James Maskell, CEO, Revive NYC
Many more integrative practices are looking for innovative ways to find new patients, and the social coupon revolution can hold the key to accessing new markets in your community. Initial success can come at a price, so solid fundamentals are needed to make sure the new business sticks.
GroupOn has become synonymous with the social coupon revolution, the first company to put new customers in touch with local deals via a daily e-mail. Other copycats have followed, such as Living Social and City Deals. GroupOn boasts the biggest lists, but others like Gilt City offer better-qualified leads.
First things first, depending on your state or country, offering a “groupon” for medical visits is legally questionable, so my advice is to steer clear. The most successful coupons I have seen are for therapeutic services like massage, acupuncture, or colon hydrotherapy. To run a coupon, you will likely have to have at least some Internet presence, with reviews on sites like Google Maps and Yelp to substantiate becoming a qualified user.
The big potential downside for this type of marketing is that you will end up offering services at a 25-40 percent discount, and too many people might buy. One colon hydrotherapy clinic we know in Manhattan ran a social coupon last year and sold over 200 deals, and was then faced with giving sub-cost colonics for almost six months. This nearly put them out of business.
So, to make this influx of new business count, here are our top tips for making sure the social coupon helps to build your business in a sustainable way.
Some clients we have worked with have created specific time slots in the calendar for new coupon business. Not only will this keep cash flow more regular, but also will reduce the administrative and educational headaches that new clients can bring. Print plenty of new patient intake forms!
The right training and systems for rebooking are critical when turning new customers into regular clients. In a previous column we had looked at a template for guiding people, and this system is especially valuable in this situation. Ideally, rebook them before you take their money and only ask alternate choice questions when doing the rebooking, e.g., “(Therapist name) recommended you come back in two weeks. Would this same time work, or would another day be better?”
Last month, one of our new clients in Virginia ran a social coupon for colon hydrotherapy in their naturopathic office. Between their well-merchandised retail displays in their reception and their professional education packages, this clinic was able to sell a probiotic and/or enzyme product with almost every colonic visit. This doubled the income from each visit and was reflected in almost universal rebooking.
4) Data Capturing
Making sure that you capture the data for all your potential new clients is key to getting the most of this type of marketing technique. Adding newbies to your e-mail list is a no-brainer, but some of the coupon companies will give you a full list of all purchasers. My further recommendation is to call everyone on the list to try and schedule a visit. Each person who purchases is obviously someone who, at some level, cares about taking care of themselves. Engaging with that demographic is worth the small initial downside for the rebooking and referral potential.
We would love to hear about your experience working with social coupons. Please share them below or on our new website, www.revivenyc.com
James Maskell is CEO of Revive NYC, a Brooklyn-based digital media, practice development, and branding company that helps holistic practitioners bring their message to life. To connect with Revive, please visit our website at www.revivenyc.com.