While it’s undeniable that word-of-mouth advertising from your established, loyal clients will fundamentally forever be the best, easiest, and low cost way to promote your practice, there are some additional, affordable, and effective ways (beyond being the very best massage therapist in town) to further boost your business.
Enabling potential, current, and established clients to schedule or change appointments, leave voice messages, email you, or learn more about your services, products, and specials ~ at any time of the day or night ~ truly demonstrates that you love what you do. Taking the time to invest back into your business by setting up these different easily-accessible marketing platforms allows your customers to virtually access you 24/7. While physically you may decide not to take a phone call at midnight or respond to an email at 3 AM, just providing your clients with ways to contact you 24/7 builds confidence in them about your services and makes it convenient for them to let you know they may be running late for their 8 AM appointment, they want to schedule in a friend to bring along, too, or they need directions. There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to contact a business after hours to leave an important message; don’t run that type of disconnected business!
An Impressive Internet Presence
Potential clients are going to Google your name. When they do, you must be sure to have control over what comes up in the search engines. To accomplish this, you need a sharp and effective website filled with quality, error-free, and engaging blogs, feature articles, and industry info. If your tweets, LinkedIn profile, website, and Facebook postings are not well-written or are inappropriate, it can hurt your business and reputation. While you can certainly have a locked, private Facebook account reserved only for your very close friends and family, it should not be the same account you use to write about your massage therapy business. No potential client wants to see photos of you in a thong, on a yacht, sporting new $750 shoes, or driving your Jag. Spend time creating content for your business website and social media accounts; this is one of the best marketing investments you can possibly make.
In addition to your online marketing efforts, you need sharp business cards to carry with you at all times ~ including when you’re having lunch at the local café with friends, going to a black-tie charity event in the evening, or working out at the yoga spa. Your business cards need to show your name, credentials, website address, and contact info on one side, and a list of your services on the other. Business cards with magnetic backing prove even more effective since your clients can simply keep them on their refrigerators – in plain view countless times a day! It’s quicker, easier, and more professional to hand someone an attractive physical business card than to stand around while they try to figure out how to add your phone number and the correct spelling of your name into their new phone. Both magnetic business cards, cool postcards, and other tangible marketing materials can be purchased for pennies a piece.
Client Loyalty Programs
One of the easiest ways to attract both new and returning regular clients is to offer discounts, gift certificates, combos, and client loyalty programs. These can include any range of offers, such as discounts for multiple appointments or an initial visit, free birthday massages, or a loyalty card that offers a free massage after each fifth or tenth appointment. This type of incentive is entirely free to you, and will generate more clients in the long run. Scheduling multiple appointments at once with the same client is smart because clients are generally always more willing to buy in bulk, and keeping them coming in on a regular basis will help them become lifelong clients.
Although it may be tempting to run errands in your t-shirt and sweatpants some days, always remember that at all times you are representing your business and your profession. While you certainly aren’t expected to only dress in hospital whites, you do need to keep in mind that your temperament, attitude, body language, and how you present yourself is observed by others. If you’re rude to the waitress, it won’t matter that your new hairstyle looks sharp! If you’re complaining about a customer that is taking too long with the cashier at the grocery store, you’ll be embarrassed to discover that she’s your new client in the afternoon. If you’re naturally a calm, patient, and pleasant person, that will shine through wherever you are ~ whether with your established clients at your practice or in your community among your potential customers.
Know Your Competition
While it’s true no other massage therapist can possibly provide the same type of experience as you, it’s still important to know what other massage practices are in and around your community. Do a little research into what services your competition offers, and plan to do it even better. Understanding the options that clients have, gives you a competitive advantage over any other business. Offering services or perks that are unavailable to clients at other businesses is one of the easiest ways to keep drawing customers to your practice.
Stay atop of industry trends, practices, and protocols. Even if you don’t offer a particular service, you still need to be knowledgeable on the topic in case a client inquiries about it. If it seems like something you’d like offer, you can say you are in the process of adding that to your list of services. If it’s something you’ll never offer, be able to articulate in a confident and intelligent way why you don’t offer that service.
Once you’ve established yourself as a knowledgeable and reliable business, your name will be the first to come to mind when new clients are seeking a new massage therapist.
- Author: Mark Volkmann
- Published: September 08, 2014