December and January are often busy months for a massage practice, but many therapists (or any working professional) could benefit from a plan to further increase their business during this time of year. Relying on reputation, word of mouth referrals or returning clients may be keeping your business profitable, but tapping into people’s wants and needs when they are most likely to splurge is a smart business move that could grow a practice year-round.

Luckily, increasing your income during the holidays does not need to endanger your ethical standards. For most people, the true spirit of gift exchanges has nothing to do with modern gadgets, stylish clothing or sparkly jewels. Instead, the joy of swapping presents lies in the act of giving. When it comes to what people would most like to give, the ability to help someone relax, get relief from stress and improve his or her health will usually trump any other potential gift. As such, tap into these strategies that make massage therapy easily accessible – at a time when people are seeking ways to give meaningful gifts to those closest to them:

  1. Gift Certificates– Don’t wait for current or prospective clients to come up with the idea of giving the gift of massage therapy. Make sure they know it is an option to buy a gift certificate from you:
    • Mention it after a massage session.
    • Send holiday cards with a purchase reminder.
    • Hang signs in your practice advertising them.
    • Send emails out to all your contacts announcing your gift certificates.
    • Post flyers advertising your gift certificates at health-conscious stores.
  2. Sell (and schedule) Online – For most people, online sales transactions are the simplest way to arrange for holiday scheduling and gifts. As such, make sure people can book appointments or purchase massage gift certificates online with ease. If you are tech savvy, streamline your website to make this type of a purchase easy; if not, consider paying for such a service. Gift certificates can be sent in the mail or a PDF of the gift can be emailed.
  3. Holiday Packages– In this economy, everyone loves a deal. Holiday savings packages are the ideal vehicle for gaining new regular clients and showing your appreciation for current clients. There are many ways to structure a holiday special offer, but some ideas include offering the following types of incentives:
    • Two 60-minute massage gift certificates entitles the client to receive the third for half price.
    • A wellness/relaxation voucher set entitling the client to eight sessions for the price of seven – to be used in one year.
    • Twenty percent off the total price if two or more services are purchased at once.
    • A free gift (massage lotion, essential oil, relaxation CD, etc.) with the purchase of a 90-minute massage gift certificate.
  4. Network with Local Companies – Although the much beloved holiday bonus is now a rarity, many companies still celebrate the holidays. Instead of money, some companies give their employees a list of gifts to choose from. Getting your massage gift certificates on that list is a great way to introduce your services to new clients. If you do chair massage, working a holiday office party is another great way to increase your bottom line while exposing more people to the benefits of massage therapy – just make sure you have plenty of business cards with you!

With a little forethought and extra effort, there are multiple ways to attract new, lasting clients to your practice during the holiday season. Because massage therapy is the ideal anecdote to tension and stress, gifting a session is a sublime present. So help your clients and those they care about commit to being more relaxed and healthful in the New Year by facilitating the gift of massage therapy.