I Can’t Put an Expiry Date on My Gift Certificates

Massage Gift Certificates and Gift CardsOne of my favorite ways to build a practice is through gift certificates. Gift certificates are referrals… that are paid! It was the number one way I’ve used to bring new clients through the door.

If you want some fantastic ideas for selling gift certificates through the holiday season (or anytime really), you can read a recent article I wrote for Massage & Bodywork Magazine here:

My $18,000 Mistake: How I Learned to Love Gift Certificates

Every time I write about gift certificates I invariably get a number of emails from therapists who inform me that I should have told my readers that you can’t put an expiry date on them. What I normally say is be aware of regulations around the sale of gift certificates because regulations are not consistent from country to country or State to State.

In some places an expiry date is okay and some places not. And then there are all sort of other rules that exist in various places around the sale of gift certificates.

I don’t have the time to outline the current laws for all 50 states in the USA or the 13 provinces and territories in Canada, but my friend Laura Allen has written an excellent article on the topic a couple of years ago and I’ll defer to her expertise:

Gift Certificates and Gift Cards By Laura Allen

For more specific details, here is a table showing regulations by state for the USA for gift certificates and gift cards. Use as a reference to determine the statutes around gift certificate expiration in your jurisdiction:

Massage Gift Certificate Laws by State

And if this information is helpful to you, please share this post on one of your social media sites. I’m sure others will find it helpful too. Just use one of the buttons on the right hand side of this page.

As well, if you are looking for some great looking gift certificates to have on hand for customers this Christmas, check out what’s available at BodyworkBiz:

http://bodyworkbiz.com/giftcerts.php

massage-gift-certificates

Click here for details or to order now

Note: Because we’re getting very close to the holiday season, for fastest delivery I’d suggest that you go with the default template instead of using custom printing. We will likely be able to get them to your doorstep in a week, but at this busy holiday time we can’t guarantee delivery times.

My $18,000 Mistake

LoveGiftCertificatesMy latest article was just released in Massage & Bodywork Magazine. I originally titled the article “How to Sell 300 Gift Certificates”, but the editor changed it to the much better title of “How I Learned to Love Gift Certificates: My $18,000 Mistake.”

It’s not that I enjoy making $18,000 mistakes, but it does speak to a certain truth:

Experience is the best teacher, but the tuition is outrageously expensive!

I’ve learned that lesson long ago, which is why I make considerable investments in my education now. For example, I just invested $800 on an online course about doing webinars. I’ve done dozens of my own webinars and have produced hundreds through World Massage Conference. I believe I even hold the record for the most registrants for a massage webinar.  So why would I spend (some may say waste) $800 on a course about something I’m probably more knowledgeable about than anyone in the profession?

It’s because I’m done with making $18,000 mistakes. (And by the way, that’s not my most costly mistake; it’s just one of many.) I’d rather have that money in my pocket than see it go down the toilet as a lost opportunity. If I take just one idea from this webinar course and increase my sales by 1%, 3%, 5% or 10%, I’ve made my money back many times over with a lot less wasted time, energy and money, not to mention a lot less stress.

Taking a course that is going to help increase my sales is not an expense. It’s an investment. That’s the bottom line.

Having learned that lesson, I’m a little shocked and baffled when therapists tell me they’d rather learn how to market their practice on their own rather than spend $99 on a course that lays out the blueprint for you. It just doesn’t make sense.

As a recommendation for you, here are some of the most useful/popular courses at BodyworkBiz:

60 Clients in 60 Days

I see a lot of copycats of this program (“Five clients in 10 days”, “10 Clients in 30 Days”, etc.) online right now, so it must be good. This has got to be the easiest way to build your practice fast, but it has to be done right. Do it wrong and you’ll find yourself in one of those costly mistake situations. This strategy is perfect for therapists who have little money, but lots of open slots in their appointment book. It’s all laid out for you step-by-step and week by week. You can do the whole thing and move your practice to a whole new level in just 60 days. Get it here: http://bodyworkbiz.com/60days.php

Fill Your Practice 101

This gives you a broader strategic approach to building your practice. Perfect for someone who has a relatively healthy practice and who wants to solidify their position and be more effective than they already are. It’s a complete marketing education in one course. Every therapist should take this course early on in their career. Information here: http://bodyworkbiz.com/fill.php

Chair Massage Marketing 101

If you are interested in the least bit in doing chair massage, either as a business or to generate more clients for your practice, you must get this course. I pioneered chair massage in Canada and have done chair massage for the biggest corporations in Canada, including IBM, Dell, Kellloggs, Levi Strauss, every major bank, hospitals, most major law firms and hundreds more. This is the most comprehensive course on the topic you’ll find anywhere on earth: http://bodyworkbiz.com/101day.php

Over 20 years ago I didn’t have anyone to guide me when I started my practice. You get to benefit from the expensive “learning experiences” I’ve had. Instead of making $18,000 mistakes, invest in learning how to do it right from the start.

