Three essential marketing tools for complementary health practitioners

Massimo GaetaniThere are many practitioners who have been in private practice for many years and have a strong and well established customer base. These people have built their own business in the days when a sign on the door and an advert on the yellow pages was enough to generate new business. Several years and a few thousands of clients later their practice is entirely relying on their reputation and word of mouth marketing.

Professional practitioners starting a private practice in 2014, assuming they have the serious intention of creating a successful business, will require a bit more planning and correct execution of essential marketing and business development skills. Assuming time, money and resources being scarce it is essential to start from the most basic and important tools available to us all. They are:

  • Business Cards
  • Website
  • Leaflets

The order in which they are listed is the order in which you as a practitioner should approach them. Let’s see below a bit more details about why you should use them.

Business Cards

IMG_20140718_171052126However small and insignificant these pieces of paper might seem they are the cheapest and most immediate form of marketing you can access when starting a business. Please avoid altogether the temptation of designing and printing your own business cards as they will look cheap and tacky. The Internet is full of great offers to have proper business cards designed and printed by professionals; simply choose one. A few suppliers will even give you an interactive website, offering templates, images, themes and choice of fonts and colours. Take your peek and order a few hundreds of them. Avoid the cheapest option for paper and chose 3-400 gsm (Grams per Square Metre) luxury finish. I like to be ecological and believe that non laminated cards are easier to recycle but I’ll leave that choice to you. The business card should contain all relevant contact details you want to share with clients or prospects and perhaps a very short description of what you offer. This last piece of information should be expressed within 2-3 words. Avoid, like the plague, the horrid temptation of writing a long list of therapies you offer and try to transform your business card into a leaflet; it will look awful. Once you have business cards keep them close to you at all times. It is no point bumping into a friend or acquaintance, updating them about your new venture and having no business cards to substantiate your conversation. You can easily expect that 4 out of 5 cards you give out will get lost or left somewhere but, like in any sales activity, it’s a numbers’ game.


WebsiteIn 2014 I am not going to explain why you must have a good looking, modern designed and recently updated website but I’ll explain here two main functions that your website will have for you:

  • Personal Identity: people might know you exist as a practitioner, might have heard of you, perhaps a friend of theirs pass them your details but many will want to investigate who you are, what you do and perhaps whether they like you before they connect with you. If you don’t have a website, if it looks bad or old fashion they might go to another practitioner which fits their taste. In order to be useful for personal identity your website will have to searchable by your name.
  • Business lead generator: people might be looking for what you offer (e.g. massage therapy) or for some conditions they suffer (e.g. back ache) and therefore your website should have a decent level of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) to ensure that prospects will find your website, on the first page of Google, when they search for relevant key phrases, not just your name.

A couple of extra recommendations about websites:

  • Use your own name as domain name; it’s easier to remember, it helps SEO for searches which contain your name and it’s very good for personal branding. Some people will suggest you to create a brand for your business (e.g. Cambridge Sports Massage) but, honestly, unless you are in the business of creating a large organisation, creating a brand will incur in the double cost of marketing the brand and yourself as an individual. Just avoid one extra step and use your own name.
  • Use the “” extension or the one that is typically local for your country of operation. Some people assume that “.com” is the way to go and that’s fine if you are in the USA. On the other hand if you operate from sunny Cambridgeshire there is no need to even suggest you might be based outside the UK, hence the “”. I have clients which do regular voice therapy over Skype and they are interested in appearing international and that’s fine. Also, however trivial the difference, a “.com” domain will cost you nearly £10 per year while a “” less than half than that much.
  • Rely on a well designed, professional website for your business and steer away for heavily advertised DIY sites that offer all in one designer, templates, images and allow you to design your own website. Results will look between poor and very poor and it will be obvious to most observers including your clients.


IMG_20140718_171134773Leaflets and other printed material allow you to explain, with some level of depth, what you offer and why people should decide to be treated by you. The previous suggestion about avoiding too much information on your business cards was in fact offered assuming you will have leaflets where you can indeed list your services and the benefits associated to them. You can choose among different shapes and formats but, in order for them to be practical and cost effective I would suggest A6, A5 or A4 folded in 3. In all cases you should, once more, avoid DIY and relying on professional design and professionally printed material; otherwise the results will look obviously home made and cheap. You can decide to have a single leaflet which explains all about you and what you do. On the other hand, if you offer two or more completely different therapies, suitable for very different audiences you better create several different leaflets otherwise your prospects might get confused by finding everything mixed on the same sheet of paper.

