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

 

 

Acupuncture For Children?

June 15, 2009 by  
Filed under Acu Insighter Newsletter

"Energy Medicine Principles For Parents" by Peter Hanfileti, MD

"Energy Medicine Principles For Parents" by Peter Hanfileti, MD

I am often asked about the safety of acupuncture for children. As an acupuncturist trained to treat adults as well as children I can say with confidence that children can benefit from the holistic medicine model and the application of Chinese medicine techniques, which may or may not include acupuncture.

But I have a confession to make.   I avoid treating children in my acupuncture practice.

I am lucky because my husband, Peter, is a pediatrician who specializes in energy medicine. And even though I have patients who ask me to see their kids, I politely say, “no, I do not treat kids, because my husband is a pediatrician and his specialty is children.” My patients are always happy to hear this, so it is a win-win.

But the truth is, if I did not share an office with a pediatrician, I would refer to another acupuncturist in my local community who did specialize in treating children. That’s just how uncomfortable I am.

From the conversations I’ve had with other acupuncturists, I know I am not the only one who lacks experience and confidence in working with children.

That’s why I am so happy that Peter Hanfileti, MD (yes, my husband) just wrote a book about treating children with energy medicine! Peter is an excellent practitioner who has an amazing track record treating some of the most difficult conditions in children using acupuncture, acupressure, BodyTalk™, colored light therapy, and othe non-invasive energy medicine techniques.

I proofed his book and I learned a TON just from reviewing it!! It’s called, “Energy Medicine Principles For Parents: A Pediatricians Perspective on How Energy Medicine Can Help Your Child”.  (Click on the “New Ebook” button at the bottom of his homepage.)

But I am not the only one gushing about his book.  You can read what others are saying on his letter (here) and learn why having this kind of book available to your patients who are parents is so valuable to them and YOU.

In “Energy Medicine Principles For Parents”, Peter covers:

  • Energy Distribution – How Your Child’s Energy System Works
  • Energy Conservation – How Your Child’s System Protects Itself
  • Energy Hierarchy – How Your Child’s System Follows an Intelligent Priority List
  • Energy Resonance – How Your Child’s Energy System is in Synch with Yours
  • Energy Harmony – How Your Child’s System Fits In With Your Family’s Structure
  • Energy Imprinting – How Your Child’s Age Can Imprint Their Energy System
  • …And so much more, including practical strategies for parents to address their individual child’s needs

But my favorite section of the book is the Case Studies.  That’s because I see the kids who have benefited from his knowledge, skills, and kindness.  It always amazes me when I see a young child in our waiting room yanking on his mother’s arm asking, “Mom, when can I come back to see Dr. Pete?” How many children do you know of who look forward to seeing their doctor??

So if you are one of those acupuncture practitioners who lacks confidence in treating children, or you would like to be able to tell parents that energy medicine is a good choice for addressing the complex needs of kids, then go ahead and check out his website and new ebook.  As always, you are invited to come back here and tell me what you think.

Best Regards,
Lisa Hanfileti, LAc
Insights-For-Acupuncturists.com

P.S.  For those of you who just attended my live webinar on “The Secret to Online Income, Part 2: Affiliate Marketing With Your Acupuncture Website”, be sure to check out Peter’s Affiliate Program.  Does an ebook written by an MD on “Energy Medicine Principles For Parents” bring value to your patients and website visitors? You betcha!

Here’s the link to his website again:
www.PrinciplesForParents.com

Here’s My Free Acupuncture Business Plan!

Acupuncture Business Plan: How We Secured Funds to Build the Acupuncture Practice of Our Dreams

My Free Acupuncture Business Plan Details How We Secured Funds to Build the Acupuncture Practice of Our Dreams

When I wrote my Acupuncture Business Plan there were not any “templates” out there for me to follow, so it was a ton of work.  I would love to save you some of the struggle I went through by giving you my actual Acupuncture Business Plan that I used to secure a business loan in 2005.

But there’s a catch.

This business plan has some of my actual financial data and market research. And I do not want it floating around the Internet willy nilly.

I only want those acupuncturists who are serious about their business to get a hold of it. That is why I decided to make my Acupuncture Business Plan free, but only to those who purchase my ebook, “Complementary and Alternative Marketing”.

Go to www.ComplementaryAndAlternativeMarketing.com to learn more.

Ever since I posted on my Insights-For-Acupuncturists Blog that I wrote a real business plan in 2005 to secure a bank loan, I have been inundated with requests asking where to go to get ahold of my plan.

The truth is, I have already made my acupuncture business plan available to a select few, simply because I needed to see if it was going to be helpful to students, graduates, and other acupuncturists.  Well… I got my answer!

So in response to your requests and feedback, let me explain where I am coming from and what I am willing to do…

You probably already noticed that about HALF of the “10 Big Mistakes I Made Opening My Acupuncture Practice” could have been avoided if I had written a business plan.  It has been frustrating to have had to learn how to run a business the hard way.  I would love to save you the frustration, not to mention wasted money and time, that I experienced.

Also, it concerns me that I have heard from experienced acupuncturists that they too have made these exact same mistakes!  It is time to put an end to these common errors and change the way we go about setting up our acupuncture practices.

So I have decided to do something that no one has ever done before…

I am releasing my actual acupuncture business plan that my husband and I wrote to secure funds from our bank and through the Small Business Administration (SBA) to purchase, what has become, the acupuncture clinic of our dreams.  What’s more is…

I want to give you my acupuncture business plan absolutely free!  But hold on… there IS a catch.  (Read on.)

This is a 35-page document that includes our:

  • Executive Summary
  • Acupuncture Industry Analysis
  • Acupuncture Market Research
  • Acupuncture Market Statistics
  • Financial Projections
  • Risk Analysis
  • And all the other key components of a properly written acupuncture business plan.

Plus I added a detailed Introduction and Epilogue to give you an insider’s view of how we actually wrote the plan.

This is really a very valuable document and I think I am going to sell it at some point. But right now, for a limited time, I have decided to include it as a Special Unadvertised Bonus with every purchase of my ebook, “Complementary and Alternative Marketing: How to Attract New Patients, Build Your Practice, and Earn Passive Income With Your Acupuncture Website”.

Learn more about “Complementary and Alternative Marketing: How to Attract New Patients, Build Your Practice, and Earn Passive Income With Your Acupuncture Website” here:

http://www.insights-for-acupuncturists.com/cam-ebook-halfspecial

Offering you my free acupuncture business plan is definitely a way togive you incentive to invest in my Complementary and Alternative Marketing ebook, because I KNOW that this ebook can save you time and money and give you incredible insight into how you can build and grow your acupuncture practice better, faster, and stronger than 90% of the current practicing profession!  So it’s my way of giving you an irresistible deal so that you take advantage of information that can save your acupuncture practice.

Lisa, How Do I get Your Acupuncture Business Plan?

It’s simple.  All you have to do is purchase my ebook and my Acupuncture Business Plan is yours for FREE. It is delivered right along with the other 6  free bonus videos and ebooks.  To learn more, click on the link below:

Get my free acupuncture business plan when you purchase,
“Complementary and Alternative Marketing”

Your success matters to me!

Lisa Hanfileti, LAc