Are you trying to find ways to promote your private practice for the holiday season?
Wondering what kinds of ‘promotions’ you could do to get a few more clients booked before the end of the year?
Worried about how the pandemic and overall state of the world will change things during what is normally a very busy (and let’s be honest, financially lucrative) time of year?
I hear you. The last few years have thrown us all for a loop, and it’s going to have an effect on the holiday season in many ways.
Do you already have pivot-fatigue?
Sure, we’re all sick of hearing about ‘pivoting’ our businesses. I get it. Pivot has become a four-letter word.
But we also need to be proactive and think outside the box, especially this year.
Let’s be honest: the tactics we used in previous years may not be as effective. A lot has changed.
People are much more often working from home, with many offices in major cities left empty or operating with a very small staff. People are now out of work, or have changed jobs and don’t have the same insurance plan they once did.
The usual ‘hey, don’t forget to use up your insurance!’ tactics that are common in Canada won’t work in the same way in a pandemic.
What can we do instead? Can the holiday season still be a busy one? Can we still make some extra income before the end of the year?
Absolutely! Use these five ideas as a starting point and make them your own. Don’t be afraid to take risks and try something new.
1. The old faithful: sales of online gift certificates
Do you have gift certificates for your services available on your website, in an easy-to-purchase format?
If not, can you start?
Online shopping has become extremely important with COVID-19. People want to avoid face-to-face interactions as much as possible. Even businesses that traditionally didn’t offer online sales (like grocery stores) now have full e-commerce websites where you can purchase your groceries in advance and either have them delivered or pick them up in a low-contact way.
Here’s the thing: your clients still want to support you, as do the people in your neighbourhood. They still want to come and get treatments, but might want to wait until case counts are lower. So one great way to make it easy for them is by offering online gift certificate sales.
It doesn’t have to be a super expensive and fancy purchasing system! You can put together a low-cost store using Square, or with your online booking system if it also offers gift certificate sales. You can then hand deliver, mail, or even email the gift certificate.
My one small caveat here is don’t do the “oh, just PayPal (or Venmo or email transfer) me some money and I’ll send you the gift certificate” thing. Actually use proper e-commerce software. The more professional it looks, the greater your chances of getting people to buy.
2. The branching out: try selling products!
Are there products that are an obvious fit for your business?
Or, are you crafty or handy and could make something that would be a nice thing to sell – something people would want for gifts, especially if you can offer shipping or free local delivery?
This is a great way to boost your income and generate interest in your business this holiday season and beyond if you’re willing to take it on.
A local spa here in Toronto (Pause Beauty, check them out!) did exactly this over the last six months as they were trying to keep their business going, even with government restrictions and closures. They started producing more homemade, high-quality soaps, creams, and other products that were complementary to the services they already offer. Their customers were happy to buy something to support them, and they also caught the eye of lots of people who weren’t already customers!
With the holiday season, products are a fairly easy sell (relatively speaking!). They can make a great gift, and some people may even want to bundle a product with a service gift certificate, which is a double win for you.
Just make sure if you are going to sell products, you do it with proper e-commerce software, as we already mentioned above. Most website builders (WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, etc) have the ability to add e-commerce functions, so whatever your website is built on, it should be possible without starting over from scratch.
3. The ‘testing the waters’: take some services online
If you’ve already been thinking about taking some of your business online, this is a great way to test the waters.
Are there things you can offer that would make good holiday gifts?
Or, can you branch out from your usual type of services to offer something new that would be of interest to people?
Be creative and flexible! For example, you might be an RMT, but could you offer consults on running form and exercises to improve running technique?
Or, posture analysis and stretches for working at a desk at home (we all know a lot of people are working in weird positions due to suddenly working from home!).
Or maybe something completely unrelated to massage that your clients might be interested in? Makeup tutorials? Guided meditation for stress relief? Christmas baking lessons?
Anything you can think that could be of interest to people could work, and yes, you can sell gift certificates to these services as well.
4. The new spin on an old favourite: mobile services
Now I know that might seem like a weird suggestion, but hear me out.
There are people who would normally have travelled to your location to get treatment but cannot do so right now. Maybe your location is near their office and they now work from home. Maybe they have to home school their kids and simply can’t carve out the time. Or it could be because they are nervous about using public transportation in a pandemic and don’t drive.
There are lots of good reasons why clients may not be able to come to you.
This gives you an opportunity to go to them instead.
This could be something you offer only over the next few months, as an extra to your usual services. Something to help increase bookings and as a ‘holiday special’ – for December and January you will do home visits for pre-booked/pre-purchased visits.
Or, it could be the start of a long-term business! You may be surprised how many people are interested in having mobile services come to them.
Of course, the caveat here is you need to feel comfortable with this yourself, given we are in a pandemic. But if you put in strict screening, cleaning and masking protocols, it could be very doable, and a great way to increase your income over the holidays and beyond.
5. The collab: create a package with other local businesses
Are there local businesses you could collaborate with to create a special holiday package people can purchase?
You can get really creative with this. A self-care package? A fun night in package? A party for kids package? An athlete’s package? Run with it and see what you can come up with, based on the products and services of your neighbourhood businesses.
Since many people are staying home due to travel restrictions, office closures, or lack of trust in the safety of public transportation, there is increased interest in ‘keeping it local’. Use that to your advantage!
Also, a bonus is you won’t be the only one doing promotion – your fellow business owners who are participating in the deal will be doing so as well. This is a win because their customers/clients will be introduced to your services and yours to theirs. And you may find yourself gaining friends in the local business community, which is a great thing when it comes to finding clients and the longevity of your business.
Ready to try some of these ideas out?
I hope this gave you some food for thought for your holiday marketing and promotions, even in these weird times! The last couple of years have thrown a lot of curveballs our way, but if you are willing to embrace change, you can still have a profitable end-of-year.
I wish you an amazing holiday season for both you and your business. You got this!
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