There’s a marketing mantra here at Float On that we thought might be useful to share. Especially for people at the more early stages of their float center. The mantra is simple, but it’s an integral part of our marketing philosophy, and can go a long way in helping a float center succeed.
“Never leave a tank empty”
At times, you may find it difficult to get enough customers to keep your tanks at a healthy capacity. As our mantra states, even if you can’t find a paying customer to fill the slot, that doesn’t mean you should just leave it at that. If you have too many unscheduled floats there are a few different avenues you may consider to make sure that you’re not constantly leaving tanks empty.
Floats as Currency
One simple way of filling some of your tanks which can benefit your center is to begin to work out a barter system and begin to use the value of floats as a currency in the community.
Bartering floats can get you just about anything. This practice tends to be more successful with small, local businesses (or even just individuals offering a service), but you can occasionally luck out with some larger companies.
Ultimately, you have the potential to supplement a large variety of goods and goodies for your float center by arranging some barters to cover their cost.
Getting a barter system set up can be as simple reaching out to people who would likely be able to offer goods and services you’re looking for (or stumble upon an opportunity in a random conversation with a stranger).
Talking about your float center is often enough to inspire people to ask about a barter themselves, but if not, take initiative and suggest it when you notice your price point as a barrier.
When it comes to taxes on bartering, always follow what the IRS has to say – It’s important to properly keep track of your bartering activities for tax purposes.
Floats as A Marketing Tool
Even if you’re unable to arrange getting a product or service in return for your float, you still may want to consider giving that time in the tank away, conditionally for free. Especially if you feel this float can turn into a future relationship that generates you exposure.
Many people have an inclination to offer short term heavy discount floats when times are slow (either by center discounts or other discounts like Groupon and Living Social). These are definitely other options that are available (and options that will get you some income), but relying on them too heavily can hurt your business in the long run.
There’s something to be said in terms of “maintaining the value of a float” which harks back to the way that people perceive value on a psychological level.
If you reach out to people regularly with discounted floats, people will come to expect them, and associate that discounted value with the float itself. If people expect the discounts to come, they will purposefully not purchase at full price (even if they want to float!) because of the likelihood that the discount will be available in the future, ultimately hurting your business by lowering the average cost of your floats.
For instance, a first time floater being offered a $60 float for $40 might be tempted to take advantage of the discount, but in the future, when confronted with $60 as the cost, this customer may see return to normal price as an increase in cost, and be less likely to float again.
Since you may not be interested in offering discounted floats, yet still are following the “never leave a tank empty” mantra, you may want to consider filling any stubbornly open spaces with free floaters.
That’s right… we prefer giving away floats vs. discounted floats.
What sets this option apart is that free floats have no value associated with them (except the value of them being free), which is fantastic. People do not expect free things on a regular basis, and will be far less expectant of future free floats then they would be of future discounts.
As a bonus, people love free things! This provides you a positive association in that customers mind. It can make you seem like an amazing business in their eyes.
You may be asking “Well if I’m not getting paid for this float, what’s the point of offering it?”
It costs the same amount of money to keep empty float tanks heated as if they were full tanks. The point of offering free floats is that it gets people in the tank. And once people have been in a float tank, they will talk about it to anyone who will listen (especially if it was their first time floating). They’ll also overcome the first time floater jitters that are often barriers to entry.
Float tanks are a novel and interesting experience for many people, and a subjectively enjoyable one at that. Because of this they have amazing word-of-mouth marketing potential, and getting a person in for a free float can realistically turn into paying customers.
These are just a couple of ideas to give you a clearer picture on what to do if you’re finding yourself with many open tanks on your schedule. If you’re interested in delving a bit more into the marketing tactics that work well to cultivate and spread the word about your float tanks, check out our Float Center Marketing Packet, which is filled with a TON of other marketing campaigns and tactics that have proven useful in the float center environment.
Thanks for reading, and as always, if you have any questions about any of the material covered, don’t hesitate to send me an email at email@example.com.
– Frank Ciavarello
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