Have you noticed a slump in bookings that’s making you feel a wee bit stressed?
Feel like you don’t know exactly how to promote yourself? Or like you’re always promoting the same thing?
When you’re a service based business these things are natural but there’s a marketing trick you can use to combat this that big companies use all the time.
Fast-action promotional campaigns…or as I call them in my own head “buzz boosters” 🙂
These are special time-sensitive events that offer something different to your community than your day-to-day content and promotion. The intention is that you can build up campaigns around these events to create a sense of excitement and buzz.
RESULTS YOU CAN SEE:
1. Grow your email list and community in larger chunks at a time
2. Boost new bookings, return visits, referrals (or all 3)
3. Generate brand awareness and buzz around what you do
4. Foster deeper relationships with your community to improve loyalty and retention
5. Great way to warm up your audience for larger offerings (new program, protocol etc.)
WHY THEY’RE AWESOME:
1. Give you a way to promote yourself without directly promoting your services (good for those who feel “salesy” talking about their services)
2. Easy way to create fresh content if you’re feeling like you’re in a rut
3. Offer a boost to times when business is lagging and can leverage periods that are naturally busy
4. They’re executed over a short period so you don’t need to be in “promotion mode” all the time. Just quick spurts of deliberate action for maximum impact.
5. They make your business and brand more fun (both for you and your community) and separate you from most other practitioners who don’t do anything like this.
Still not sure exactly what I mean? Here are 10 ideas for various promotional events and “buzz boosters”
10 IDEAS FOR PROMOTIONS
1. Contest or Giveaway (promote online, in-clinic + via email)
Get a great prize. It doesn’t need to be expensive or your own free or discounted services. It just needs to be interesting and of value to your community and, ideally, related to you/what you do. Run the campaign over a short period of time and aim to have people use their email to enter if growing your email list is part of the goal.
2. Free Challenge (promote online, in-clinic + via email) **this is an ideal way to re-motivate people after the summer slump
Challenges are SO incredible! Because they require active participation from people it’s a really fun way to get to know your community and strengthen commitment. When planning your challenge consider what it is your audience wants and how you can START them on that process in the challenge. Deliver the challenge or daily content via email or private Facebook group while making it interactive and naturally lead-in to your services.
3. Workshop or talk (promote online, in-clinic + via email)
Create your own workshop or talk on a topic that is of interest to your community as a way to deliver value while helping them get to know you better. Ideally you want it to solve a small problem, answer a burning question or give them something they’ve been wanting (vs just information a subject matter). Get email addresses on site or on sign-up to grow your email list so you can follow-up afterwards (because MUCH of the pay-off of doing workshops is in the follow-up). Run it in your clinic, somewhere in your community or virtually. Like with a challenge you ideally want it to lead into your services.
4. Q+A Drop-in (promote online, in-clinic, via email + by others)
Consider the communities your ideal client is in and host a Q+A drop-in there where people can ask questions about what you do or problems they’re experiencing (knowing you may only be able to answer certain types of questions depending on your regulations). This could be for a sports team, mom group, health food store, fitness/yoga studio. Be sure that the hosting location also promotes it to their client base so people know it’s going on and you can expand your reach. Offer people a way to learn more by having some sort of free content/lead magnet you can send them afterwards.
5. A Community Event (promote online, in-clinic, via email + by others)
Similar to the 2 above, community events are a great way for people to get to know you in the real world to build that know-like-trust factor. These can be events you organize like a Wellness Day, loyalty event or clinic open house or where you participate like a community event, charity event or tradeshow. The benefit of being a participant is that it’s less work for you and someone else is also marketing it. Just be sure to have a way to collect emails (lead magnet, giveaway etc) so you can follow-up afterwards.
6. Collaborations (promote online, in-clinic, via email + by others)
Collaborations can be in the form of any of the above ideas and are done together with another practitioner, influencer, business or organization who shares your ideal client. This element is key to making sure that the collaboration is beneficial in bringing the right people into your world. Collaborations allow you both to expand your reach and gain credibility. You can collaborate by simply hosting or being hosted somewhere or creating an offering together.
7. Referral Program (promote in-clinic + via email)
Give cards or email vouchers to existing patients and clients for them to offer to friends and family. The cards should offer some incentive for new bookings and could also offer an incentive to the referrer. Generally, this will be some sort of free/discounted service but doesn’t have to be. The key is to offer the program for only a short time with a specific period to redeem so there is some urgency to it.
8. Gift Cards or Packages (promote in-clinic, online + via email)
This may be something you offer all the time (or not) but can become an entire promotional campaign at certain times of the year. Holidays like Christmas, Valentines, Mother’s Day and even New Years present great opportunities to position these as self-care, health or wellness packages especially if your services are often seen as a “luxury”. Be sure that your board regulations allow you to offer packages and/or gift certificates first.
9. Flash Sale on Products (promote in-clinic, online + via email)
People love a deal. You don’t need to discount your actual services to offer your community a deal. If you offer any type of retail, like supplements, equipment, tools or even lifestyle items that help people achieve their overall health goals you can offer a quick 1-3 day sale. Keep a short timeline to create a sense of urgency and do it only occasionally so you don’t have people waiting for sales. And if you don’t offer any type of retail consider doing a “pop-up retail” flash sale to test things out and see how people respond.
10. Flash Sale on Services/Offerings (promote online, in-clinic + via email)
I did say you could run “buzz boosting” promotions that don’t involve discounting your services but discounts can be a fantastic way to see a direct boost in bookings. Similar to the idea above, you want the offer to run for only a short time and in-frequently (think 1-2x per year). It can also be something you only offer to existing/past patients, referrals OR brand new bookings (depending on your goal) so the whole world doesn’t know you offer discounts. If you are going to offer discounts the goal is to get re-bookings afterwards so be sure your retention strategy is solid otherwise any boost in bookings will be a short-lived win
A FEW FINAL TIPS:
· Consider your own goals: do you need to get in front of new people, increase retention or referrals? Want to build a greater sense of community? Plan campaigns accordingly.
· Look at the natural cycle of your business and your own patient’s headspace to choose the right times. Ex: maybe you run a challenge early September to get people back into the routine after Summer or a “5 Days of Christmas” campaign with different offers each day to capitalize on the buying mindset (and using up Insurance).
· Aim to do 1 promotional campaign per quarter to keep excitement and bookings high
· Repeat popular campaigns every year (or twice a year) to capitalize on the work you already did and make them something people can come to expect.
· Use Facebook Ads to promote some of these to generate more traffic and build your community. Because they’re only for a short time you can spend very little.