Nov 2008 Massage Marketing Newsletter

“From The Massage Table: Marketing and Motivation That Works”

November 30, 2008
Volume V, Issue 5

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@helpyourpractice.com to your address book and keep the spam filters from eating your subscription!

Check It Out: “Instant Massage Marketing”

Imagine if you could take proven massage marketing pieces and just add your own name and contact information…Well, imagine it no more!

Michael has taken some of the most successful massage marketing pieces from his own massage practice to create Instant Massage Marketing.

To learn more about Instant Massage Marketing, go to:
http://www.helpyourpractice.com/instant-massage-marketing.htm

Note: Due to a bad bout with the chest cold & bronchitis, I did not publish an issue of From The Massage in October.  It put me down and out for about a week… which was long enough to force me to play catch-up for the rest of the month.  That’s hopefully the last time I ever miss writing an issue.

Okay, onto this month’s newsletter!

Monthly Motivational Tip

Earlier this week, I happened to catch one of my favorite books that was done into a movie.  Now usually, when Hollywood gets their hands on a book, they slash and hack it into a 90 minute cliché that rarely resembles the original author’s work.

In this case, Dan Millman’s The Way of the Peaceful Warrior has been extremely well-preserved. My wife and I sat down and enjoyed every minute of the 2 hour movie.

In the movie, the wise, all-knowing guide is nicknamed “Socrates” and Nick Nolte gives a creditable performance in the role.

So what is one of the first things that Socrates tells his new student to do?

“Clean out your head trash”

What does that mean?  Well, my interpretation from reading the book a few times and now being reminded of it by the movie is this: Your head trash is all of your negative, self-limiting beliefs.  Every time you tell yourself that you can’t succeed at something, that’s your “head trash” talking.

So how do you take out the “trash”? Well, the book (and movie) show one way of doing it which I won’t reveal here.  What I will do, is share the two step method that worked for me.

First, I focused on putting positive information into my mind like biographies of successful people, inspirational quotes, and so on.  I stopped the negative junk that I had been previously mentally “snacking” on like watching the evening news, hanging out with negative people, reading the obituary pages every day, and so on.

Second, I started setting up small, easily reachable goals that were like stepping stones.  Stepping stones that would take me towards reaching a bigger positive goal.  For example, once I decided I wanted to take my private practice and convert it into a massage center; I started saving money to pay for the construction.  I cut some careless expenses like eating out every day to a minimum and get small goals of saving a little bit of money each week.  Eventually, I set bigger goals to reach until almost a year later; I had saved over $7000 towards my goal of opening a massage center.

There’s an old joke which I’m going to share because it has a ton of great wisdom in it.

“How do you eat an elephant?”

“One bite at a time.”

Setting goals for your business and personal life are the same way: Just take it one step at a time, step-by-step… inch-by-inch. Before you know it, you’ll have reached your goal!

Massage Marketing Monthly Tip

‘Tis the season for gift certificate sales! If you haven’t started your holiday gift certificate promotions (yes, promotions), now is the time.

Every savvy businessperson makes it a point to watch what his or her competitors are doing, and then trump them with a better product or service. I make it a point to do this in both the massage therapy field (near my office) and in the “massage marketing arena” (online world).

Anyway, let’s get started. First, a couple of major rules:

1) Don’t give away the farm.

Many massage therapists are quick to deeply discount their gift certificates or services.

This is a huge mistake!

Here’s the business rule of thumb to remember:

For every 1% discount you give, you need 10% more sales to just break even.

If you normally charge $60 for an hour gift certificate, and start running a promotion where you sell them for $30 each, you will need to sell twice as many gift certificates to make the same amount of money!

Here’s the numbers to back up my point:

Regular priced: $60 X 10 gift certificates sold = $600

Deep discounted price: $30 X 20 gift certificates sold = $600

I can’t speak for every massage therapist out there, but I’m a massage therapist because I love helping people and enjoy making more money (not less) doing massage every week.

2) If you want to make your holiday promotion special, offer special upgrades, which cost you practically nothing.

If you normally use a 6-month expiration date on your gift certificates, make a 1-year.

