The point of using Groupon is to get exposure for your practice in a much bigger way than you can on your own with no cost up front. So far, we’ve explored how to set up a Groupon deal that serves you and manage your schedule with the addition of new clients who purchase your vouchers. Now it’s time to address how to bring these clients back.
SET REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS
Even with a targeted description, Groupon attracts a lot of buyers who are only interested in getting a deal and have no intention of returning. We don’t have any control over that. But Groupon has also become a resource for people looking for a massage therapist because they can try out different providers until they find someone they like without breaking the bank. It’s also a marketplace for affordable gifts which makes it an excellent venue for holiday promotions.
Knowing that most of your Groupon clients aren’t likely to become regulars sets you up for success because you won’t take these perceived rejections so personally. Many Groupon users will love what you do; they just won’t have the discretionary income or spare time to get on a consistent massage schedule. In my experience, the retention rate for Groupon customers isn’t much different from that of other marketing techniques. Massage is such a personal service that we simply won’t be perfect for everyone who receives our work.
An advantage to having so little pressure to persuade these clients to come back is that it gives us permission to practice our sales speak on them with less disappointment if they don’t rebook. This lets us hone that language into something that feels good to us so we become comfortable using it with every client. We’ll then be able to talk to them about rebooking with ease, which will help us retain more clients overall as we continue our practice journey.
ALWAYS ANTICIPATE THE DESIRED OUTCOME
Just because most Groupon clients may not be looking to commit to frequent massage doesn’t mean their circumstances won’t change or they don’t know anyone who is. There’s also no way of anticipating what their plans are regarding ongoing treatment. This is why continually providing an exceptional experience to all clients is nonnegotiable.
The way to do that is to treat EVERY client like they could become your next weekly regular. I’ve heard from many people who’ve used Groupon that the massage they got wasn’t very good so they didn’t rebook. I’ve had Groupon clients not tell me they had one until after their service because they were afraid I’d give less than my best if I knew beforehand. If you don’t see the value of the opportunity to showcase your work to a potentially long-term client, who may never have found you otherwise for a deep discount, a Groupon campaign may not be ideal for your practice.
CREATE INCENTIVES TO REVISIT
Having some kind of reward for frequent visits is an extraordinarily effective way to fill your practice (with or without Groupon). Not only does it give clients an excuse to visit more often, it gives them better results, which in turn makes it more likely they’ll refer us to others. Think about your cash flow needs, record keeping tolerance, and what will fit into your existing practice structure when creating them.
- Discounted packages save clients money if they purchase sessions in bulk. Depending on the amount of the discount, you may want to have an expiration date to encourage clients to use their sessions sooner.
- Memberships may or may not have an initial set up fee. They are usually designed to get clients in at least once a month.
- Loyalty programs generally offer a free service after a certain number have been received. You can use a punch card, electronic tracking system, an app, or good old-fashioned notes to monitor progress.
You may choose to offer these incentives only to Groupon customers or have them available to all of your clients. It really depends on your goals and whether or not you already have some kind of program in place that’s performing well. It can be scary to add a money-saving program into your practice when you’re getting paid your full fee from the clients you already have, but if you don’t have enough of them to sustain you, you’ll likely earn more overall by implementing a program for everyone.
EDUCATE AND ASK
The importance of explaining the benefits of receiving regular massage and offering to rebook each and every client cannot be overemphasized. We may be hesitant to do so because we don’t want to be pushy or sound like a massage salesperson. But unless you have someone else having these conversations with your clients, the responsibility falls on you. That’s part of what we sign up for as business owners. At first it may feel awkward but with practice you’ll hit on what feels authentic and serves your clients’ best interests. The only way for that to happen is to start doing it (if you aren’t now).
Give options rather than dictating a one-size-fits-all protocol. This allows clients to choose what suits their budget and lifestyle, making it more likely they’ll stick with it. You can ask if they want to rebook while they’re there or if they need to check their schedule, or describe your incentive program while checking them out or in a text/email a few days later. At the very least, be sure they leave with your business card and/or brochure and always follow up to see how they responded to the massage.
Done right, a Groupon deal can be an amazing catalyst for your massage practice. Considering how to structure one that will serve you, how you’ll manage your schedule, and what your conversion strategy is BEFORE contacting them will vastly improve your chances of success. Using Groupon this way has been the best decision I’ve made for my practice. Not only did it jump start my business when it was struggling, but the clients who either found me on Groupon or have been referred by those who did account for 25% of my monthly income. It’s my go-to marketing tool and may be just what you need to accelerate your practice growth, too.
Cath Cox has been a licensed massage therapist in Colorado since 1999 and is the creator of the Booked and Busy in 90 Days System™. Her mission is to heal the world by inspiring independent massage therapists to build thriving practices of their own so they can work authentically for as long as they desire. She currently provides Ashiatsu barefoot deep tissue massage exclusively in her private practice. You can learn more about Cath and her journey at cathcox.com.