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Posted by: David Joiner, 17 Apr 2012 10:07AM
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Groupon Offers for Therapists

Has anyone run a campaign through Groupon for massage? I'm interested to know your experience of it - how many people bought vouchers, how many were redeemed, and - most importantly - did any of those clients convert to regular full-price clients afterwards? I had someone from Groupon contact me, but I'm slightly wary of their terms, which seem a bit heavy, and also the suitability for it increasing my regular client base. Thanks David.


Amanda Clegg
17 Apr 2012 10:40AM

haven't tried Groupon - tried Telegraph 421 the first & second time it ran, years ago now - got one regular client (who is still with me today, and Embody 241's etc in the early days but decided they are useless really - type of people are really only looking for the cheapo bargains so take the freebie and you never see them again. However at least with Embody there aren't any set up costs or % takes. Would also be really wary of national campaigns as our business is pretty much local - my client base is well within a 10 mile radius. The other issue is the demographic - I tried a Daily Mail promo once and got a lot of calls either from unsuitable men, and a few ladies wondering why I didn't do waxing (I'm a massage therapist!). Have been on the current Embody list (Aquafresh I think) and zilch. Other issue might be if it is too successful and you can't service it - presume like most of us you only have one pair of hands, so there's a finite number of bookings in a week. You could do a really full week for only half the income - not good! My feeling would be don't spend any money on this type of promo, and if youdo, then make sure you don't have to take clients if you don't want to.
David Joiner
17 Apr 2012 11:36AM

Thanks Amanda - I think you've confirmed my feelings about it. The capacity issue certainly does worry me, and I think I'd end up running myself into the ground, getting paid next to nothing for it and not getting any new regular clients out of it.
Amanda Clegg
17 Apr 2012 11:42AM

good luck with expanding the client base - takes a while but word of mouth is best. I do school PTA pamper nights and give out vouchers for local charity auctions/raffles: gets your name out there. Some schools now looking at paying therpists to come in and do stressbusting sessins for staff - did an after-school one recently which went down really well. hand out cards wherever & go to lots of networking meetings. Hope it goes well.
Sandra Mary Smith
17 Apr 2012 12:40PM

amanda, can i ask how you deal with the consultation process at a pamper event thanks sandra
Hilary Ellis
17 Apr 2012 4:08PM

Hi David, Groupon was tried at my salon by one of my renters. She was overwhelmed by clients taking the offer up. Mixed bag of clients, some just after something for nothing and some didn't even turn up. If you are prepared to devote precious time to working for next to nothing finacially and maybe pick up one or two clients, then that's ok. She wouldn't do it again.
Amanda Clegg
17 Apr 2012 6:13PM

Sandra - I only do short 15 or 20 min (therefore not very in depth) back massages or seated massages, so just do a verbal Q@&A covering main contras like diabetes, blood pressure, any other illnesses, and ask them about problems. Might do a quick postural assessment if there's an obvious spine/posture problem. Don't do aromatherapy at this sort of event as there isn't time - if i@m using oil I just add lavender or mandarin and a drop of tea trea at 1% dilution or less so not really at therapeutic strength but enough to smell a bit and give a little anti-infection protection. Interesting comment about the salon - does confirm suspicions that these offers aren't really suitable for us!
David Joiner
17 Apr 2012 7:44PM

Thanks for the reply Hilary - much appreciated. David
Hilary Ellis
17 Apr 2012 8:39PM

The Groupon offer has covered Holistic treatments and Beauty treatments at my Salon/Health centre and I would still not offer this after seeing what my colleague had to cope with.
Sandra Mary Smith
17 Apr 2012 8:41PM

thanks amanda, thats helpful, sandra
Angela Rawlins
18 Apr 2012 5:53PM

Groupon!! I wouldn't go there. I booked 3 spaces for a photographic instruction day and never got the goods
Grace Boateng
20 Apr 2012 4:33PM

I think Groupon for a solo therapist is going to be hard work. I think it is better that a therapist runs their own deals. This way they have control over how many people they will give the offer to and avoids them paying a middle man like Groupon, or any of the other companies. I always feel that Groupon junkies will be looking for the next special offer with no intention on becoming a regular client. There was an article written by a massage business owner in Scotland I think but I couldn't find it to post it here. She gave a breakdown of the figures. From what I can remember she had over 500 people book for massages. She had two massage therapists that were working flat out, they eventually left as clients did not return like they had anticipated. I think only one person rebooked at the full price.
Leanne Wallace
25 Apr 2012 1:58PM

I am a sole trader and last July I opened my business and decided to run a Living Social deal as a way of advertising. I sold 370 vouchers and the company gave me the money up front within 2 Weeks which helped me with my start up costs. The voucher expires in July and I have not yet got through even half of the people who bought the vouchers, but still got paid for the one's who do not turn up or book in. At the start of the deal I was working flat out but ensured i left enough space in my diary each day for full paying clients. After about 3 months I was getting less calls from people looking to redeem there vouchers and it expires at the start of July (as valid for 1 Year) There is no way I will be able to fit everybody who has not redeemed yet in between now and start of July and voucher is subject to availability. The deal worked out not too badly as I built up an email contact list from everybody who came and was able to send out a secondary deal through myself which allowed them another little discount if they wrote a review on google maps about their experience. I now have over 40 great reviews on google maps and various other business listing websites. I have quite a few people return to me and others who have heard about me through someonewho bought a voucher. I researched it thoroughly before deciding to do the deal and I would not recommend Groupon as they take a larger percentage of the deal price and at the time I did it they didn't give you the money up front only for those that have been redeemed, so if client doesn't turn up you will lose out. Also be wary of VAT these deal sites charge as they don't include it in the quote of how much you will make from each voucher sold. I don't think I would do it again so if you are not sure about it i would say leaveit alone, i have heard many horror stories especially if a sole trader.
Grace Boateng
25 Apr 2012 2:06PM

Thank you for sharing your experiences of a using a discount company. It's great that you got clients to write reviews for you.
Angela Rawlins
25 Apr 2012 5:16PM

Well done Leanne!
David Joiner
25 Apr 2012 8:28PM

Thanks Leanne, sounds like not too bad an experience for you. Groupon don't pay up-front as you mention, so they would have kept all the money from anyone buying a voucher but not redeeming it, which I think is not really fair.
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