April 2009 Massage Marketing Newsletter

April 20, 2009

Volume V, Issue 9

 

Welcome to “From The Massage Table”!

My name is Michael Humphreys, cofounder of Help Your Practice. Each month, From The Massage Table will hit your email inbox with the latest news, special offers and great massage business tips that can help you create the massage practice of your dreams.

Want to make sure you don’t miss an issue? Please add mike AT helpyourpractice DOT com to your address book and keep the spam filters from eating your subscription!

Now Available: “Keeping In Touch: Massage Client Newsletters” Volume 1 and 2

“If you could use massage client newsletters created, tested and proven to work by a successful massage therapist in his own super-busy practice… how much busier would your massage practice  become? The answer is found below…” 

http://helpyourpractice.com/massage-client-newsletters.htm

As promised, here is this month’s issue.

Motivational Monthly Tip 

This month I want to go outside of the box and share something with you that I thought was both informative and helpful. 

It doesn’t matter what type of business you have — online, offline, or a combination of both, you will run into the issue of freebie vultures.  It’s definitely true for massage therapists who meet their share of them.

Freebie vultures are the types of people who complain about giving you their contact information in return for a fr*ee 10 minute chair massage massage at a local health fair or convention. 

These are the same types who will go out of their way to give you phony contact information, just to get the freebie.

They believe you should give them a fr*ee chair massage because they want one, regardless of the fact that you are doing them as a way to attract new clients.  In short, definitely not the types of people who make good paying massage clients that respect your time and keep their appointments.

So this month I’ve decided to dedicate this spot to a special guest author, Paul Myers.

Paul writes a weekly online marketing ezine called Talk Biz News that is one of the longest running ones online.  Just as important, Paul delivers consistently a lot of great content for fr*ee. With Paul’s permission, I’ve reprinted his “rant” here about freebie vultures (my term, not his). 

WARNING: Paul does not pull any punches here.  So if you were looking for a sugar-coated fluff piece, then you won’t like Paul’s style one bit.

“TANSTAAFL, Baby”

  ===============

“I hate these e-mail opt-ins”

That is what someone just filled in as their name when signing up for this newsletter. The intent is obvious. They wanted the book they get as an incentive to subscribe, but they didn’t want the newsletter itself.

That’s fine. Hundreds of people have signed up, gotten the freebie, and unsubscribed, just in the past two weeks alone. No surprise there. It’s a known part of the business. It’s part of the cost of finding people who are serious about getting more out of life.

Besides, you never really know why any one of those people in particular chose to do that, unless they tell you. Some may have legitimate reasons.

This guy was different.

This guy told me.

….

Why should I ask you to spend time reading about this guy?

You’re going to run into him – a lot – as you develop your business online. You need to know how to recognize him, and how to handle him. Otherwise, he will suck time and resources from you that would be better spent doing something productive.

Like watering your driveway, or mowing the dog.

If you haven’t been at this online thing for more than a couple of years, you want to read this. Seriously. Even if you’ve been at it a long time, there’s a chance you’ll find some explanations in it that will help.

So, bear with me. There really is a point to this.

….

Remember: The name field in the form is clearly marked as optional.

If he didn’t want to give his first name, he could have just left it out, or used a fake one. (“Herman Munster” gets this newsletter, and has for years. I’m cool with that.)

This guy was delivering a message. The message wasn’t that he objected to the price, since he paid it, at least for a while.

The message was that he objected to the existence of a price.

The absolute ultimate in scarcity thinking. Not to mention that he outsmarted himself.

In his case, I doubt that takes much.

….

He’s a sneaky one, this guy.

One person like him wouldn’t really be noteworthy. Certainly not worth an editorial rant.

What’s interesting is that he’s just being explicit about something that a lot of people in this business say in less obvious ways. He’s unhappy about having to “pay” for something, and his unhappiness is somehow the fault of someone else.

They’re “bad” for not making him effortlessly happy.

He didn’t “pay” and then decide it wasn’t worth the price.  That’s an entirely different issue, and often a legitimate one.

He complained because the price existed at all.

I see people on the forums, regularly, whining and griping about having to sign up for a list, or pay actual cash money, or spend time or effort, or whatever… To get something they want.

Their reality checks have bounced.

TANSTAAFL, baby.

There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.

….

Nothing is free.

I give you this newsletter without a financial cost, but that doesn’t mean it’s “free.” You have to spend time to read it.

You have to think about the contents and how they fit with your personal goals. And you have to apply what you get from it in your business and your life.

That’s your cost.

You get something from that investment. Real improvements in your profits and lifestyle, more time for the things that matter to you, and the occasional tidbit that applies to more than just business.

