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In this Post: The question is, does Groupon work for massage therapists? Learn ways to maximize your benefits, while reducing your risks and not be taken advantage of.
Ah Groupon, a death sentence or a strategical marketing partner? So does Groupon work for massage therapists? Depending on who you talk to the answers could be varied. I agree that there are some very huge downsides to programs such as Groupon! I also firmly believe that if you are smart about it, you can make it work to your advantage.
Now to be fair, I technically did not run a Groupon deal. My local newspaper has a similar program called Hot Deals. The concept is the same, though specific terms vary slightly from Groupon.
I ran my deal after an expansion to my practice. When my expenses were high, and I had room to expand my client load. As of today, my personal client load is more than I can handle. Because of this, currently I would not think of running a deal for myself. However, when I have a new therapist added to my practice my philosophy is a little different. I find running a deal is a great way to introduce them to the community and bulk up their schedule in a short period of time.
Even though I warn you do have to be careful when entering into such deals, my experiences have been positive. 1 in 3 of the Hot Deal clients that came through my practice either rebooked, purchased a gift certificate, or bought merchandise. One of my all-time favorite clients I met through Hot Deals. He spent over $5,000 in three years, referred a ton of friends and family, signed up for classes through my practice, and bought retail items. How’s that for return on investment?
So how also can you also have a positive experience? Well, you must buckle down and get smart about how you approach such deals. You shouldn’t enter into an agreement without doing your homework, putting serious thought into the terms, and making sure that you are truly comfortable with all aspects of the transaction.
How To Make Groupon And Groupon-Like Programs Work For You
- Before even beginning a conversation with Groupon, make sure to put a lot of thought into the terms you are willing to live with. Before you talk, figure out what works for you. Be clear about what you willing to and what you are not willing to compromise on. Remember that Groupon needs you in order to make money. Don’t let them bully you around, or pressure you into any terms that you are not 100% comfortable with.
Some terms to consider
– Don’t sell more than you can handle. Remember that the primary goal is to obtain new clients, so make sure to think about this when calculating your available time. As I said, 1 in 3 of the people I worked with either booked another massage, purchased a gift certificate, or bought retail. It would have been a shame if I hadn’t had time to see these returning full priced clients because I was so busy doing the discounted massages.
– Negotiate a higher percentage than they initially offer. I promise their first offer is not their best offer.
– Limit the number of vouchers any given client can purchase.
– Set realistic expiration dates. I never like to have my deals run during my business season (living in a ski town this is December-March).
– Be extremely clear about your terms and get everything in writing.
- I think the number one most important thing to keep in mind if you choose to run a deal is to treat each and every client as if they were a full paying client. Look at it like the client is interviewing YOU to become their regular massage therapist. If you treat them sub-par or make it really difficult for them to book with you, do you think they are going to be inclined to schedule a full price massage? I doubt it, and then you’ve missed a golden opportunity.
- Capture their contact information. This way you can add them to your weekly email list, send out a mailer when you have a special going on, or invite them to your next office party.
- Make sure to give these clients the opportunity to rebook with you. Sometimes this is as simple as asking them if they would like to reschedule. I try never to let a client leave my office without asking if they would like to rebook.
- Look at it as advertising. Marketing expert Dr. Jeffrey Lant formulated ‘The Rule of Seven,’ where he basically states that you must have seven points of contacts with a customer in 18 months before the customer will purchase from you. Now that’s a pretty large number! You could pay for advertising to help get you in front of your audience, or you could run a promotion that serves the dual purpose of advertising and getting discounted massage clients through your door.
While you may get some coupon shoppers, who jump from one deal to the next, if you play your cards right you can have some amazingly dedicated, loyal clients for life. Many people are looking for a therapist, and might not otherwise check out your services unless it was discounted. Some people might not realize how great massage is until they experience your touch. Once they experience it, you could have a massage convert, how cool to be responsible for that!
Groupon is a tool. A wonderful way to not pay for advertising, build up a new practice, promote a new therapist in your existing practice, or supplement during slow times of the year. Remember that Groupon would not exist without business like ours, they need us, so hold tight to terms that work for you and your establishment. Do not treat Groupon customers any differently than you would treat a regular client. Period end of story. If you view the experience through these lenses, I believe you too can have a positive Groupon experience!
Post your thoughts… Does Groupon work for massage therapists?
- Boulder College of Massage Therapy Graduate
- Nationally Certified through NCBTMB
- Colorado Licensed Massage Therapist
- Certified CranialSacral Level 1 through Upledger
- Certified Herbal Therapist through Nutrition Therapy Institute
- Certified Fujian Massage through Barefoot Masters
- Fort Lewis College - Majored in Art, Minored in Business Administration
- 6 Year Winner of Best Massage Therapist for "Best of The Boat" Competition
- Massage Business Owner Since 2008