There’s just so much to do- where do you begin?
If you’ve visited the free resources available on the AMTA and ABMP websites, I commend you for your resourcefulness. These organizations do an amazing job to help support you in your profession. However, marketing help isn’t the focus of each organization. There’s a much greater scope within these organizations for providing support to your profession.
My goal here is to help provide more specific information and direction to help you market your practice.
I’m going to tell you how to market a new Massage Therapy practice now. You’re gonna get specific guidance for what marketing materials to invest in, where to start marketing, and how to find the best marketing opportunities for the least amount of money.
Are you ready?
Before we dive in, let’s get something straight. There is no cookie cutter “do this and everything will work” way. Some massage marketing strategies that work for other people won’t work for you, and vice versa. Why? That remains an unsolved mystery but I will say, we all have different strengths and weaknesses. What’s important for you is that you pay close attention to what your strengths are and you play off of them. Use them to promote your Massage Therapy services. Use them to help YOU be more visible to your potential clients.
So where should you start marketing your new Massage Therapy practice?
Market to Friends and Family
I hope you thought of friends and family. Though you might be massaging them for a discount, they are your network. They know, like and trust you. (Know, like and trust is a model commonly used in marketing. I’ll save a deeper dive into the explanation of the concept for a future date.)
Starting with the people who know, like and trust you is a quicker way to increase your reach for new clients. There’s a study that claims we know at least 150 people in our real (not online) lives. When you massage a friend and they start talking about you to their other friends, co-workers, or relatives, you’ve just expanded your reach and potential for new clients.
Make sure you have the right incentives in place. Most Massage Therapists call this the friends and family discount. You can offer an extra 10 or 15 minutes for each referral. And for the new client, you can tell them they’re getting the friends and family discount.
Bottom line is these clients need to feel special. And they will because of the incentives they receive. It’s also a win-win situation because your clients, their friends and family, will all want to help you. Plus, they’re getting treated extra special.
If you haven’t started this strategy yet, please start it now. It’s the most affordable and quickest way to start marketing and promoting your new Massage Therapy practice.
Wait, hold on a second. I do take that back. Before you start, you do want business cards handy. That will cost you a few bucks but there are so many businesses that offer hundreds of cards for free. You have to come up with the design though.
Making a Massage Therapy business card- that’s where things get a little challenging. You want just enough information to spark further interest from the person who has your card. Below is what I recommend to put on your business card.
- Your name
- Licensed Massage Therapist
- Your number (you can state “call or text”)
- “Currently accepting new clients
- License Massage Therapist
4 things. That’s all you need. No need for a logo, physical address, social media links, etc. (You may need to list your license number. Some states require that to be on all marketing materials.)
You see, on your marketing materials (websites too- I’ll get to that) you want the messaging to be really simple. You also want the person who receives the business card to have the opportunity to ask questions. This engages them in an actual conversation about your services.
They may ask “Where is your office?” or “How much do you charge?”
If you’ve practiced some ways to confidently communicate your rates and where you practice, you will help the person holding your business card get to know you better. When they start to feel like they know you, they start to like and trust you more. That process often leads to the person becoming a client.
I know it’s a bit generalized but every conversation is subjective. At least now you have a template for a Massage Therapy business card that can help you communicate your services more effectively.
And that leads to the next thing…
Take a moment to think- I mean really focus on the activities you like to do and where you go to do them. Do you workout somewhere, do Yoga, get Chiropractic care? These establishments are also businesses and there is great opportunity to network with the owners, managers, and people who also utilize the services.
When I was a newbie Massage Therapist, I was very lucky. I contracted with a Chiropractor who rented me an affordable room and referred his patients to me. At the time, I naively thought of the agreement as me being an employee with no W-2. Looking back on it, the reality was that I was my own boss. I set my own hours and rates, plus I had no one telling me how to do the technique in my sessions.
It was a great start. The most important learning lesson for me in the experience was to think more of how to serve others rather than myself. I learned that if I had referred clients back to the Chiropractor, that would of solidified a tremendous power partnership.
But I didn’t. And after a year, the Chiropractor doubled my monthly rent. That was enough to scare me away. Was he a jerk? Absolutely not. He was asking for more of a win-win for the both of us. Since I wasn’t referring as much (giving back) he thought he should get more in rent.