“Experience is the best teacher, but a fool will learn from no other.” ~Benjamin Franklin

Please share this post with your friends.

Does Your Facebook Cover Comply with the New Terms

The terms related to your Cover image and advertising images came into effect January 15th. Are you in compliance with these new conditions. In short, you cannot have more than 20% text on your Cover image, including your logo. This visual guide from ShortStack shows you what 20% looks like.

If you need a professional Cover designed to comply with the new terms you can have one  custom designed here: http://bodyworkbiz.com/facebook_cover_photo

Here are some examples of some recently designed Covers…

 

If you need a professional Cover designed to comply with the new terms you can have one  custom designed here: http://bodyworkbiz.com/facebook_cover_photo

How much should you pay to have a ____ designed?

Here’s a question that I often get asked and that I often ask myself: How much should I pay to have a ________ designed? You fill in the blank: business card, logo, website, graphic, etc.

I have someone that does design for me on staff full time now, but in the past I would go online when I need something done like a logo and look around for prices and would find just a crazy range to choose from. I would be paralyzed wondering what options to choose and wondering what I would get for my money… because it’s like a haircut: you don’t really know until the damage is done.

Just recently however I came across a great blog post on Graphic Design: What’s a Good Designer Worth These Days?.

There are no definitive answers, but the author, a designer, gives some good practical advice and some general price ranges so at least you know you are in the ballpark.

The average hourly fee for a graphic designer according to a national Canadian survey is $73/hr for general graphic design  $83/hr for brand strategy (logos, identity pieces), and  $76/hr for web design.

What’s that translate to in terms of various types of design jobs? Here’s a summary from the author:

Logo design
Good range:$900 to $3,000
Bare minimum: $300 to $800

Business card design
Good range: $350 to $1500
Bare Minimum: $100

Brochure design
Good range: $400 to $1800
Bare Minimum: $200

Book cover design
Good range: $500 to $2500
Bare Minimum: $200

Website design
Good range: $1000 to $10,000+
Bare Minimum: $400

 

Does Facebook Marketing Really Work?

Social media is about building relationships. It’s not a direct sales tool and anyone expecting quick and immediate results will be disappointed.

I’ve talked in a general way about the role of social media as a marketing tool in other posts, but decided to write a short blurb around the value of social media after being asked by a therapist if it’s really possible to get clients from Facebook.

Those who use Facebook for business tend to focus on conversation to develop relationships with their Fans. That’s what you’re supposed to do right? Yes and no. Businesses tend to communicate about what people usually want talk about: pets, restaurants, movies, life, etc. People who focus on this kind of approach get Fans and develop relationships with people who like those topics.

The problem is that those Fans aren’t interested in what they have to sell. So when the conversation moves to business, their Fans are largely non-responsive. This makes social media seem like a waste of time. The feeling is, “I’ve spent a lot of time posting and it just doesn’t work. I’m not seeing any clients as a result of this.”

Those who make money on social media focus on providing their audience with info they need or want to know about around the subject of their expertise. There is still conversation, but it revolves around this expertise.

If you focus purely on creating conversation to build relationships, you turn your followers into friends who like you but who don’t buy from you. If you focus on content and the conversations that arise from that you develop trust and become an expert. This turns into a business relationship that will result in sales.

Let’s face it: Ultimately, you hire a mechanic because they can fix your car, not because they are your friend. So stop trying to make friends and instead start building business relationships. Don’t be a peer to your Facebook audience; Be their leader, the person they turn to for advice.

So does Facebook marketing really work? It can if it’s done in the right way. A couple of weeks ago I attended a webinar by Amy Porter and I can tell you with a certainty that I’ve made money as a direct result of implementing a couple of suggestions that were easy to do.

I’ve purchased her Facebook Influence course  (it’s less than $100 bucks) and will be implementing many of the strategies she outlines in a systematic way in the new year. I’ll post some of my results here on the blog. I can say confidently that if I take the approach I’ve outlined above as I implement her tactics I’ll definitely be able to increase my sales.

My Facebook Page Sucks

Well, this is embarrassing!

I’m supposed to be the king (actually the Grand Massage Poobah) of massage marketing and an expert on social media. I hold the record for the most registrants for a massage webinar, which just happened to be about Facebook marketing.

But.. I’ve let things slide.

With all the changes that happened on Facebook this year, I stopped trying to keep up. And now… there’s no other way to say this… my Facebook Page sucks!

So the teacher is going to become the student. I’ve purchased Amy Porter’s Facebook Influence course and I’m going to go through it step-by-step in the new year. Why not pick up this course for yourself and go through it with me? It may be the best purchase you make this year:

http://bit.ly/QOzOG7 (affiliate link)

Why take this course?

