A Tale of Two Free Days

  • Hey here’s my tale of two free days, so you can understand how sometimes everything can go right and sometimes everything a go wrong at the same time. 
  • As a part of the Winona downtown Fringe Festival I decided to offer a free hour from 5-6pm on April 29th. The was the neglected stepchild (I am sorry). They said they were going to PR it. I once talked to a fellow CAN member who said for her first free day. She just had it in her own mind. She never told anyone, no flyers, nothing. She just came and sat at the office for 3 hours on a weekend.
  • Well….this is much worse…i am almost ashamed to admit it. 
  • I kind of forgot about it….  
  • I got an email on Thursday about the fringe festival and all the artistic, musical activities, and movies and well….my free hour.
  • OH…Opps…Huh, I guess I should put out a sign up sheet just in case anyone calls. 
  • So this is the list of what I didn’t do: didn’t tell my patients, didn’t have a sign up sheet before thursday, didn’t have flyers, didn’t have a banner up, didn’t have postcards, didn’t email patients. 
  • Some of it was conscious at some point I think. Last time I did two events together I think a flyer listing two separate event diluted the effect.  
  • Result: 1 patient. Go home 20 minutes later than usual. A little disappointed. Cry
  • May Day! 
  • What I did: 50 flyers, 100 postcards, 50 rack cards, banner has been out for months, sign up sheet on appointment book, so all the patients know about it, patients have been distributing flyers.
  • Result: 24 patients from 11-1pm. Not crazy, but good steady flow. 
  • I think the point I want to make is that. Think of marketing as a service. I know I wasn’t a big fan of marketing when I started out. I am kind of shy and I don’t want to be intruding on people. I don’t want to generate more waste paper. There’s a million and one reasons not to market. 
  • But REALLY there isn’t. Think of marketing as a service. I am offering free acupuncture. Which I think is pretty good deal. I’d come get acupuncture from myself. There’s TONS of people that can benefit. But if I just have my free day in my own mind, no one will know about it. It isn’t even potential patients, but college students, veterans. People who may not come back regularly, but this one treatment, one experience will do them some good. It may open them up to acupuncture in the future. It may open them up to recommending their parents, their relatives, and their teachers to try acupuncture.
  • It is IMPORTANT to market. Or else how would people even find out. Even if it is the best thing in the world. No one would know about it.   
  • P.S. I treated 24 patients as a part of a session of a convention. Mostly out of town people, but fun. Took 1 hour. It was a busy weekend 😉 

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Responses

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  1. “marketing as a service”

    is a really helpful way to think about it, Jade, thanks!  I always love reading your analysis of various marketing attempts (or lack-of-attempts, in your first story…I can relate to that)!  I think, perhaps especially if you’re introverted, it’s surprising when new patients are surprised when they find out how long your clinic has been open.  Just because I’m always *thinking* about the clinic doesn’t mean I’m always talking about it.  I really love this quote too: “Even if it is the best thing in the world. No one would know about it.”  Thank goodness so many patients take it upon themselves to talk about it; but especially in the early years, it takes more.

  2. .

    well done jade!

    what kind of treatments do you do when you see that many people an hour?

    do you usually do free days for an hour or two at a time?

     

     

  3. I just do regular treatments 🙂

     

    Hey Nick, I just do regular treatments. I just go with the flow of the situation.  So if there’s six people waiting I speed up a little and if there are none waiting I take my time.  

    So it varies, so I am not exhausted going super fast or dragging. 

     

    I usually do free days for two hours +. If my numbers are low I’ll do it for 3. It just depends on the current situation. I am pretty flexible.  

  4. .

    flexibility!  indeed.  Im sure that comes with practice.

    how many pins/points did you use in an average treatment for may day?  Is that the same on a “normal” day?

    it seems like if one can do an effective treatment with fewer pins then it is easier to go faster.  (im reading the dr. young books right now and he encourages few pins as well)

     

  5. Places to post flyers?

    Hi Jade,

    Can you tell me some of your favorite places to post your flyers?  I’m new to my area and am having trouble finding good places to post my flyers.

    Thanks, Carrie

  6. List of places

    Coop, health food store, gym, yoga center, coffee shops, gas stations, salvation army, donut shop. 

    Everywhere that has a board. 🙂

    Good luck!

    Jade Community Acupuncture, Winona, MN

    acupuncturewinona.com