Keep clients coming back with membership marketing

“Membership has its privileges” was a well-known ad campaign of American Express back in the 90s. The underlying campaign message was that there were rewards for those who had the American Express credit card. Today, many consumer brands are capitalizing on membership marketing in which customers agree to a fee on a regular basis to receive select goods and services along with other benefits, such as discounts.  (Loyalty programs, by comparison do not have fees nor is there any set amount of purchase necessary.  Customers receive rewards as they make purchases or arrange for services.)

Today paid membership programs are gaining in popularity among retailers and other service businesses to attract new customers and strengthen relationships with existing ones. Fee-based membership programs also provide an additional revenue stream, which can be more dependable than sales.  One of the most highly visible membership programs is Amazon Prime. As of the end of last year, more than 100 million people were members, according to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP). CIRP estimates that Amazon prime customers spend on average about $1,400 per year, compared to non-member customers who spend about $600 per year.

Launching a membership program

Your spa or massage practice could benefit from a membership program by gaining new clients, booking more appointments, ensuring more re-bookings, boosting sales and also providing a steady cash flow from membership fees.  To get a program off the ground, you’ll want to take the following steps.

Do your homework: Review the service and purchase history of your top clients to determine what you’ll want to include in your membership program. Your program may include massage for relaxation because it’s what most of your clients request. You may want certain skin treatments that are the most popular among your clientele.  Then consider the types of benefits that would be associated with the services. Some clients may value a special discount on retail products; others may want an additional treatment included with a regularly scheduled massage.

Create membership packages: Based on reviewing client booking/purchasing patterns, you may want to create different memberships and price them accordingly. However, it may be sufficient to have one membership and only one fee.

Marketing: Market your membership program to your clients and prospects. Update your website with information about your new membership program. Create a special landing page where people can sign up. Include information about the program in all your social channels and include a link to your website for more information. Use email marketing to let clients know about the program or send out a direct mail. Also promote the program within your spa or massage practice with signage at the front desk, changing area, etc.

Keep in touch:  Keeping in touch with clients and prospects about the program is critical. Schedule regular email messages or create a newsletter with up-to-date information about the program’s special services, discounts on retail offerings and other marketing initiatives, such as a special contest. Also use outreach to keep members informed about industry news and trends.

Create a membership program your clients will feel “privileged” to join.

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