Updated July 9th, 2020
I started Massage Warehouse out of my massage practice in Atlanta in 1998.
Eight years later, in 2006 when I moved on, Massage Warehouse was the largest seller of massage products to bodywork professionals in the country. “Home base” was a 75,000 square foot warehouse with just under 100 employees shipping over 1,500 boxes a day to therapists across the country.
How did it happen?
And how can you benefit from what I learned on my journey?
I learned a lot of valuable (and often painful) lessons along the way. Today, I’d like to focus on what I believe to be the single most important concept that directly affects your practice’s success and something that very, very few massage practice owners use to their advantage.
Here was my revelation:
Your client list is your business.
Let me explain: If you’re a one-person show, having an active client list of just 100 to 150 clients represents roughly $65,000 a year in income (at 20 sessions a week for you). That means each client is worth over $500 a year.
That’s a lot. But they’re actually worth much more than this. (More on that a little later…)
Now let’s say you’re ambitious and you really want to grow be one of the few massage therapists that break the $100,000 a year in income mark.
How do you do it?
Assuming your body can handle 30 sessions a week and you keep your prices where they are, you have two possible things you can do to grow:
Increase the number of new clients or get your existing clients to come back more often.
Both are important, so let’s take a look at how best to approach the challenge using the power of your client list.
Increasing the Number of New Clients
There are a lot of ways to market, advertise and promote your business to attract new clients, but the simplest, least expensive and most effective way is to use your existing clients to do your promoting for you.
What does that mean? Referrals.
Now I know you’re saying to yourself, “Big deal – I already knew that.”
But let’s be clear, I’m not talking about the passive “please mention me to your friends, here are some business cards to hand out” approach. That won’t get it done. No way.
I want you to push for referrals using your super clean client list with accurate contact information and emails!
Stay in touch with your clients regularly.
Probably way more often than you think. In marketing speak, it’s called “top of mind” messaging. With a clean list of email addresses, you can email your clients helpful articles and information about health, well-being and other items of interest every two weeks.
Some will share that information with friends, providing you with a vote of confidence and a soft referral. Others will be reminded that they really should schedule their next massage. Double win.
To take this to the next level, you’ll want to “segment” your client list.
All this means is that you’re organizing your client list by more specific categories. In MassageBook, we let you easily do this by applying tags to clients like “Runner”, “Mom”, “Executive”, etc.
You can also easily segment your clients based on their past activity.
For example, it would be really easy to send all the executives in your client list who have recently been in for an appointment an email. Perhaps some helpful tips for good posture habits at work or at-desk exercises where the email also mentions how massage can help.
The intent is that the email recipient shares the helpful content with others in their office, which results in interest in your massage services. (To super-charge this approach, just add a time limited new clients only promotion with a call-to-action button at the bottom of the email to book an appointment online.)
It works. And it’s easy to do…
IF you have your client list cleanly organized with accurate contact info and are using a system like MassageBook that integrates client data with an easy way to send emails.
Here’s another effective way to increase your new client count using your existing client information as a base:
The greatest referral system of all time: gift certificates!
I still can’t believe the power of gift certificates are such a secret among massage therapists. When someone buys a gift certificate from you, they’re PAYING you to refer a new client to you. That’s a HUGE win for you and should be a serious focus.
To really drive gift certificate sales, you need to use your client list to send emails that generate awareness of your gift certificate program.
Make sure people can buy those gift certificates online.
The power of a clean client list really lies in the ability to segment — so that you can send the right message to the right people at the right time to get them to act.
In the case of gift certificates, you can use this approach creatively in any number of ways.
For example, you could send an email to all your running or athlete clients before a local running event to promote the idea that they give their favorite runner a massage gift certificate as a congratulatory present to use after the run.
Even if they don’t buy a gift certificate, they may still think a massage the week after the race sounds great and will book a session for themselves.
Is your client list clean and organized? Then this is easy to do.
And the payoff is huge!
We talked about a few ways to use your existing client list to attract new clients. Now let’s look at how we can get your existing clients back to see you more often.
Getting Existing Clients to Book More Often
When working with your client list, it’s really important not to treat everyone the same.
They’re not the same, and your results won’t be nearly as good if you don’t speak to them in a way that makes sense for their situation AND at a time when it makes sense.
Let’s take a look at some examples to illustrate this point, again using the client information you’ve been collecting in an organized way.
Happy Birthday Campaign
This is one of my favorite no-brainer/automatic ways to get those clients who aren’t regulars back in the game and a way to build greater loyalty with those that are regulars.
The only client information you need for this is, you guessed it, their birthday.
On their birthday, send a “Happy Birthday” email. In the email let them know that your present to them is some percentage off their next visit or maybe a free add-on that you usually charge for. But don’t forget to specify an expiration of the offer. I like two weeks as a time limit as it creates a little sense of urgency in those that aren’t regulars.
In MassageBook, you can choose to automate the sending of these on a client’s special day, but if you’re using something else, I would suggest running a report on the first of the month to identify all those with a birthday in the month ahead and then sending them all a more generic “Happy Birthday Month” email with the time limit for the offer being their birthday month.
Activity Based Campaigns
Client activity is by far the most effective way to segment people into groups that you can send messages to that get results — and with the data that you seamlessly collect in MassageBook — it’s easy to start filtering your list.
But what activity should you begin grouping clients on? There must be over a hundred different ways to look at it.
Start by asking yourself the question “Who do I want to get back in the office?”
You might come up with a list that looks something like this:
Those people that just came once that I never heard from again.
Those that used to come regularly but stopped for some reason.
Those clients who only come once every couple of months.
Using just two simple segmenting measures we can define and identify exactly those people:
Recency is simple a measure of when the client had their last appointment
Frequency is a measure of how often a client has seen you.
Together we can build a simple yet powerful filter to apply to a client list.
For example, let’s take #2 above as an example.
Here we can apply a simple rule that would look something like this:
Frequency (number of times client booked) is greater than 5 AND recency (time since last appointment) is greater than 60 days.
With MassageBook, applying this simple filter to your client list really is just that simple. You can then send the resulting clients a specific email with an offer or other content to get them re-engaged. (Or, if you want the benefit without the effort, you can turn on MassageBook’s Autopilot feature to automate the sending of emails to specific segments).
I hope that I’ve made it clear that there’s a treasure hidden in your client list.
And that the value of each client you have is measured far in excess of the money you received for their sessions.
To extract that treasure, however…
Your client list needs to be clean and up to date with current contact information and have each individual’s full booking and payments history attached.
You can use that information to increase repeat bookings and to build a network of referring clients that will vault your business growth to the goals you’ve set for yourself.
If you’d like to get started implementing some of these strategies for yourself, contact us today at 843-352-2026 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our team here is focused on helping massage and bodywork practices become successful, easily managed businesses.
We’d love to help you too.
In shared success,
Founder of Buckhead Sports Massage, Atlanta Corporate Massage, Massage Warehouse, MassageBook
- Author: Mark Volkmann
- Published: June 13, 2016