My Awesome Experience with Groupon, Living Social, AmazonLocal
This is the Picture Groupon Used!
February 2011: There's been alot of chatter about Groupon on our esthetic forums. Some good, but mostly not so good. I wondered why I was hearing and reading all this negative stuff. To me the concept sounded kinda intriguing! Groupon gets your name out there to the masses and they sell your treatments at a discounted price in order to bring in a large amount of people. Yes, they take a cut for doing the advertising and then the rest comes to you. Yes, the rest is not very much, but you haven't put a single penny out of your pocket to make this campaign happen. Do you know how expensive advertising can be and with no guarantees of return on your investment? To me, this concept is genius!
There's also been alot of chatter about Esthetician discounting their services and how we shouldn't be doing that. Are you kidding me....Why would you mind discounting a service to bring a new potential long term client into your business? Oh, I get it.....it's because your appointment book is so full that you just couldn't possibly squeeze in another client. I say, good for you, that's absolutely incredible. But for everyone else that is slow.....read on!
I decided to do Groupon to prove that there is great potential for good income and return clients. They ran my Groupon with the choice of two treatments. MicroPhototherapy or Oxygen Infusion. They sold 189 treatments for me. The phone starting ringing early the day the ad ran. That's 189 opportunities for me to make a great first impression and a new long term client.
The very first client to come in booked an acne treatment for her Son the next week and also another appointment for herself. Just 2 and a half weeks into this, I've sold six treatment series for MicroPhototherapy (totaling $4200!) and I've also sold quite a bit of product. I'd say I'm off to a fabulous start!
I can hear you thinking...."Shelley must be a pushy sales person to have sold that many series". Nope, I'm not pushy at all. I hate it when people do that to me, so I've never been that way in business. I just make a connection with these people and let them start asking me questions about further treatments. The treatment results speak for themselves and they want more!
Here ya go...here's the inside scoop on how much I was paid per treatment. $28 for the MicroPhototherapy and $48 for the Oxygen Infusion. I've read many posts by Esty's that say they feel as if they'll be working for nothing. I book these clients on the hour (that includes checkout time). Yes, these amounts are much lower than the cost of our full treatments but...think about it, how many people nowadays are even making $28 an hour none the less $48. Remember, you paid nothing to bring these new clients into your business. It's then your job to turn them into returning clients.
Here's another one I hear alot...."they're all just looking for discounts". I'm a big believer in "attraction". Trust me, if you are putting out the energy that this person walking through your door is a deal seeker...that will be relationship you establish. They will be a deal seeker. They'll have your treatment, probably even enjoy it, but they'll move on to the next deal. Not because of who they are but because of your energy about them. I'm sorry, am I getting to woowoo?! I'm a big believer in this stuff and I've proven it to myself time and time again. I believe that's why my business is so successful right now when so many people are closing their doors. It's not because I'm such an awesome Esthetician. It's because of my attitude about "attraction". Okay, I guess that's a whole other page on my website!! I'll get off that soapbox for now!
My recommendation if you decide to do Groupon is not to offer a foofoo facial. They can get a regular facial anywhere. Offer something unique that they can't get down the street. Also, offer something that needs to be done in a series for best results. But it needs to be good enough for them to see great immediate results or they won't see the benefit of returning for the series.
Today, my Esthetician that works for me part-time got two $30 tips!!! She was so excited. I've received at least $10 (mostly $20) from a big percentage of the clients.
Here's an email I received recently from an Esty about Groupon:
Glad to see someone else appreciates the power of the discount coupon. Too many esties only see the money they are not making on each facial instead of seeing that they have a living breathing client in their chair that they would not have had before and that the cost of advertising was not money out of their pocket but only costs them their time. And their time in front of a client at that! I have done both Groupon and Living Social and of the two I prefer LS. LS doesn't charge you the credit card fees that Groupon does and they also pay you one lump sum. I am so happy I did them both. I have also done great retail sales AND gotten rebookings. My favorite is that loads of young women (the future of our business) are being introduced to skin care for the first time. All in all, it's a good deal.
When I hear esties complaining about having heard horror stories from people whose deals failed, I remind them that if you are not careful scissors can hurt you really badly. But that does not make them a bad tool that you would throw away and never use again. You simply learn how to use the tool safely and properly.
Living Social now reaches between 60,000-70,000 email boxes here in my are (California). Where would I be able to find a way to advertise to them on my own? And would I be able to advertise to that many people for FREE?
Love that email! Thanks to the insightful Esty that sent it to me!
Call Me if You're Considering Groupon and Need Help (949) 481-4037
2/14/2011 Update: I've now sold 7 MicroPhototherapy treatment series. On Saturday a gal gave me a $40 tip! That was fun! Today I had my first no-show, but I'd say that's a pretty good record so far. It states on their coupon that if they don't give a 24 hour notice of cancellation, they forfeit their treatment. Groupon paid me for this coupon already but I can decide whether I want to honor it when she calls and gives me her dramatic explanation of why she didn't show.....you know the stories we hear from no-shows! I'll see if she comes up with a good one!
