Marketing with Mindfulness (Part II)
- Published: Friday, 31 July 2015 11:23
Keeping your clients
The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) defines marketing as a management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying consumer requirements profitably.
One can spend a lot of money in advertising, but if those clients do not come back, then return on your investment will reduce impacting on business profitability. So how do we keeping our clients coming back for more?
I was talking to two therapists during a training course recently about running your own business. The duos have run their therapy business successfully for over 25 years. Their appointment diary is 90% full in spite of increased local competition. They summed up their success in two words: knowing your trade and customer service.
It is true that knowing your trade is essential. This includes keeping up to date with the latest trends, offering products and treatments to suit your clients’ needs and ongoing improvement of skills via training courses. The more time, energy and money you invest in yourself, the better you will be in your trade. Quality training and work experience ensures that your business is built on a solid foundation. Your customers will feel that and will keep returning to you.
Knowing your customers’ needs, meeting them successfully and profitably are the corner stones of marketing. The reason why clients come to you depends upon various things. For example, they may like your expertise, your location could be ideal for them, your prices are affordable or your working hours suit them best. It is therefore important to find out from existing clients as to why they choose you over others and focus on developing further your existing strengths.
If the marketing mix is based around the 4 P's (Product, Price, Promotion and Place as described in Part One of this series). The Customer service revolves around the 3 S's. It needs to be: Specific, Special and Satisfactory.
The services and products need to be specific to client’s need. To be able to do this the therapist needs to know their treatments and products inside out. They need to be able to confidently explain the benefits and limitations to their clients and help them with making an informed choice. Taking time to listen to clients’ needs and then matching them to what you are offering makes your treatment and product advice specific to their needs. Clients see this as great value for their money.
Customers need to feel special and cared for when they come for therapy treatments. Detailed consultation, after care advice and also making them aware of any possible side effects of the treatment is essential. Customer service is about building a relationship & rapport with your clients. They are the people paying your bills. So if it is important to them, then you need to pay attention. It could be their banter related to the stress of school application forms, a house move or a pending doctor’s appointment. Keep notes of this trivia and then follow up with your clients on their next visit. This personalised chat builds rapport and strengthens your relationship with your clients.
Satisfied clients equal successful businesses. We usually refer to client satisfaction as a measure of how they felt after their treatment. The process of customer satisfaction in fact starts much earlier. It starts with ongoing market research to anticipate and address customer needs and obtaining regular feedback about your service levels. It goes further with therapists evaluating and reflecting on the whole experience and making improvements if necessary. It is a continuous cycle. The more you do it the more you will enjoy what you do. Happy, confident, knowledgeable, caring therapists equals satisfied clients equals successful businesses.
Yes it is about meeting clients’ needs profitably but it is not entirely about that. In my experience therapists are driven by an inner need to bring a difference. It is an ongoing journey and a meaningful one.
Attracting and keeping clients is essential to the success of any business. We’ve already covered promotional activity to the end of 2015 so here are a few suggestions for how to kick-start your 2016 marketing strategy:
Resolute January: It’s the first month of the year and a definite sign of new beginnings. Clients reflect and resolve to change for the better. Detox treatments sell well during this time as we strive to shed last year’s baggage and habits. Offer detox massages and slimming treatments on a promotional basis to attract new clients and keep existing ones happy. Mind therapies also do well at this time as clients want to change their eating habits or quit smoking, etc.
Loving February: With Valentine’s day around the corner, offers on your existing holistic treatments will do well. Your clients enjoy their treatments with you. They will most happily offer their loved ones the chance to experience the same bliss. Don’t forget that Chinese New Year celebrations also occur around this time. Tie in your offers to this if you have lots of Chinese clients or live in an Asian neighbourhood.
Martius March: The word March comes from Latin Martius, which is the first month of the ancient Roman calendar. It is the start of spring. It would be advisable to revisit the detox promotions again and help your clients to get back in shape for the oncoming summer. This is also the month of mother’s day. Massage treatments are popular as gift ideas so package some mother and daughter treatments for your promotions.
April Showers: As we embrace the showers of April, we often have the last bit of winter waving goodbye to us. If so, heat treatments such as warm bamboo, body wraps, hot stones etc will do well. Not to forget that Easter is here and people are feeling festive. Your promotions should have the Easter look and feel to them if you like to attract clients.
May Definitely: Summer is just around the corner. Apart from the Christmas season the biggest single spending rise is usually seen in the month of May. Plan and run your promotions around bank holidays. Offer discounts and take bookings for the coming months.
Jubilant June: We celebrate the Queen’s birthday this month so why not treat your clients as royalty and offer them a royal offer of a selection of your treatments at attractive prices. Also be mindful to get ready for gift vouchers for Father’s Day.
You can see from the half-year plan above how easy it is to plan promotional offers but being organised is key to success. I hope you find some useful tips for marketing from this article.
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