To complement “Holiday Retail Success” in the October 2016 issue of MASSAGE Magazine.

box with red ribbon for holiday marketing

The winter holidays are almost here—and now is the time to start planning your marketing efforts for the busy shopping months ahead.

Whether clients stop by for a massage for holiday stress relief or to buy last-minute massage gift cards for friends and family, you can make sure your services stay at the top of their minds by taking a festive, creative approach to marketing your practice.

So many people dread the gift-purchasing process—they either don’t have sufficient time to shop or aren’t really sure what to buy. You can ease this discomfort by stocking wellness-oriented gift items and gift certificates—these are perfect gifts, even for the buyer themselves.

Keep in mind that the holiday season is when the highest volume of gift certificates are sold.

Now is the time to plan creative and fun activities to celebrate the season, express appreciation to your clients, expand your clientele base, and increase your revenue stream.


think big, shop small

Start Your Holiday Marketing Early

Ideally, start planting the seeds of the gift-giving season in September or October. Keep it simple with a statement in your promotional materials such as, “Avoid the holiday crunch by giving the gift of health. We offer a selection of wellness products and services.”

As the holiday seasons approach, increase your promotional campaigns until they’re in full force by the beginning of November. For instance, you can remind people that this is the perfect time to express their gratitude and give thanks with gifts of health.

Host your own event on Black Friday. You can even put a fun spin on it by offering mini-sessions (chair massage would be ideal) with a minimum product and/or gift certificate purchase.

Plan a special promotion for Small Business Saturday. This event, on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, was first established in 2010 as a national movement to drive shoppers to local merchants across the U.S. It continues to grow each year, with increasing numbers of individuals and local organizations pledging to support the day.

In 2014, American Express helped businesses promote themselves with free online personalized ads. In 2015, 95 million people shopped at small businesses. Check out these links for more information:

If you sell products or gift certificates online, you can also design a Cyber Monday campaign.

As the December holidays near, ramp up your campaigns with friendly reminders of how easy it is for clients to get their shopping done at your establishment.


red bow around finger

Create—and Maintain—Social Buzz

Announce your holiday specials early and often. Promote products via social networking—your Facebook business page, Twitter, Pinterest and other social sites—your website, affiliate sites and email newsletters.

Using these channels affords you the opportunity to go into depth about products, include a full-color photo of the items, and even engage in conversation about the items. The key to successful social networking is building relationships.

When posting about products on social networking sites, talk about why you use the product and include some testimonials from clients. Engage your readers. Do surveys, pose questions, and ask for feedback and ideas.


holiday savings

Other Holiday Marketing Ideas

Other effective holiday marketing ideas include:

  • Give talks to the public and mention your specials;
  • Take out ads in local print publications;
  • Place posters in bookstores, health food stores, gyms, sports centers, and any place you can find your target clientele;
  • Create a holiday gift packages flyer to give current and prospective clients. Shoot and scan photos of your gift packages. Then on the back of the page print the benefits, prices and contact information for ordering;
  • Post signs in your office waiting room, dressing area and restroom advertising your specials and gift cards;
  • Mail regular or oversized postcards announcing your holiday product and/or service bundles. Despite all of today’s electronic communication, direct mail is still a very effective tool.


gift cardIdeas for Bundles and Discounts

Many therapists offer product bundles, special discounts, or added-value services to their current clients to show their appreciation and jump-start the holiday spirit. You’ll want to offer gift options in several price ranges and offer several types of package plans, particularly if you don’t ordinarily do this.

Some holiday incentive ideas are:

  • Get a free, small-sized container of a product with the purchase of a larger size of the same item.
  • Purchase a 1-hour massage gift certificate and you can purchase another one at half price.
  • Purchase five 1-hour massage gift certificates and receive a basket filled with health-related products, a large plant or a wreath.
  • For every two 1-hour massage gift certificates you buy, you receive a free half-hour massage gift certificate.
  • Buy five 1.5-hour massage gift certificates for the price of five 1-hour massage gift certificates.
  • Receive a free product (with a retail value under $15) with every gift certificate purchase.
  • Buy three 1-hour massage gift certificates and receive a free 1-hour massage gift certificate.
  • Buy 10 1-hour massage gift certificates and receive a certificate for dinner for two at [insert the name of a restaurant (or even offer several options)].
  • Tie a ribbon around a number of certificates (let’s say 10), attaching a colorful note that says something like, “Gifts for Others,” then wrap some certificates (perhaps two) and attach another colorful note that says, “And I get this!”


Promote Your Specials

Mention your holiday services and promotions in all your marketing materials, particularly your website, social media sites, email blasts, brochures, flyers and advertisements. If you distribute a newsletter, include a notice about gift bundles and gift certificate sales in every issue.

Tactful, tasteful reminders regarding availability are always appreciated. Remember, this doesn’t need to be limited to seasonal sales; gift certificates, appreciation gifts and retail promotions can be an integral part of a year-round marketing program.


treat yourself

Phrases that Inspire Purchases

  • Give the gift of health.
  • Your one-stop shop for gifts they’ll love.
  • Gifts they will love—and are good for them!
  • Massage is the one-size-fits-all gift.
  • Massage guarantees the recipient at least one hour to relax and be the center of the universe.
  • Massage is not a gift that sits on a shelf collecting dust.
  • Massage is a creative, out-of-the-ordinary gift.
  • Relax your way through the holiday season with massage.
  • Enjoy the fruits of your hard work. Treat yourself this holiday with massage.
  • Give yourself and others the gift of ahhh this holiday!


couple gift shopping

More Facts to Fuel Your Holiday Marketing Efforts

Using the National Retail Federation survey data for 2015, FindTheData compiled fascinating facts about the holiday season and included them in the online article, “From Spending to Celebrating: The 2015 Holiday Season in 25 Stats.”

Here are a few facts that can help you plan your holiday retail campaign:

  • The average person spent about $800 during the holidays ($600 on gifts for others, $200 on decorations and food).
  • 77 percent of people took advantage of deals for themselves.
  • 46 percent of holiday shopping happened online, with 21 percent of shoppers using mobile devices.
  • More than 50 percent of people actually want gift cards.
  • While some people are savvy shoppers and purchase gifts throughout the year, the majority wait to buy gifts until the holiday season is in full swing. Here’s when consumers start their holiday shopping:
    • Before September: Men, 9.3 percent; Women, 15.8 percent
    • September: Men, 5.3 percent; Women, 8.2 percent
    • October: Men, 19.5 percent; Women, 21 percent
    • November: Men, 43.3 percent; Women, 39.9 percent
    • First two weeks of December: Men, 18.4 percent; Women, 12.7 percent
    • Last two weeks of December: Men, 4.2 percent; Women, 2.4 percent

Have fun, increase your income, and support your clients in this gift-giving season.


Cherie Sohnen-MoeAbout the Author

Cherie Sohnen-Moe is an author, business coach, international workshop leader, and successful business owner. She was a massage practitioner and holistic health educator since 1978; she is the author of Business Mastery and Present Yourself Powerfully, and co-author of The Ethics of Touch. She is a founding member and serves as the President of the Alliance for Massage Therapy Education. Sohnen-Moe wrote “Holiday Retail Success” for the October 2016 issue of MASSAGE Magazine.