Every business, even appointment-based businesses, runs a deal at some point to bring in new customers and to give back to their loyal following. Special events renew interest in your brand and can tip the scales in your favor when customers are on the fence.
Appointment-based businesses will approach deals differently than other industries. While promotions will have to be implemented in different ways, they can still be just as effective at building your customer base and giving revenue a short-term boost. Here are some ideas you can use for your next appointment deal:
Online Booking Promotions
If you’re trying to move toward online appointment booking software, run a promotion that rewards the first customers to adopt it. Even if you explain all the benefits of online appointment booking, you’ll have some customers who don’t like change and will be hesitant to make the switch. Offer them extra reward points, discounts, and flexibility during the first weeks of implementing the new software, and they’ll be more willing to jump on board.
The real benefits will be enjoyed by your business. Online appointment booking is faster and more reliable than traditional booking. You can easily keep track of appointments, quickly make adjustments, and conveniently access customer information. Your customers can book appointments whenever they please and can even prepay online.
Loyalty Punch Card
When extending deals to your customers, your primary goal should be to incentivize them to return as often as possible. While new faces are great, it costs five times as much to acquire customers as it does to keep them around. For that reason, many businesses across a variety of industries provide loyalty punch cards to their current fans.
The concept of a punch card is simple. Each time a customer leaves an appointment, they get a punch or a mark on their card indicating they’ve completed a visit. After a certain number of appointments — 10 is typically the magic number — they qualify for a reward. This could be a free appointment or any other incentive that would get customers to pursue the end goal. After their punch card is used up, they can start a new cycle.
Just because getting new customers is more expensive than retaining existing ones doesn’t mean you should stop trying. A healthy business continues to gain new customers as others fade away and need to be replaced. To incentivize new customers to commit to their first appointment, offer them a small bonus.
A first-time appointment bonus should be big enough that it lures in new customers, but not so large that it devalues future appointments they would potentially book. A $10 cut in price or a free additional service will work just fine. A free service — an eyebrow wax with a haircut, say — will also give new customers a taste of what they can enjoy at future appointments. This will act as another incentive to get them to return.
Another technique to keep customers coming back again and again is to offer a discount for bookings made in bulk. Let’s say you run a chiropractic office, and a regular adjustment costs $60. Over the course of 10 appointments, the bill would run to $600. With a bulk discount, customers can pay for all 10 appointments up front, lowering their total cost by a set amount. A 10% bulk discount, for example, would result in a cost of only $540.
This program benefits your regular customers who were already prepared to pay the full fee for all their appointments. Additionally, it may sway some new customers in your direction as they weigh their options before committing to a business. The promise of a substantial discount on future services when compared to the competition will win over many.
You might be wondering whether this large of a discount will hack away at your revenue. After all, a 10% price reduction can add up over time, especially if multiple customers take advantage of it. What you need to consider is the fact that you’re filling up several appointments in advance. Appointments at a 10% discount still pay more than an empty appointment slot.
Referrals are a powerful asset for your business. A Neilsen study found that more than 80% of U.S. consumers actively seek recommendations before making a purchase. They’ll ask friends and family or poll their social media following to get insight on the brands and businesses those individuals prefer before making a decision for themselves.
With so many potential customers already looking for recommendations, your task is to get your current loyalists to bring those customers to you. A referral program will incentivize your fans to be more vocal about their decision to do business with you. They’ll talk with their friends and family and guide them to you, receiving a bonus for their efforts.
What should your customers receive for making referrals? For many, additional perks at their own appointments will be a welcome reward. Otherwise, gift cards, lottery tickets, and other prizes may do the trick. You can even hold a referral contest where the winner gets their next five appointments for free or dinner at the hot new restaurant in town.
Offering the right deals to your customers will help your business grow and flourish — it will also make your customers happy. Don’t be afraid to cycle through these types of deals every once in a while to keep things fresh. New deals and promotions will continue to pique interest in your company year-round.