Should Acupuncturists Use Groupon, Living Social & Other Online Coupons?

March 8, 2011 by  
Filed under Acupuncture Marketing

There seem to be two ‘camps’ when it comes to acupuncturists using Groupon, Living Social and other online coupon programs to promote their services. One camp says, it’s a great opportunity to gain exposure, get new patients and make some money. And another camp says that the deep discounts and high fees make it a financial bust, and worse, devalues the profession.

There’s no doubt that you can lose money using these online coupon programs (as has been well documented in the dining industry), but if you read the coupon program’s fine print, understand your goals, calculate your ‘ break even price point’ and plan accordingly, I believe you can make these programs work for your acupuncture practice.

Here are my recommendations to any practitioner who is thinking about using Groupon, Living Social, or any online coupon company.  Understand and plan on ways to optimize:

(1) Front end income
(2) Back end income ** VERY IMPORTANT!
(3) Costs (including time)

(1) Front end income
Front end income is what you get from your coupon sales. When you see service based businesses using Groupon to sell over 1000 coupons at $50 a pop (like a local glass blowing teacher did), it’s pretty easy to get caught up in the “$50,000 payday” and think you’ve found the answer to all your prayers.  But if that’s all you see, you could be one of the many business owners who lose money on these deals. So please, pay attention! If we examine an acupuncturist who courageously tried out the Groupon program to sell a $30 coupon for a 45 minute session we can see that $30 x 109 purchases (last I checked) = $3,270. Half goes to Groupon so that leaves $1,635 in front end income. That’s only about $15 per person for 45 minutes of treatment, which stinks! BUT WAIT…  here’s what you also have to factor in:

  • 15-30% of people who buy the coupon never redeem it before it expires. That free money. Don’t count on it, but just know that it’s there.
  • For an acupuncturist who does not have a full schedule and ALL s/he has is TIME, this is a great way to get exposure, create buzz, and generate profit (see back end income below) without laying out any cash.

(2) Back end income
This is the key to generating profits! You need a plan in place to upsell these coupon-purchasing customers. What I like about Mary Ann’s Groupon is she included in her sale an “Individual Wellness Plan”. This is clearly aimed at getting these initial buyers back through her doors for a series of treatments.  Even if just 10% of her initial 109 people scheduled 6 treatments as part of her “Individual Wellness Plan” (at her normal rate of $80) that’s 10 (people) x 6 (visits) x $80 = $4,800. Now we’re talkin! Acupuncturists MUST learn how to turn these qualified customers into repeat patients (who refer new patients) in order to make significant long term income. If you add in sales of herbs, oils, books etc., that backend revenue per coupon-paying customer increases. For those of us who understand (and teach) online marketing, the backend income can also significantly increase by offering products like digital products or online wellness coaching and creating automated email campaigns to keep customers interested and coming back. In other words, this is a great way to build a list of qualified customers for future service or product sales.

(3) Costs
The big thing acupuncturists need to watch here is time. (Costs for needles and other office supplies is usually minimal.)  The cash infusion from the front end income can help take care of working expenses and pay for upsell items (sold when they receive their session).  But time is something that is limited and scheduling must be planned so that full paying patient slots are not taken up by $15 slots. I would recommend dedicating 2-3 days a week just to the Groupon people and get them all scheduled and treated within 3 – 6 months. Personally I think a year is too long to ‘wrap up’ the coupon customers. This may mean working days that you don’t usually work until everyone gets their coupon redeemed.

So before we dismiss Groupons and other social online coupon programs for acupuncture practitioners, I think it’s important do some research (read other business’ deals), think things through, test it out on a small scale then take the lessons learned to larger and larger scales so you can minimize your risk and maximize your potential for generating profits. That’s why I congratulate Mary Ann for having the courage to TRY something new, generate buzz and build her business.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this (or any other acupuncture marketing) topic.  Chime in below!

Peace,

Lisa Hanfileti, LAc
Insights-For-Acupuncturists.com

 

 

How List Building and Database Management Can Grow Your Acupuncture Business

September 20, 2009 by  
Filed under Acupuncture Websites

List Building and Database Management Ebook

List Building and Database Management Ebook

What does list building and database management have to do with using your business website to generate new patients, clients, and customers? The answer in a word is, EVERYTHING!