Let me show you why. I attended Amy’s free webinar a couple weeks ago. Look at this report on activity on my Facebook Page. Can you tell when I attended the webinar?

This was from just one simple idea that I implemented from her free webinar and it probably took me easily less than 30 minutes. (By the way, she probably has a replay of the webinar available if you want to check it out.)

This is why I’ve been sending emails to the BodyworkBiz subscribers about the course and why I think you should buy it. It’s only $99 bucks and if you have a Facebook Page it may be the best investment you make all year.

Pick it up and join me in stepping up your Facebook game in the new year.

http://bit.ly/QOzOG7

The New Facebook Marketing

Special announcement: Free Facebook Marketing webinar with expert Amy Porter.

To register for free, go to:
http://www2.onlinemeetingnow.com/register/?id=d0d3ae285a

Please share with your friends –>

If you want to grow your business, you have to be visible. You need to go where the crowds are. Even the biggest billboard in the desert is not going to bring clients into your practice. You need to get in front of people and right now there is no bigger gathering place than on Facebook.

Facebook is a powerhouse. Facebook has almost one billion users. Everyone has an account. Not only do they have accounts, but most users log in on a regular basis to connect with friends, family, colleagues and businesses they love.

So after having a website and email list, Facebook is the next logical place to focus your marketing efforts.

But how do you do it?

If you are like most therapists you are probably finding that the results you are getting from the time you spend on Facebook are not quite what you’d like them to be. Things were different four years ago and it didn’t take much knowledge or time to get found in Facebook and to communicate with clients and prospective clients.

It’s not that Facebook has become ineffective. It’s just that things have changed. To avoid wasting your time, you need focus your time and energy in the Facebook activities that are most effective.

So how do you use Facebook effectively to get clients? What works and what doesn’t?

I have a hard time keeping up with the changes, so there are two experts who I turn to when I need Facebook answers: Mari Smith and Amy Porter. I recognized that I needed to update my Facebook marketing activities personally, so I attended a webinar by one of those women, Amy Porter, last week to get up to speed.

As always, I’m blown away with Amy’s knowledge. She eats and breathes Facebook and knows it like nobody else. And more importantly, she knows how to promote your business on Facebook in the most effective, lowest cost way possible.

So I arranged for you to get access to the same webinar I attended for free. It is more than worth an hour out of your day to learn about using Facebook in a powerful and effective way.

The webinar is free and you can register here:

http://www2.onlinemeetingnow.com/register/?id=d0d3ae285a

This webinar coincides with the release of a new course she’s offering: Facebook Influence 2.0. I’ve purchased the course myself and am going to go through it systematically in the New Year. I’d suggest you get your hands on it too. Right now through this launch period it’s only $99.

Here’s the link to the Facebook Influence 2.0 course:

http://bodyworkbz.fbinfl.hop.clickbank.net

That’s an affiliate link, so if you purchase the course I’ll get a commission on the sale which I’ll use to buy a big yacht and sail around the world (right after I learn how to swim).

I hope you’ll take advantage of Amy’s course so you can maximize your own results from Facebook, but even if you decide not to get the course, at the very least attend the free webinar. She does her webinars like I do: They are not sales pitches; they are packed with information that you can use immediately to build your practice.

Save your spot in this free Facebook webinar now:

http://www2.onlinemeetingnow.com/register/?id=d0d3ae285a

See you there,

Eric Brown, Grand MassagePoobah
www.bodyworkbiz.com

PS As I begin implementing the strategies in the course starting in January, I’ll report back to you with my results. Why not do the course with me and we’ll compare notes.

Time for Your Massage Gift Certificate Promotion

I’d highly suggest you do a special gift certificate promotion at least once a year. Here is one that I used every December to sell hundreds of gift certificates. I’ve heard of a number of therapists using a similar type of strategy technique with some phenomenal results.

Around holiday time I send each client a number of gift certificates with a covering letter. The letter explains that I am going to make holiday gift shopping extremely easy. For their convenience, I’ve enclosed a number of gift certificates.

To purchase them, all they need to do is call the office for an authorization number that they must print on the certificate.

If you want a surge of new clients into your office, then offer these certificates at a significant discount on the condition that they are given to people that have not seen you before. If you decide to do this I’d suggest your print the terms and conditions right on the gift certificates: “For first time clients only. Limit of one gift certificate per client.”

In exchange for a deeply discounted price, the expiry date is shortened to the end of February. Why? I would explain to clients that as with most businesses, January and February are typically slower months and normally we would need to put money into advertising to fill our appointment books. We would prefer to spend the money we would normally use for advertising on our clients and this is a way for us to do that.

