[This blog article was originally published on the Natural Touch Marketing blog site in 2010. Since we get questions like this often, we are reposting it here for your benefit, and with permission.]

 

iStock_000003550579Small-resized-600Why Make Massage Marketing Efforts if You Don’t Get Clients?

“Lib” from the UK asked a good question on the Ask Eileen page:

“Hi Eileen, In the UK, schools run pamper nights to bring the ladies in and make money for the school. The night consists of a retail stall as well as a range of massage therapy: massage, reflexology, etc. Having done this occasionally, the question is, why don’t we get business from the night? (I’ve tried special vouchers.) Any ideas?”

Well, Lib, without knowing any details, my first thoughts are:

  1. The ladies coming to your pamper nights don’t understand the value of what you are offering, and
  2. whatever you’re doing for follow-up contact isn’t teaching them the value of what your school/students offer.

I’m assuming your pamper nights are a showcase for the services you offer. Your students have exposure. You have the opportunity to demonstrate how excellent your training is. I’m also assuming that the spa night services are free or deeply discounted. And, before we go any farther, I know I may be way off-base with my assumptions. Feel free to clarify. At the very least, you can use this as a launching point for a brainstorm session.

 

Free = Cheap

When you make a habit of offering low-cost services, you tend to attract a group of people who come because it is a low-cost service. If they want another treatment, they’ll wait until you have another pamper night. You’re generating a group of customers that you don’t want.

 

The Nitty-Gritty

What is the real attraction of your pamper nights? Is it a place women go before they go to dinner? Is it a night out away from the family? Is it entertainment? Or…

Is it a place where women can enjoy the company of their friends while discovering how they can take better care of themselves?

Can they see the benefits of your work in their lives?

You need to examine how you talk to your potential customers, how you attract them. If you’re exuding an atmosphere of martini’s and high-pitched laughter, well … that’s what you’ll get. If you’re presenting this as an opportunity to do something good for themselves, then that’s the kind of people you’re going to get.

 

Take Their Money…

Charge people full price to come to your pamper nights. If that’s too hard to start with, then think about doing a 2-for-1, or buy one get the second half off, or buy a 30-minute chair massage, get 10 minutes extra. When they have to pay, they will take the evening — and your services — more seriously. When they get it together and invest in themselves, it’s not as hard to get them to do it again.

 

Then, Give Them Gifts

When they have paid and come through the door, then you give them their treat. They have paid for the service, but you are paying for the port and chocolates, or the customized essential oil spritzer, or the nail polish after the reflexology session. Those are all things you don’t normally offer. Isn’t it special? Aren’t you glad you brought your friend to share this experience with you?

 

Now the Vouchers

The end of the session may be the time to give a voucher for a follow-up session:

“If this small taste of [mother care massage] has made you feel [rejuvenated] and [capable], how do you think an hour long session would make you feel? This voucher is good for 40% off a full, one-hour, quiet, dreamy [mother care massage] session with the senior student of your choice.”

OR, you can send a voucher when you send them a “thank you for coming” note. [Check out our gift certificate templates for ideas.]

 

For the Love of Mike, Follow up!

If you don’t take their contact information as part of the intake, you should.

If you don’t send a thank you for attending card to them right after, you should.

If you don’t send some sort of informational newsletter extolling the virtues of [Lymphatic Drainage] the week after that, you should.

Following up is your chance to educate customers on the value of your work. You are helping them take better care of themselves. And by maintaining a healthy client base, you are able to continue your work.

Reach out. Talk to the customers you want. Address their needs. Educate. Educate. Educate.

 

Make Your Customers Feel Special

The end result is you want your customers to feel like you are talking to them, taking an interest in them. This builds loyalty. The simplest way to start this is during intake. Get your potential customers’ occupations along with their names, contact information, and basic health info. Then you can say, “Oh, you work retail. I bet your feet hurt from standing and your face hurts from smiling. I’m going to set you up with Essie for foot work and Terra for a facial massage. How does that sound?” AH! thinks the customer, They understand me. They can give me what I need. Then, when you send out future communications, you can customize your message to the customer’s needs. Here’s the thank you note you’ll send out the day after the pamper night:

“Dear [Nice Customer] — Thank you for the opportunity to give your feet some relief. We have several students here who focus exclusively on reflexology. Any one of them would be happy to work with you in the future. Since you work odd hours, you’ll be happy to know that our clinic is open [Mon — Sat, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.]. Enclosed is a self-care sheet on foot massage and a voucher for your next visit. Hope to see you soon. Sincerely, [Essie] Your Personal Reflexologist”

 

No You’re Not, and Yes, You Will

You are not going to get as many visitors to your pamper nights if you charge more. But, what you will get is more potential customers. What you will get is more return for your effort AND students with better marketing skills.

Reach out. Talk to the customers you want. Address their needs. Educate. Educate. Educate.

All my best, Eileen