The Hook

What do organic kale, massage therapy and entrepreneurship have in common?

A taste for adventure, that’s what! C’mon, admit it, your first frittata with kale tasted a little bitter. Eventually, the rich, earthy and vibrant kale flavour grew on you.

Massage therapy can take you into many worlds – the travelling resort massage therapist or the adventurous cruise massage work filled with novelty and excitement. Bodywork can bring you side by side with extreme athletes and devout meditators; it can be therapeutic, relaxing, luxurious or rehabilitative.

Entrepreneurship, the “E Word” as I call it (in this sentence). If that doesn’t send a surge of adrenaline through you, you might need some more kale. Really though, entrepreneurship is a powerful force in local economies and has the potential to transform lives from the inside out.

My question here is this: did I hook you? Did the question about commonality spark your interest in the blog? How about the idea of adventure? Maybe you were drawn toward hyperbolic droll humour and comparing kale to pretty much anything else was enough to keep you going.

Whatever it was, presupposing that you are still reading, I needed to hook you in a matter of seconds to capture you as an audience.  Once you were captivated, I get a little more time and flexibility to offer my services in depth.

Enter: Farmigo. The online, local marketplace. This startup company captured my attention by appearing in reading material I respected and trusted. They then offered me an irresistible first-time promotion and explained succinctly that if I joined their community I’d have access to an easy-to use online marketplace for all the local, organic food I could hope for while supporting small farmers. Quickly, I saw an opportunity to capture my own audience and build my client base by utilizing their offer to maximize my reach.

This is how it went: Farmigo has beautiful and seamless online tools including a database cloud, metrics that track everything from activity to preferences and e-blast client marketing. Since I named my Farmigo community the name of my business, when Farmigo customers searched for communities in or near my area, my business popped up as their option – now I had an audience exponentially greater than I’d have alone. And, this audience was prime because they were most likely health conscious, community-oriented and looking to integrate small startup services into their lives. Perfect!

My approach was to create a synergy that fed itself -- and it worked. Farmigo’s platform is what they sell to both the farmers and the consumers. That meant so long as my clients were purchasing food, I had free access to all these tools instead of having to create my own. Farmigo became my hook and a hook that was exactly in line with the values and mission of my company.

Hooking my new clients was much easier now that I had a mouth-watering product to entice an interest. Food sells. Almost as good as sex. Everyone eats, but not everyone has come to understand the benefits of massage therapy. Statistically speaking, however, those who are interested in local, organic food also have at least an awareness if not an interest in the healing nature of massage. So I knew I was accessing my niche market, but I was hooking them with a tasty promise.

Also, even those interested in massage, may not be willing to make the financial and time commitments at first. But with Farmigo, there were no strings attached and a customer could purchase a fresh loaf of sprouted, organic bread for five dollars and never look back. Making sure they didn’t leave my office without looking back was where the work came in. Now that they were hooked, I could take that in depth time to sell them my core services. They already trusted us enough to purchase something and they made the trip out to pick it up so why wouldn’t they at least see what else was being offered to them?

After building a client base that was accustomed to having autonomy in their food choices with the online marketplace, I integrated more choice into how I offered my services. They could choose the frequency of their sessions, which modalities would be used and how they wanted to use their progress data to make health plans. In addition, after they purchased a certain amount of Farmigo products, they would begin accumulating credits toward discounted massage therapy and donations to one of three of our affiliated non-profits. They were able to choose which non-profits their donation went toward and whether or not they wanted to roll over their massage discounts into more donations.

As a perk of being the community organizer, I received discounted food and referral bonuses so after a little while I reaped back the costs of giving discounts on the massages. And, as I mentioned, the whole system fed itself. Farmigo was branching out with new customers, my clients were very happy to have quality and convenient products and services and my company was growing while being rooted in the values I found indispensable.

We are currently in the expansion phase – working with the non-profits to make real, positive impact and selling some of our own nutritional products in the marketplace – and our porch looks divine covered in leafy greens, lush loaves of bread, creamy cheeses and seasonal fruit. As one of my clients said last week as they floated out of their massage room, “your hands make me feel like I’m on a cloud of fluffy yum and now I get to go home with a bag of yummy treats, too”.