Conclusions and recommendations

The three essential marketing tools for the complementary health practitioner are meant to be used together as part of the so called marketing mix. It is said that most people will need to see a marketing message or a brand 7 times before committing to it so I hope it will be clear to you that one of this tool, by itself, might not be enough to secure a new client. Two extra rules about your marketing:

  • All marketing material, like the ones described above, should be independent from the others and self sufficient. Each of them should convey the right impression and message, assuming that people will not necessarily try to find and collect all material available about you. Contact details should be accessible and easy to find; maybe it is me but I find very frustrating when I struggle to find a person in order to buy something from them.
  • All marketing material should look as it was designed as part of a suite. It’s really no point having green business cards written in Times Roman and red website written in Helvetica and then yellow leaflets written in Verdana. If you have no idea what the sentence above means that’s an extra reason why you need to work with professional designers and printers. Invest some time and thinking about what colours best suit you, your audience and the therapy you offer. Do you need a typeface (font) which is very serious and pompous or something a bit more relaxed and laid back? Once the decision is taken than apply it to all of your marketing material and keep it that way until you have a very good reason to change.

MANUAL LYMPHATIC DRAINAGE (MLD) Massage: the healing power of gentle touch

ManualLymphaticDrainageWhat is MLD really? Let’s start by debunking the myth as, if you have never received MLD treatment or read about it before, your body is in for a nice ‘shock’ when you next try it! The name makes it sound slightly clinical and scary to start with.

After initially having read a considerable amount about its benefits to physical and emotional health, a couple of clients requested the treatment at the clinic but none of us therapists were trained in it so, unfortunately, we could not offer it. I then decided to train in MLD at the London School of Massage so that I could help a wider range of clients. The technique was harder to master than I originally thought and maximum concentration was required at all times to get the moves right. It was especially hard for those like me having previously trained as standard massage therapist. It was a whole new challenging experience in uncharted waters but truly rewarding nonetheless.It’s certainly nothing like you’ve seen before as the technique it’s very different to that of standard massage routines. However, do not underestimate the healing power of MLD!

I was taken aback when practising the MLD massage technique and routine. All my course colleagues questioned how a very ‘fairy’ massage starting on the side of the neck face up and working all the way down the body just using very light touch with no pressure whatsoever could be so effective. Well, you’d be pleasantly surprised to hear that this extremely relaxing massage is hugely beneficial to your immune system.

When I went to visit my friends after my training they commented on my ‘special glow and how beautiful my skin looked’ on that day. I was delighted to hear that and that people had noticed an important physical change in me but, also, I personally felt much lighter, extremely at ease, full of renewed energy as if my batteries had suddenly been charged.

From body detox to extreme relaxation and help with relieving swelling, stress, etc… the benefits of MLD are plenty and clients generally love it. They have reported looking and feeling ‘re-energised’ and ‘deeply relaxed’ following a treatment. It’s a massage recommended for most and you don’t need to be ill at all to have a MLD treatment – in fact even if in good health one every 3 months is generally recommended. This is also the all-in-one solution therapy for those of you who generally do not like standard massage.

In a nutshell, the MLD therapist works by manually moving the lymph (body waste) located on a very superficial layer under the skin to the nearest lymph nodes so that the lymphatic system can process and remove its waste from the body. S/he performs it by gently stretching the skin and using a rhythmic circle motion, physically ‘moving’ the unwanted fluid in the direction of the nearest lymph nodes.

Research has shown that MLD has numerous general benefits to the nervous and muscular systems. Moreover, by helping improve the flow of lymph it has a powerful effect to health and wellbeing: It helps fight infection, aids healing and recovery from illness and relieves pain including migraines. It is not just a deeply relaxing massage, MLD helps improve chronic conditions such as sinusitis, arthritis, acne and other skin conditions, it is also a great addition to other detox programmes as it encourages fluid flow in the connective tissues. Therefore, it is an effective treatment for cellulite and water retention, being especially effective for the treatment of ‘lymphoedema’ (swelling in the arms or legs due to an impaired lymphatic system). It is also an ideal Pre/Post-operative treatment that improves the skin’s texture and promotes healing of scar tissue, torn ligaments and sprains.

