For savvy massage spas and studios, ‘tis the season to build your business. That’s because veteran certified massage therapists and seasoned business owners know the holidays are the best days to market a classic gift: therapeutic massage.
In fact, the fourth quarter is often the industry’s busiest quarter for revenues among experienced massage studios. And the numbers go far beyond booked sessions. Instead, experienced massage therapists have capitalized on a chance to propel strong sales, drive future traffic and build tomorrow’s loyal customers by spreading the health and wellness message during the gift-giving season—and it comes conveniently packaged as a gift card.
Giving the gift of massage is a holiday marketing technique that has been perfected by the best in the industry. From Thanksgiving well into the new year, Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, the approach has stretched into a top marketing priority for those who can and do operate top massage studios.
The gift card
A recent survey revealed that 33 percent of customers across a national massage network were introduced to the business by a friend or relative, or received a gift card. So in preparation for the holidays, let the gift cards flow. Setting them by the phone, however, will only get you so far.
With cards available for purchase in massage studios or via your Web site, you must market their existence. Network with your local chamber, hang a window sign, focus a direct-mail effort and update any seasonal paid advertising. Adding a message that holiday gift cards are available is the real ticket to a stronger-than-average holiday season.
Giving massage is a one-size-fits-all gift consumers often won’t splurge on for themselves. But as a gift, they will happily accept it, and that’s where the door of opportunity opens. A casual acquaintance with your business can turn into a loyal patron, all because of the generosity of someone else.
Similarly, because gift cards are first and foremost purchased by existing clients who believe in your business, this holiday marketing program often comes with a built-in referral who can talk up your services.
So, how do you turn a Hallmark moment into a lifelong customer?
The big payoff to a thorough holiday marketing program is in the vast difference between perceived value (the cost someone paid for a gift card) and real value (the transforming way a client feels after a quality massage). The key isn’t just that one gift-card purchase, it’s the future purchases that can come from a client who wants and needs that experience again and again.
A recent study of customers from a national massage franchise showed that 92 percent felt pampered after getting a massage, 82 percent felt healthier from the experience and 76 percent considered getting a massage essential to their health and well-being. Those are statistics that can create repeat business.
And smart massage therapists or business owners who work hard to sell gift cards will work equally hard to match the gift’s recipient with the right therapist to create that kind of experience and future demand.
Don’t limit the potential of this business relationship by limiting the kind of massage on a gift card. Instead, your gift card should be open-minded, and the deadline to use it should be open-ended to capitalize on a one-time interaction with your business that could turn into multiple sessions or a membership from the same person.
Whether it’s a deep-tissue massage, Swedish massage, sports massage or other bodywork therapy, your flexibility with this gift and meeting your client’s busy schedule will go a long way to positioning your business for a number of visits.
In the end, the holiday season is a chance to put on the bells and whistles, line up your top therapists and do what you do so well at a time of year when people are craving an indoor appointment that adds meaning to their lives during the cold winter months.
When it comes to holiday marketing, promoting the real gifts your business can deliver in health and wellness can have you wrapped up in bookings with happy clients for weeks and months to come.
Scott Wendrych is the chief marketing officer for elements therapeutic massage (www.touchofelements.com), a national franchise network with 62 studios across 19 states.