The Secret for Selling More Gift Certificates

There are two big benefits for massage therapists to sell more gift certificates – new clients and additional dollars received.  So why aren’t you selling more gift certificates?

It’s difficult to find a downside for selling more massage gift certificates. Consider some of the statistics around gift certificate sales:

  • 41% of customers trying a business for the first time do so because they received a gift certificate, that breaks down to 4 out of every 10 new customers!
  • More than half of them, roughly 55%, come back more than once
  • 7 out of every 10 gift certificate redeemers spent more,

What it boils down to is this: Massage therapists who sell more gift certificates should also have (a) more new clients, (b) more first-time clients who become returning clients, and (c) clients who spend more over the course of their time with you.


Ingredient #1 in the Secret for Selling More Gift Certificates  

Set goals.

As they say, “What gets measured, gets done.”  Goals must be specific and measurable, whether your metrics of choice are in numbers, percentages or dollars.  See the list below for some ideas about what kinds of goals you should set.

If this is your first foray into gift certificate sales goal-setting and tracking, keep it simple and focus on a few key numbers, such as staff participation, new clients acquired and overall revenue generated from gift certificate sales.


Ingredient #2 in the Secret for Selling More Gift Certificates 

Track the results of your practices’s gift certificate marketing investments.

If you can’t tie results to specific marketing efforts, you won’t know what’s working.  Here are some ways you can measure your massage gift certificate marketing results:

  • Overall and monthly, quarterly, etc. revenue attributed to sales of gift certificates
  • Number of gift certificates sold
  • Average amount of gift certificates
  • Percentage of staff (if you have any) who sell one or more gift certificates
  • Sales of gift certificates by staff
  • Percentage of customers buying gift certificates
  • Number of new clients acquired from gift certificates
  • Number of first time clients (attributed to gift certificate redemption) who return one or more times
  • Percentage of first time clients who become repeat clients
  • Number of gift certificate redeemers who purchase services, retail products and/or both


Ingredient #3 in the Secret for Selling More Gift Certificates 

Stop telling your clients that you have gift certificates.

Most massage practices promote gift certificates as though they believe customers don’t know they’re available.  So they continually remind customers that they sell them and put displays by the cash register, graphics on their websites and mention it in email newsletters.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret:  Consumers expect everyone they do business with to sell gift certificates.

Your clients know you have gift certificates. Therefore, if they aren’t buying your gift certificates, it’s not because they don’t know you have them!

To sell more gift certificates, you don’t need to alert your clients to their existence; rather, you need to persuade them to buy them.  They need to be convinced that your massage gift certificates are thoughtful and appropriate present for the person they’re buying for.

They need to know who to give them to.

They need to know that you’re grateful for their referrals – whether those new clients come strictly via word of mouth or because they received a gift certificate.  They need to feel as good about giving your gift certificates to their co-workers, friends and loved ones as they feel when they go out and spend hours shopping for a perfect gift.


Ingredient #4 in the Secret for Selling More Gift Certificates 

Be occasion-specific.

The four life events and occasions that generate the most gift certificate sales overall include Christmas, birthdays, Mother’s Day and graduation.  Create marketing campaigns to promote sales of massage gift certificates that speak to these gift-certificate-sales-generating occasions and invest more in gift certificate marketing efforts during these key seasons.

Don’t worry that you are cannibalizing sales by selling gift certificates to your own clients, even if you are extending a special offer.  Remember that when redeeming gift certificates, people usually spend more than the gift certificate’s value and may actually spend more than they would normally, because the money is not all coming out of their wallet or bank account at the same time!


Ingredient #5 in the Secret for Selling More Gift Certificates 

Get better at leapfrog.

Besides selling gift certificates to your clients to give away to others, think about how you can leapfrog over your ideal client type and promote massage gift certificates to the husbands, boyfriends, moms, dads, sons, daughters, co-workers, friends and others who are buying gifts for the people represented in your target markets.

In other words, if you want to sell more massage gift certificates (and you know you do!) you can’t merely promote gift certificates to your own clients. You need to find ways to interact with gift-givers on social networks, email, partner marketing, advertising and other marketing avenues in order to sell massage gift certificates to the people who buy presents for the clients you want most!

Selling gift certificates to your patients can not only be a source of immediate income, but it will attract qualified new patients into your practice.