Pregnant ladies and the elderly can also hugely benefit from MLD as it helps Clear areas of congestion such as swollen ankles, puffy eyes and swollen legs and improvement stretch marks after childbirth

All in all, this is the ultimate body and mind detox experience to feel pure inside out. MLD is a decongestive massage therapy that stimulates the lymphatic system with gentle, light rhythmical massaging strokes, accelerating the processing of toxins, excess fluid and bacteria. In turn, this helps the body eliminate fat. The technique was invented by massage therapists Dr Emil and Mrs. Estrid Vodder in the early 1930s. I have just introduced the treatment in Salus Wellness Clinic in Cambridge. Visit to take advantage from an introductory offer and feel free to contact me on for more details (Elena Gonzalez, Aromatherapist and Massage Therapist @ Salus Wellness Clinic, Cambridge, UK)

Mind your mind

SaimaDinRWhen was the last time you had your car serviced?   Annually, biannually, or did you leave it till it broke down? Occasionally we don’t even know there’s a problem, until it’s too late… but often, we hear the churning sounds, an unusual knocking or a flashing warning light, indicating all is not well.

For a car a trip to the garage for a service or just a drop of engine oil may be enough to makes the journey just a little more pleasant. We regularly maintain our cars, but what do YOU do when you’re not feeling at your best?

We know who to turn to with a broken bone or an back problem, but who do we turn to when the problems relate to life’s little ups and downs? Problems which are caused by examination stresses, finances, children, career, family quarrels, weight gain or just getting on with the daily life. We all have different situations to deal with and often our own wellness is at the bottom of the list.

As a parent, I put my children first, as a teacher, I put the class children first, as a daughter, I put elderly parents first. But then what about ME?   What about YOU? It’s all too easy to overlook our own spiritual needs, and often we leave it too late…but to what effect?

Our minds are affected by the impact of situations we experience. We need to train our minds to manage anxieties caused by these experiences to enable us to enjoy a happy, fulfilled life. How can we ensure the mind is able to cope with the impact of life’s challenges? Well we can’t replace parts of our mind, like a car …..Yet! But we can learn to replace lost energy, boost confidence, develop motivation and manage our state of mind, to help us live life positively and to the fullest.

A calm mindset has a significant impact on healing the body and soul. It’s the source of spirituality and peace which, in turn impacts on the health of the physical body. Stress on the body has many different side effects. You may have a spot break, hair loss, exacerbation of pre diagnosed illness, depression or worse still.

Just as we care for our cars and our loved ones, our mind and body are entitled to be cared for too. We all need the odd session of TLC or at least a regular MOT. Unfortunately not many of us recognise the significance of mind maintenance?

Regular meditation aligns the spirit, soul and body and is always a great place to start. Meditation yields a surprising number of health benefits, including stress reduction, improved attention, better memory, and even increased creativity and feelings of compassion. There is a growing body of scientific evidence telling us about meditation and how it can change the way our brains function. In today’s day and age, when we have so many distractions, meditation can seem like hard work. It takes a lot of practice to get better but the more you do it, the easier it becomes.

If you prefer to benefit from support and guidance of a professional, you can retrain the mind from negative to positive and from anxious to calm, through the mediums of Hypnotherapy and Neuro Linguistic Programming.   With the aid of a good practitioner, interventions sessions are created with the individual needs of the client. A good practitioner will incorporate into the session any areas of concern which arise from the intervention. Through the power of suggestion the client will naturally and effortlessly absorb positive suggestions which are ergonomic to their life choices.

Interventions which combine NLP and Hypnotherapy often provide solutions within 1-3 sessions, with ad-hoc sessions booked for top up, as and when required. Clients are taught techniques to support their transitions, which makes the intervention a transferable skill, applicable to other areas of their lives.

We are not cars, we are people who in turn have many people relying on us. If something is going wrong for our minds health, lights don’t flash on our dashboard. You need to be aware of how you care for your mind and care for yourself. Prevention is better than cure.

If you are interested to learn more about Hypnotherapy and NLP, visit my website for a short introduction

Book a FREE consultation session and claim your FREE Calmness download.