That’s a little sidebar to help you understand that you can approach decision makers at the establishments you frequent and explore ways to refer to one another. Chiropractors are a great place to start. They understand the value of Therapeutic Massage.
Here’s a tip for the Yogis. The next time you take a Yoga class, ask the Instructor if in final Chivasanna, you can give mini neck massages to other students. I did this at a Yoga studio once and that got me 4 new clients! That was just from one class!
The key to networking is being creative in the moment- understanding the levels of comfort with other people and bringing up ideas that provide win-win situations. Can you do $1/min chair massage at the gym you work out at? Just ask.
Notice how all these ideas are offline? The online world has a lot of advantages to it for marketing a new Massage Therapy practice but in a nutshell, start where you already are.
Up to this point, you have a business card and have reached out to communities you are a part of. Let’s transition to where to start online- where you can do some things free or reasonably priced to start attracting potential clients.
Marketing Your Massage Practice Online
Before you do anything else online, make a website. I know it’s scary and tech may not be your favorite thing but a website is a must for marketing a new Massage Therapy practice now and from this point going forward.
In fact, with the right tools- making a website is as easy as just dragging and dropping things. It’s really that easy. The challenging part is knowing what to write and where to include images, video, etc. It’s all good though because I offer a tutorial that shows you how to make a Massage & Bodywork website that gets visitors to book sessions with you.
Once you have a website, you can add business listings to very popular and highly utilized websites like Google, Facebook, and Yelp. Being listed on these sites creates opportunities for people in your area to find you and visit your website.
Again, I’m over generalizing this process. But if you follow the right steps, it’s amazing how many people will contact you. I have helped dozens of practitioners grow an online presence and now their practice is completely full. It’s pretty amazing what the power of the Internet can do.
Sometimes, I hear Massage Therapists say they don’t need a website because they market only from their Facebook page. I respect where they might be coming from (simplicity) but I wouldn’t recommend it. Facebook is always changing their rules and there might come a time (if we’re not there already) that you will have to pay money for your Facebook posts to be seen by others.
With a website, you own it. It’s yours. And you can make it look the way you want it to. You can put whatever content you want on the site. Bottom line- it’s yours and it will stay that way.
After getting a website setup, the next steps include claiming your Google business page and adding a business profile to Yelp. Both of these sites provide so much information when people search so it’s a must to have a profile on these sites. There are a million tutorials for how to do this but if you want the fast track to getting found online and booking more massage clients, take advantage of my Digital Footprints program.
With some good search engine optimization (SEO), you’ll start attracting potential clients to your website. Make sure there is a specific direction (aka “call to action”) for the person to schedule with you. Website buttons like “Schedule Your Session Here” or “Book Now” are common calls to action that help people become clients.
Where do people go when they click the button? Hopefully, you’re online scheduler. There are tons of Massage softwares, both paid and free. My favorite is ClinicSense but you can sign up for a free one if money is a little tight right now.
And finally… Social Media. What do you do to market your new Massage Therapy practice on Social Media?
I recommend starting on Facebook. You may be thinking you need to create a Business page. Well, not necessarily. What I suggest you do is on the bio/intro of your personal profile page, add something like “Licensed Massage Therapist serving people of ________ (your city)” and then add a link to your website. Oh, and make sure all that info is set to be public.
Then, find some groups that are both local to where you live/work and are health or wellness related. Start connecting with people in these groups by commenting on posts and answering questions. But never self promote- unless someone has specifically posted “Does anyone know of a good Massage Therapist?”
The key is to add value to the conversations. You can do that by being authentic, real, and helpful. What will likely happen when you add value, you’ll (1) start to make some great connections with members of your community and (2) people who like what you share will view your profile. They’ll find that link to your website. And guess what? They’ll click on it. And…
You’ll start to see new clients schedule with you!
So there it is, how to market a new massage therapy practice in 2019. In a nutshell.
Since you made it to this point, that tells me you’re ready for some action. Be sure to sign up for my free guide: 7 steps to booking more Massage & Bodywork clients.
If you have a question about how to market your Massage Therapy practice, please leave a comment below.
Thanks for reading and I look forward to hearing about your growing practice. Take care.