Hopefully, those will all be significant returns on your effort.

My investment is the time and experience to learn the things I give you, the effort that goes into writing them, and the financial cost of the servers and miscellaneous software I use to send the emails out and deliver products.

What do I get out of it?

I try to make sure I offer paid products that will actually help you in your business. Some of you will see occasional offers as being good investments and buy them. That pays some bills.

Plus, I enjoy what I do, which pays in other ways.

Some people don’t have the money for the products yet, but the information in the newsletter helps them to move forward. Those people get to learn without spending cash, but they still have to put in the effort, or it’s a waste of time.

That’s why I like email publishing, by the way. The more advanced people get the tools to get ahead even faster, and they help make it possible for guys like me to give the information to those who are not as far along in their situations yet.

It democratizes the growth process. It lets everyone get what they need as a base, from which they can earn more, do more, and be more.

Hopefully, everyone who puts something in gets a lot more out.

That works for me.

….

That is, by the way, where these guys outsmart themselves. Many of them just do it to feel like they got something over on someone. A few will grab and run, read the book, and feel a little smarter. Almost none of them will do the work of thinking that “Need to Know” requires.

Better than 90% of them will probably never read it.

Plus, they miss the other free stuff.

For instance, for those of you who signed up since the last issue and those who missed it… The 42-page report on creating an effective sales process for an online business.

It’s called, “Why Johnny Can’t Sell.” You can get that here:

http://talkbiz.com/sellmorestuff.php

That’s good stuff. When you’re done here, go read it.

….

Back to the Entitlement Kid.

When I mentioned this on a forum, a few people equated this guy with pirates and spammers. That’s a serious mistake.

Yes, there are sometimes overlapping attitudes among the three groups. This guy, though, genuinely believes that complete strangers are somehow responsible for providing him with effortless success and happiness. He believes that anyone who doesn’t give it to him – free, now and perfect – is actively preventing him from being a fulfilled person.

He doesn’t understand the value of your experience, skill and knowledge because he doesn’t have any of his own to compare it with.

He doesn’t value your time because he doesn’t do anything worthwhile with his.

If you don’t give this clown what he wants, he may just wander off in a self-pitying sulk. He may also start to scream and whine, accuse and malign, and generally act like he’s been abused and victimized.

He may even get self-righteous about his ridiculous demands and foolish expectations. That’s when this guy, who should be renting space from a woodchuck, rears his head and starts to act like he’s conquered the moral high ground.

He’ll prattle on at length, with warm-and-fuzzy sounding slogans and “humanitarian” cliches, in an effort to make the evil people who make him unhappy feel some guilt over their “greed.” If you don’t know what he’s really after, you might even be tempted to feel some sympathy for his position.

He wants you to feel responsible for making him happy.

Don’t bother. This guy is incapable of more than thin, momentary pleasure. Real happiness is beyond him.

The closest he gets to happy is when he’s tearing someone else down.

Why?

It makes him feel powerful, which lets him think he’s competent, for just that little while. But then he sees that you’ve survived and are back to building something valuable, and that there are too many people in the world who enjoy life for him to tear them all down.

Most of them give up on a given target after a while. Some get obsessed, and become the virtual equivalent of stalkers. Some hide behind the game of serial-refunder.

Some find more clever ways of masquerading their real motives.

They become “scam reporters” and “guru killers.”

Starting to see how this relates to you?

Do any of these guys look familiar?

….

One of the most common ways to spot these people is to look for any quote or comment that sounds like, “Information wants to be free.” It sounds profound, and most people don’t know how to argue the point.

They don’t know that what he’s saying is only part of the original context, and was stated by Steven Brand at a hacker’s conference some 25 years ago.

Here’s the full quote:

    “On the one hand information wants to be expensive,

     because it’s so valuable. The right information in the

     right place just changes your life. On the other hand,

     information wants to be free, because the cost of getting

     it out is getting lower and lower all the time. So you have

     these two fighting against each other.”

Very different meaning than these intellectually destitute frauds would have you believe.

The tension Brand refers to, by the way, is visible in the process I call commoditization of knowledge. I’ve mentioned it here before, so I won’t get into that again right now.

Understand that Brand doesn’t mean the word “want” literally in his presentation. He’s using it as shorthand for a natural social tendency of valuation.

Despite what the Entitlement Kid believes, information has no desires, any more than his socks do.

….

When these guys complain, they’re not just venting. They’re actively trying to put pressure on people, and get others to give them some degree of moral sanction.

Do not do it.

Give them nothing.

Unless you’ve got a high tolerance for bull droppings, and a well-developed ability to dismantle spurious logic, just ignore them.