Spring into clean!

MarlowWe find ourselves answering an inner urge at this time of year, the return of sunny days enjoining us to clean the windows and to let in the fresh brisk air; the riot of new growth in the garden has us hustling for our shears and trowels in preparation for the promise of the next harvest.

Physically we often do a minor review at this time – how have we fared with our new year’s resolutions?! Did they get buried in the cold dark winter nights? Here we are, emerging, feeling perhaps, blinded and sluggish in the wake of the lengthening days; restless to be out in the garden, on our bikes, actively inhabiting our bodies.

Spring is a jubilant, sap-rising time of year and just as nature responds to the tilt of the earth and longer days, so do our bodies. The Chinese know a thing or two about how energy flows in nature and consequently in our bodies. Spring is associated with the element of wood, which corresponds to the liver and gall bladder. As ‘The General’ of the organs, the liver is a power house and multi-purpose generator, a strategic Overlord of sorts. The excitement of the season serves to activate the liver and thus it is an ideal time to focus and support it by giving it a ‘Spring Clean’.

In modern culture we tend to overindulge in many practices that tend to tax our livers heavily, resulting in symptoms ranging from a lack of energy, headaches, digestive troubles, irritability, craving of stimulants, difficulties in decision-making to sleeplessness. One of the characteristics of someone with a ‘dodgy liver’ might be to make rash and sometimes dramatic decisions (or to be paralyzed and unable to act) perhaps as a sort of backlash against the general sluggishness and feeling of toxicity.

The secret of success for most ventures lies in the preparation. There is little value to be had in ‘painting over the cracks’, so too when we seek to ‘do a cleanse’ – Fasting, Diets, Cleanses – very much in vogue these days. Many novice enthusiasts undertake their new regime of juice and greens with great gusto and good intentions – unfortunately the success rate can be disappointing without a little preparation and understanding.

There are many ways to undertake a liver cleanse ranging from cutting back on alcohol, coffee and sugar to a more rigorous regime that may include fasting and the use of herbs, acupuncture or remedies.
In my practice I am occasionally asked if I can ‘give a pill’ to effect a cleanse. The answer is, “Yes and No.”

YES – There are remedies that have a proven track record in promoting the clearing of the system and there are others that are known to specifically support a damaged or struggling liver. These remedies are prescribed under particular circumstances (based on the WHOLE PERSON) and act as a safe, gentle and effective support to the individual’s best efforts to be self-regulating.

NO – It would, in my opinion, be irresponsible to prescribe a pill with the intention of cleansing an organ without tending to the person as a whole. This is where a little understanding comes in and the marriage of common sense, nutrition and lifestyle meets homoeopathy. If we are serious about a Spring clean, we need to be thorough and take into account that it would be counter-productive to stir up a lot of dust without opening the windows! To that end, remembering that the bowel, skin, kidneys and lungs are major organs of elimination, it behoves one to make sure they are functioning and supported before initiating the clear out. This again is where remedies can play a pivotal role.

Diet is also crucial part of the whole process. I will occasionally recommend a fairly simple diet guide to patients to support them in their re-calibrating process. This eating plan offers a gentler approach to cleansing than a more rigorous juice and or fasting regime.

The Liver Diet

Do this for 10 days to 2 weeks. During this time make sure you are drinking 8-10 glasses of fresh (non-fluoridated) water per day. Get plenty of sleep and spend some time outside in the sun every day. Also, if possible, have regular saunas and consider treating yourself to some reflexology or massage sessions.
Keep warm and pursue gentle exercise to keep yourself flexible. Take naps!


  • salt, meat, dairy
  • sugar, fats, spices
  • wheat, alcohol, processed foods
  • coffee, tea and tobacco

Drink warm water with lemon first thing every morning. Eat LOTS of fresh organic green vegetables, fruit, seeds, onions, garlic and rice.

Be advised that a change in diet can create very noticeable effects. Headaches, low energy, skin eruptions and irritability are not uncommon initial reactions. These will be passing symptoms, If they persist beyond the end of the 10 days consult a practitioner / homoeopath.

If you do decide to have a ‘proper clear-out’ take heart, nature is on your side and will lend her abundant energy to your endeavour. You will emerge feeling lighter with a sense of renewed vitality and clarity.

Happy Spring!

