How to keep massage clients coming back

How to Keep Massage Clients Coming Back

I just finished reading Massage & Bodywork’s January-February 2017 online issue. The best article of the issue, in my opinion, was about why Massage Clients don’t rebook client sessions. The article was written by Tera Johnson-Swartz. She had some interesting reasons why clients don’t rebook sessions with you. I’m going to analyze the reasons below, plus, provide the best solution for how to keep massage clients coming back.

Here’s a summary of why clients don’t rebook:

  • Availability. This one makes a lot of sense. Massage clients want things to be convenient for them. When they are not, they look/book elsewhere.
  • Stuck in a Rut. Massage Therapist routines get a bit too predictable. (I’ll speak to this reason more below.)
  • Money Talks. Sometimes things get a little too expensive and a massage client may bump up against a financial threshold. For example, a Massage Therapist friend raises her rates $5 every year. (She does this to match the costs of inflation.) If I became a client of hers when her rate was $75 an hour, 3 years later, I’m expected to pay $90 for the same hour massage. That adds up and although I love her and her work, it might seem more affordable to find a new Massage Therapist.
  • Bad Blood. In a nutshell, this means differences of opinions, beliefs, values, etc.
  • Just Because. This reason is more of a blanket term for reasons that remain unknown.

Although I liked Tera’s reasons, I couldn’t help but have a sense of disappointment once I finished reading the article. The disappointment stemmed from her missing the #1 reason for why Massage & Bodywork clients don’t rebook.

How to Keep Massage Clients Coming Back

how to keep massage clients coming backIf you read the article and found yourself nodding your head when you read the section about getting Stuck in a Rut, you were on to something. Humans are funny creatures of habit (they like their routines) but it’s arguable that humans also like a little drama. Not a lot, just a little. Drama can add a little spice to life. It makes things more interesting, less predictable and more entertaining. The human interest in drama is why the entertainment business makes so much money.

Is being more dramatic a solution for how to keep massage clients coming back? No. (But it could help. Depends on the person.) But it’s part of it.

What gets your massage clients to rebook is staying 150% focused on them and staying curious about the what’s happening with their body.

Why do your clients come to work with you in the first place? The answer is different for every client but there’s always a reason. If you remind yourself of that reason each session, and you further inquire with each client, they will feel more cared about. Arguably, that’s part of the reason why they’re on your table in the first place.

I’ll use myself as the example. Over a year ago, I scheduled a massage with a practitioner in my town. My initial inquiry was about helping me heal from right shoulder pain. My Massage Therapist has since done amazing work. My results have been very substantial in pain reduction, increased range of motion, etc.

In the year that I’ve worked with my Massage Therapist, there has been an evolution and a transition of focus during our sessions. This is quite common. It happens to everyone. But there was a point where my Massage Therapist started focusing less on my physical pain and focusing more on my mental stress.

Our sessions are very different now compared to what they were 6 months ago. There’s more energy work integrated in each session. Though I appreciate the efforts, I sometimes wonder if my soft tissues are getting enough attention and ‘work’.

My Massage Therapist does check in and follow up post session. She does everything right except for staying curious about my needs. Right now, it feels to me, that her work is a reflection of what she thinks is best for me.

This repeated process (and not feeling like my needs are being satisfied) has peaked my curiosity about scheduling with a different Massage Therapist- someone more focused on soft tissue injury recovery.

Staying Curious About Your Clients’ Needs is the #1 Solution for How to Keep Massage Clients Coming Back

Keep your focus centered on their needs. Remind yourself of the results they want. Sort through your “Rolodex” of memories about the changes in their soft tissue. Tell them about what you notice, feel, or see. All of these things will have an impact on your client’s perception of each session with you. If they keep hearing about how things are getting better for them, they will continue to rebook.

Why do you think clients stop rebooking? Do you have a special strategy you implement to keep massage clients on your schedule? Let us know in the comments below.


