Allissa shares a new idea for customizing your email reminders and asks for your ideas to take it further.
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Allissa Haines Hello, everyone. Welcome to the Massage Business Blueprint podcast, where we discuss the business side of massage therapy. I am Allissa Haines, and I am flying solo this week. It’s just me, and it’s kind of a speedy episode because I have a short story and kind of a tip that comes from it, a thing that I did in my own massage business. So I’m going to jump right in.
So I did a thing. I’ve been doing a thing for a while where I have a collection basket in my office for people to donate to our local food pantry, and you know, just dry goods and whatever. And I’ve kept the basket there with a little sign on it that — it’s literally a laundry basket — that says donations accepted for the Plainville Living Bread Food Pantry. And actually I’ve expanded that since because I kind of straddle two towns, so I contribute to the food pantries of each.
And it’s not a huge thing. Whenever I got to the big box store, I grab an extra box or two of health and hygiene products, usually, and my clients bring some of that in. And I get toilet paper delivered from a company called Who Gives a Crap? And it’s awesome toilet paper, and it comes in a big box, and then I don’t have to schlep stuff around because it comes right to my house or my office. And I get like 52 rolls — or 48 rolls of toilet paper all in one big box, so I usually throw a couple of bags of that — or pardon me, a couple rolls of that in the donation bin. And my clients bring in canned goods and dry foods and all that kind of stuff that one would donate to a food pantry.
So last month when there was the government shutdown happening, I read an article about how lots of people who receive food benefits may find their services disrupted or delayed because of the government shutdown and processing of applications and such. That made me a little bit concerned. And then also reading about how schools in the Midwest were closed for several days because of the polar vortex situation and how there were actually principals and school superintendents driving around their districts during this polar vortex because if these kids didn’t get to school, they weren’t getting meals. These are kids who have subsidized meal plans at their schools and would often get breakfast and lunch at school, and if they’re not getting that, they’re not eating. So there were actually regions where there were school administrators driving around to their students’ homes to drop of food for these four days that it was too cold for students to go to school. And that kind of hit me hard as well. But anyhow, mostly it was about the delay of benefits to people who get food services.
So I decided that I wanted to dramatically increase my food pantry donations for the coming month, and I wanted to make sure that people in my town are getting enough to eat. And I did a few things to make this happen and to enlist my clients to help me make it happen. First thing I did was put a big ‘ol post on Facebook that was like, hey, government shutdown equals a delay in food benefits for many people. Food instability, insecurity, is an issue. I would invite you to bring your extra stuff on by, throw it in my basket, I’ll get it to the food pantries. When you’re shopping, buy an extra box of something that’s on sale, drop it off here at your next appointment, I’m happy to do the haul and get things to the food pantry. So I put that post up and that was great.
But then I also thought, what can I do to really remind people to do this because people would come in — and again, I’ve been doing this for a while — people come in and go, oh, I forgot to bring my back of food for you. So I decided to put a note in the subject line of my confirmation — or my reminder emails. So 48 hours before a client’s appointment, they get a reminder email that says, hey, reminder, you’ve got an appointment. And the subject heading actually says, “Appointment Reminder 60 minute massage on April 5th at 6:30 p.m.” So I added to that in all caps and in brackets. At the end of that after it says 6:30 pm, it says, “[AND A NOTE ABOUT FOOD DONATIONS].” And then in the body of the email, I put a note. And I’ll put the pictures of this in our podcast notes so you can go to massagebusinessblueprint.com/podcast and click on this episode, which is Episode number 204, and you can see what I wrote; I’ll put screenshots. Anyhow, in the body of the email, I put a note that said, “I’m stepping up my efforts and hope to make a larger than usual donation to both Lenore’s Pantry and Living Bread Food Pantry through February. Please be invited to scan your cupboards for in-date nonperishables, buy duplicates of what’s on sale, and bring in at your next appointment.” And that’s it. That’s — I put it in there. And I’m going to tell you what happens next, but I’m not going to tell you until after our halftime break.
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AH So back to our topic. I was super super-di-duper impressed because, I would say, more than 50% of my clients in the past few weeks, since I added this to the reminder email, are bringing in food. Or some of the ones that are like, oh, yeah, you know what, I haven’t had a chance to get some food together, are just handing me cash. It’s just really nice. They’re saying please donate this to the food pantry. Or they know that I do big, bulk shopping for the office and I get a couple extra things for the food pantry, please add this to what you’re spending on the food pantry. And it’s really great and I’m just one — I mean, these people are wonderful, and I’m so grateful that they’re helping me with this mission, and I love how generous my clients are.
But also — it was funny because the first couple days it happened, I’m like, whoa, people are really stepping up their donations. And then in my head, I was like, oh, it’s because of the email reminder. It’s reminding them when they’re able to grab some food and toss it in their purse or toss it by their keys and get it into their car only two days before their appointment. It’s making it happen, and this made me wonder what are the other uses for something like this. To put an — again, you don’t want to overuse this. I don’t know that every month you want to have a loud reminder in your email reminders. That could get obnoxious and people will start turning that out.
But how could this be useful? Could it be useful for an occasional fundraising thing you do at your office, some kind of community campaign? Could this be a great idea seasonally, maybe one or two different times a year for a month? If you’re offering something special — I don’t know — maybe an aromatherapy upgrade to a treatment, maybe something you’re doing, some kind of sale on a retail product, maybe a little short note in the header of your reminder email could really prime people for that. I’m not even sure.
I haven’t even thought through all of the potential, but I think there’s a ton of potential here, and I really want to hear your ideas. So that’s it. That’s’ my story. I wanted to increase food pantry donations, I put a little note in the subject line of emails, I put a little note in the body of the email because I think more people clicked through once they saw that big, bold note in the subject, and I think this could be a really useful technique, when used judiciously, to advertise something special or bring people together for a cause or something. And I really would love to hear your thoughts on this. You can drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any thoughts on this. You can toss a note in our Facebook thread, you can comment under the actual podcast episode at the website massagebusinessblueprint.com. Go to the podcast tab and look for this Episode number 204 and put some notes in. I want to hear your ideas for utilizing your reminder email in a slightly different way.
And that’s all I got. Thanks for listening. You can send us questions, comments, feedback, whatever you’ve got, to email@example.com. Thank you for listening and have a fabulous day.