Massage Business Education

MassageBook’s New MBA Program

A big announcement from MassageBook Software

Ever wanted an MBA in Massage Practice Management? Massage Book is ready to make your dreams come true. (Okay, there’s just a little bit of sarcasm there.)

MassageBook Software Announces Academy

This week MassageBook software emailed their customers to notify them of their plan to provide “free, short, and hyper-focused videos” to help practitioners learn how to run their practice more successfully.

I love it! I know it can be so helpful to so many practitioners. I can’t wait to see how their MBA academy looks.

Two years ago, when I started Bodywork Business Pro, I had this same exact vision. I wanted to start a “school” for practice management, business development, and marketing/promotional strategies that would help Massage & Bodywork professionals. I started by joining Bodywork Facebook Groups and offering tips when I could. I learned that Marketing and Promotional strategies were some of the biggest challenges practitioners face today. The struggles practitioners encountered motivated me to create courses that helped promote their practices online.

When I saw the MBA Academy announcement, part of me said “Sh*t”. That was the competitive side (and the insecure side). But then when I took their survey, I thought “how great is this!? I hope every professional in the field takes full advantage.” Practitioners can really benefit from the knowledge and direction put into course form.

I just hope MassageBook really does a great job because if their videos are going to be short, they need to make sure the information can be quickly applied. I’ll be the first to admit, when teaching, keeping things concise is a big challenge. As an Instructor, providing examples to help clarify points is very valuable. But the sharing of these examples do take time.

MassageBook’s Academy has a lot of potentials. I’ll be paying attention to how things come to fruition for the Academy. Who knows, if done well, perhaps MassageBook and Bodywork Business Pro may partner in the future to create some courses.

Posted: May 23, 2018 By: Comment: 0
seo for massage therapists

Massage Marketing: What is the best website platform for SEO?

A Massage Therapist I recently met expressed some concerns about her website and SEO. She wants to increase her massage marketing efforts. Before talking to me, she had a sales conversation with a company called Thrivehive. She was told to increase her SEO, she should move her website from Squarespace to WordPress.

Moving your website platform is not a small feat. The company likely could do it for her but it may cost extra money. It also may be more of a headache or stress.

Who wants more stress?

The nuts and bolts of her concern were does she need a different website platform to improve her SEO. I really liked her question and got inspired to create the video below.

Your massage marketing efforts can improve your SEO without having to switch website hosting platforms. For this practitioner, Squarespace will suffice. Squarespace and Wix have improved their SEO features. WordPress still has great SEO plugins, but honestly, your SEO more depends on what’s happening on other sites (directories and other websites that link to yours).

Please think twice before taking the bait from massage marketing businesses that sell you on switching your website platforms for better SEO.

If you’re needing to improve your SEO but want to do it on your own, please consider my course that will teach you how to SEO your website.

Have a question or comment? Please share below.

Posted: April 28, 2018 By: Comment: 0
Massage Business Review

4 Online Platforms For Promoting Your Bodywork & Massage Business

A question was asked recently in a Massage Group on Facebook. The question was what should the practitioner use now that they can’t promote their practice on Craigslist. I had some thoughts about his best options and created this video. The video shares my thoughts on the best platforms for promoting your massage business online.

I’m not sure if Bodywork & Massage practitioners can promote their practice on Craigslist in some states (I don’t recommend using Craigslist) but if you are looking for better options, try these 4:

  1. Facebook Advertising
  2. Yelp (More detailed information on using Yelp to promote your practice can be found in this blog post.)
  3. Thumbtack
  4. Nextdoor

The video below shares more information about the 4 platforms and some further thoughts about how to optimize your presence on them.

Posted: April 25, 2018 By: Comment: 1

Should You Use Yelp To Promote Your Massage & Bodywork Practice?

Yelp. It’s an interesting business. It started in 2004 with the intention to “connect customers to awesome local businesses”. It’s concept is nice and it’s grown to be a very popular software that customers rely on to “discover” new businesses: places to eat, someone to file your taxes, and even where to get your next therapeutic massage.

Have you noticed that when you search for massage in the city you live in, you often find something Yelp related on the first page of your search results? Something that looks similar to this:

Yelp for Massage Therapists

 

Yelp is really good at SEO. For this reason alone, I think it’s a smart idea to list your business on Yelp. You can list your Massage & Bodywork business for free and it can be an excellent source for getting new clients if your practice is ranked well in Yelp’s listings.

But before you jump on board, be wary of a couple things:

1.Yelp makes money from selling advertising to local businesses. If your business is listed on Yelp, it is highly likely they are going to call you and try to sell ads to you. Some practitioners I know have said that Yelp sales representatives called them every day for several days in a row.

