It's mid-November.

Are you ready to get your share of the enormous holiday season opportunity that welcomes every massage and bodywork practice? Read on for some proven ways to dramatically increase your income by creating effective promotions and deals for your massage practice.

Rule #1 for creating a massage promotion

While the Holidays are a great reason for a discount or other promotion, creating an offer that speaks to a specific customer need, or triggers a strong psychological "buy" signal, can be successful any time of year and can help separate your practice from the competition. In addition, don't underestimate the power of a promotion to promote customer loyalty that drives repeat full-price sales for years to come.

7 Proven Promotion Types

The following are 7 proven promotion types that your small business should try:

1. Massage Promotions Playing on the Desire for Discounts

Everyone likes to think they're getting a bargain and saving money. As long as you've established a baseline value for your products and services, you can use a discount—whether a sale price, a percentage off, or a set-dollar amount off—to lead a customer to believe that they are scooping up a great deal. The trade off is more sales for less profit margin. The very best sale is one in which your customer perceives value in a way that does not significantly affect your bottom line.

2. The "Two-fer" Sale

My very first experience with this as a massage therapist was such a huge success that I continued using it effectively throughout my bodywork career. The concept is simple—people are attracted by the term "two-fer" and think "two for one". However, the offer is actually selling two services for one price, which can be discounted a small amount (or a large one). When you craft a promotion, remember that it's only as effective as its ability to attract someone's attention. Make yours stand out by making it look a little different.

3. Promotions Recognizing the Fondness for Free

Who doesn't love free. Free gifts, free refills, or free services - free sells. One powerful free offers you may have succombed to: free shipping for online orders, as evidenced by multiple studies where respondents highlight it as the most important factor in making a purchase decision. Other ways to utilize "free" in your promotions include:

Buy-One(or many)-Get-One Free Massage

As a massage therapist, you may already offer a "Series" of the same service to your clients. An example would be selling a series of five 60 minute massages at the list price of four 60 minute sessions. Some use this same technique to help drive repeat business by charging significantly more for a single session than they do for a series of multiple sessions. The financially savvy client will naturally gravitate towards a series of multiple services when they can save money by doing so.

Free Gift

It almost doesn't matter what it is. Many times, offering a free gift is all it takes to move a wavering prospect to a paying customer. If the gift is something that is both attractive to your customer and helps promote your practice, it's an even bigger win. A perfect example of this is giving away a free t-shirt with your logo and web address on it with any purchase. Just make sure the "free gift" however small is of high quality—a flimsy chachki, malfunctioning water bottle, or t-shirt that disintegrates after the first wash is likely to destroy any good will created by the gift,

4. Promotions Capitalizing on Coupon Fever

Believe it or not, in a Forrester research study on coupons, over 60% of respondents agreed that they "Love to Receive Digital Coupons" and 50% report being more likely to visit a store if they received a coupon. Another study from PwC found that 46% of all respondents, 49% of women, and a whopping 61% of millennials (age 18-34) report being "happy" to receive coupons and other holiday offers on their mobile phones. Whether your coupon offers something free, or some type of discount, here are some ways to disseminate the offer:

Email Coupons

The Forrester study above found that email was by far the most popular way for people to receive coupons. Once they get them, they're used online, over the phone, or in stores. So make sure that your offers are shopping-channel neutral and that it's as easy for a customer to buy online as it is for them to purchase the coupon in your office or over the phone.

5. Promotions Simulating Scarcity

It's known that the perception or reality of scarcity increases the perception of value. A famous experiment asked folks to rate the value of 12 identical cookies where 10 were placed in one jar and 2 in the other. The cookies in the "2" jar were given values significantly higher than the ones in the "10" jar. The explanation offered for why this happens is that shoppers with incomplete information think that if the supply of something is limited, it's because other shoppers with more information snapped it up first. MassageBook practice management software's promotion feature cleverly offers practice owners the ability to limit the quantity available to take advantage of this psychological trigger.

Display Full Schedules

Imagine you're someplace new and are trying to decide where to eat. Two restaurants sit next to each. One's full and the other virtually empty.

Which one do you choose?

Exactly.

When you create a promotion, strategically assign a restricted block of available times to the offer to make it look like your schedule is almost full. Not only does this work the scarcity trigger, showing limited availability can also help move clients into a commitment where a wide open schedule can provide an excuse for procrastination.

6. Create Promotions with Time Constraints

People respond to scarcity - and they respond to time constraints. If you combine the two, you can create an even more compelling offer. Be sure to use beginning and end dates on coupon or discount offers. Here are two more ways to capitalize on time limited promotions:

Flash Sales

Flash sales are typically structured to get clients to book during times that have opened up last minute or are typically difficult to fill. The discounts should be significant in order to motivate people strongly and get them to act quickly. As a massage therapist, your time is your inventory. If you don't book it, it's worth $0, so an aggressive discount may make sense if the alternative is sitting in your office with nothing to do.

Daily Deals

Companies like Groupon have built a huge business around offering limited time deals. You can use the same strategy for your small business. Use your client email mail list and select only those clients you want to incentivize to come back to your practice. Practice management software like Massage can make this very easy. There's no sense in discounting services to your regulars or clients who already have a full priced session booked. Send these clients one-day deals once every two weeks, or once a month. Make sure to get the word out ahead of the sale day, to make sure when the day arrives clients are ready to take advantage of the offer and buy.

7. Promotions Leveraging Illusions of Luck

People like to win. Even if it's just dumb luck (like Bingo), it feels pretty good to win. Creating a promotion that creates that "lucky feeling" for your customer can turn into a win for both of you. Some things to try:

Mystery Discounts

This promotion can be shared without specifying the exact discount amount. A person will have to click through to find out what their lucky deal is - which takes them one step closer to booking with you. I'd suggest telling your customer in advance the possible discount range, and then choose one on the high end to share. For example, you could offer a code that provides a 10%, 15%, or 25% discount off a service and then make sure your customers get the 25% discount. This will make them feel like winners, and hopefully encourage them to use (a soon to expire) discount, even if they are getting the same offer everyone else gets.

Promotional Partnerships

While any charity will gladly accept your donations, many will also help you promote your small business donation program. Especially if you build your promotion around a certain percentage going to the charity you're supporting. It's a great way to celebrate the giving season and share the wealth with those less fortunate. You can ask the charity to publicize your promotion on their website, let you send a promotional email to their donor list, or include your company as a sponsor at one of their upcoming events.

Which of these is right for your small business? I'd suggest having some fun with creating a number of different types and seeing which work best for your massage or bodywork practice.

Creating promotional campaigns in MassageBook

Curious to see how easy it is to create virtually any type of promotion in MassageBook?

In just a few simple steps, you'll have created a custom promotion along with a unique sharable web page that shares the details of your promotion… AND (more importantly) lets them purchase it online.


Step 1

Give it a name and a short description

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Step 2

Elect which services or Gift Certificates you want to include in your promotion

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Step 3

Now select which staff you want to restrict the promotion to

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Step 4

And which days and times to restrict the offer to. You can select Custom hours if you want to restrict availability to certain days and times.

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Step 5

Review the details of your newly created promotion and select how many deals are available, how many are permitted to be booked on a given day, and whether you want to publicly display the deal or just use it internally.

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That's it!

A beautiful landing page with a unique URL is created for your promotion. All that's left to do is to share it via email (in MassageBook), post it to Facebook, or share it anywhere else you can create a link to your promotion!

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