list.  Show them the item, or point to your picture and let them know you will dress up their gift card complimentary.

Show me some pictures of your dressed up gift certificates and gift cards.  I'd love to see what you've come up with.  Share them with me in the facebook Massage Marketing Toolbox group.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Discounts For The Military

Veteran's Day is November 11th. 

In my practice, I am part of Hands for Heroes where I give a certain number of free massages throughout the year to US Veterans.  You can find out more about Hands for Heroes here:
I limit this to only so many per month, and only 2 free massages per year per person.  Throughout the year, military personnel and their immediate family (since they also make many sacrifices) receive a 10% discount on all of my services.

Do you offer any military specials/discounts in your practice?  Comment below or at the facebook group.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Canvas Your Area

How often do you walk around your neighborhood to visit other nearby businesses?  Do you have businesses in your area that target the same market as yours?

Get some business cards, postcards, brochures, fliers, (if you don't have any of these things, get some printed out ASAP) and bring them around to drop off at local businesses.  Introduce yourself and take your time conversing with those you meet.  Dropping off your marketing material is called canvasing your area.  Let other businesses know who you are and what you do.  Head to businesses that take care of the same clientele as you and target your market this way.  Place your information in areas where your target market will find it. 

When was the last time your canvased your area?  Tell us what you leave at other businesses that brings your customers to you.  Share your stories below, or at the Massage Marketing Toolbox facebook group.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Send A Thanksgiving Greeting Card To Your Clients, Employees, & Vendors

Have you ever received a holiday card from a business before?  I have, and it is usually a Christmas/Season's Greetings themed card. And I usually get a whole slew of them in the mail, and a whole ton more in my email inbox.  Sending a holiday card is no longer going to get your noticed by your customers.  It will not help you to stand out from other businesses since they are doing the same thing.

How about we all change up that holiday to Thanksgiving instead.  You will be the first holiday greeting card in everyone's hands.  Obviously, you will be beating the holiday rush.  This is one more way to get your business to the front of your clients' minds.

Thank you for reading this blog! ~Luisa

So what do you write in a Thanksgiving card?  Here are some ideas:

For your best clients:
Thank you for being our valued customer. Wishing you a lovely Thanksgiving and a joyous holiday season.
Thank you, (insert client name here), for the pleasure of working with you.  I wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving.

For clients you haven't seen in a while:
Happy Thanksgiving! We hope to see you again soon.

For vendors and suppliers that you work with:
We sincerely appreciate all your hard work and dedication throughout the year.
From our company to yours, happy holidays!

For your employees:
Thank you for the fantastic job you do everyday.
No job is ever too big or too small for you.  Thank you for always going above and beyond.
It is important to find people you can count on in this business.  You are one of those reliable employees.  Thank you for all you do.
Thank you for being such a dedicated and valuable employee.  Please enjoy the enclosed gift certificate as a token of my thanks. (If you use this phrase, do make sure you actually enclose a gift certificate that your employee will like to have and use.)

You can also add a promotional item to your greeting cards, such as a calendar (you will probably be the first business to give one if you send a Thanksgiving card rather than waiting until December to send one out).  This is a nice way for people to see your message throughout the year each time they look at their calendar.  You could enclose a special offer.  Maybe let them know of any upcoming holiday sales.  Or, you could just leave the card as is with a personalized message of thanks.

Let me know your thoughts on sending greeting cards and what your plan is this year.  Leave a comment here on the blog, or send a comment to the Massage Marketing Toolbox facebook group.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Adding Value vs. Discounting Your Massage Services

I received a lot of feedback from last week's post about the type of promotion I was considering to do.  You can read more about it by clicking here.  I was told (by quite a few people) that I should always do a free upgrade instead of a discount as I would  attract the wrong type of clientele.  I think it all depends on what your offer is, and what you must realize as a business owner, is that you are still discounting when you offer a free upgrade.  The only difference is the way you market the promotion to the public.

Here are two ways to offer the same deal.  Which one gets your attention?

Take 25% OFF a 60 minute Hot Bamboo massage. Only $75!  (Regular price is $100).


FREE Hot Bamboo upgrade to any 60 minute Signature Massage!  (A $25 dollar value.)

