I don’t know about you, but the closer it gets to an open spot in my schedule the less likely it is that someone will book it. You’d think with so much massage-on-demand popping up there would be more people looking for those appointments but that hasn’t been my experience. I’ve tried a few different things to keep those appointments from going to waste and have finally hit on something that works.
When I started my practice in 2013, I’m a little embarrassed to admit I was not on social media. At all. But it was impossible to miss all the articles and blog posts touting the necessity of a social media presence for your business. So I created accounts for Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ (at the time, it was supposed to overtake Facebook).
I had no idea what I was doing but dove in. One of the bright ideas I had was to post my same-day openings on Twitter at a discount to lure clients to fill my schedule. Honestly, I didn’t stick with it very long but have learned that Twitter may not be the most effective platform for communicating them. It simply moves too fast for anyone to see those tweets unless they are repeated relentlessly. Even if I wasn’t fully booked, I had better things to do than post the same tweet multiple times.
My next idea was to keep a cancellation list for those who I couldn’t book at their requested time. This has been a good strategy overall (as long as I actually have clients on the list). I keep a memo in my phone with the clients name, day and time they wanted to schedule and text them if that becomes available. But I still wasn’t getting as many short-notice appointments filled as I wanted to.
I finally joined Facebook in 2015. Again, I had no clue what I was doing but got the hang of it pretty quickly. Of course, I joined some groups and noticed that I received notifications when a new post was added to them (provided my settings for that group are set to All posts). This gave me an idea!
I now have a Facebook group where I post same-day discounted openings. I have a pinned post* at the top of my business page with a link to the group so established clients and newcomers alike can know about it and join. I also have a pinned post in the group that tells people to set their notifications settings to All posts to get every update. This has been the easiest and best way to get those hard to book appointments filled that I’ve tried thus far.
For example, November was a slow month for me. Not only were the first two weeks sparsely booked from the get go, a few regular clients had some out of the ordinary work and family commitments that they had to cancel massages for. I also had a couple of cancellations due to illness. I posted ten openings throughout the month (the most ever) and filled three of them for a total of $230 (including tips). Perhaps that doesn’t sound all that awesome, but considering not having the group would have likely resulted in me folding brochures or catching up on my YouTube subscriptions, I’m ecstatic!
I tend to be somewhat discriminating about the openings I post because I want them to be as rare as possible without denying myself the opportunity to help more people and make more money. I typically don’t post openings that are my first of the day because (1) it can be more complicated with my online scheduling and (2) if no one has booked my first appointment if the day, I have plenty of things I can catch up on at home (or sleep in). I always post openings in between booked slots simply because I’m already there and would prefer to give a massage than find a way to pass the time. If my last appointment of the day isn’t filled, I may post it in the group or decide to take off early depending on my energy level and income needs.
Having this Facebook group has not only served me but those who have challenging schedules or are quite flexible. It’s also a way to make massage more affordable for those who need a break or will visit more often when they’re getting a deal. Finally finding a solution to the problem of filling same-day openings has been a total win for the practice that I love!
How do you fill same-day openings? If you don’t see a comment box below, please click the Leave a comment/comments link to share. Thank you!
*To pin a Facebook post to the top of a page, click the three dots in the upper right hand corner of the post and select Pin post from the drop down menu. To unpin it, follow the same procedure and select Unpin post.