We recently revisited a Women in Bodywork Business blog from the past by Ruth Werner, in which she made some relevant points about educating clients. She was reflecting on the results of the 2010 AMTA Massage Profession Research report and she began by sharing the primary reasons surveyed clients gave for receiving their last massage:
- Pampering/ just to feel good/ special indulgence = 17%
- Relaxation/ stress reduction = 32%
- Medical reasons (including injury, spasm, pain relief) = 32%
“In an apparent contradiction,” Ruth writes, “on p. 13 the answer to the question, “Where did you get your last massage?” was most often—and by quite a wide margin—in a spa setting.” She concludes that “massage therapists in spas, cruise ships, franchises and salons are daily dealing with clients who are looking for a health care consultant more than a pampering provider.”
What Can You Do?
Ruth suggests that clients need more education. You might well ask what practitioners can do about this. How will clients know they will get as much or more benefit from seeing you at home 5 times a year, say, than they will on that one cruise-to-Bermuda massage? Or if you are that cruise or spa massage therapist, how do you gently educate your clients that they may get much more pain relief from a second, follow-up appointment with you?
Talking and Listening = Marketing
It can be frustrating. While everyone knows that people are still seeking massage, are they getting the best that bodywork can offer? Folks, this takes us right back to marketing. Or, if you don’t like that word, just call it talking — and listening. Talking to friends, family, and clients—listening to their concerns and thinking about how you can help them. Talking about what approaches you can offer, what conditions you can help, what you specialize in.
Whether you call it marketing or talking, it means connecting gently and meaningfully with individuals, giving presentations, and offering simple, to-the-point written materials that answer questions and speak to people’s specific concerns.