Years ago, when I was just starting my acupuncturist career I was only focused on providing quality care to my patients and nothing else.  I can tell you firsthand that the last thing on my mind was something as boring and seemingly unrelated to patient care as “website lists” and “databases”.  Yuk!

What I did not realize back then that I know now is that learning a few simple things about building a list through my business website is the key to providing quality care to my current patients, as well as to potential new patients, clients and customers.

And — get this — even providing care to (and earning money from) people who never even walk through my acupuncture clinic doors!

Building a list through your website can change your entire acupuncture practice and generate significant passive income.

But how?  In order to understand how important building a list is and how it can be utilized to bring additional revenue into your business, let’s start with the basics.

What is a “List”?

If you read my last blog post on Website Design Elements For Acupuncturists then you learned the importance of having specific places on your website that entice interaction with your website visitor.   These can be as simple as a place to subscribe to your newsletter or opt-in to receive a free report about Chinese herbs, acupuncture, or any healing method you have special knowledge about.

You create your list by exchanging something of value (e.g. your newsletter or special report) for your web visitors name and email address.  Once you receive their name and email address, they become a member of your “List”.  There, that’s not so hard!

Here is the significance of your List.  By subscribing to YOUR information they are telling you that they are interested in:

  • YOU – as an expert and a practitioner
  • CHINESE MEDICINE – and all the other topics in your newsletter or report
  • HEALING – for themselves and perhaps even others
  • PARTICIPATING IN THEIR HEALTH CARE – they are actively searching for solutions.

When someone joins your list through your website they are telling you that they want more information from you and may even want to become your new patient!  In business terms, they are very qualified “leads” or “prospects” for you to follow up with and offer more information about the services you provide.

List Building is Easy... and Essential.

List Building is Easy... and Essential.

Your list is the equivalent of having patients lined up at your acupuncture clinic door.  Honestly, the people on your list are even more qualified (and by ‘more qualified’, I mean more likely to become your patient or purchase your products) than someone who found you in the Yellow Pages.

Why?  Because people do not give up their email addresses easily.  To give you their contact information, they must have likely scrutinized the information on your website and educated themselves about you before making the decision to trade their email address for your expert information.

What is List (or Database) Management?

Your list of interested subscribers and potential patients is only as good as your management of  — or relationship with — those people.  You must follow up on a consistent basis to continue to develop your relationship with them.

There are many easy, effective, safe, and legal methods of maintaining contact with the people on your list.  I go over the best methods for acupuncturists and include the best time-saving tools in my video and ebook bonus series included with my ebook,

“Complementary and Alternative Marketing:  How to Attract New Patients, Market Your Practice, and Earn Passive Income With Your Acupuncture Website” – CLICK HERE

I can only sit and wonder how much income I lost by not starting to build my list earlier!  I was in practice for over 7 years before I started learning how to build relationships with my website.  Now it is one of the easiest and most economical ways to attract new patients and even earn significant income from people who never walk through my doors.  (I will cover more on that in my next post on Affiliate income.)

Please do not make the same mistakes I did. By learning some very simple steps and using affordable tools you can use your acupuncture website to create a virtual line of patients standing outside your clinic doors!

Click Here to read more about my book and the bonus video recordings here.

Your success matters to me.

Peace,

Lisa Hanfileti, LAc

Insights-for-Acupuncturists.com

P.S. Look for my next post on, “Affiliate Marketing With Your Acupuncture Website”.  Once you understand the power of affiliate marketing your whole life will change!  I show you exactly how you can begin earning money TODAY (even without a website) using affiliate marketing techniques.  What you learn in this webinar is your key to earning passive income through your acupuncture website for the rest of your acupuncture career and beyond.

How to Attract More Patients With Your Acupuncture Website

August 2, 2009 by  
Filed under Acupuncture Websites, News

How to Attract More Patients With Your Acupuncture Website

How to Attract More Patients With Your Acupuncture Website - 44 page Ebook

Not all websites are created equal. If you want your acupuncture website to bring more new patients through your doors then you have to pay attention to some key design elements.

