Having a website is a must-have for wellness practices these days. But there is a big BUT. The snazziest website may be a component of marketing, but it can only do so much.
It’s not news that more and more people are using the Internet to find the closest or most affordable practitioner. Your website can take care of those basics — like your menu, fees, and directions. It can help establish your professionalism and a sense of who you are and what you offer. BUT… If your goal is to create more loyal clients, you need to reach out with something more, something that makes it easy for your already satisfied clients to pass on your name. These clients are people who have experienced your warmth, your concern, and your ability to help them feel better. They are people who would be happy to recommend you.
Recommendations are Key
One very persuasive marketing message is a recommendation from someone who can vouch for you. This is why so many practitioners say their main marketing method is word-of-mouth. The words of your clients, colleagues, friends, and family telling others what a great massage you give, or how you helped get rid of the pain that had been plaguing them for months, can do wonders for building your practice.
Even Nielsen is now measuring customer experience as a new business benchmark. And how does “customer experience” become marketing? Word-of-mouth recommendations, that’s how. Unfortunately, you can’t simply wait around your office hoping all those people who hear from your satisfied clients are going to come flooding through the door.
Boost Results of Word-of-Mouth Marketing
You have to use marketing strategies that boost the efforts of whoever is telling others about you. Here are three ways (out of many) to do it.
- Give friends, family members, and loyal clients business cards, and ask them to pass them on.
- When someone buys a gift certificate, find out a little about the receiver. Include your business card and a brochure or article about something targeted to that person. For example: Is the recipient a sports enthusiast? Include a brochure on Massage for Sports and Fitness.
- Send postcards, flyers, or emails announcing your special “spa treatment” of the month or your package rate. For example: “Buy 5 sessions for the price of four.” State that the offer is also good for friends and family of your client.
These are examples of marketing that can reach people in multiple ways — showing that you care for your clients, and also for their wider circle of friends and family.
Your business cards, massage gift certificates, brochures, postcards, and any other marketing materials should include your website and/or email address as well as your phone number. People can then go to your website to find more information, schedule an appointment, or email you with their questions. Be sure that your website is attractive and that information is easy to find. That will support the impression that you are a professional resource that can help people with their challenges.
There’s no doubt that the Internet has helped small businesses tremendously. While this is true, reaching out with attractive brochures, business cards, and/or promotional messages that can be passed on personally is still essential for building a flourishing practice.
Back to the Web
Of course, there is a chance that people will make their way to your website organically, through a web search, not through word-of-mouth. In that case, you still have the opportunity to use recommendations by having customer testimonials on your site for visitors to read. Ask your most loyal clients to write something short and simple about how you helped them with their back pain, stress symptoms, or whatever. The website visitor might not know your client personally, but the testimonials may encourage her to give you a call if she connects with one of those stories.
Bottomline… Use your website as a marketing tool, just as you use your brochures and business cards, but continue to rely on your personal relationships and word-of-mouth connections.
[Adapted with permission from a Natural Touch Marketing blog article.]
[Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.]