Would you rather a free upgrade, or $25 off?

I tested this with my current clients, and noticed that many chose to use the first offer of the discount instead of the upgrade.  There were some that chose the second offer, but no where near as many who chose the first.  I'd like you to test this out with your clients.  See which offer entices a bigger response.  You may have the same findings as I did.  You may have the opposite turnout.

So what?

When you think about the promotion you want to run, think about your clients and what would appeal to them.  See if there is a way to word your offer differently while essentially having the exact same promotion you originally intended.

I would love to see your results and your ideas.  Let me know what you come up with by commenting on this post, or visiting the Massage Marketing Toolbox facebook group.

Next week we will talk about combining these two ideas of discounting and upgrading into one solid promotion by bundling. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Which Would You Prefer - A Tip, Or A Referral?

I've seen tipping discussed very often in several massage therapy Facebook groups as well as on Linkedin.  Many massage therapists depend on tips much the same as a waitstaff does in a restaurant.  There has been much debate on whether we should even be accepting tips if we want to be considered health care workers.  Here is a list of interesting articles I have compiled on the subject.

The therapist point of view:

The Tipping Point Where Do You Stand on Receiving Gratuities? by Laura Allen

 Death To Tips! by Kelly Bowers

To Tip Or Not To Tip? by Cherie Sohnen-Moe

The client point of view:

How much do you tip a massage therapist for a 60 minute massage?

As you can see, there are many differing opinions on the subject.  Here is how I handle the situation when client asks me about my tipping policy. I let them know that I don't expect tips, but they are appreciated.  If you leave it at that, your client may feel guilty if they don't tip you, so before that happens, I then let them know that I would much rather they give me a referral.  If they know of anyone that could use some relaxation, or some relief from their body aches to pass on my information.  I then give them something to hand out.  This is key.  I hand them a few business cards, or my current promotional flier.  Handing your client the flier increases the chances of them actually telling people about you, and it also increases the chances that the referral will actually come to see you sooner than later with the promo flier.

So, what do you feel about tipping?  Personally, I'd prefer the referral instead.  Here is why:
  1. Better Value. A tip doesn't last, a referral can turn into repeat business.  This is much more valuable to me than a few extra dollars are in the moment.
  2. Rewards My Current Clients. I have a referral program in place in my business.  (I know some areas of the country don't allow this, so if your in one of those areas, don't break the rules.)  For each referral someone sends me, they get a $10 credit good to use toward any service.
  3. Builds My Business.  We all know word of mouth is the best way to build your business.  Potential clients are more inclined to try you out if someone they know is telling them how awesome you are.
Do you accept tips?  What is your tipping policy?  Let me know in the comments below, or in the Facebook Massage Marketing Group.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Partnering With A Local Business (Part 3)

There are different ways you can partner with local businesses to promote your practice.  This is part 3 of 3 posts.

Create A VIP Card For Local Employees

I live in a town that is known as the corporate king of the suburbs.  There are many companies headquartered in my area.  Here is something that I am going to be trying out for January next year.  I think it will be a great tie in to New Year's Resolutions.  I will choose a nearby company and offer VIP cards for the employees.  There are many companies that I've seen do something like this, but never seen a massage therapist do the same. I've seen bars and night clubs have VIP cards where they offer discounts on admission, or drink specials that they can only get with the card.  I have seen restaurants do this with a free dessert for VIP card holders.  I have seen grocery stores that have reward/membership cards in which you save money off the price, or you rack up points to earn credit towards your next purchase.  So why not create a VIP card for a massage business?

Here is my plan:

We all know that healthy employees = happy employees and happy employees = more productive ones.

I am going to create a VIP card (business card) and offer them to businesses to give out to their employees.  I am a member of two local chambers so I can spread the word out easily and limit it to 2 businesses (one in each chamber).  It will have a limited time offer on the back side, with my business contact information on the front.  Below are my ideas that I've been brainstorming. 

which would you prefer?  option #1 or option #2?

