We’ve all struggled with this question: What do you get the person who has everything? You can help your clients find something fast that will leave a lasting impression—while also increasing  your client retention.

The answer is gift certificates and packages.

Everyone has a gift certificate for their business. What will make yours stand out in the crowd? It’s time to think outside the gift box.

1. Gift Ideas: What to Add

There are different ways gift certificates are given as a gift to someone. Typically, a gift certificate is purchased for a particular service or a specific cash amount. Consider adding a product, or a few products, with the gift certificate to create a package for someone to give as a gift.

There are various types of products that can be added with a gift certificate. This is a small cost to you, and I recommend you offer it at no cost to the client.

This encourages the client to purchase a gift certificate from you as they are also getting a free gift. The free gift can be kept by the client or passed along with the gift certificate.

Various types of personal care products can be inexpensive to add to the gift package; a bottle of lotion or oil, a bar of soap, body wash, body scrub, lip balm, perfume roller or body spray, for example.

These can be small bottles that are similar to a travel size, 1 ounce to 4 ounces. These personal care items can be bought already made, or you can prepare them. If you prepare the items, create a label with the ingredients as well as your contact information.

2. Scents of the Season

If you use aromatherapy in your practice, you can create a custom blend for the client. The blend can be an oil, lotion, scrub, spritzer or perfume roller. This will be a great gift idea for friends, family or other loved ones.

Get the client involved in designing the blend. This helps them feel a strong connection to both the gift and to you for guiding them through a gift creation.

Offering a customized gift for someone also creates loyalty. Loyalty yields customer retention. Another aromatherapy option is to have a few custom blends already made that they can choose from; bliss, sleep, meditate, energize, etc.

Other gift ideas can be included with a gift certificate package.

Add an eye pillow, eye mask or eye gel pack to encourage relaxation.

Stress balls or small personal massage tools are other products for people who need additional self-care.

Small inspirational books are a nice touch to encourage positive thinking.

Create or provide instruction sheets for any product you add. All of the products should have your company name, logo and contact information on them for marketing purposes.

If you have a private practice, chances are you offer more than one service to your clients.

3. Other Custom Gift Ideas

Create a custom package that can be given as a gift. Include add on services to create a therapeutic experience.

For example: Initial consultation and customized 60-minute massage or initial consultation and massage with refreshing foot treatment. Find a way to creatively combine your services to make a Therapy Package.

If you work in a practice with other massage therapists or bodywork practitioners, ask them if they would be interested in adding a service to a gift certificate package. The client can create a Therapy Day with their gift package.

You can also create package pricing for client use or to be offered as a gift.

Contact restaurants nearby to see if they would offer a discount that you can add into the therapy experience package. Now, the client can have a day of therapy including massage and/or bodywork service and lunch or dinner.

Everyone wants to feel like they are getting the best deal for their money, both clients and practitioners.

From a business standpoint, the best client to have is the one that keeps coming back.

Client retention is crucial to your success. Look inside your wallet right now and count how many loyalty cards you have. While having a card seems like a great idea, everyone else has that great idea as well. Let’s jump outside the card box.

Our society today is ever increasing its instant gratification mentality.

So, let’s capitalize on that.

Create a loyalty program where a client schedules five appointments and the sixth is half off. Or, they can buy five appointments and the sixth is free. The free service could be offered as a gift certificate they can give to someone else.

Offer a 10 or 15 percent discount for scheduling an appointment at the end of their service. A 20 percent discount can be given for scheduling an appointment and paying at the time of scheduling.

Again, you can issue a gift certificate for that paid service that can be offered to someone else.

A critical key to the success of these programs is that you keep track of them for the client.

Certain online appointment programs will keep track of this or you need to apply old school techniques to this new school idea; write it down in their file or a notebook.

Including a gift bag, gift wrap and even ribbon is a nice finishing touch. Place the gift certificate and any products in a small gift bag with tissue paper.

Include a menu of your services, brochure and business card.

The gift is then ready to be given!


Rebecca Pollock, LMT, BCTMB, has been a massage therapist since 1997 and a massage therapy instructor since 2006. She ran Chicago College of Healing Arts for two years, was a committee member two years, and was school outreach specialist for five years for the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork. She is a member of the American Massage Therapy Association, president of the AMTA’s Southwest Chapter, and is the educational standards chair of the Florida State Massage Therapy Association.  She is a consultant for approved providers.