It’s a common question I see floated around; something to the effect of “A client…
Scarcity marketing is an approach that can drastically increase your clientele, with relatively little work on your part. It’s not about paying for this or that, spending hours crafting the perfect offer, or your more traditional marketing tactics, but rather an idea surrounding how you present your marketing. Scarcity marketing is all about focusing on your audience’s fear of missing out.
To put it simply, if a product or service is hard to get or not available, it suddenly becomes more attractive. So if it’s hard for someone to get an appointment with you, or a special offer has a fast-approaching deadline, the client is far more likely to book. It’s a psychological phenomenon with a lot of research to back it up.
Many business owners tend to think the most attractive thing to a client, the thing that will entice them to book immediately, is a big discount; it’s not. It’s the urgency of that discount that usually draws people in. If you’ve been offering discounts, you may have noticed that without an upcoming expiration on it, the response is relatively slow, but if you say the discount is only good for those who book in the next 3 days, you’ll get far more clients. It’s this sense of urgency, this fear of missing out on something good, that makes people skip many of the objections they may normally use to talk themselves out of booking. But there’s more to scarcity marketing than just great deals and discounts.
So how do you use this to market your practice?
Using terms like “sale ends soon”, “final hours”, or similar phrases may seem like a great idea, but because this is so often used, our inboxes and social media feeds tend to be inundated with these lines, screaming that it’s our last chance to save. So we need to approach this in a more sophisticated, less obvious form of scarcity marketing, like…
A limited introductory price
If you like to offer an incentive to get new clients to book, a special introductory price is a great way to do just that. While you can absolutely do this all the time, offering this only a few time through the year is even better. If someone is on the fence about booking with you, doesn’t seem to have the time, etc., seeing that you have an introductory price available any time leaves them knowing that they can always get that discount “when they have the time” to book. And y’all know I’m not big on discounting unless there’s a serious strategy around it. So on the other hand, if you offer this new client price for only 1 week every quarter, say you’re “now accepting new clients” they’re far more likely to see the urgency and make it work so they can get that discount. Think about it this way…instead of offering a savings of 10% or $10 or whatever for every new client, choose your slowest 4-6 weeks out of the year and offer a much larger discount. In the long run you’re not losing nearly as much money, plus you’re filling your slowest weeks of the year and getting clients who, with a solid rebooking strategy in place, will become regulars.
A limited time for add-on promotions
Short promotions offering a free add-on upgrade can be a great way to entice people to book their first appointment, but can work even better to get some of your existing clients to try out add-ons they’ve not wanted to spend the money on before. Maybe they weren’t sure if they’d like the hot stones or didn’t see the value in dry brushing; but if you’re offering those things for free with any massage booked during a specific timeframe, they’re likely to take advantage of it. Then, once they see the value, many will begin to add that onto their regular sessions, increasing their average spend which acts to increase your overall revenue.
Same or next day limited appointment availability
I know a lot of you may avoid same-day appointments, and I get it, but what about announcing when you have something available the same day or the next day. So instead of only notifying people of the openings you have through the entire week, send out an email blast every now and then to let people know that you only have 1 or 2 appointments available the next day – first come, first serve. That very limited number of appointments and last minute offer is likely to get someone who’s been on the fence to finally act. It fills your book and gets another client to turn into a regular.
Limited service offerings
It’s not only about pricing being available for a short amount of time, but what about offering a service for a very limited time as well. You may already do this a bit with holiday specials and such. For example, you might offer a spa package that’s specific to the season; but what if you took this same concept and did it year round for other things. If there’s some certain modality you like, but it’s hard on your body, or it’s not something that seems to sell very well, could you only offer it in short bursts throughout the year, making people more likely to book it. So, let’s say you enjoy Thai massage on a mat, but you don’t want to have to switch back and forth between a mat and a table throughout your day, so you just don’t offer it or promote it much. What if you took an entire week in the spring and again in the fall to offer that service only for that time – or maybe just one day out of every month that was entirely devoted to that service. It saves you from going back and forth between mat and table constantly, but it also entices people to try a modality they may not have considered before you pack up your mat for the season. Obviously that’s just one example, but are there other services that you think would work for this strategy? Maybe a spa service or a special service combo that doesn’t sell much, or even a partnership with another solo therapist to offer couples or tandem massage…keep it off your normal menu of services and instead only offer it a few times a year.
And lastly, and one of the most effective and simplest to implement…
Limited appointment availability
Perhaps the most effective forms of scarcity marketing is reminding people consistently that it’s hard to get an appointment with you. This may contradict your train of thought on the subject, but it’s been shown time and again that people want what’s hard to get. Telling people how open your schedule is can make them question why; either consciously or subconsciously they think there is a reason you’re not in high demand…and that may be that you’re not that good at what you do. Or that they can always just call last minute to get an appointment because your schedule is so empty. However, if you’re consistently staying booked up weeks in advance, they want to know why; they’ll automatically think you must be great at what you do. In my practice, when I was booking several months, and then a year in advance, when new clients would call and ask for an appointment, I’d tell them I didn’t have an opening for a year. The response was usually something like “holy cow, you must be good”. Then they’d get on a cancellation list and do whatever they could to make the random appointments I’d offer work for their schedule. Even if you’re not booking far in advance yet, wording things so you appear to be busy is a great way to build that scarcity. When someone asks what you have available next week, instead of saying “my schedule’s open most of the week”, reword that to put the ball in their court, saying something like “What days are best?” and “Are mornings, afternoons, or evenings best for you?” Then once they narrow it down, you can pick very select times to offer them. Doing this avoids letting them know just how open your schedule is while building that scarcity concept of limited availability; so you may say “I have a 5:00 on Tuesday and a 6:00 on Thursday. Would either of those work for you?”.
Scarcity marketing isn’t about some crazy tactic to convince people to book. It’s simply wording and offering things that persuade someone to book so they don’t miss out on something great. How can you start adding scarcity into your marketing strategy?