Last month, I kept a client diary at Booked and Busy on Facebook to illustrate how using Groupon continues to make me money even though I haven’t had an active deal in six months. The results were extraordinary! If you’ve thought about trying it, this post will bestow you with a bit more savvy. If you’ve dismissed Groupon as a bad idea, it may sway your opinion.
When I decided to use Groupon for the first time, I was desperate. I had been in business for three months and was going down in flames. I had resisted Groupon because I had heard only cheap people buy them and never return, but since I had nothing to lose I went for it. Had I not used Groupon to jump start my practice, I sincerely doubt you would be reading this right now.
I had a clear vision of what I wanted to accomplish and incorporated several key strategies to convert more of these new clients into returning clients. I ran my first deal March-July of 2014 and sold ninety-nine vouchers (seventy-one single sessions and twenty-eight three session packages). Of the eighty-eight that were redeemed, twenty-eight returned at least once and of those, eight still visit either regularly or occasionally (I got two awesome referrals, too). What I learned from this campaign is that customers who buy packages are overwhelmingly more likely to continue long-term than those who buy a single. What I didn’t do was ask those who bought the singles if they wanted to pay me the difference for a package. I would have made more money and possibly converted more clients.
I did my second deal to give my practice a boost two years later. Several clients had fallen off the schedule for various reasons and I needed more new clients fast. This time, I used both Living Social and Groupon (Groupon acquired Living Social in 2016, so now Groupon merchants are on both sites). This deal had two phases. The first phase was the same deal I had done in 2014. It ran March-mid June 2016, during which time I sold ten Living Social deals and forty-seven Groupons (only a single session was offered on Living Social). I redeemed nine Living Social vouchers, resulting in one regular client who is still active, one who visits occasionally and sold one package at regular price.
The Groupon deal that coincided had thirty-seven vouchers redeemed. Six returned at least once or referred, one of whom is an active regular client and another visits occasionally. So what made the conversions so much lower the second time around? I’m pretty sure it’s because my regular fees were higher by then so the stretch between what they paid for the Groupon and what they would pay me was more than they could justify. If I were to do this again, I’d price my Groupon closer to my frequency program. Regardless, the two monthly regulars who still visit from this campaign book during weekday afternoons, which are typically my least popular times. I paused both this deal and my original one when I was booking clients two weeks out.
For phase two of my 2016 deal, I tried an experiment. I offered the option of a single 60-minute or 90-minute session priced very closely to what the price per session was for the discounted packages I had at the time. This ran from mid June-February 2017 and sold very slowly due to the higher cost. Of thirty-two redeemed, four clients have returned at least once or referred someone and one is a monthly regular who gets two hour massages.
The biggest lesson I learned from this incarnation is that offering a 90-minute session doesn’t serve the business owner at all. Since that’s what most of the vouchers purchased were for, I wasn’t able to upgrade them to a longer service that would have put additional money directly into my pocket. Without a package, I didn’t attract as many clients interested in ongoing treatment.
So what were the results of my client diary? Clients who came to me through Groupon or Living Social (or were referred by someone who did) accounted for 25.6% of my total income for the month! Some of these clients have been coming in regularly for over three years now and probably would never have known about my practice had they not found my daily deal.
Keep in mind that Groupon is merely the tool I used to get exposure. It’s the overall strategies and skills I employed to either earn more by upgrading when I could or give them a reason to return that makes this work. These techniques will get results with more traditional marketing, too. Using Groupon accelerates the process.
Did you happen to notice that I only mentioned the clients who came back rather than those who didn’t? I have no doubt that focusing on what I wanted and what was getting me closer to my goal instead of worrying about how many clients weren’t signing on had as much (or more) to do with my success as the marketing tactics. Taking chances and being open to unexpected outcomes has become common place in the practice that I love!
What have you heard about using Groupon? If you don’t see a comment box below, please click the Leave a comment/comments link to share. Thank you!
Booked and Busy in 90 Days™ combines guidance for creating a Groupon deal that promotes business growth with sound marketing to fill your practice faster. Learn more here.