I Am constantly being asked, “What is THE best way to market my practice?” The holiday season seems to generate this question more often than any other time of year. Alas, as much as I would love to give a concrete answer to that question, it is impossible. No one-size-fits-all formula works. The marketing venues you choose are best determined by your target market(s). The trick to marketing success is determining what is important to your potential clients and informing them how you can meet their needs and goals. Of course, some activities tend to be more effective than others.

Gift Certificates
Every year around November, Stan Goldman of Decatur, Georgia, sends out a season’s greetings letter offering discounts on gift certificates. What makes it work are the four blank gift certificates he includes with the letter. They’re blank in the sense that gift giver’s and recipient’s name have to be filled in, along with date of purchase and his own secret authorization code (which can be obtained by calling him with a promise to send money or bring it at the next visit). According to Goldman, “There’s something compelling about having the gift certificates in hand, along with a reminder that it’s an unusual gift.” Also, he includes the statement, “You Don’t Have To Fight The Mall Traffic!”

At the beginning of December, Llysa Holland of Seattle sends out postcards to her clients of the past 2 years, wishing them happy holidays, and offering a $5 discount on every gift certificate they purchase. These certificates must be purchased by January 6th. They can be used by the clients or given as gifts and are good for massage appointments throughout the year.

Client Gifts
Therapists often forget to add the most important recipients to their gift-giving list: their clients. During the holiday season, what better way to retain your existing client base than by giving them a thank you gift that supports your future business. Client’s gifts need not cost a lot. Be creative. Give small samples of massage or spa products your clients can use at home. Include your business card and even a discount toward a future service. You will be surprised by the follow up business this little gift generates for your practice. A small thank you goes a long way!

Holiday Retail
Provide retail options for your clients that make it easy for them to give to friends and family. Your retail display should offer ready to give products that are visually appealing. A simple gift box or organza bag can easily do the trick. You can easily generate new clients with these retail packages by including a business card and an invitation for an open house or a mini complementary massage to generate interest.

Holiday Treatments
Keep your practice at the top of the “to do” list by offering unique services that meet your current client’s holiday needs. Are your they crunched for time? Offer an express service that will help them unwind quickly and get back to their busy schedule. Do they need an escape? Put together a “getaway” package that incorporates several services like a stone massage, reflexology and scalp massage. If you offer spa services, now is a great time to offer holiday themed treatments using the scents of the season like cinnamon or cranberry.

Marketing Your Holiday Promotions
Relatively few practicing therapists actively promote themselves during the Holidays. Mention your holiday services and promotions in all your marketing materials particularly brochures, fliers, and advertisements. If you distribute a newsletter, print a notice about gift certificate sales in every issue. Tactful, tasteful reminders regarding availability are always appreciated. Don’t be limited to seasonal sales; gift certificates, appreciate gifts and retail promotions can be an integral part of a year-round marketing program.

About the Author
Cherie Sohnen-Moe is a trainer, consultant, author and successful business owner since 1978. Her company, Sohnen-Moe Associates, Inc., is a full-service personal and professional business consulting/coaching firm. She holds a degree in psychology from UCLA and has extensive experience in the areas of business management, training, and creative problem solving which combine well with her ability to support others to achieve what they want in life.