Option #1 adds on free upgrades at a minimal cost to me, and option #2 offers special pricing.  Which would you prefer to receive?  Let me know in the comments below, or in the facebook Massage Marketing Toolbox group.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Partnering With A Local Business (Part 2)

There are different ways you can partner with local businesses to promote your practice.  This is part 2 of 3 posts.

This week we are talking about customer appreciation events.  These are great to do around the holidays as they can increase gift certificate sales to new clients. Make sure to have a special onsite deal that customers won't be able to get anywhere else, and get them to sign up for your email list too.

There are a couple of ways to go about this:

1. Host your own event and get other businesses involved.
You can host an open house at your business and rent tables to other businesses to raise money for a charity that is close to your heart.   If your place is large enough, definitely host the event, if not, use a nearby hall that you can rent.  (TIP: If you are renting a hall, use a weeknight instead of a weekend to save on the cost of rental.)  Rent table space to other businesses for $25 or so (more if you have to rent the hall), all of which will go to support whichever cause you have chosen.  Each business also offers up something of value towards a raffle.  Give each person a raffle ticket at the door and sell additional raffle tickets for $1 each or 6 for $5, of which all the profits will go to the charity.  You also donate something for the raffle.  You can even have goody bags at the door for the first 20 people, or keep them at your table to give to current clients only.
The goal for this type of event is to bring in new clients by increasing your marketing reach with other businesses while also giving your current clients a reason to come into your business and showing them appreciation for giving you their business.  Win win for everyone involved.

2. Another business hosts the event, and you have your services available there.
If you know of a business that is coming up on a grand opening, or a special anniversary, why not suggest to be a part of that event by offering your services to give massages to their customers (The other business can pay you to be there, or you may volunteer.  Do what works for you.).  They can push your gift certificates that day to their customers for a small percentage of the profits, or be able to hand out coupons that their customers can use with you in the future.  This is great exposure for your business, and it is a nice perk that the partnering business is able to offer to their customers.

Once you have your event in place, write a press release and send it out to the media letting them know about the event and inviting them to it.  Create a flyer to be posted up at local businesses.  Send out an email to your clients about the event.  Post the event all over your social media.  Make sure to add the information to your website.  Have the other businesses send out communications to their customers as well.

Want to learn more about using events to market your business?  Check out Event Marketing: Using Mobile Massage To Get More Clients Into Your Massage Practice.  Enter discount code 3BN7X7KH to get $5 off!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Partnering With A Local Business (Part 1)

There are different ways you can partner with local businesses to promote your practice.  This is part 1 of 3 posts.

First, find a local business that caters to the same clientele that you do.  Maybe there are a few around you.  You can put together a coupon flyer featuring each other's business.  You can keep a stack in your waiting room, hand it out to each person after their massage, or even mail them out to your customer base.  Each business promotes to their clients and you are able to reach more people this way.  By partnering with other local businesses, you are able to reach a broader market (while still targeting who you want as a client), you get to offer your customers a perk (discounts to other businesses they can't get anywhere else), and you save money by sharing the costs with the other businesses.

Here is an example of how this can work:

Notice that all the businesses here target females in this marketing piece.  Here is another example focusing on the guys:

I think you get the idea. 

Are there any businesses you can partner with to create a similar flier?  I would love to hear from you.  Leave your comments below, or send your comments to the Massage Marketing Toolbox facegoup group.

Next week, we talk about partnering with other businesses for a customer appreciation event.  Stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Create Goodwill While Marketing To Your Target Market

Last weekend, my business was a sponsor at a local 5k fun run that raised money for needy families.  I participate in a few different type of events each year usually volunteering my services, time, and possibly a donation (either in-kind or monetary) to a cause that I care about and helps out my local community.

Here I am massaging runners onsite.

As a young child, my parents taught me about volunteering my time and giving back to my community.  It has always been a part of me, and now I use my massage business to broaden my reach.  My clients know that I give back.  I even have one of my business website pages dedicated to my involvement in the community.

Now I can't possibly attend all of the events I would like to or I would be constantly closing down my office so that I can participate by offering sports massage at 5k's, or being a vendor at a vendor fair.  If I'm not working, then I am not making any money to pay the bills.  So I pick and choose which events I can be a part of, and all the others that I can't attend to, I send a gift certificate for a raffle or silent auction prize as long as the organization is certified non-profit status.

