day-time-massage-marketingMany independent massage therapists find it difficult to book their day time hours.

It can be tough because you are in an ‘evening and weekend” industry. People typically want to relax at the end of their day or the weekend, so they think of booking massage during these times.

Also, many people work during the day and either don’t have flexibility at work or the time to take away for a mid-day massage. Massage is also a bit messy when you’re talking about a full-body massage with oils and lotions. By the time it’s over, you’re going back to work with mussed hair, oily necks, and a feeling of deep relaxation…not exactly conducive to getting back into “work” mode.

So, how can you market to those who do want to schedule massage in the middle of the day? We have a few tips for getting those hours filled.

1. Create “Buyer Personas” for Daytime Clients

You may already have much of the demographic information you need just in your client files. Take some time to go through their information or begin to informally survey them before sessions to gather information you need. Ask these few questions:

  • How did you first hear about me?
  • Are you working or retired?
  • Part-time, full-time, flexible work schedule, 3rd shift workers?
  • Injured? Disabled? Unable to work?
  • Do they view their massage the same as a dentist or doctor appointment? (are they getting regular therapeutic treatments for a condition?)
  • What is the household income?

Get as much information from your current clients, but then do some demographic research in your area to see the bigger picture. You can use demographic tools like this one to gather census data by zip code.

demographic-map

Next, analyze the demographics to create a description of your ideal daytime client or clients.

Identifying your target market is foundational. You have to understand where these people work, live, play and how they spend their time and money. Where do the retirees live? Where do the people with the most disposable income live? What do your current clients have in common (retirees, medical professionals, working moms)? Do their needs match your skills and preferences?

Then, put together a “buyer persona” of each kind of ideal daytime client. You can learn more about how to create a buyer persona in this short online course.

2. Craft a message that speaks to these personas

What will compel this type of client to come in? Your marketing message will be focused on addressing the needs of your ideal client, solving their problems, and pinpointing what motivates/incentivizes them to book a massage.

If you specialize in prenatal massage, for instance, you want a message that is specifically tailored to pregnant women or even those who may be thinking of getting pregnant. In your marketing material and campaigns, craft a different message for each market or buyer persona.

3. Special promotions

Offer a special package for those clients who want a quick massage in the middle of the day. Perhaps you can offer a half hour “Trigger Point Tune-Up” for regular clients.

You don’t necessarily need to discount your services to make them more attractive. Sometime, it’s just the way you craft the message or offer.

For instance, you could offer a treatment called “The Desk Job”, a 30 minute massage for office workers, focused on head, neck and shoulders.

If you do other discounts and promotions, be sure to exclude 30-minute sessions since they are already not as profitable.

4.  Eliminate the roadblocks

What are the roadblocks your ideal client experiences in getting massage? If you’re targeting people with plenty of disposable income, it won’t be money but it may be one of the following:

  • Finding time — focus on your online calendar and scheduling process
  • Scheduling is hard — eliminate all friction in the booking process
  • They don’t think about it — focus on brand awareness campaigns (targeted Facebook ads, emails, text reminders) to make your services top of mind

If your clients view massage therapy as preventive health care or pain management, what roadblocks are in their way? Finances might be a roadblock, but they’ll invest in a discounted package of 8 sessions. Injured or disabled people may be more willing to book if you started billing insurance.

Find the friction points that keep your clients from booking and smooth out the way as much as possible.  It WILL increase your bookings.

5. Never miss an opportunity

This goes for any type of client, but if you’re focusing on filling your daytime hours, it is especially important to be ready to book anyone who calls, emails, or goes online to seek out massage.

One way to make sure you don’t miss anyone is online booking and scheduling tools that make it easy for your client to book as soon as he or she even thinks about getting a massage. If the moment passes and they weren’t able to put something on their calendar right then, chances are they may forget about it for week, or months.

Reception services are a worthwhile investment for the busy independent massage professional. Your clients can book appointments even while you’re busy giving a treatment or doing other tasks.

Can your clients book an appointment from your website, or on their mobile devices, or from Facebook? Start using these tools and make sure your clients (and your networks) are aware of how easy it is to book a massage with you.

6. Your referral network

This one may take some time, but you’ve gotta have business networking skills. Extend your network. Work with groups that attract people like your ideal client. Volunteer, form referral partnerships, leave marketing materials, offer promotions for these groups. Don’t get overwhelmed. Start by doing just one of those things.

  • Insurance – disability, injuries
  • General practitioners
  • Dentists (TMJ treatments)
  • Retirement groups
  • Expectant mother groups (birthing classes)

Start with “Just One Thing”

Sometimes it takes just one decision, one change, one little step to make big changes. This list, taken as a whole, might seem daunting. Start with #1 if you haven’t already created buyer personas. Then, take it a step at a time. Get ideas from your colleagues, social networks, friends, and family. Allissa Haines did this recently on her blog when she needed some fresh motivation for getting new clients. She received tons of great ideas, began implementing them, and guess what… it worked.

Add to the conversation by leaving a comment. There’s always more to do and we can all succeed by helping each other.

 

Comments from original Massamio post:

I think it’s also regional. When I lived in the Chicago area it was next to impossible in the corporate working high stress massage receiver’s world to book daytime clients…very few and far between…  Moved to Madison WI, almost as easy to get daytime clients as evenings…BUT this is also a town where it is next to impossible to find a dentist that works after 4 pm and NEVER on a Saturday…people things on weekdays here…  Entirely different culture, work norms, etc. — Posted @ Friday, May 16, 2014 7:08 PM by Eileen Virnig