A short trip around the solar system

Massimo GaetaniWhen starting a business you find yourself taking important decisions like the name and general image you would like for your business and other little but important details like the colours of logo and the design of the website.  With a business like a clinic, open to the general public, it is essential to have a clear naming scheme for each room to avoid any misunderstanding.   We could have decided to call them A, B, C, etc… or assign to them an increasing number but here is how it went.

When in 2010 we first visited the building where Salus Wellness is now located we had a look at all available nine rooms and the immediate association I made was with the planets in our solar system, or at least as many as they were when I was at school.  In fact Pluto was declassified as a planet back in 2006 and the total number of planets in the solar system in now eight but, one of the rooms became the management office so we decided to keep the association to the solar system and name the remaining rooms after planets’ names.

Deciding which planet name to assign to each room was a relatively easy job by using the planet’s size in proportion to the room size.  The two smaller rooms that we use for talking therapies like counselling, NLP, CBT, coaching or hypnotherapy are called Mercury and Venus.  EarthRTwo medium sized rooms are called Earth (in the picture on the right), which is also on the ground floor, and Mars; the former is a cosy room with wheelchair access and adjustable couch where we offer a variety of therapies, from reiki to acupuncture and a broad range of massage therapies.  The latter is called Mars, which is situated directly above Earth and it is the most clinical of the lot: in Mars we offer colonic hydrotherapy and podiatry.  We then have the three biggest therapy rooms, Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune which are spacious and with electrically adjustable couches.  From these rooms we offer most of the physical therapies available as well as certain workouts like yoga and pilates.

Considering that since the beginning nobody chose Uranus as their room of choice we decided to rename that room as the upstairs office that we let to freelance developers and designers.

Given the number of compliments we have been receiving over the years I could say that naming our therapy rooms after planet was a simple, intuitive and a bit geeky idea but, hey, we are in Cambridge after all.

Premenstrual syndrome: aromatherapy for healthy emotions

aroma pamper partyWomen are like the moon – constantly experiencing change. This ‘change’ many women dread is marked by arrival of monthly ‘cycle’ or menstruation, which can literally be a pain and play havoc with your emotions.  However, Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) has only recently been recognised as a real medical condition, yet it is estimated that approximately 40% of women suffer from this condition every month.

Does feeling irritated and short-tempered resonate with you? Apart from the many typical physical symptoms many women have to regularly endure (cramping pain in pelvis and lower back, fluid retention and breast/ankles/ abdomen swelling, headaches or migraines, nausea, aches and pains in the upper legs, sinus problems, acne flare-ups, tiredness) there are other important emotional and psychological symptoms associated with PMS, which are truly capable of wrecking your personal life if they go untreated for too long.

Menstruation often brings along an emotional rollercoaster so the incentive to find a long-term relief to these problems is quite high, especially when the symptoms are likely to also have a negative impact on your relationships. I’ve had several reports from female clients talking about how they live with PMS emotional symptoms and how they go through depression spells, stress/anxiety, anger, mood swings and snappy moods. All these affect their behaviour, performance and relationships on a daily basis. If you seem to be in a bad and low mood more often than not and are taking it out on your friends, family or partner for no apparent reason, now, it’s time to nip it in the bud… and little did you know that aromatherapy may be the answer you have been looking for.

PMS discomforts can be eased by helping balance your emotions with the help of aromatherapy. Regular massage with essential oils can keep female hormones in check and shape! As opposed to some conventional medicines for PMS available in the market, a massage with essential oils has no side effects or risk of addiction. These oils not only contain natural chemicals with therapeutic properties but they can also deeply influence our physical imbalances, psychological well-being and our spiritual equilibrium. They act on holistic principles having a positive effect on our main, body and soul.

