by Angie Patrick
Reprinted with permission from the April, 2007 issue of Massage Today. Complete issue archives and other resources available at www.massagetoday.com
I will answer that question with a resounding, YES!
Who among us does not absolutely love getting a discount? What kind of shopper does not browse the sale racks at their favorite store looking for the "killer" deal? And when someone compliments you on the great shoes you have on, can you truly resist telling them about the incredible deal you got? No, I would bet big money you share that information proudly and without hesitation.
To shop smart is, well, just plain smart.
One of the biggest reasons people do not book regular massages often can be due to the expense. Sure, some of us enlightened ones know and understand the value of a massage for our overall physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. That does not mean that the monetary cost can't sometimes be prohibitive. Providing your customers a coupon or discounted offer often can be the catalyst that sparks the buying cue, and can sway the decision to get a massage.
Coupons offer other benefits as well. You can gain and retain more clients when they give your services a try in the first place. A well-placed coupon in the local grocery store mailer, local paper, or even on the back of your business card can begin the groundswell of first-time clients. Once they have tasted the sweet fruit of relaxation, another benefit of coupons begins to emerge.
Word-of-mouth referrals! This benefit is as good as gold, and is your best advertisement. Once you have made an impression on your client with your quality services, encourage them to spread the word and tell their friends, family and co-workers to visit you as well. Provide them with a referral card with their name on it. When someone brings in the card or mentions that your customer encouraged them to book an appointment, reward the referring customer with another coupon or discount. Maybe even offer a free 30-minute massage following a regular booking for two referred clients. This will provide added incentive for your clients to share the news that you are open for business and great at what you do.
Your coupons do not always need to be a discount off of your regular rates. Coupons can be as creative as your imagination. Maybe you offer a free candle when you book your next appointment. Perhaps you have other services such as a stone massage or paraffin dips for hands and feet. These are great "freebies" with a massage booking because the chances of someone wanting to book a service, once they have been exposed to what you have to offer, are greatly improved. Your next visit might include an up-sell or two. This results in greater revenue for you.
A final bit of advice, and certainly one I cannot stress enough, is to always redeem your coupons and gift certificates. If they have expired, redeem them anyway. The goodwill you will generate by doing the unexpected likely will net you additional customer loyalty, as well as the valued word-of-mouth promotion that works miracles. When you happily redeem an out-of-date coupon, you are sending a clear message that you know how to make a customer happy. This goes a long way in generating client satisfaction by exceeding their expectations.
Ultimately, the goal is simple: you want customers. Your objective with a coupon should be to accomplish at least one of the following: new business, repeat business, a referral or a buying response in your prospective clients. By creating clever ways to entice people to give your services a try, you can be certain your bottom line will see the reward.
Whether it's for Christmas, Valentine's Day, Secretary's Day, Groundhog Day, or any day at all, coupons can help you generate new business. It also is a wonderful way to show appreciation for your existing business. Try it for yourself and see why coupons do, indeed, have many redeeming values!