Research shows that you have about 3 seconds to get the attention of your website visitor (e.g. potential patient) before they make a decision to click off your website or click deeper into your website.

What makes someone want to stay on your website?

It all starts with the design of your website.  That is, how it looks to your visitor.

In the same way that you might go out of your way to put your patients at ease the first time they arrive at your acupuncture clinic, you want to make your website visitors feel comfortable when they land on your web pages.

You can create a feeling of ‘comfort’ for people who visit your website by using design elements that help your visitor stay oriented on the page.

These include using:

  • Colors that are not too bright or too dark. Often times a dark background with white lettering is difficult to read and will cause your visitor to strain.  Stay away from black and dark purple backgrounds with white lettering.  It might look good to you and appeal to your sense of creativity, but (I hate to break the news to you),  your website isn’t about YOU.  It is about making your visitor feel comfortable and that means making the design EASY for your potential new patient to read more about you.
  • Fonts that are clean and clear. Although it is tempting to use cursive writing and fun fonts on your website, stick with the standard fonts (e.g. Arial, Times New Roman, Tahoma, and  Garamond) and colors that appear clear.  Do not use too much bright red or bold lettering, saving that only for the things that you want to emphasize.  Also, do not center all of your text the way you might find writing in a greeting card. Although it might look good to you, your visitor may have a different type of computer screen or web browser that chops the text up at odd intervals and looks messy.  Play it safe and keep your text justified to the left.
  • Your  opt-in box is located “Above the Fold”. Each page of your website has a very valuable section referred to as  the area “above the fold”.  This is everything you see on a webpage before you scroll down and it is the very first thing your visitor sees when they land on your site.  You want to use this precious real estate by giving your potential patients a way to interact with you.  This can be accomplished with an opt-in box for a newsletter, free report, ebook, or any other subscription or download that you can send them in exchange for their name and email address.  This is a crucial step in the process of establishing contact with your website visitors.  (More on this in Bonus Webinar 2, see below.)

Of course, there are many other web design elements that are important for you to include (and avoid!) in order to attract new patients to your acupuncture clinic.

Acupuncture Website Design Elements

Acupuncture Website Design Elements

These are just a few of the design elements that I explain in detail in my web class video recording and companion 44-page ebook on “Website Design Elements:  What You Absolutely Need and What You Can Do Without”.

Here is a complete list of the Bonus recordings that are included with your purchase of my ebook, Complementary and Alternative Marketing:  How to Attract New Patients, Market Your Practice, and Earn Passive Income With Your Acupuncture Website.

Bonus Webinar #1: “Website Design Elements: What You Absolutely Need and What You Can Do Without”

What the heck are the most important features of a website?  I will give you a list of “dos” and “dont’s” for your website so that you learn how to use these design elements to bring new patients through your doors.

Bonus Webinar #2: “The Secret to Online Income, Part 1: List Building and Database Management”

There is a lot of misunderstanding about what a “List” or “Database” is and how you should use the information in a responsible way. I give you important facts and show you some powerful online tools to automate the management of your database in a responsible, legal, and ethical way.

Bonus Webinar #3: “The Secret to Online Income, Part 2: Affiliate Marketing With Your Acupuncture Website”

Once you understand the power of affiliate marketing your whole life will change! I show you exactly how you can begin earning money TODAY (even without a website) using affiliate marketing techniques. What you learn in this webinar is your key to earning passive income though your acupuncture website for the rest of your acupuncture career and beyond.

Bonus Webinar #4: “Relationship Marketing Tools to Build Your Acupuncture Practice & Online Income”

Building relationships is the key to referral marketing. I show you some easy ways to build lasting rapport with your patients, customers, and even other professionals. Using tools that automate the communication process and leverage your time to help you stay in consistent contact with your patients is crucial to your overall marketing success.

Click Here to get started with these webinars today.

Your success matters to me!

Lisa Hanfileti, LAc