It’s always a good time to start thinking about how you’re going to promote your practice using gift certificates.

Here are 4 Great Ideas To Get The Most Out Of Using Gift Certificates

  1. Begin where you know best – Start with your family and friends. When they are getting ready to prepare their gift lists, ask them to think about who might enjoy a gift certificate for your services. Let them know that if the recipients don’t schedule within the year, buyers can use the gift certificates themselves. Don’t forget to offer them package deals if they buy a quantity.
  2. Promote packages to both your active and inactive patients. Offer them a free treatment for themselves if they buy more than two or three.
  3. Think about who may need your services and offer them a gift certificate. Think about your old friends, co-workers, neighbors, and your cousin’s, sister’s best friend? Offer them a free mini-stress reduction gift certificate with the option to upgrade for a full treatment, at a fee you can live with.
  4. Trade with neighboring businesses. Walk around, or drive around your community and take note of all the businesses within a 5-mile radius. Exchange gift certificates with them – hair salons for gift certificates, oil changes for gift certificates. You get the idea. Give them gift certificates that offer a free mini stress reduction treatments in exchange to something they are willing to offer. In this way, you can share other great gifts with your patients, spread the word of other local businesess and network while you are at it!

5 Effective Ways To Get Your Name Out There

450745155This blog post is about 5 Effective Ways To Get Your Name Out There,

Basically, it’s the ingredients to create your ultimate marketing mix.

After defining your goals, objectives, strategy, and tactics, you can now learn about the best way of getting your name and your business to clients.

1. Advertising is the face of marketing and both are often used interchangeably. Advertising is marketing, but marketing is not advertising.

Advertising is how you reach new clients and communicate with current and previous clients. Advertising can include online ads, direct mail, ads in the local paper, flyers, business cards, etc.

2. Sales Promotions are also common tools to increase sales. You see these most often as discounts for services or packages.

3. Public relations is very similar to advertising in the sense that it is a form communication to your clients.

Unlike advertising, public relations is non-paid and is used to primarily influence opinions and beliefs. This includes holding informational events, passing out educational materials, speaking at community events, etc.

4. Personal selling is the face-to-face contact with prospective clients and current clients during services. It’s goes along with networking, giving talks or hosting events at your clinic.

5. Networking is one of the most common and popular ways to receive new business referrals. It is through word of mouth.

Networking and putting your name out there with your clients, colleagues, friends, and family members is a great way to build your client list.

Not to mention the support system you’ll gain.

There you have it!

A few essential marketing basics that every LMT should know.

If you find that your marketing efforts aren’t getting the results you want or need, don’t give up!

More often than not, you will make some mistakes to learn from.

You can always re-evaluate your plan and make improvements.

I look forward to hearing your feedback on how you implement this new knowledge and tools.

What I Learned From A Doctor – It May Surprise You!


In my career as a massage therapist I was fortunate enough to work under a doctor for part of my career.

I learned a lot about what was expected of me as a therapist: treatment protocols, common surgical interventions and post surgical care.

The real lesson I learned, and that I want to pass along to you, is a doctor’s bias, perspective and opinion about massage therapy as a treatment modality.

This can have a huge impact on your business.

I know that not all of you accept PIP or Labor and Industries injury clients.

Not all of you take private health insurance and you probably don’t have a schedule full of injured clients challenging your knowledge of surgical interventions and post-operative care protocols.

But I do know that the medical community is moving toward involving more complementary care providers like chiropractic, acupuncture, naturopathy and massage therapy in primary care treatments.

For massage therapists, getting referrals from doctors may not be your first thought when you think of growing your business, but it is easier than you think.

Here’s something VERY important to remember when speaking about getting referrals from doctors: They see a lot of clients – every day.

So if that is so important to think about, why don’t massage therapists see many more referrals from doctors?

Two words – education and understanding.

One of the best ways to get referrals from doctors is to first figure out why most of them don’t refer to massage therapists…and then change their minds.

Or rather, shift their perspective!

Most doctors don’t have a clear understanding of massage and how it can help their patients.

So it’s understandable that they’d be hesitant to refer their patients for massage therapy.

After all, would you refer a patient to a practitioner of a modality that you knew very little about?

To remedy this situation, make the time to create a good rapport with these doctors and to educate them about your practice.

Allow them to experience massage firsthand.