Surprisingly, that is your best defense against these leeches.

Don’t ignore them in the sense of not responding. Ignore them in the way that says, “You do not exist, so you have no power in my world.”

If you can’t do that, laugh at them. Or, for fun, do both.

I didn’t bother wasting any time replying to this guy. I just got a chuckle at the idea that he thought he was accomplishing something. That his message was somehow going to convince me of some unstated belief, or annoy me, or whatever.

He’s powerful and clever in his fantasy world. I’m happy to let him play there.

Pleasant dreams, Kid.

….

There will be times when these ‘people’ will forcibly intrude on your existence. They just don’t always have the brains needed to keep their mouths shut, and they have to announce their idiocy to the world.

This is a small percentage of any group. There are some of them reading this email right now. Some others will have it shoved in their faces in the form of forwards or other reprinting.

This next part is addressed to these tiny creatures.

….

To every person out there who thinks about price and ignores value, I have some advice:

If you don’t want it bad enough to pay the asked price, or if you just can’t afford it… Learn to do without.

If you’re not willing to put in the effort and investment to have a business of your own… Get a job. Or starve.

If you’re not willing to invest the attention required for healthy relationships… Be alone.

If you’re unwilling to research, read and think to improve your understanding… Remain ignorant.

Those are all valid choices.

Just don’t whine at the rest of us because you don’t have what you’re unwilling to earn.

TANSTAAFL, baby.

We don’t owe you a thing.

About the Guest Author: Paul Myers is the author of one of the longest running online marketing ezines.  You can get the full scoop on Paul’s great ezine at http://www.talkbiznews.com

 

Monthly Massage Marketing Tip 

 

This month I’ve decided to cover one of the biggest holidays of the year that happens within the next month: Mothers Day.  While other holidays might get more publicity, it’s been my experience that Mothers Day is often one of the top 2 or 3 gift certificate sales periods of the year.

If you aren’t already planning to do a Mothers Day promotion, then hopefully you’ll get some ideas from this article. 

Of course, if you don’t even offering gift certificates in your massage practice, then you are making a *huge* mistake! (Gift certificates are such a vital client attraction and sales-producing weapon that I dedicated an entire chapter in my massage marketing manual Help Your MASSAGE Practice strictly on gift certificates.)

When it comes to Mothers Day promotions, here are some general guidelines.

1) Your targeted prospects may be mothers but it’s not limited to strictly to them.  You will discover that other people will buy gift certificates to give to their moms… but they will also buy them for:

* mother-in-laws

* grandmothers

* mothers to be

A few years ago, a male client of mine came in and bought 4 one-hour massage gift certificates for his wife who was 6 months pregnant.  He wanted her to be able to come in and get a massage whenever she needed or wanted one. (Talk about a thoughtful gift!)

2) It needs to *look* like a gift.  If your gift certificate looks like you drew it on the back of an old envelope then you need to go back to the drawing board.  Better yet, get them printed by your local print shop or even a website like VistaPrint.com.  That leads into my next point.

3) Your gift certicate needs to look like it cost *a lot* of money… even if it didn’t. The little details like using high-quality linen or granite paper matter.  So do things like adding in foil envelopes, themed seals or ribbons, and even floral bouquets.

Here’s a simple test: Take one of your gift certificates and show it to a female friend.  Ask her how much she would guess you paid for it.  If she guesses less than you are planning to charge for the gift certificate, then you need to improve your gift certificate appearance.

4) Offer a holiday special promotion or package.  Ideally, it needs to be something that you don’t offer any other time of the year.

For example, one gift certificate promotion I did that did well for Mothers Day was a gift basket filled with high-quality bath products and the massage center’s gift certificate.  I made the package only available as a pre-order item so no one could order one the day before Mothers Day.  That’s because each basket was custom-made by a local supplier.  I struck a deal with a local supplier who agreed to produce the baskets based on the number of pre-orders we got.

5) Another option can be to package two or more services that you offer at a special price. 

For example, one of our popular Mothers Day promotions was a fr*ee paraffin hand treatment included with any one-hour massage gift certificate purchased.  Sometimes the buyer even kept the paraffin treatment for themselves instead of giving it with the massage gift certificate!

Be creative.  Have fun with your promotion.  Most of all, take action and do some type of promotion.  Your bank account will thank you.

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Got Feedback Or A Success Story You Would Like To Share?

Drop Michael an email at mike AT helpyourpractice DOT com and tell him now.

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That’s all for now. I look forward to talking with you next month.

Seize the Day,

Michael Humphreys

Help Your Practice

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Please forward this newsletter to them and help share the wealth!

Better yet, use the Recommend Us page on our website and tell them about Help Your Practice.

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