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Massage Today
November, 2009, Vol. 9, Issue 11

A Few Shameless Self-Promoting Tips to Build Your Practice

By Angie Patrick

Promoting your business does not need to be a huge task weighed down with labor and expense. Often, all you need is a groundswell of ideas, and then follow with a little effort. Before you know what hit, you could in the enviable position of having a plethora of customers and needing to clone yourself to keep up with demand.

Some of the best promotions are the easiest to do. For example, let's say that your goal is to learn about potential customers in your local community interested in the services you provide. You could pay a marketing guru tons of money to buy lists and build campaigns, or you could take on the task yourself with some simple ideas. All you need is the willingness to give a couple of hours of your time a week to make this qualified prospect list grow.

We have all been in the local lunch spot and witnessed the goldfish bowl at the cash register offering a chance to win a cruise or family vacation if you put in your business card. By the end of the week, this bowl is filled with names, addresses and contact numbers for people interested in cruises and family vacations; a list any travel agent would want to cultivate. What if we took that same idea, but instead of a vacation, we gave away a massage or spa treatment. Would it not stand to reason that the business cards and information amassed in this little goldfish bowl of opportunity would encompass people who are specifically interested in massage and spa treatments? By giving away one massage a week, you can increase the number of qualified prospects to whom you can market exponentially, for no cash outlay and only an hour's worth of your time.

Let's now imagine you have these little bowls in several locations throughout your local area. Your information base is growing, and now you are ready to make the decisions on how you will draw in the customer prospects to become legitimate paying customers. You already know these contacts are in your local area, have disposable income (since they are buying lunch out instead of brown-bagging it) and are interested in what you can provide. How do we make this information work for us?

The first step is to organize your information. A simple Excel spreadsheet can organize your information and keep your database of interested potential clients in a manageable form. There are a number of software applications that can also manage this task such as ACT or Microsoft Access. You can create mailing labels for outbound mail marketing or amass a list of customers to e-mail special offers and promotions. These are the beginning building blocks for your business customer base, so treat this information like gold. It will pay off for you in the long run.

Postcard mailers are an effective means to reach your target and offer a "Special Introductory Offer for New Customers." You can offer a 20 percent discount, or a free gift on their first visit. Consider offering packages providing deep savings on multiple bookings. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination. Just remember the offer must be compelling enough to call the prospect to action, making them want to take advantage of the opportunity you have presented to them.

Once you have booked your customer, be sure to follow their visit with a personalized thank-you card. This will make the customer feel very special and is a great way to build a relationship with your new client. A great idea is to include three or four business cards with your card, and offer a free massage for every customer that books with you based on their referral. Word-of-mouth is priceless and can pay huge dividends when your client has yet another incentive to spread the good word about you.

Remember special occasions and be sure your client knows you care. Always gather information such as birthdays, anniversaries, etc on the client intake form. Making a point to wish someone a happy birthday or sending a little reminder that their anniversary is just around the corner can make you look like a hero for caring enough to track this kind of information. Often, it can result in a booking, especially if the reminder is accompanied by an offer.

Promotion is easy and effective when it is done with attention to detail. Cultivate your client base by providing quality goods and services, and always acting with integrity. Your customers will recommend you to their friends, purchase your gift certificates and frequent your storefront for their own needs. A little investment of your time and attention can result in positive cash flow for you and your business.

Click here for previous articles by Angie Patrick.


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