Build your practice by increasing gift-certificate redemption

Turn Gift Recipients into Clients, by Diana Moore, MASSAGE Magazine Business TipWhen gift certificates aren’t redeemed, you might be tempted to think, “Great! Free money.” But it’s really a missed opportunity for a new massage client and the income that a satisfied regular client contributes over time.

Here are some tips that may help increase redemption.

• Give recipients a comfortable way to get to know more about you before they schedule.
Include a self-addressed, stamped postcard with each gift certificate sold. Say something, such as, “You’ve received a wonderful gift. I look forward to meeting you!” Include a checklist for receiving more information before the session that includes your newsletter and/or brochures on particular topics, such as massage for women, stress or pain, or a technique, such as hot stone or reflexology. Encourage them to mail the card back.

• Deal creatively with the tendency to delay using a gift certificate.
Give recipients an incentive to use the certificate sooner rather than later. For example, include a coupon that offers an additional gift of a Valentine’s goodie basket or an opportunity to enter their name in a drawing for a free spa treatment if they book before the end of February.

• Make the appointment for them.
If it seems appropriate, ask purchasers if they would like you to make an appointment for the recipient and write the appointment date on the gift certificate. Include a note saying, “Please call if you would like to adjust the time of your session.”

• Use the expiration line to extend your goodwill.
Some states, such as California, have passed laws against using expiration dates. In this case—or just as a way to establish a friendly, caring tone—write a message on the expiration line, such as, “There’s no expiration on the gift of good health.”

• At some point in the year, send a card to purchasers whose gifts of massage haven’t been redeemed. Include your business card and a message, such as, “As a reminder, please pass my card along to the special person to whom you gave the gift of massage. I understand people may sometimes be reluctant to get a massage from someone they don’t know, so let them know I invite them to come in for a chair or foot massage if they would prefer.”

By extending a caring welcome before recipients even meet you, you may find your rate of gift-certificate redemption increases—which can also mean a boost in happy regular clients!

Diana Moore was a massage therapist for 14 years and is the writer for Natural Touch Marketing™ for the Healing Arts ( Natural Touch Marketing offers the most complete and varied set of professional tools to reach out to clients and community—not by being a salesperson, but by showing you care. Visit to read other articles by Moore and to find many more resources for marketing your massage business.