An effective all-rounder ‘female balance’ essential oil blend I would recommend is made up of clary sage, geranium, neroli and chamomile.  Your aromatherapist would prepare and apply it to the skin via gentle massage  ideally a week prior to the expected arrival of your period and/or even during menstruation as a good preventative measure and perhaps a solution to your disruptive ‘monthly crisis’. Clary sage has in fact been used for centuries to alleviate female conditions. It is very rich in antioxidants and contains sclareol, a diterpene alcohol very similar to the chemical structure of the hormones produced in the human body. Therefore, clary sage has a balancing effect and stimulates our bodies to produce more hormones. In addition, those of you who wish to gain relief from the emotional and psychological symptoms of PMS go for ‘hormone balancer’ essential oils such as geranium, rose, jasmine and even exotic ylang ylang. This synergy blend helps relieve premenstrual conditions and smoothly navigate the menopausal period. Geranium is very effective in successfully treating female hormonal imbalance and autonomic nervous system (ANS) imbalances due to its alcohol geraniol chemical composition. ANS stimulates hormonal production and response. Jasmine alleviates anxiety and stress, balances hormones and uplifts your mood. Ylang ylang balances hormones for progesterone imbalances and Rose, the highest frequency essential oil, affects every cell on a molecular cellular level to enhance frequency and to bring the body into harmony. Hormone balancing essential oils clean out and reset the cell’s hormone receptor sites. These also provide the proper levels of hormones and improve endocrine glands’ health so that the body can improve hormone production naturally. Balanced hormones influence every function in our body, drive our feelings and improve our daily life.

Now, suffering with PMS emotional symptoms yourself? Aromatherapy uses a natural and holistic approach to improve your menstrual life. Do contact me on for more information on how aromatherapy can help your condition or to arrange a consultation and treatment.

Calculating and understanding ROI on advertisements

Massimo GaetaniUntil a few years ago owners of small businesses could buy advertisements on a handful of possible media and channels; for several decades the choice was limited, quite obvious and often cost effective.  At that time if we considered advertising on the local press the choice used to be made of one or more local newspapers plus perhaps the parish magazine and a few other publications.  Fast forward to 2014 and, even a small city like Cambridge has at least half a dozen free lifestyle magazines that have been added to the above list.  Each of them is funding its very existence by selling adverts, encouraging local businesses to believe that their advert on that magazine will effectively help their business to sell more…

An old saying about marketing expenditure states that: “50% of my Marketing expenditure is usually lost; unfortunately I don’t know which one”.  That was a fair and acceptable comment before the advent of Pay Per Click (PPC) adverts or banner ADs with measurable click through rate.

How do we measure the Return of Investment (ROI) for that specific advert? Better how can we evaluate, before spending money, that the advert we are being offered is worth the money they ask for?

In my experience some of the people selling adverts tend to come out with very improbable numbers about how many people are reading their publication and the likelihood of one of them actually buying something from us.  A large number of optimistic assumptions are made when mentioning numbers and probability of success; circulation (number of copies sold or distributed) gets multiplied by opportunity factors:

  • if a magazine is posted in a letter box of course it will be read by every member of the household
  • if the same magazine is left in a pub most people having a drink will eventually read it and so on

The fact that we are totally bombarded by adverts from any direction has created in us consumers a nearly total insensitivity to adverts, whether they appear on magazines (please pause reading this article right now and quickly list the 3 most significant brands or adverts you saw in the last magazine or newspaper you read), websites (please repeat the same exercise as before on the last website you were browsing), social media (please again) and street adverts; frankly we must hope that people do not watch adverts while driving and it’s easy to spot people messaging or checking social media on their mobile while walking on the street.

As owners of small business we should really pay attention before spending hard earned cash into a random advert in the hope it will generate extra sales; in my experience most of the times it won’t.

Well presented figures are often helping sales people to make their case stronger.  Here is a story about a phone call I received last week; a man who was trying to sell adverts for our clinic onto doctor’s surgery appointment’s cards.  His pitch was simple “we sell adverts for companies like yours to go on doctor’s surgeries appointment cards”; sounded simple and neat.  Then the pricing “£600 per year, minimum 2 years and we are distributing, on average, 12000 cards per year”.  So, I quickly calculated, £50 per month for 1000 cards over the same period; it seemed high at about 5p per advert.  When I told him I would need to generate at least 10 inquiries per month (that presumably would bring 4 clients). Expecting a click through rate of 1% that for a totally unsolicited advert is way too much and it just won’t happen.  He adopted a defensive pitch coming out with the fact that his company advertise on their same cards and get 60 inquiries per week or about 250 per month; at this point many people would say: “wow” and sign. However when I asked a couple of extra questions I found out that they advertise in 1300 surgeries and I quickly confirmed my case against his numbers; 1300 locations distributing 10000 cards each per year makes it 13 million cards or about 1.08 million per month. In short we can calculate that 250 inquiries out of 1.08 million means a mere 0.023% click through rate it works out to be about 50 times lower than what he offered with his advert,  way too low to be considered.