Bodywork Business School



Posted: January 2, 2017 By: Comment: 2
SEO For Massage Therapists

SEO for Massage Therapists and Bodyworkers

I recently received an email from a friend of a friend. The person who contacted me heard about my SEO services and wanted to know her options regarding a Yellow Pages’ “sizzling” (sarcasm there!) SEO offer.  Betsy (who reached out to me) wasn’t sure what she should do and wanted to know what’s the best SEO for Massage Therapists and Bodyworkers. Her exact email was this:

Hi Reid,
I’m a friend of ____ (name removed to honor privacy). She had said you offer SEO services, or at least you have in the past.
I am currently looking at my options for SEO services. I was approached by someone from Yellow Pages who had said the cheapest I could do would be $129/month. Then she emailed me saying she could do $70 for setting up my online presence and use one local ad that will link to my website.
I built my website through Weebly. It is phone friendly. But I know that it’s not optimized at all. You basically have to type in my exact website to find me.
I am new to all of this and not very tech savvy. I’m writing you to ask if there is any one-time fee that could help me or if I have to purchase these monthly services. Are you able to offer any services?
I trust ____ immensely and she says you’re the guy. 🙂
Thanks in advance for any input!!!!
p.s. I am a Rolfer/OTR. My website is

Offers Of SEO For Massage Therapists Can Be Scammy

Does this sound familiar? I would love to hear your situation too. Leave a comment below.
Before I begin sharing some thoughts about Betsy’s seo options, let’s look at a couple facts:
1) Betsy is looking to boost her SEO for her website. She does a lot of different things. She’s a Rolfer, does infant massage, Doula services, and laughter clubs!
2) Betsy has been approached by a 3rd party provider who has indirectly told her to expect to pay up to $130 per month for SEO services.
Let’s address point #1 first. Betsy does a lot of different things…

SEO For Massage Therapists Works Better When You Specialize

When thinking about the best options regarding SEO for Massage Therapists and Bodyworkers, I know that you all have many gifts and talents and you probably provide a lot of different services too.
This can make your SEO be more challenging because the search engines want to put you in a tiny little box. Of course I don’t mean this literally but the metaphor couldn’t be any better matched. Search engines are like grocery stores. They stock a lot of different items and try to organize things so that shoppers can find things easier. Your services are like an item that goes on one of the shelves. The question is: “Which shelf? And which section will you be?
The world wants an expert and search engines are built to tell you who the best experts are. If you provide 4 or more different services, it’s going to make things harder for your website to be at the top of Google.
If you want to succeed with SEO, your best interest is to pick one service that you want to focus on for SEO.
In my opinion, Betsy should choose a service that she sees herself happiest in doing the most. This will become the focus of starting her SEO work. She can still list her other services on her website but she should expect more inquiries for the service she chooses to focus on.
You can still list all your services. But be smart about what you choose as your focus. You want to make sure people find you for what you want to do + it’s a service that people want to experience.

How Much Should SEO For Massage Therapists Cost?

Let’s now move on to point #2 (I have a lot of opinions about this point). Betsy has been approached by a 3rd party provider who has indirectly told her to expect to pay up to $130 per month for SEO services.
In Betsy’s original email, she also stated “Then she emailed me saying she could do $70 for setting up my online presence and use one local ad that will link to my website.” (“She” is referring to the Yellow Pages representative who first contacted her about SEO.)
There’s just so many things wrong with this!
First, SEO service providers are in full control of taking advantage of their customers. Who really knows what SEO is? Yes, we know what it means but do we know what it fully entails? A company that provides SEO services could tell you that you need to do X, Y and Z and would you be confident in calling them out on it if you weren’t sure?
Second, $70 is way too cheap. I know this for a fact because there are dozens of things that are needed in order to setup an online presence and nobody is going to make a living by charging $70 total for it. I would have loved to ask the Yellow Pages rep what’s all included in setting up an online presence!
Third, when a third party SEO service provider gets your business, they usually provide services that don’t really help your SEO. They’ll work but they’ll do stuff that have very little impact on your rankings. Think of what they do as “busy” work. Yes, they do something, but no, it’s not fulfilling a purpose and producing results. So in a way, you’re duped because you’ve just paid for something and have expectations- but you’re never going to get your expectations fulfilled.
(I think it’s time to stop ranting about what’s available out there and get back on track by talking about seo for Massage Therapists and Bodyworkers!)