This can get a bit annoying. So be aware of that. There are ways to manage the sales calls. You can block the number. You can answer their call and request they take you off their contact list. You can answer their call and tell them you are way to busy from all of your word of mouth referral clients (thanks Scott Lindquist).

Despite the complaints from practitioners about Yelp sales solicitations, listing your massage & bodywork business on Yelp is still worth it.

2. Yelp is also a business review site. This means that people can create Yelp profiles and then rate and review businesses on the Yelp platform. The rating and review system is intended to recommend the most helpful and reliable reviews for the Yelp community. So in other words, your review can have an impact on other people and whether or not they try a business you recommend.

Another aspect that makes Yelp’s business model “interesting” is that there isn’t a super solid way for Yelp to filter which reviews are real from which are fake. Yelp seems to publish any completed review, as long as the user has a Yelp account. (*Note* I haven’t fully confirmed this to be 100% right. Yelp does provide ways to report reviews. For example, anybody can report a review involving a conflict of interest, inappropriate material, or lack of consumer’s personal experience.)

However, if people do publish (and can possibly get away with it) fake reviews, that’s a bit concerning, right?

I’ve heard many stories from Therapeutic Massage practice owners who stated fake reviews were published about their business, they immediately reported the review to Yelp, but the review stayed published on their business page. Bummer. Sometimes this happens, and it can be frustrating because you don’t have control over what is stated (and visible) about your business. There’s a smart way to manage problems like that (but that is a topic for another article).

My point is, due to the lack of complete control over both real and fake reviews, your business could be jeopardized. This might sound scary and could cause you to think that listing your business on Yelp isn’t worth it…

But it is.

Hands down, Yelp will help you attract new clients. It’s better to list your Massage and Bodywork business on Yelp than it isn’t.

Yelp is powerful because the people who use it are looking for something specific. That’s very different from people who web surf. Yelp users 1) trust in the process of Yelp providing the best business for whatever they’re searching and 2) are likely to make a decision (contact you, visit your website, schedule online, etc.) once they find a listing that matches what they’re looking for.

Do you see the difference between using Yelp vs using something like advertising in the local newspaper? It’s the power of search. People who are searching have something specific in mind. Yelp is a platform that allows someone to search for something like Therapeutic Massage (or even Medical Massage) in your area.

So are you gonna do it? Are you going to list your business on Yelp? Before you do, know that there are valuable tips and tricks to listing your Massage & Bodywork business on Yelp that will maximize your exposure. I’m more than happy to show you exactly how to do that. I’m creating a course that shows you the necessary steps to increase your exposure on Yelp. If interested contact me so you can be notified once the course is available.

Posted: April 7, 2018 By: Comment: 0

Search Engine Optimization for Massage Therapists: Is SEO Worth It?

Is it worth it to pay for SEO for your massage practice? It’s a tricky question because the answer depends on how much you pay vs what kind of results you want.

SEO for Massage Therapists isn’t cheap. Especially when you’re a Sole Proprietor and the only income coming in is from the Massage sessions you do.

What are you willing to pay for SEO? $100, $500, $2500? It’s a risk regardless of what you pay because the results of the work may not meet your expectations. Here’s the options for what can happen:

  1. You get SEO for cheap. It does diddly squat for you.
  2. You pay through your nose for SEO. It does diddly squat for you.
  3. You pay a lot for SEO. Your website visits go way up and it gets you more clients.

I know you want option 3 but what if it costs $2500 and you just don’t have that kind of money? You can:

  1. Teach yourself how to do SEO. Take all that time to learn and apply. And it does diddly squat for you.
  2. Teach yourself how to do SEO. Take all that time to learn and apply. Your website visits go way up and it gets you more clients.

I know you’ll take the 2nd option but how much time do you have to learn? Another way to put it is how much time are you willing to invest in order to get the results you want?

Let’s say it took you 10 hours to learn SEO and another 10 to do all the SEO changes for your website. You’ve just invested 20 hours and if you charged yourself the same rate for SEO as you do for a massage (assuming that’s $60 an hour) you’ve just charged yourself $1200 for SEO services. $1200 is a little steep, right?

You still can’t answer your own question of if it was worth it yet. You have to find out first if your website is close to the top of the search engine results and how many people are visiting your website. Knowing those things will help you determine if all the time and/or money was worth it.

What if you had some guidance and didn’t have to take all the time learning and applying SEO changes to your massage website? Your new option would look like this:

  1. Follow SEO guidance. Take less time to apply SEO changes to your website. Your website visits go way up and it gets you more clients.

Out of all these options (6 different options are listed above), isn’t this option the best one for your situation? For sure.

If you want SEO to help your massage practice get more clients, you have to view this page.