Modern technologies allow us to gather more data, for free, than we could even have though before.  This can help us consumers and customers to take educated decisions about business proposition that before we should have trusted our gut feeling or, worse, the sales person whose only interest is to close a deal.

My top 10 tips for managing stress

fornewsletterIn today’s hectic 24/7 society, it is a constant battle to balance our lives between work, family, our social lives and have time to relax from the stresses and pressures of modern day living.

Stress is not harmful in short bursts and in fact necessary to cope with life’s demands and challenges.  In situations where you sense danger, whether real or not, your body kicks into action automatically in the form of the “fight or flight” reaction. This stress response is your body’s way of protecting you and it helps you stay focused, alert, motivated, energised and ready to face anything. It is only when the levels of pressure do not subside and become prolonged and ongoing that stress can become harmful. This in turn causes damage to your health, relationships at home and at work, mood, productivity and quality of life.

We all deal with stress differently and what may adversely affect one person, another may thrive upon. The key thing is to understand what causes your stress, the emotional and physical impact of long term stress and how to put in place coping mechanisms to manage that stress.

My top 10 tips for managing stress:

  1. Keep a diary of your feelings and emotions. What are your stress triggers?
  2. Get plenty of sleep
  3. Eat healthily and exercise regularly. Avoid relying on smoking, alcohol or any other harmful habits as coping mechanisms
  4. Make time to socialise with friends and family
  5. Do more of the things you love – hobbies, interests
  6. Keep a positive attitude and accept the things you cannot change
  7. Manage your time effectively and learn to say no if demands are being made on your time. Break down your to-do lists into bite-size chunks to avoid overwhelm
  8. Be aware of your physical and emotional state and DON’T be afraid of asking for professional help
  9. Remember the positive things in your life! Give yourself a much needed pat on the back and celebrate your many achievements
  10. Pamper yourself!

Taking some “me time” out on a regular basis is very important for your emotional and physical health and wellbeing. It is essential to give yourself the space to reflect, refocus, reboot and re-energise in order to maintain inner calm and peace in an otherwise demanding world.

Facts about our deals offered via Groupon

grouponOur clinic has been using Groupon to promote some of our services, particularly some massage treatments.  For us it works well because it helps some of the practitioners which recently joined us to get exposed to new clients and some of them get converted into further treatments at full price.

Having dealt with over 1000 new clients over the last 9 months ad still finding a lot of people that do not understand how these deals work I decided to collect some of the many explanations that our team here is giving to members of the public both during phone conversation and via Email.

Here they are:

  • To the best of my knowledge Groupon is the largest voucher based marketing organisation in the world and they are also very strong, if not the strongest, in the UK too.
  • Groupon have invested much time and resources to create a very large database (or list) of people that offered their contact details in order to receive super discounted deals on goods and services.  You are probably one of them.
  • Groupon keeps in touch with their contacts mainly via Emails and by publishing offers on their website.  People can decide from time to time to buy these featured deals.
  • The deals are offering prices which are greatly discounted, usually at 40-60% off the standard price.
  • The contact becomes a client when she pays Groupon for the deal; the money she pays goes straight into the Groupon bank account.
  • In exchange for that money the client receives a voucher that clearly states what she has paid for and what she has bought for that money; the voucher states, in the small prints, how to redeem the voucher and when the voucher expires.
  • Each voucher must be redeemed from the company that offers the service; in our case all redemptions must be done on line on a specific page of our website.
  • Companies like Salus Wellness, that sells deals via Groupon, will receive a fraction of the price paid by the client; in most cases less than 50% of it, once the Groupon commission and VAT have been deducted.
  • Each voucher has an expiry date and we cannot redeem it after that date; if we cannot redeem it we cannot get paid so we cannot offer the service after the voucher expiry date.
  • Before the voucher gets redeemed, even if the voucher has our company name on it, the transaction is between the client and Groupon; once it has been redeemed then the client should be dealing with the company itself unless they think there is a breach of contract and they should in that case report the company to Groupon for investigation.
  • In our case many of the therapies we offer via Groupon are offered by a selected team of massage therapists, which can be different every time; each redeemed voucher gets assigned to the most suitable therapist for the type of therapy requested and the preferred time of the appointment.
  • Some of our practitioners work mornings, other afternoon and other evenings or week ends and they are all busy dealing with their regular clients.  For this reason some vouchers can be redeemed within days while others might require weeks, exactly in the same way as you were calling us to arrange an appointment for a specific treatment with a specific practitioner.
  • Our company is offering the exact level of service for Groupon deals that we would offer when paying full price for a treatment.  This is both because of our strong code of ethics as well as because this is a standard requirement from Groupon.
  • Our latest deals always have the “new customers only” condition: this is to indicate that JUST NEW CUSTOMERS should buy these deals, to help them finding our clinic and appreciate our super skilled and professional practitioners as well as our cosy therapy rooms and our friendly customer service.
  • All of our deals have a 48 hours cancellation notice; if you change or cancel your appointment with less than 48 hours or, much worse, you don’t turn up for your appointment you lose your deal with no possibility of rebooking.

