I graduated from massage school in 1999, on the cusp of the explosion of the Internet. In my training, there was no mention of smart phones or social media. Yet these are the dominating forces of marketing now because that’s what consumers are using. In order to keep our practices growing, we have to meet clients where they are. Let’s revisit yesteryear’s marketing darlings and update them to serve 21st century massage practices.
Skip the flyers and get a website. If you don’t have one, you’re missing out on the best way to help new clients find you and an easy way for current clients to refer you. If your liability insurance provider doesn’t include a free website as a member benefit, there are plenty of website hosting services to choose from. If the whole website-building process is too overwhelming, ask a tech-savvy friend to build it for you. Start with just one page that speaks to your favorite kind of client about how you can help them along with your basic practice information (fees, hours, location and how to contact you).
I still see bulletin boards at coffee shops and fast, casual-dining restaurants, but many discourage business promotion. Take this option online with a listing on Nextdoor.com or posting in Facebook classified (buy/sell/trade) groups for the area you practice in. Some of these Facebook groups have limitations for business listings so be sure to follow the rules. A therapist I know comments on her own posts to keep them near the top of the feed. Smart!
When’s the last time you used a phone book? Yellow Page listings used to be essential but now consumers are going to review sites like Yelp to find service providers. A basic Yelp listing is free. Once you’re set up, be sure to ask your clients to write reviews (those who love you will be glad to help you out). Should you opt-out of paid advertising on Yelp, get ready for regular solicitation calls! This minor annoyance is well worth the calls you’ll be getting from new clients.
Regardless of how we may feel about it, newspapers are on their way out and more people are being informed via social media. For massage therapists, Facebook is the most worthwhile platform because it has the most female users age 35-49 (the same demographic that gets the most massage1). Since there may be boundary issues with friending clients, consider having a business/fan page or Facebook group to connect with them. Do a bit of research to decide what works best for your practice goals. Whatever you choose, be sure to post regularly to stay engaged with your audience.
I hear the old fashioned postcard is making a comeback, but email marketing has a proven track record without the hassle and expense of keeping postcards and stamps on hand. Although email marketing services are popular, using the email functions on your online scheduling program can be just as effective without any additional cost or learning curve. As with social media, consistency is the key. Even a simple monthly update will keep you in touch.
The world of marketing is constantly changing. If all these inexpensive updates seem too hard or time consuming to learn and implement, choose one and make a commitment to do it consistently for the next three months. Once it becomes integrated into your business, you’ll wonder why you waited so long and be ready to add another digital tool. As we open ourselves to new opportunities, abundance follows.
Cath Cox has been a licensed massage therapist in Colorado since 1999 and is the creator of the Booked and Busy in 90 Days System™. Her mission is to heal the world by inspiring independent massage therapists to build thriving practices of their own so they can work authentically for as long as they desire. She currently provides Ashiatsu barefoot deep tissue massage exclusively in her private practice. You can learn more about Cath and her journey at cathcox.com.