Best Options Regarding SEO For Massage Therapists

Your first option is to hire a 3rd party service. Most SEO companies are pretty expensive. You can find a diamond in the rough though. Just be careful (and critical) of ones that are very cheap in costs. They’re really not going to do you any good. (If you’re not sure what is cheap or not, feel free to comment or contact me. I’ll let you know what I think.)
Your second option is to do it yourself. This will require a lot of learning. I assume most of you reading this aren’t as interested in this option so I’ll keep this brief. If you are interested though, I suggest reading the work of Quick Sprout. That guy is for real and has tons of helpful information to share!
Your third option is a hybrid of the first two. I created a program that helps Massage Therapists and Bodyworkers boost their online presence in a step by step guided course. It’s affordable and simple. Please look it over and see if it’s in your best interest to do.
I wish you well on your SEO journey. It’s no easy task. But hopefully, you make the right decisions to keep things simple and get you to where you want to be- in the search engine results and in life.


Bodywork Business School

Posted: December 11, 2016 By: Comment: 0
Massage Therapy Business Plan tips

The Irony of a Massage Therapy Business Plan

In a recent article written on the Sohnen-Moe blog, there were some strong claims for creating a massage therapy business plan. The point of the article is good but there are additional thoughts I need to share.

What To Avoid On A Massage Therapy Business Plan

  1. Always be careful about articulating features vs benefits in the marketing of your massage therapy business. At the beginning of the article, a massage therapy business plan is well defined. But you are then informed of how a business plan “provides an overview of how you intend to organize your resources to attain those goals.”  These statements are classic examples of features or specs about the business plan. They are less emotional and more intellectual ideas to consider. Instead, it’s smarter to communicate the benefits of what a client will experience. Will they relax? Of course they will. But what else? They want to know what they will get out of the session- overall.

I’ll admit, it was challenging to read the rest of the article. The juice was lacking. I started to ask myself “How much do I care about this?”

The reason I started to ask myself that was because I was not emotionally drawn into the topic. The benefits should have been listed first. They weren’t. The features were. Fortunately, the benefits did present themselves- later in the article.

The point I’m trying to make is to always speak to the benefits of something first when you are trying to influence or inspire someone to do something. It’s just a million times easier to gain someone’s attention and their interest when you communicate the benefits because the person on the other end can relate your information to something going on in their lives.

2. Creating business plans are overwhelming. Yes, they do provide clarity, but only if you get past the overwhelm of creating one.

Irony… gotta love it.

What To Use Instead Of A Massage Therapy Business Plan

I was in practice for 8 years. How many massage therapy business plans do you think I made? Zero. I thought everything would work out because of my faith (and naivety). However, that wasn’t all I did. I found a power partner (Chiropractor) to contract with. That helped me find a space to rent and it also made it easier to find my beginning clients. The Chiropractor and his staffed referred their patients to me. The agreement (unwritten) was that I would refer back. I was confident clients would rebook because I focused on making them feel comfortable by providing a tremendous service.

But I did volunteer at events, hand business cards to people, and even advertised in the local paper. You could say that rather than developing a massage therapy business plan, I developed a massage therapy promotional plan.

I recommend doing something similar. If you feel called to do this work, acknowledge your faith, listen to your intuition, think of three or four of your best promotional strategies, and take action on them.

You’ll bump up against fears and sometimes wonder if you’re gonna make it. But at least you’re continuing to go forward. My argument against a massage therapy business plan is that if you create one, you’ll likely scare yourself out of going forward with your dream.

We don’t want that. Always follow your dream. Even if it’s a half a step at a time.


Bodywork Business School

Posted: June 30, 2016 By: Comment: 0