In my clinic, I will walk the doctor through an initial visit, including a massage treatment and a report of findings.

It’s the same thing I do with EVERY new patient.

This really helps them feel confident when they refer patients to you. They know exactly what their patients will experience, and how they will be treated.

And this makes them more likely to refer.

One of the roles of being a massage therapist is properly educating the public about what we do and don’t do.

Let your local doctors know what massage therapy is and how it works!

Taking the time to educate them about massage and how it can help a large variety of patient symptoms is well worth your while.

Another reason doctors may not refer is that they fear that they will lose their patients and their practice will slowly fade away.

IMPORTANT – make sure you assure the doctors that you reach out to that you want to work together as a team.

Let them know that when they refer a patient to you, you will require the patient return to the referring MD for a progress evaluation after seeing you a specific number of times.

Sending the patient back to their medical doctor helps to establish trust with the referring MD.

The doctor will understand that you are not interested in taking their patients. But, that your main focus is taking care of their patients.

By creating this system of checks and balances, you show referring MDs that you have an open channel of communication about patient care.

This also allows the doctor to see the potential benefits of massage therapy. For example, let’s say that a doctor sends you a patient who has had asthma for twenty years.

After twelve treatments from you, you send the patient back to the medical doctor for a follow-up.

Upon seeing a dramatic improvement in the patient, the doctor will realize that massage therapy — and you specifically — have been instrumental in helping this patient to feel better.

By following some of these ideas and insights, you should be well on your way to building new patient streams through MD referrals.

MD’s are one of the largest groups of healthcare providers and they see many patients in the course of their practice.

Some they know how to help and others they may not.

By using the tips that I’ve given you and becoming the go-to massage therapist of choice, together you and your networking MD’s are sure to make a difference for your patients, your clinic and the community.

I also want to give you some practical pointers on how to approach doctors and start a great relationship (or at least educate them on massage).

You’ll be able to read it in my next blog posts.

And it will be easier than you think!

Here’s to your practice success!

The Top 12 Tips To Work With MD’s

I practiced massage for many years in a medical office under a physician.

I found that many of my massage therapist friends struggled in speaking with doctors, and especially in how to ask them for a referral for a client, or for client referrals in general.

I know just how important having a steady flow of qualified clients can be for small businesses, and I want to share some of my insights after years of practice, trial and error.

Building your practice is done through direct marketing efforts, word of mouth from existing clients and referrals from other healthcare practitioners in your city, community or neighborhood.

I want to share with you the top 12 tips that helped me, my friends and colleagues to get referrals from other healthcare practitioners.

It is easier than you imagined! 

Tip #1 – Identify healthcare practitioners with whom you can build referral relationships

All healthcare practitioners can be a resource for you. Here are some you may want to consider:

> Acupuncture Practitioners

> Gynecologists

> Family Practice Doctors

> Nutritionists

> Naturopathic Doctors

> Chiropractors

> Doulas

> Mental Health Counselors

> Psychiatrists

> Physical Therapists

> Personal Trainers

The list is endless.


Tip #2 – Target niche referrers

If you specialize in women’s health issues, you can contact OB/GYNs, doulas; if your focus is depression or anxiety, you can contact mental health therapists or counselors. Targeting personal trainers and/or health club managers might be a smart move if weight loss is one of the areas you focus on.


Tip #3 – Try the reverse referral technique

One way to initiate a relationship with potential referrers is to begin referring to them and then initiating contact after you have established yourself as a strong referrer. The potential referrer will already by appreciative of your referrals and be more inclined to meet with you to build a stronger relationship.


Tip #4 – Ask for a second opinion from the practitioner

Other practitioners are interested in helping people to become healthy just like you are. If you feel that a patient is not responding to treatment in a way that you anticipated and you need to ask for a second opinion regarding his/her health situation, why not contact another practitioner (even if the patient is not theirs)?

You can do this by phone or by sending a personal note (on your clinic letterhead) and saying, “This is the patient’s current condition, I would appreciate working with you to find a better solution”.

This builds trust between both practitioners and as a result of this collaboration the patient receives a higher level of medical care.


Tip #5 – Educate by example

Reach out to practitioners you are interested in building a referral relationship with and extend to them a gift certificate or an invitation for a free massage at your clinic. This is your chance to show your professionalism and explain how massage can help and it gives them a chance to see your clinic and have a full picture of who you are.


