This blog was written by Irene Diamond for Sohnen-Moe Associates, Inc. and was published on its blog on November 4, 2014. The original blog can be found here.
Combine the two things that are near and dear to massage therapists’ hearts and you’ve got a winning marketing program: Create a “We Give Back Massage Program” (WGB) to get new clients while also giving back to your community.
Many years ago, I wanted a way for my San Francisco Wellness Center to show my appreciation for the community who had supported our little business, and my goal was to tie in to the American Massage Therapy National Awareness week in October. So I came up with this community outreach, client-acquisition system which I dubbed, the “We Give Back” FREE Massage program.
When created right, your We Give Back program will generate new clients and revenue, and also benefit the members of your community.
This post will briefly share how you can create your own “We Give Back” program for your own practice.
Five big benefits of offering your own “We Give Back” program:
- New clients call you and literally beg you for an appointment.
- Your practice gets more exposure and is noticed by other businesses and important people.
- The program goes “Viral” when people start talking about it and sharing the offer with their friends.
- People love you for being so generous, which builds good-will.
- Bottom line to your business – you generate additional revenue.
How To Structure Your "We Give Back Program:"
- Define who are you going to offer your massage gift to. Pick a very specific group to keep it focused. (Pick: Pregnant women, teachers, Police/Firefighters/First Responders, accountants, etc.)
- Decide your offer: What are you giving as a gift? (Pick: Free thirty minute massage, a half price session, a low flat rate price like $25 or $45 a session.)
- Limit the time-frame of the offer. (Pick: one day, a week, a couple of hours, a whole month.)
- Get the word out to promote your WGB program. Announce it to your current clients, post on social media, and write a press release to get out to the media.
- Schedule the We Give Back gift sessions strategically in your calendar, so you don’t interfere with your regular client appointments.
- Secure the WGB appointments with a credit card (if your state allows) or find another way to guarantee their appointment. Even though the session may be free, if there is no skin in the game you will end up with lots of no-shows. You absolutely must get a confirmation and you have to have some money attached to it.
- You must send a comprehensive (but simple) confirmation email with the ”fine print” details so you don’t get taken advantage of.
There are many cool things that happen when you create your “We Give Back” program. Our center sees about a 60% return of these single WGB clients into a regular client.
When you know how to move your We Give Back clients forward past that free (or discounted) session, you can (and should) capitalize on it by offering them “Up-sells” and “Cross sells.”
Be aware that if you don’t set up your WGB program the right way, you could lose your shirt! I have seen practitioners who have taken this concept (without actually working with me on how to structure it properly) and it backfired on them. They lose time and give away tons of services for free without getting anything in return. Obviously if you are going to reserve time in your calendar for these free sessions, you don’t want to turn away paying clients and then have nobody show up! Set it up properly from the start, so you don’t end up with a book full of no-shows.
Ill-designed WGB programs will waste your time, won’t get you repeat clients, will not generate any revenue, nor get testimonials and referrals. You must know what to say and do so these new clients understand the long-term benefit and value they get by staying with you, even after this free session. There are simple, graceful, ethical, and beautiful ways to support your clients to not only experience better clinical results from seeing you on a regular basis, but also share you with their friends and colleagues.
And, the last thing I want to make sure you are aware of is if the program is set up poorly, it can actually create bad-will by back-firing if a client has a terrible experience.
When designed well, a “We Give Back” program is a slam-dunk way to get 10-20-30 new clients who are so appreciative of you and what you offer!
Originally founded in 1986, Custom Craftworks supports the vital work of professional manual therapists and educators in the massage therapy and holistic health fields by designing, building and sourcing the best-quality massage tables, chairs, equipment and accessories available. In 2009, the company was acquired by Pivotal Health Solutions based in Watertown, South Dakota.