Besides feeling better about yourself and all the other positive notions around volunteering, what does giving back to your community do as far as marketing your business?  Well, it does a few things.

  1. If you have employees, it can help them to feel good about where they work.  Happy employees that like their job invest more of themselves in the workplace.  This will lead to better customer service (another marketing key we will explore at a later date).
  2. Networking.  When you are out in the community, you are able to meet all sorts of people, and they have a chance to meet you.  You can network with new clients, potential clients down the road, other businesses, and organizations.
  3. You have a chance to reach your target market and they will feel good about you as a business since you are doing something helpful for the community.  People like to do business with other people and being involved with the community sets your business in that light.  Creating goodwill will most always be a positive for your business.
  4. When participating in large scale events, you have multiple chances to reach your target market.  Before the event, the organizer may send out emails, facebook posts, tweets, or other communications to the participants.  You can work with the organizer of the event to be included in those communications.  At the event, there may be a goody bag for participants in which you can provide a promotional gift or coupon. Obviously, if you are active at the event, your potential clients may become clients on the spot by interacting with your booth.  There may be some press coverage for the event as well.  
Do you participate in philanthropy with your business?   Tell me what you do, or what you would like to do. Either comment below, or head to the Massage Marketing Toolbox facebook group.

If you need some ideas about how events can help build your business, you should check out Event Marketing: Using Mobile Massage To Get More Clients Into Your Massage Practice.  Use promo code 3BN7X7KH to get $5 off your purchase!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Finding A New Massage Therapist

This is a bit of a homework post for you.  I want you to find a new massage therapist for yourself, make an appointment, and report back to me what you find out.  Here are your questions to answer:

1. How did you find this new therapist?

2. What did you like about your experience?

3. What could have been improved upon?

4. Is there anything that you would like to now add to your business because of this experience?

Now you might be wondering what does this have to do with marketing my business?  This assignment can be considered market research for you.  I want you to pay close attention to why you chose the particular massage therapist that you went to.  You can go where ever you want to go.  It could be to your closest competitor, or further away if you choose. 

I'm looking forward to your story.  Comment below, or head on over to the Massage Marketing Toolbox facebook group to share what you've learned.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Create A Simple Marketing Calendar

It's almost the end of the year, not really, it is just the end of summer, but you should already be focusing your efforts on next year's marketing.  I do this by creating a simple marketing calendar with ideas for each month.  At the end of each month go back to your calendar to make notes on what worked, what could be tweaked a bit to make it work better, and what didn't work at all so when you are looking to do the next year's marketing, you will have a head start.  Many times during the month we find inspiration for a promotion for next year, but when that time comes around we have forgotten it.  Easy fix to that dilemma is to add it to your marketing calendar.  I will give you an example of how one month would look and I'd love for you to create an entire year's worth of ideas. 

You can use any format that makes sense for you either using a spreadsheet or a word document.  Things to include are any monthly marketing activities, special holidays, and special promotions.  Below is an example for the month of October.

October – National Massage Therapy Awareness Week (19-24), Halloween (31)
Post and update wellness tips to facebook and twitter.
Update website with Halloween/National Massage Therapy Awareness Week promotion.
Write at least 2 articles for blog.
Send out monthly e-newsletter.
Donate at least 2 gift certificates to local fundraisers for charities that match our brand.
Create article for publication next month focusing on Hands for Heroes/working with military especially Veterans Submit to paper by October 15.
Mail out client birthday cards for November birthdays.  Send out on October 27.
Create newspaper ad for 'The Rose' for December gift certificate sales push ($50).  Needs to be ready by the first week of November.

Go ahead and put every month into a document and start adding important items to it for your marketing.  This calendar only works if you take the time to review it each month so you know what you need to do for what you planned.  This is not something you create, and then file away somewhere.  You need to keep it visible and use it consistently to keep your monthly marketing on track.  It is not set in stone however, and edits can be made throughout the year.  Do you want a  FREE Monthly Marketing template?  Head on over to the facebook group to download it.

Let me know what you've come up with.  I'd love to see your marketing calendar working for you.