If our clients purchased the certificates on their next visit instead of calling in for an authorization code, we would also give them our deluxe certificates instead of the low quality ones that went out with the letter.

If they wanted to purchase certificates for existing clients or without conditions, we offered them a 10% discount and extended the expiry date.

I first heard of a similar type of promotion being done by a renowned clinic in Los Angeles. At the time, the clinic had a base of 5,000 clients (largely upscale) and reportedly sold 5,000 certificates in the six weeks around Christmas.

Their offer was a little simpler than mine. And that really is preferable. It seems as though you can never make things simple enough.

As a cost savings measure, when you are mailing out large numbers of gift certificates in this kind of promotion, it is best to have some cheaply printed instead of using the more expensive ones. That way you can also custom print your conditions or authorization number space right on the certificate. One year I printed up about 3,000 two-color gift certificates on glossy card stock for about ten cents per piece at my local printer.

My suggestion when doing gift certificate promotions is to sell a smaller time frame (i.e. offer a half hour massage gift instead of an hour) simply because it’s less expensive. There’s much less resistance to spending $30 compared to $60, for example. So you’ll find that you sell more. If your client wants to buy a longer massage, that’s great, but you can always upsell to a larger time frame to the user when it’s redeemed.

Put an upgrade offer right on the certificate. For example, offer to upgrade from 30 minutes to an hour for only $30 more. Print this right on the bottom of the gift certificate: “This massage can be upgraded to a full hour for only $30.”

Consistently we found that 80% of people paid for the upgrade! Why did so many upgrade? From the recipient’s perspective, they were paying only $30 for a $70 massage. What a deal!

So think about what gift certificate promotion you can do as the holidays approach. Christmas season will be your highest gift sale period, so that would be the one to focus on. However, it’s getting down to crunch time, so you may not have time to initiate this type of promotion.

At the very least, take your gift certificates out of your drawer, dust them off, display them on your reception desk and ask clients if they’d like to purchase a massage for anyone for Christmas. It’s super simple and… clients will buy them!

Take care,

Eric Brown, Grand Massage Poobah

www.bodyworkbiz.com

Need more gift certificate ideas?

Then pick up the “Sell Gift Certificates” guide at BodyworkBiz. It’s only $39 and will give you tips for selling hundreds of gift certificates each year. I’ll send the first ten people who buy the course a mixed pack of 20 beautiful full color gift certificates from BodyworkBiz (normally $45) for free. I’ll pick out a variety of certificates that are available on the site, so you can check them out firsthand.

Pick up the “Sell Gift Certificates” guide now and I’ll get your little bonus package of gift certificates in the mail right away.

http://bodyworkbiz.com/massage-gift-certificates.php

Note: Offer available for residents of USA and Canada only.

Haiku Deck Forces You to Create Better Presentations

At World Massage Conference we feature webinars from about 50 presenters each year. These are some of the most respected educators in the industry, some of the most innovative thinkers and the people that move the profession forward.

Along with the presenters comes their PowerPoint presentations. And over the years, we’ve seen it all over the years: The good, the bad and the ugly.

If you’ve seen the presentations by myself or any of the ABMP-produced sessions, you are seeing what are considered best practices in presentation design. The basic idea behind effective  PowerPoint design is this: Keep it simple!

This is hard for many presenters to do. It’s a surprisingly difficult task to maintain visual simplicity in a way that has impact. And it takes hours and hours to put together.

There’s help. Recognizing the difficulty of the task, a developer has created Haiku Deck, an app that pretty much forces you to do better presentations.

If you are a presenter check out this free app as an alternative to PowerPoint:

http://haikudeck.com/

 

 

Getting Stuff Done Cheap

Yes, I’m still talking about blogs. If you’re enjoying this, great. If not, you won’t have to suffer much longer and I am talking about other topics as well occasionally.

In a previous post about installing WordPress on your site, I gave you a link to a site where someone would install your WordPress blog for you for just five dollars!

Sometimes there are little things you need done, like a blog installed, an image created, an article written or a press release distributed.  These are not big jobs, but they need to get done and quite frankly they’re a bit of a hassle.

One of the first places I go when I need something like this done is Fiverr.com. There are thousands of workers who are experts in their particular areas and who will do these little jobs for just five bucks!

It’s really simple to order these jobs.

  1. Go to www.fiverr.com
  2. Type the kind of job you need done in the search box
  3. Sort the results by “Rating” (you’ll see the rating link near the top of the results
  4. Take a look for customer reviews
  5. Order your gig (you can pay via PayPal)
  6. Keep an eye on your inbox for any special instructions and forward the info to the worker
There is no guarantee for these jobs. So what happens if the work doesn’t meet your expectations? Well… suck it up. It only cost five bucks to give it a try.
For the most part, the workers on the site have met my expectations and I’ve been delighted with the work I’ve had done.