by Angie Patrick
Reprinted with permission from the December, 2008 issue of Massage Today. Complete issue archives and other resources available at www.massagetoday.com
It seems the American public is joining together more and more to affect change in our government, our society, and our world. We yearn to make the environments we live in, the economic climates, as well as the global political and socioeconomic climates more comfortable and far more stable.
Once we have seen how much better something can be with a little effort put forth, we want to share this information with others. Thus, the groundswell of change begins. This is quite simply human nature and it is an admirable quest; one we have all been exposed to and certainly have been a part of in some form or fashion.
If we can take this same human trait and improve upon our surroundings and share positive and worthwhile information to affect change and turn it to benefit our practices, it is quite feasible that we might see our practices double or even triple in a short time frame. But how can this happen? How do we tap into that human need for sharing good news and information and somehow manage to grow our business? It is not as difficult as you may think. We simply make the public work for us.
By nature, your best friend will unabashedly share with you the enormous 75-percent-off deal she got on the brand new pair of strappy sandals at that absurdly expensive designer store. The same friend will give you insight on the very best place to find sushi, and perhaps even know when "happy hour" is, or even have a "2 for 1" coupon in her purse so you can go and enjoy without breaking the sushi budget. We all know this girl, and we all love her because she is fun, enjoys life, and knows how to get the most out of it.
This is the personality we want to "hire" to grow our business; people who want to enjoy their world, but are not overly extravagant; especially in this uncertain economic climate. So the way to get this "new hire" to work for you is to give them something juicy to share with others. Provide them with the tools they need to be encouraged to share your unbelievable promotion with everyone they know. In no time, the news about your latest promotion will have spread as fast as a funny video on YouTube, and you have done nothing more than plant the seeds.
Your promotion should be something that will motivate the person to want to share the information. Perhaps your promotion is: "Get a free massage when you organize an office-chair massage day." The new hire will be encouraged to share the cool idea about having massage come to the workplace because of her need to improve her environment and that of those she cares about; but this also motivates her personally with the promise of free massage for sharing the idea and facilitating its implementation. So now, we have our friend out there, not only discussing what a great idea it would be to begin massage in her office, but she is sharing it with folks from other offices in her building, as well as at the café where she gets her morning coffee. What a great employee/ambassador we have just hired, and it didn't really cost us a thing!
Promotions can be as simple or as elaborate as you would like to make them. For me, I believe starting out simple makes the most sense. At least until you become an old pro at making these work. For instance, perhaps you offer a free massage for every four massages booked. People will see this as a tremendous value, and may possibly go ahead and book five sessions to make sure they take you up on that offer! This person will likely go back to their workplace and share the information with others. Why not make it simple for them by providing a few business cards with this offer printed in the back? Write their name on the card, and let them know they can earn additional free massages when their friends book five. Who hates free massage? Nobody! And it is a personal incentive to ensure they share the information they want to spread anyway!
Maybe you partner with a bridal store and offer the owner or manager a free massage when they share your information and a bride books a "bridesmaid spa party." How about the same idea at a tuxedo-rental company? Maybe you contact your local jewelers and work out a promotion offering a free massage with the purchase of bridal sets? How about your local travel agent? Offer the agent a free massage when they refer someone and you get a booking for your "pre-vacation" stress-buster massage. This would surely get the potential client in the mood for a relaxing vacation and start the experience off on the right foot!
There are a number of ways to create the extra enthusiasm in people to desire to share good news and great deals. Use your imagination and be creative! Tap into that primal instinct we all have to share good news, and "hire" some new employees to spread the word! No doubt your business will thank you for it!