Groupon for med spas, image thanks to medicalspamd.com

I recently stumbled across an article on medicalspamd.com outlining the success of Groupon and how medical spas have been using Groupon. In case you don’t know about Groupon, they are a discount group buying website that offer local deals, often times up to 50+% off. Groupon has been enormously successful. In fact, they will likely become the fastest company to reach $1 billion in sales.

Groupon has served many different types of businesses, including medi spas. The lure for any business is that you can turn a new client who just got a bargain for your services into a returning customer at full price. That’s the conundrum facing any business, because offering discounts at 50% off is not very profitable, especially after Groupon takes another 50% off of this discount. Thus, a treatment that you would normally receive $500 for is now putting only $125 in your pocket. It’s not very profitable, but it does make your business more popular (at least for the short term).

In order to make an investment in Groupon worthwhile, Medi Spas need to focus on what they can do to generate repeat business. Here are some tips for generating that repeat business:

1) Offer outstanding customer service: This goes without saying, but it is worth repeating. The only way to get someone to willingly spend more for the exact same service is to blow them away with outstanding service.

2) Offer incentives to return: Consider offering discounts for future services. You can offer special membership pricing, or simply offer patients 10% off their next service. Another idea is to offer a discount if they refer you to a friend, become a Fan on Facebook or write a review for you on Yelp, Google, Doctorbase, or any other relevant review website.

3) Sell the value of returning: One easy way to encourage patients, who find you on Groupon, to return is by offering a service or procedure that necessitates multiple visits. Procedures such as hair removal, skin tightening, and tattoo removal typically require the patient to return. Which leads me to me next point…

4) Do not offer deals for Botox of injectables: These procedures often have lower margins to begin with. After you discount the service and give Groupon their cut you’ll be left with very little. Avoid offering Botox or other injectable services at all costs.

5) Ask for a video testimonial: Assuming the patient had a great experience (you should be able to guage this), ask if you can shoot a quick video testimonial of them in exchange for a discount off of future services. You can then edit, optimize and post this video to your website Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other video marketing websites for maximum exposure. In my opinion this is even more powerful than a review.

Remember, creating an offer on Groupon is typically not a profitable thing to do. However, it will get people in the door (literally) and increase the visibility of your practice. Therefore, in order to effectively use Groupon your practice needs to create an environment that necessitates that patients come back. Residual business is crucial to the success of any medi spa. The bottom line is, if you’re going to invest in Groupon, remember to offer a procedure that requires the patient to return, and offer it on a procedure that has higher margins. Then sell the value of the return visit, while providing excellent customer service. Offering future discounts for patients who give testimonials online, or through video, is also a very good idea regardless of whether or not your practice is using Groupon.