Five years ago a friend suggested I use Groupon to market my massage business. My response was exactly, “Hell no!” Recently, I took another look at the option since business was slow and I couldn’t seem to get new clients in the door. Initially, I felt desperate for even considering it, but decided to make the best of it. So far I am glad I did! Here is what I am doing and how it has worked the last two months.
Set up a membership practice.
I watched as so many chain massage establishments popped up all over the place thinking I would go out of business. Funny what throwing in the cards will empower you to do. I decided to emulate their business plan and start over. Keeping in mind, I have absolutely no marketing experience whatsoever, I began teaching myself. Learning to market takes time and that wasn’t something I had much of if I wanted to keep my head above water. The first thing I did was set up a membership pricing schedule. The image to left is what I came up with. Take a look at my member pricing. You will see that for one hour of light to moderate pressure massage as a member the cost is $52. Pretty reasonable as I made this the monthly membership price.
Set your Groupon price just below your monthly membership rate.
We all know that people searching on Groupon are looking for the best deal. Long term, this never helps the business and frankly, many businesses don’t see short term benefits of using Groupon either. Even though I really wanted more massage clients coming in the door, I really really didn’t want to work that hard for less than a quarter of my usual rates. Knowing that I would have to compete with other massage establishments setting super low prices on Groupon influenced my membership rate. I wanted to be able to set a daily deal price that would be close to my membership rate while not getting so many Grouponers that I would get overwhelmed with low paying work. I set my Groupon deal at $47. In Jacksonville, FL, that was between average and high compared to prices of other establishments. This meant I would not be over worked and since the Groupon price was so close to my membership price, I would have a better chance of converting members.
Set up rewards with your membership.
A membership isn’t just about lower prices on services. It’s about offering something extra and making members feel special and appreciated. What massage therapists do is left up to their own devices as each business should be an extension of the individual. I do highly suggest, however, to reward more for tips. Since I set my membership rate low and therefore the price of massage a bit low, I have to make up for it. I do this by rewarding higher tips with a higher percent back for discounts on future purchases. For example, when a member buys a massage, they get around 4% back on that purchase and this amount is accrued until they can pay for a full massage or product. Tips, on the other hand, yield 11.5% back for future purchases. This is intended to express the importance of tipping in the massage industry especially since the price of massage has dropped significantly over the last ten years.
I will be reporting back on my results of this endeavour every two to three months. To date, I am not overworked, I have converted 10% of daily deal clients into members instead of the typical 2 or 3%, and I get more hits to my website since people not buying the Groupon deal are still curious about my business. So far so exactly what I had hoped for.