 

Posted: December 13, 2017 By: Comment: 0

Best Massage Scheduling Software: How Massage Therapists Choose For Their Practice

Best Massage Scheduling SoftwareChoosing an online scheduling software can be very time consuming and challenging. There are so many options available and it’s hard to distinguish and differentiate between them. If you take the time to do your research, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed or confused by looking at only a few softwares. And then if you ask for help through your social media networking groups, you’ll likely get a long list of recommendations, including several for ones you’ve never heard of before. That may make you feel even more overwhelmed and confused. (That’s a vicious cycle!)

All you want is an effective, straightforward massage scheduling software- that’s easy for clients to navigate and makes your work (and life!) more simple and efficient. Right?

To avoid potential overwhelm and frustration, many practitioners decide what to purchase after considering just a few features: pricing, payment processing, and SOAP notes.

If you start deciding on a massage scheduling software by its price, that’s a good place to start. Budgeting is important and you usually have a great idea of what you can afford. If a software’s pricing is within your budget, the logical next step practitioners make is to look at the software’s features… things like payment processing, SOAP notes, text and email reminders, etc. These are all great things to consider and knowing more about the details of these features can give you a good idea whether or not you are going to like the massage scheduling software.

But instead of stopping there and deciding to invest or not, I highly suggest you do three more things before clicking on that “start your free trial” button.

First, take your massage scheduling software inquiry to a deeper level.

For pricing, look to see if the company offers tiered pricing. Tiered pricing means you get access to a certain set of features for a specific price. (Examples of tiered pricing for massage scheduling software include Massagebook, Mindbody, and Bodywork Buddy.) In most cases, it likely means that you pay more money for the use of features that are more helpful for your practice. For example, appointment reminders is a feature that some softwares give you access to once you’ve paid for a higher version (tier). It’s frustrating because appointment reminders are greatly beneficial. They reduce client no-shows significantly. It’s hard to say “okay, I’ll pay more money for that” when you know not all companies charge more to use this feature.

A note on tiered pricing- try to avoid softwares that charge this way. It will get too expensive in the long run. There are many great softwares (like Artichoke) that offer flat fees for every available feature. Flat fees are the better option because you won’t encounter unpleasant surprises. Instead, you’ll know exactly what you’re getting for the amount you pay upfront.

Understanding what’s possible with the SOAP notes feature will also be important. For SOAP notes, ask yourself if you’re okay with text-only options. You may be interested in SOAP notes features that offer visual charts so that you have the ability to look up the names of muscles. You may want to take a little time to consider what kind of SOAP notes will support you doing your best work so that you can continue to help your clients and your business thrive.  This will help clarify your needs, which helps clarify the type of scheduling software that is the best fit for you.

Also, don’t make the mistake of only thinking about how the software works for you as the practitioner.

Think about (and look into) how the software works for your clients who are trying to schedule with you! You need to know that the software will be easy for your clients to use. The last thing you want to do is confuse or cause them stress when they’re trying to schedule with you online. (A client who gets confused is a client who goes somewhere else.)

If you want a really good software that’s really easy for clients to use, I highly recommend ClinicSense!

Take the time to watch demos provided by the software companies. The videos should explain how the software works for your clients too. If they don’t, then it might be a good idea to move on to the next recommendation. You don’t want to spend a lot of your valuable time setting up accounts and business profiles only to learn it will not work for your clients. With any software you choose, it will be a good idea to book a session with yourself online. You’ll learn a lot and will be able to determine how easy or difficult scheduling will be for your clients.

Finally, test the most important features.

Learn how they work. For example, I recently signed up for a free trial with a certain scheduling software. I created my user account and then visited the scheduling link. When I created a fake appointment for myself, I noticed that it took over 20 minutes for the appointment confirmation email to arrive in my email inbox. 20 minutes isn’t a long time in general but it might be too long of a wait for a client trying to get in last minute.

Testing out the features will give you more knowledge about what will and what won’t work for your business. Doing research on the front end is definitely worth your time in the long run. The time you spend testing features out will save you more time once you start using the software. This will ensure that whatever software you choose is also the one that will keep serving you years down the road.

One last tip- For deciding on an online scheduling software, I highly suggest you DO judge a book by its cover. Look into how “modern”, “fresh” and “updated” the software looks. By doing so, you create assurance for yourself because the companies who update their look, design, and software functionality are the companies who plan to stick around. Also, updated software is an indication that the company is listening to its customers’ needs and striving towards better efficiency and ease of use. By keeping their software up to date and looking modern or fresh, you can further trust that the company will still be around a long time from now.

Hopefully, these tips help you feel more empowered when choosing your massage scheduling software. Your investment of time to research things on the front end will save you money and time in the long run.

To simplify your research, I recommend limiting your search to these recommendations:

For Sole Proprietors, visit the reviews I did for Artichoke and Massagebook.

For Massage business owners (with one or more locations), read the reviews for ClinicSense and Mindbody.

Enjoy the process.

 

Posted: December 4, 2017 By: Comment: 0