Get New Clients with a Back-to-School Special!
One of my favorite childhood traditions was opening my brand new yellow box of Crayolas on the first day of school! Do you remember that smell?! Nowadays I have a different Fall tradition – my annual Back-to-School Special!
“Fall marketing?! It’s still summer! What’s the rush?” you may be wondering!
Well yes, exactly! It’s already August, when the new school year has already started in many areas. A Back-to-School Special is an ideal opportunity to tap into a client-rich environment for your wellness practice!
Whatever your health modality, a Back-to-School Special can customize your Fall marketing to target school-related personnel and events! It’s a great way to support the health of these valuable members of the community who are crucial to our children’s futures! It’s actually a huge target market that you can tap into – every town has schools!
As you may know by now, I’m a big fan of “systems.” Here’s a system to create your Back-to-School Special:
– First of all, make time for marketing! Get out your calendar and schedule a few hours of specific Back-to-School marketing each week for the rest of the summer. Start now – go get that calendar and book a few appointments with yourself – for marketing your business!
– Make a list of schools in your area. Start small with what you can manage for now. If you have kids, start with their school – teachers, staff, parents, coaches. Each year as you repeat your Back-to-School Special, widen your circle to include individuals and agencies that serve students, such as counselors, social service organizations and after-school programs.
– Design and print your marketing materials – brochures, business cards, rack cards, flyers and voucher coupons. Make sure your wording focuses on the client’s challenge and the results and benefits people can expect from working with you.
– Develop a social media campaign for your program. Get the word out on Facebook and Twitter, in your ezine or newsletter, website and blog!
– Make a promotional kit for the school office. I use a 2-pocket folder that includes: brochures and/or rack cards, business cards, Introductory Offer vouchers, and small low-cost healthy promotional gifts. (I like to use things that can be easily stapled to a coupon or biz card – tea bags, lotion samples, etc. Have fun getting creative with little promo items that relate to your specialty!)
– Networking. In a structured networking setting, such as BNI, be sure to announce your program in your weekly meeting and ask for referrals to specific school personnel – principals, counselors, teachers, support staff and coaches. Example: “I would like a referral to the principal/school nurse/PE teacher/soccer coach/etc. of ABC School.”
And don’t forget about casual networking with people you encounter in your daily life. Here’s a mini-script for when someone asks about your biz: “I’m so excited to tell you about my new program! If you know a teacher, principal or coach, please give them these vouchers for my Back-to-School Special.”
What to Offer
– Voucher Coupon. Use a coupon or voucher to draw people into your practice with a Back-to-School Special offer. The wording on your materials should be targeted to the specific needs of teachers, coaches or whatever group you’re marketing to. Do not call your offer a discount; it’s a special fee, one-time offer, or introductory special etc. Contact the school administrative staff in advance and arrange to deliver your materials to be placed into teachers’ mailboxes during the first week of school.
– Teachers have stress and physical complaints (computer shoulders, bending/standing all day); give them a coupon/voucher, attached to a small low-cost gift such as a product sample, tea bag, or… an apple for the teacher! Get on the good side of your kids’ teachers by giving them your coupons as a Back-to-School gift.
– School counselors are a perfect back-to-school target – especially if you’re a health professional who deals with behavior, such as a psychologist or clinical social worker.
– School nurses and health aides may refer students with sports injuries or other health conditions that can be treated with your modality.
– After-school programs are eager for new activities for their students. This could be an ideal setting to offer small workshops. You may get paid little or nothing for the workshop – think of this marketing opportunity as an investment of your time that will pay money dividends later!
– Workshops can be offered to classrooms, teams, community centers, families, after-school programs and more, either at your location or theirs. Examples: a nutritionist could teach how to make healthy home lunches; a psychologist or life coach could teach students about positive mindset for academic success; a massage therapist could offer a foot massage lesson and have students make their own foot reflexology socks.
Because many schools have a limited budget for outside programs, this is more successful in attracting clients if you give a free workshop, letting your expertise and your coupons bring in clients and income, rather than counting on the workshop as a primary income source. What could you teach or share to help draw clients into your practice?
– Volunteer in a classroom to meet teachers and parents. What people do for a living often comes up in casual conversation, giving you a perfect opportunity to educate them about your work and motivate them to call you.
Sports programs are a big part of autumn and the school year – and now you can be part of it too!
– Coaches will be interested, both for themselves and their athletes. Examples: bodywork for muscle strain, fatigue and injury; nutrition for better sports performance; counseling for a winning attitude. Gift ideas to attach to your coupons for coaches and athletes are: Pain relief gel sample; granola bars; ice or heat packs.
– Community teams. Many towns have Fall sports leagues such as soccer, rugby and football – a great place to offer a treatment or program such as your Autumn Athlete’s Advantage! You could also consider becoming a volunteer coach, which will further boost the trust factor between you and your local sports community. If you sponsor a team, your business name will be on uniforms and announced at all games!
– Offer your services on the sidelines, if you do bodywork, to promote the value of your work for sports conditioning, injury treatment, improved performance and preventive maintenance. Parents of athletes can be another source of clients for you and the sports field is where to meet them! I got lots of massage clients from handing out small cold packs to my son’s teammates when they got bruised on the soccer field. Seeing you in action will spark interest faster than words on a brochure!
Brownie Points: Give each person 2 coupons – one to use and one to share!
Who to Contact
– Pediatricians perform school physical exams during the summer prior to each school year. So this should be the first group you target in your Back-to-School Special marketing campaign. Call the doctors and ask to meet with them, to explain the benefits of your modality for their patients. If you do bodywork, talk about the benefits for sports injuries. If they’re too busy to meet, offer to drop off your info/referral folder.
– Dept. of Education. In some towns, you may have to go through channels to work within the public school system. Start early to establish these contacts, talk to key personnel, and schedule meetings. Bureaucratic wheels tend to turn slowly, which can make this a challenging part of the process, but your hard work and persistence will pay off because you can return every year – once you set up this repeatable system.
Brownie Points: Be sure and give some of your BTSS Coupons to your DOE contact person! The administrators of schools I’ve worked with have used coupons as incentive or thank you gifts for their teachers and other personnel.
– Public schools in small towns are more casual and you can contact the school administrators directly, bypassing the DOE. It is helpful to know someone who works there or get a referral from someone you know, such as a networking partner or your child’s teacher.
– Private and charter schools often have more flexibility and less red tape than public schools, so they may be more receptive to your program. Call the administrative office and ask who you need to contact, or consult their website for contact info.
– Local school boards and private school boards of directors often welcome concerned and committed community members into their groups. Getting involved and serving your community as a member provides a networking opportunity that can lead to many on-going referrals to your wellness business.
At the beginning of the school year, with new hopes and promises, everyone is eager to make a fresh start and learn new things. Make sure your work is one of those things – so they can start the school year with a clean slate, a new box of Crayolas and better health!
Please share your Back-to-School Special in the Comments below!
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