Groupon works very well for any business that would like extra exposure to a particularly located demographic; it’s well organised and with high level of professionalism which makes it a great partner to work with.

Addressing the Glorified Hobby Syndrome

Massimo GaetaniI cannot imagine of anyone working in a factory or as a sales assistant in a shop and define what they do a hobby.  It is also very unlikely you will ever hear a doctor, a solicitor or an architect describing their job as a hobby.  However there are activities that can be carried out as a hobby as well as a profession.  Many artistic disciplines like photography or painting fall into this category and can be considered hobbies by many individuals including myself but they are also providing a living for many professional photographers and painters.

In the complementary health industry I have met many people that have decided to learn one or more therapies, mostly with the intent of helping people around them and often inspired by a need of helping themselves in the first place.  Once one knows how to deliver professional massages or reflexology it becomes second nature to offer these skills to friends and family.  Depending on the personal network of the individual this activity could spread more or less rapidly across a number of people and often make some money in the process.  This is the moment where many people, having made a few hundreds or thousands of pounds, naturally think that they can make a living out of their therapeutic work.

Unfortunately though many people get caught in what I will call in this post the glorified hobby syndrome (that I will refer later as GHS, it’s not a real disease but it truly affects many people) and I will explain here what I mean.    As it was previously discussed on this blog it is well possible to make a living out of therapy and other complementary health practices; this is just if all aspects of running the business are managed correctly.

Compared to manual labour or skilled office employment, paid at market value, complementary health professions can offer much higher hourly remunerations.  At the time of writing this I know many complementary health practitioners charging between several tens to even hundreds of pounds per hours; that can encourage many individuals to think that they can make a great living working just a few hours per week but they are often too optimistic about the time it will take for their business to be self sustaining.  At this point many of them get affected by GHS.

Typical symptoms of the GHS are:

  • Lack of a business and marketing plan, working “as much as I can”
  • Constant feeling of being start-up mode (low income, no budget for typical business expenditures like marketing, assets, premises, constant feeling of working hard but without consistent results)
  • Being busy with life and working in the spare time
  • Being ok with having 1-3 one hour sessions per week, after 6 or longer months they are in business
  • Complaining about the above but, as money is not too much of an issue (having savings in the bank, other incomes, a partner that provides for them), lacking the determination to take serious actions

Having spoken and worked with hundreds of practitioners over the last few years I can now spot people affected by GHS within minutes into a conversation or often by having a look at their website or various social media profile.

Given my job and position I very often challenge practitioner that would like to join our team.  When I feel that someone is affected by GHS and will not be willing to work toward the development of a self sustaining complementary health practice I simply ask how they are going to develop their business.  Treating GHS can be simple and it follows a holistic approach similar the ones used to address other common psychological disorders like phobias or addictions.  We work together to:

  • Agree that GHS is there and it’s negatively ruling their business
  • Agree what will be done to avoid GHS and when
  • Keep them accountable for the actions we agreed and make sure they deliver positive outcome

If you are in complementary health and consider it your main source of income ask yourself whether you are affected, even mildly, by GHS.  By working at Salus Wellness you will be challenged to a point that you feel just a strong urgency to transform your business and create a truly and complete self sustaining practice.