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[Image courtesy of adamr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.]

You are shooting yourself in the foot if you don’t track where your current clients are coming from. What does that mean? It means you always get a record of what kind of person is coming to you and where they are hearing about you.

Ask New Clients How They Found You

Keep good records. Ask clients how they heard about you on your intake form, ask at the time they make their first appointment, or do both.

When you find out how new clients heard about you, you will know:

  1. from what source people are learning about you, and
  2. what kind of people are responding to which type of publicity.

If, for example, many of your new clients are responding to the recommendations of a select group of your clientele, that is valuable information!

  1. It tells you something about what kind of people you naturally attract (the “select” group), and that word-of-mouth through your established clients is the best way to reach them.
  2. It also alerts you that taking the time and effort to thank your referring clients with a greeting card or discount would be worth your while. (Remember, it is illegal in some states to give monetary rewards for referring clients. Check your state laws.)

In another example, if clients have scheduled because they noticed your flyer or business card at a gym or fitness center, you know that placing marketing materials at places that active types go is a good bet for you.

In this case, make sure you keep your flyers, business cards, and brochures current and appealing, and check that they are always visible at the sites where you post them.

If You Use Paid Advertising

If you use paid advertising, keep a record of the costs of the ad and track client responses to it. If it is not getting you new clients, ask yourself why.

  • Could it be the design?
  • Or is the medium not appropriate for the kind of clients who typically find their way to you? For example, it could be that your typical client doesn’t read the local weekly where you have placed a running ad.

In either case, consider an alternative choice for advertising.

How Much Should You Invest in Marketing?

felicia_brown_head_shot_1-120x150Awhile back, I had the opportunity to interview Felicia Brown, business coach extraordinaire. I asked her, “How much time and money should massage therapists invest in marketing their business?”

Felicia Speaks, a Summary

First I want to know: What are you trying to accomplish? Everyone’s goals are different. But I’m going to tell you something that can apply to almost everyone. Say in your practice, you want to do 15 hours of massage a week. You should spend 15 hours per week marketing—especially in the beginning.

One of the biggest mistakes people make is to lay back when they don’t have clients… going to a movie, lying by the pool, or just moping around, depressed. If you are serious about having a business, you spend the same time marketing that you want to be working on clients.

As far as investing money, there are cheap ways to market. And you can take it in steps. For example, you can get inexpensive business cards that include an enticing special. Offer a deep discount or a free 30-minute appointment with the option to upgrade, for example. When you get a few people coming in the door, and you have a little more money, buy some gift certificates.

Ask yourself, “How many clients a week do I want? And who am I trying to attract?” If you are trying to appeal to a high-end market, for example, your business stuff needs to look spiffier. You need nicer business cards than you would for a different market.

In the beginning, it’s better to get people in the door than to have an empty table. So give away some services, but be careful. It’s not worth it to bring in an “unqualified” client, that is, one who doesn’t fit your target group. You want to give incentives to those who are in your target group. These are people who will like what you do and are willing to pay for it. They are people who might be a good referral source. So with any incentive program, ask yourself, “Is this a good fit for my target market?”

Felicia Demonstrates

This year I set out to get a new client stream.

Let me just say that I love my clients. So I wondered, “What is it that makes my clients great?” It’s because they look at me as an equal, not as a hired hand. They regard me as a professional, and they are nice people. So instead of doing some kind of Daily Deal or other advertising, I ran a special for my own clients, and offered a multi-massage package for a reduced fee per session.

My goals were to reinvigorate people who weren’t coming in as often as they once did, and to get my clients to refer my name to people they knew. Guess what? It was the most successful special I ever had!

Thanks, Felicia. That’s awesome advice from a true veteran in massage business coaching. You can learn more at spalutions.com.

[Originally published in Natural Touch Marketing blog.]