As a massage therapist, you’re hopefully confident with your techniques and comfortable spending time with your clients. But what you might not be confident about is how to best utilize technology to benefit your business.
We know that technology can sometimes seem scary and intimidating, but if you take some time to learn about it, it really can be an asset to your massage therapy business. Some can help you find new clients (which is something we’re always looking to do), while others can help offer great customer service to your existing ones, which will helpfully keep them coming back for more (in addition to your amazing massage skills, of course).
All that being said, let’s take a look at some products that Google offers and how they can benefit your massage therapy business.
Even if you’re not familiar with all of Google’s products, you’ve likely heard of Gmail. You can create a custom email address @gmail.com (as long as it’s not already taken, of course). This is a great option if you happen to need a personal email address.
Google Apps is a professional version of Gmail for your business, and it allows you to customize it to your domain name. So, for example, if Kathy owns Chicago Serenity Massage, she could set up the email address firstname.lastname@example.org through Google Apps.
As a side note, it’s really important that you set up a personalized email address for your business if you haven’t already. It’s just a small step you can take as you set up your business.
Gmail is part of Google Apps for Business, which is a cloud-based productivity suite. Before I go any further, me define cloud-based. This means that the work you do is stored “out there in the clouds” (for simplicity’s sake) and can be accessed from any location on any device. This is a great benefit for on-the-go massage therapists like you!
Google Apps for Business offers a 30-day free trial, after which you pay $5/month.
Google also offers Google Drive, which allows you to store your files digitally (in the cloud), share them, and have access to them from anywhere. Think of it as an online file folder system. But unlike your manila file folders in your file cabinet, Google Drive allows you to always have access to your files, no matter which computer you’re on (i.e. the one at work or the one at home).
Google Docs are stored within your drive. If Google Drive is your online filing cabinet, then Google Docs are your papers that you store inside them. Google Docs are Google’s version of Microsoft Office’s suite (like Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc).
Google Docs makes collaboration a snap since you can create, share, and work on documents with your whole team in real time. That means that if you’re working on a new intake form, you can digitally “share” the doc with your co-worker. He/she can make changes which will reflect on your copy as well. Or if you want to make comments, there’s a way to insert those off to the side (similar to a sticky note). Google Docs is a great place for you to store and work on marketing pieces or massage presentations. And since it, too, is cloud-based, you can get to it from anywhere (even your smart phone while you’re waiting for an appointment).
Google Calendar is a great way to keep track of your personal schedule. You can have it send meeting reminders, and you can share calendars with your spouse or with co-workers. If your massage space has multiple users, you can share calendars with one another to make sure that the room is never double-booked.
Google Calendar is easy to update and can be accessed on your computer, iPad, and your smart phone. Perhaps most importantly, Google Calendar also easily integrates with Massamio (which we love).
Google Voice gives you one number for all of your phones. That way, the phone number is tied to you, not a device or location. It works with mobile phones, desk phones, work phones, and VoIP lines. Even better? There’s nothing to download, upload, or install. And you don’t have to make or take calls using a computer. Google Voice will let you define which phones ring based on who’s calling. That way, you can keep track of who is calling you – a client or a family member, based solely on the ring.
With Google Voice, you can create custom greetings, and it’s ideal for privacy. (i.e. You don’t have to worry about handing out your personal cell phone number to clients.) If a client calls your office phone number, it comes straight to you, or to your virtual receptionist.
Check out this informative video about Google Voice.
[Note: Google Voice is currently only available in the U.S.]
When someone enters in “Massage therapist in (insert your city),” you want to be sure that your business comes up. Google Places is an easy way for you to get your business online and be found on Google Search and Maps. And it, too, is free! You can make sure clients find the right information about your business by updating your hours, address, contact information, and photos. Since clients are allowed to review your business on Google Places, you can respond to reviews as the business owner.
According to Google, 97% of consumers search for local businesses online. By having a Google Places account, your massage therapy business will show up on Google Search and Maps. It’s like free advertising!
Google Adwords is a way to put your name at the top of Google search rankings. In our previous example where people are searching for “Massage therapist in (insert your city),” then Google Adwords can ensure that you’re going to be among the first names that they see.
If there are more than one massage therapist in your area, multiple names might pop up. Google Adwords are the yellowish, highlighted ads you see at the top of your searches. The perhaps the best part is, you’re not paying unless you get results. (i.e. You only pay if people click on your ads and visit your website.) People search; they see your ad; and you get more clients!
Google Hangouts is a great way for massage therapists to do video conferencing. It allows attendees to see each other and use screen sharing for demonstration purposes (which is super helpful if you’re collaborating with your peers). Attendees can join a Google Hangout via computer, tablet, or smart phone which makes them very convenient, especially for massage therapists on the go. You can take advantage of Google Hangouts for board meetings, collaboration sessions, or any other meeting that includes people in different locations without the hassle (or cost) of travel!
What other Google products do you take advantage of? Did we miss any of your favorites?