by Stephen A. Kreger, L.M.T.

How to Dramatically Increase Gift Certificate Sales, MASSAGE Magazine

People in our society are extremely busy. Most households have two incomes and the workweek has jumped to 60 to 70 hours; this is just to maintain our personal overhead and keep our job. Sad, but true. Most people just don’t have the capacity to keep up with every occasion greeting card companies can come up with. This is an excellent situation for massage therapists. If you make it easy for clients, they will lead a path to your door. We designed a marketing piece that does just that.

The first section of this marketing piece provides a “reason” for sending this piece. It can be that you have a new service, new location or it just happens to address one of the aforementioned occasions. (i.e., Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, etc.). The second section provides an appeal to their logic with a paragraph that states an obvious situation that will get them shaking their head in a “yes” motion and includes a solution for them via this marketing piece. Third is a list of your services. Finally, there is a blank gift certificate that is about the size of a No. 10 envelope. This is the solution.

The gift certificate looks very typical with the exception of the lower left corner. It contains an area for an activation code. Here are the steps you take to utilize this promotion:

  1. Customize the marketing piece to your business.
  2. Print about 500 of these on letter size, 60-pound cover stock paper. This paper runs about $8 per 250 sheet ream, but looks much nicer.
  3. Mail and give out this piece anywhere you can.
  4. Prepare a code sheet with sequential numbers.

The people that receive this will keep it in their desk, stick it to the fridge, put it in the glove box of the car, etc. It doesn’t matter where they keep it. Sooner or later they will have a situation where they need a last-minute gift. “Oh no, it’s 5 p.m. on Valentine’s Day. I haven’t picked up a gift yet and there’s not a rose or piece of chocolate left in town!

“But wait, I have that gift certificate for a massage in my desk!” They call you and tell you which services they wish to purchase. You give them a total and get their credit card number. (You should be accepting credit cards. If you don’t, you should start.) You run the charge and give them a code number from the code sheet. They fill in the gift certificate, including the code number. The gift certificate is now activated. They simply detach the certificate from the bottom of the piece and stick it in an envelope. Total time: five minutes. They didn’t have to drive, shop, stand in line, etc. They have a great gift and you have the money.

I guarantee you will sell a lot of these gift certificates. The more you print and give out, the more likely someone will use it. You will get calls from people that received one of these six months ago and just now needs to use it. Keep in mind that only 65 percent of all gift certificates are redeemed; 35 percent of the money you collect on these is like finding money lying on the sidewalk. The people that receive the piece and don’t use it will still remember you so it makes a great advertising piece. This will cost you about $20 per 500 plus any postage for the ones you mail. It is a low-cost marketing piece that has a fantastic return–and you can do it all on your computer.

The first time we used this piece was just before the holidays. We mailed out 25, as a test, about two weeks before Christmas. By two days before Christmas, we sold 18. It has worked well every time we have used it. 

Stephen A. Kreger, L.M.T., is president of Island Software Company,