2/18/2011 Update: It was a great Groupon week. More tips and more rebooking! I just did a young gal this morning with some light acne and acne scarring. She loved her microphototherapy treatment and booked to come back for 3 more weeks.
2/23/2011 Update: It's slowed down a bit, which is great. I need a breather! There are still way over 100 people that haven't called for their appointment yet, so it's definitely not over. I heard from one Esty that did Groupon, that a ton of people called her the day before their coupon was to expire and wanted in the next day. She kinda panicked! I'll decide how to deal with that when the day comes. I'm still very happy that I did this promotion.
2/26/2011 Update: Today a client came in that had rebooked from her first Groupon appointment...paying full price this time and she rescheduled again for three weeks from now! I also just sold an eighth series of MicroPhototherapy treatments a few minutes ago. She looked at herself in the mirror after the treatment and was amazed, so she bought a series! WhooHoo it's a great day!
3/26/2011 Update: The Groupon clients are just trickling in now. One client that had booked for a series, finished that series this week and rebooked to come back in three weeks for another appointment! In the past month since my last update, we booked 2 more series, making it now 10 series sold! We still have well over 100 coupons out there to be redeemed. I'm gushing many will wait until the last minute and we'll be swamped again. I'm still extremely happy that we opted to do this promotion...it's been well worth it!
4/02/2011 Update: Great week....I sold two more series this week!!! That's 12 series now from the 71 Groupon clients we've done so far. We have well over 100 more still to redeem their Groupons. I am very pleased with the amount of series we've sold and also the clients booking return appointments. This has totally changed our business.
6/09/2011 Update: I haven't updated in awhile, sorry! Well, we have retained so many of these Groupon clients. It's keeping us nice and busy! The Groupons will expire next month and we still have about 80 people that have not used them. I'm expecting that the phone will start ringing like crazy soon. I've been doing a promotion with a company called Trubates. They are a local company and only take 18% of the profit! They are small so you don't sell the masses like you do with Groupon or Living Social but it's been steady. I get two or three new clients each week. I've been with them for three months now. My last check from them for May was $1300.
Here's an email I received yesterday: I just read your article on Groupon. I did Groupon over a year a ago. I sold 701!!!! I gave every client 5-star service. Today Shelley, I have 1030 clients and 45 reviews on Yelp. I am booked a month out. I built another room onto my building and hired another esthetician who works under me. The law of attraction is amazing!!!!! Every Groupon client that walks through my door I gave the universe ultimate appreciation for bringing them into my business. Just as you said...word of mouth spreads. I see whole families now...and extended families! Just thought I'd share:) Dawn from San Jose California
This was an awesome awesome email to receive. If you haven't read my article about Law of Attraction click here.
8/27/2011 Update: Since my last post we've run a Living Social special and we've done even better than Groupon at getting these clients to book another appointment. There are two things we're doing. With both Groupon and Living Social we offered two different treatments, so when they come in for whatever treatment they purchased, we let them know that they can try the other treatment offer at the same discount price. The second thing we do is let them know if they book their next appointment before they leave, they can have it at the same discounted price. I would say 95% of the clients have taken us up on this. I ask for payment right then, but I don't turn them down if they are unable to pay that day. This has helped our month of August to be bearable...we all know that August is usually the slowest month.
We have a small local company called Juice in the City (don't ask me what that means!) that is geared toward Mothers. In a couple of weeks they are promoting a Teen Facial for us and they will be encouraging the teens to come together. Teen girls love to do things together! This will open us up to a whole new market! We have a great series special ready to offer them.
11/26/2011 Update: Well, the new clients are at a trickle now but consistent. The esty that works for me is getting really good at rescheduling each client. I would say about 95% book another appointment. This is phenomenal! We offer them a special deal to try a different treatment. This way they experience more things that we have to offer. We didn't sell too many of the teen facials and only one of them has come in so far. I think the Mothers are waiting to give them as Christmas gifts! We still have over 100 coupons out there not used yet, so I have this funny feeling we are going to be very busy in December. They'll all want to look good for the holidays. I'll keep you posted!
We continue to run the occasional ad through Living Social and AmazonLocal because it continues to work to bring in new clients. We have a structure set up for getting them to return that has worked about 90% of the time! I will be including this info in the spa marketing program that my husband and I are working on right now. It should be available in a couple of months!! Watch for it!
4/18/2014:This email came in today.....
THANK YOU for the advice about using Groupon to our advantage. My girls have rebooked 95% of all their Groupon clients using your method since we implemented it! I have been singing your praises! xo Wendei