In every industry and for every company, word-of-mouth marketing is the best, cheapest (but most costly), and most important form of advertising. Your massage therapy practice is no exception. While hiring a full-time marketing agency may help you to brainstorm, create, produce, and launch effective branding pieces, social media platforms, and print collateral, all those efforts won’t mean a thing if your clients don’t have an exceptional, world-class, and wonderful experience at your massage therapy practice ~ each and every time they book an appointment with you.

Your customers themselves are your most powerful marketing partners because of their ability to influence other potential customers. If your customer leaves your premises feeling immensely satisfied and pleased, they will talk about that experience. If they leave feeling disappointed, unhappy, or upset, they will talk about that experience as well! This domino effect of word-of-mouth recommendations will garner you more clientele down the road than you could ever imagine.

Here’s a look at 3 tips to increase your positive word-of-mouth referrals at your message therapy business:

Tip #1: Share your story.

Whether you’ve always wanted to be a massage therapist since you first started thinking about a career, or you went to a massage therapist yourself years ago to help improve your own health, or you’re the 3rd generation message therapists in your family ~ share that founding story with your clients! They’ll love and appreciate you taking the time to tell them about the heartfelt underpinning of your business; and they’ll surely share your engaging and inspirational story with their friends, colleagues, and family members. Further, if you waited for years for what you thought was the ideal location for your building but the deal fell through and you instead secured a space at the phenomenal location where you are now, share that experience with your customers! It’ll be a more spiritual or philosophical connection with your clients about life ~ and timing ~ and how everything always works out better than how you plan.

Tip #2: Treat every customer like you would want (and would hope) to be treated.

Whether it’s a brand new client or a loyal, established one ~ each customer has chosen to spend his/her money and time at your practice. Your customers have confidence in you and your skills and have thus chosen your business (of all the other massage therapists from which they could have selected) for their massage and spa treatments. Make every appointment a professional, individualized, and wonderful one. Turn off your cell phone, don’t allow for interruptions and distractions, look your clients in the eyes when you greet them, and give each client your undivided attention. Don’t be distracted by what’s happening on the other side of the door while you are in a session with a client. You’ve hired a receptionist to handle those phones calls and walk-ins while you are with a client. It’s better to book less clients in a day’s schedule than to overbook and have many clients waiting for their appointment.

If clients do have to wait a bit, however, make your waiting room appealing and comfortable. From having the calming aroma of vanilla, free organic tea, bottles of water, and current wellness magazines on hand ~ to playing soothing music, create a welcoming environment the moment your clients step into your business. If you wouldn’t want to patronize a business that clearly shows the owner has not invested one penny into making it (and keeping it) aesthetically-appealing and comfortable, why would you think your customers would?

Tip #3: Show and share your gratitude.

Gratitude goes a long way. While you may think your clients ought to be thanking you for the awesome services you provide, quite the opposite is true. You be the grateful and humble one! Let your clients know you appreciate them. You can do this verbally, in writing, and with gifts. When they fill out the form upon their first visit, you’ve got their birthdate!  Send them a card with a coupon or a gift card enclosed. If your budget allows, send cards to all your clients during the holiday season. Send them thank you notes after the first visit to welcome them to your practice!

You are building long-term relationships with your clients and not looking simply to have them come to you for one massage therapy or spa treatment. Make them feel welcome and appreciated so that they will look forward to coming back to be in your company again. Everyone in the universe wants to feel like the most important person to someone else at some point. Make each client feel that they are the most important and favorite clients of yours!

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ~ Maya Angelou