Tip #6 – Make your treatment plan & progress report speak volumes about your credibility

When you’ve been working with a patient for a while and you are seeing results, ask the patient for permission to send a treatment plan and progress report to their primary care physician in order to keep the doctor apprised of their health condition and subsequent improvement.

This can also be sent to a Naturopath Doctor, Acupuncture Practitioner, Chiropractor, etc.

When you send the MD/Practitioner a treatment plan/progress report along with a cover letter explaining why you are sending it, stamp the envelope “Patient Records: Confidential.” This way, the doctor/practitioner is legally required to open the envelope and read the contents. What you include inside determines whether or not they read on. If you present the materials succinctly and in a professional manner, you are taking a huge step towards a positive professional relationship.

Your treatment plan/progress report should clearly show that you have followed logical steps to objectively diagnose and plan treatment by focusing on factual data and the complete picture.


Because objective data wins over opinion 99% of the time! Here are the four components of a professional treatment plan/progress report :

> Treatment you plan to provide and why,

> Frequency and duration of treatment,

> Specific treatment goals and anticipated outcomes,

> Objective measures for treatment effectiveness.


Tip #7 – Take your report a couple of notches up by adding supporting materials

Your treatment plan/progress report should include the applicable supportive documentation such as treatment history, patient re-exam results, and functional rating index. The reason why this is important is that it follows the model familiar to the activities of the healthcare referral structure.

One additional piece of supporting material that could be included is a medical journal article that talks about how the issue that is your specialty is effectively treated by massage. Let the research speak for itself.


Tip #8 – Assure the referring practitioner that they will not lose credibility in their patients’ eyes if they refer to you

One of the concerns other practitioners have about referring to practitioners/specialists they do not know yet is that they do not want to send their patients to a practitioner who might overcharge for unsubstantiated care.

Then the patient may fault them for the referral, which then damages their credibility in the eyes of the patient, thus jeopardizing their relationship with their patient. Sending a treatment plan/progress report (as mentioned above) will help reassure the practitioner that the patients he/she refers to you will be treated in a professional manner by someone who knows what they are doing.

This is where your treatment plan/progress report can be so helpful. It will show that you are treating the patient for a specific ailment (your specialty), not for overall health concerns.


Tip #9 – Make sure your website is optimized.

If you already have a website or are looking for one, its IMPORTANT to make sure that you have your website optimized to be found online.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a necessity for every massage practice. 85% of website traffic comes from the search engines.

Every day prospective patients are searching for a massage therapist and if you are not doing SEO they will NEVER find you.

Whether your website is ranking well in the search engines or not, it is important to have ongoing SEO to maintain and improve your rankings. It is the best form of online marketing you can do for your practice, bar none.

If you are not doing any form of SEO, you are losing patients to your competition, and your website becomes a bit less valuable to your practice.

Check out more about how we can help with your SEO efforts.


Tip #10 – Remember to never overstep boundaries

Don’t tell the patient to stop taking their heart medication or stop the treatment advised by the other healthcare provider. If you have questions about a prescription or treatment given to your patient by another practitioner, you can contact the practitioner respectfully by sending a personal letter or picking up the phone.

This way you are approaching them as a practitioner interested in learning more in the interest of the patient, rather than as a critic questioning their techniques.


Tip #11 – Make it easy for others to refer to you

Make the information about your payment policies, insurance plans you participate in and the services you offer easily accessible.

You can create a brochure that has all this information and send to other healthcare practitioners who you are interested in working with along your treatment plan/progress report and/or your initial marketing packet. It is best to eliminate questions, surprises or misunderstandings from the get go.


Tip #12 – Ask around

Another good idea here is to ask the practitioner you are networking with about cardiologists, physical therapists, acupuncture practitioners, etc they trust and refer patients to.

This could be another window into contacting those practitioners with the name of the doctor or therapist you were just networking with. You can turn a cold call into a warm call and get a head start in the game of networking.

In conclusion…It is very important to build a referral network.

There are many ways to build these relationships.

Find ways that work for you and your style.

Make it a goal to connect with at least one new practitioner a week. Building a strong referral network takes time but it is worth the effort!

As always, I want to make sure that my wisdom is useful, applicable to your situation and challenges, and really works.

Your feedback is appreciated please leave any and all comments!