Offer complimentary products or services packaged in your special like a fr*ee hot stone upgrade or 10 minute chair massage certificate.

3) If they want the holiday discount rate, they have to buy the whole package.

This is one lesson that I had a hard time learning myself. Once, I had a gentleman come into to inquire about buying a massage gift certificate for Christmas. I quoted my fee and he exclaimed, “That’s Outrageous!”

I mentioned my holiday special on a four gift certificate package. He said he only wanted one. I countered by asking him what he thought was a “fair rate”. He suggested a rate that was lower than the local massage school’s student clinic charged. I politely declined. He told me that was all he could afford. I told him that I couldn’t offer a lower price without taking food off my family’s table.

I watched him walk out the door of my office in a huff…and climb behind the steering wheel of a brand new green Jaguar XJS!

Moral of the story: If you are giving a holiday discount, it needs to be for the price of your whole holiday package, not just one certificate.

Five Steps To Cheaply Market Your Holiday Gift Certificate Special

Step 1: If you have your own website, then you can jump ahead to step two.

If you don’t, you will need one in order to get the best bang for your buck. When it comes to domain name purchases or website hosting, there’s only one company I always recommend: Aplus.Net.

You can purchase a domain name for about $10 at http://www.aplus.net and their web hosting plans start as low as $5.95 per month. With Aplus, you can use their fr*ee web page building software or upload your own web pages. If you are familiar with building websites, you can use software like Microsoft FrontPage or Adobe Dreamweaver to create your site. A powerful fr*ee web design software is called NVU.  Simply do an internet search and you’ll find a downloadable version for your own use.

Another solid hosting option is using BuilderSpot. They have two websites where you can sign up:

http://www.builderspot.com and http://www.citymax.com

Check them both to see which one is currently running the cheaper special. For less than $20 per month, they can provide a full featured website including shopping cart. You can use the shopping cart to list the types of products or services you sell.

Best of all, you don’t need to learn HTML or web design! Just pick a design and use their web-based “word processor” to create your site.

Step 2: Sign up for a fr*ee Pay Pal account at http://www.paypal.com

With Pay Pal, your client can use any major credit card, debit card, or even electronic check to pay for their purchase. Pay Pal is owned by Ebay and is the largest web-based e-commerce processor.

Best of all, it costs you nothing to sign up and you only pay a small fee each time someone purchases something off your website with Pay Pal. Pay Pal is completely safe and secure, so your client’s financial information (and yours) will never shared, sold, or stolen.

Step 3: Set up Pay Pal on your website. If you go with BuilderSpot, their shopping cart is automatically setup to work with Pay Pal. Simply enter your Pay Pal account information, and you are ready to go.

If you use another web hosting service, like Aplus, you’ll need to create buttons in Pay Pal and then paste the HTML code into your web page. It’s not hard at all!

Step 4: Setup a version of your gift certificate online. Clients can print them out themselves or request the ones you carry in your office instead. Simply leave a spot on the online certificate where they must fill in an authorization code. That’s a code that they can only get from you after they have paid. If the certificate does not have a proper authorization code, then it’s not a valid certificate.

Step 5: Tell your clients how they can purchase your holiday special online or at your office. Do this with a mailing to clients (postcard or letter) and put up signs in your office.

Stuck For A Holiday Promotion Idea?

Here’s one I’ve used more than once over the years: Buy 4 regularly priced gift certificates, get the 5 th one free. Plus, I upgrade the expiration date from 6 months to a year fr*ee of charge and will mail the certificates for them if needed. Typically, maybe one or two clients ever ask me to mail the certificates for them each year.

Note: Gift certificates and holiday promotions are so important that Eric and I dedicated a full chapter on each of them in Help Your MASSAGE Practice. To learn more about Help Your MASSAGE Practice, please go here.

In closing, forget about being the low-priced therapist in town.  Someone will always be willing or able to work for less than you. I suggest focus on being the most skilled and offering the best customer service instead. It’s a powerful combination that many clients will love.  Your bank account will thank you!

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

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

That’s all for now. I look forward to talking with you again soon.

Seize the Day,

Michael Humphreys

Help Your Practice

P.S. Do you know someone who would enjoy reading this newsletter?

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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