If you’ve ever scrambled for that perfect gift come Christmas and felt increasingly nervous as December 25th rolled around, then you’re not alone.

The fact that US consumers spent over 20 billion (with a “B”) on gift cards over the previous year shows that gift cards can help individuals as much as small businesses.

Gift Cards and Your Practice

Consumers spent around forty dollars on each gift card they purchased last year. Here’s what you need to know, though – gift cards aren’t the I’m-not-sure-what-to-get-you gift that they once were.

A gift card can actually deliver a personalized experience and put clients in closer contact with your massage practice.

Offering gift cards from your practice’s online storefront is a great way to generate buzz and provide clients a gift solution when birthdays or Christmas rolls around.

Personalizing the Experience

To address the elephant in the room, yes, gift cards can still potentially be seen as a last-resort gift that the faint-hearted take up in a moment of well-meaning desperation.

Generic gift cards from electronics stores are a dime a dozen (well, not literally, unless they’re expired!) and probably come up short most Christmas mornings. Gift cards for small businesses – and especially small businesses like restaurants or massage practices – can definitely deliver smiles and return visits if used in the right way.

Gift cards should be personalizable and readily available through your online storefront and brick-and-mortar massage practice.

If a relative or friend can walk into your practice and personalize a gift card redeemable for one Swedish massage, that ultimately translates to a more heart-felt present to someone and a way to expose your practice to the public and generate good press.

Price Tiers and Gift Cards

Personalize gift cards in your massage practice by offering gift cards at graduated price points ($50, $100, etc.) and, more importantly, provide gift cards that are redeemable for increasingly premium massage services.

If you offer gift cards online, make sure that you are offering gift cards based on both price (e.g., $50) and personalized services (e.g., two Swedish massages). Offering customers the chance to add personalized messages to the gift card can also be a nice touch.

The reason people purchasing personalized gift cards favor the latter route – choosing a gift card that promises an experience like a deep tissue massage – is that the general public often doesn’t know the monetary value of different kinds of massages and individuals are therefore unsure how much to allocate to a gift card.

Added Reasons for Personalized Cards

It’s also more personal to give someone a gift card that promises a certain kind of massage package versus a strict monetary value.

As a worst case scenario, the amount that an uninformed shopper picks could be less than the amount that the eventual gift card recipient wants to spend at your practice. Having the gift card holder shell out the difference is definitely a recipe for disaster.

Instead, make it easy for the client to snatch up a gift card that’s tailored to their wants. Walk clients through different services your practice offers and link them up with services that are sure to please.

Often people will come to your practice with a pre-set amount that they’re willing to spend on friends and family as a gift. Take this into account and start offering clients gift card deals based around these pre-set spending limits.

Get the Word Out

It’s also a good idea to let people know that your practice actually offers gift cards. Tell staff to inform clients about gift cards. Make sure an icon to purchase personalized gift cards is prominently displayed on your website.

Finally, send around gift card and other promotional offers in an email or social media marketing campaign. Something as simple as “get your holiday shopping done early with personalized gift cards…” could float the idea to people who are idea-strapped around the holidays.

To go one step further, though, offer promotions in addition to making it clear that you offer gift cards. Promise a discounted massage for people who purchase a gift card worth $50 or more before December 14th, for instance.

Timing is Everything

In life and the small business world, timing is everything. Make sure to send out promotional offers in time for people to actually purchase gift cards from your practice before they’ve made other gift decisions. This will give people early peace of mind and ultimately drive up leads, conversions and good press for your practice.