The following article is about using social media such as Groupon or Living Social and how to succeed at growing and profiting from this new form of advertising. The “plan of action” is what I’ve learned through my business, and how my massage practice became profitable. Although this revolves around massage therapy any and all service oriented business’ can benefit from these tips. The basic theories can used in other business such as retail, with modifications to fit the individual type of business.
This is how I’ve met success with Groupon (and Living Social).
First, the new clients have to be treated with the same enthusiasm and work as any regular paying client. I know this should go without saying, but after talking to multiple Groupon clients who have tried other area massage establishments I learned the following:
They had a hard time getting the appointments once they informed the establishment they
were using a Groupon.
The massage was of poor quality. I know every therapist’s style and technique is different, and what one client likes another may not. But these clients have told me of conversations they either had or over heard at other establishments; “The therapists were not making enough so they didn’t care about performing to the best of their ability”. (this is just a consensus of what was relayed to me, and written in my own words)
I had actually just hired a therapist who was going to work for one of my competitors. She told me the owner of the establishment said they had to do some of the Groupon massages for free and some they would be paid only $5 per massage on the rest! I could see why the therapists didn’t care what type of massage they gave.
I generally do a half off Groupon for a 1 hour massage. Regular price $60, Groupon price $30. Groupon gets half of the revenue. That leaves me with the other half, meaning I only make $15 per Groupon massage. I have told my therapists they will get the full amount I get – meaning $15 per massage. They had the chance to turn down doing the Groupon massage, but both have a greed to do them at the discounted rate. I explained that I could not lose money by paying what their full commission on the regular price would be, but I was willing to pay them the full amount that I receive. Thus only breaking even for each Groupon massage done other than by myself.
This is what I learned from using the social marketing media. The economy is poor
(goes without saying) people are looking for bargains and deals wherever they can get them. The two social media marketing companies I use have great demographics – most income levels are in the 50K range, or higher. These people have disposable income but are watching how they are disposing of their income.
This is how I’ve capitalized on using this social marketing:
First, as I’ve said, the clients HAVE to be treated, AND the service HAS to be as good, as if
they were paying regular price. I’ve made my therapists understand this point. A side note – the tips from these clients using social marketing can be quite good; up to the price they had paid for the Groupon. This makes my therapists (and me) happy. I generally live on my tips alone for my personal daily expenses (gas, food, etc.) and I am building quite a personal savings account from these tips also.
Second, I get the new clients to either sign up for my monthly newsletter or accept a direct mailing (USPS). I don’t send more than one newsletter a month – I don’t like endless emails from companies as most people don’t. If you over send newsletters, emails, etc. people will just start ignoring them or un-subscribing or mark you a spam. In my newsletter I put a monthly special. It’s generally half off one type of massage or spa treatment. I also advertise this special on my website for the general public.
The “bargain hunters” like these specials and keep returning (as long as they had quality service). I generally have 40 to 50 clients a month returning on just these specials alone. Having a sale in the massage industry can only be successful with volume. If you only have a few clients getting the sale price, you are losing money. But if you have 30 to 40 or more clients coming in each month on the sale price, you are making money.
The thing that makes this work is volume. You need a good client base (which you get using the social marketing). Your service speaks for itself. I have pulled dozens of clients who had been regulars at other establishments but decided to try my service because of the initial offer from Groupon/ Living Social. These are all people I may never have had a chance to show what my services were like because they were (or thought they were) satisfied with their current establishment.
So, if you own a service industry or other business you can capitalize on the new social media marketing. You will get you name out to more people quicker than word of mouth, print ads, radio, even TV, because the social media marketing has the direct and full attention of their subscribers. Nobody pays attention to radio and TV commercials. The people who subscribe to these social networks do so because they are looking for goods and services at affordable rates. Social media Marketing can make your massage practice profitable, it is up to you to keep the client that you gained through social marketing.
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