Massage Software Review- Artichoke

Software for Massage Therapists- ArtichokeArtichoke is a software for massage therapists that work for themselves. In addition to providing an online scheduling solution, it offers other helpful tools for you to manage your practice and run a successful massage therapy business. In this article, I will share an objective massage software review.

Before I go into the details about Artichoke and what it can do for your practice, I want to share with you the rating criteria I came up with to help provide a more useful and objective massage software review. There are 8 categories of the review criteria. Below is the name of each one and its meaning.

  1. Pricing.  Pricing is most likely the first thing people look at when the look into massage online scheduling software. Once someone knows a price, they pretty much say to themselves “it’s okay” or “it’s too expensive”. Unfortunately, this preconceived notion prevents Massage Therapists from better understanding what the software actually does, compared to how much it costs. My rating system for pricing is based on what the software actually does for the cost to use, as well as in comparison to what else is available (I’ve reviewed 12 different softwares and determined the average cost for using an online scheduling software is about $23 a month). 
  2. Responsive. There are different ways someone can use an online scheduling software. You could use it from your computer, tablet, or smartphone. You could also use an app or a web-based version of the software. This rating criterion is called “responsive” because it will cover how compatible the software is with all of the viewing platforms that you use.
  3. User Friendliness. You will be using this software every day (or close to it). What helps is if it’s easy to navigate and use. You also want to feel good while you are using it. Why deal with headaches or heartaches because of a bad software that’s not user friendly? From this rating criterion, you will know how you will feel when using this software.
  4. Customer Friendliness. You’re not the only one who will use this software. It is so important to also make sure that your clients feel good when they use the software! However, they won’t be using it like you do. I’m going to make sure that you know the software is also good for your clients to use. 
  5. SOAP Notes. I’ve added the SOAP notes criterion because I know it’s important for your practice and several massage scheduling softwares include SOAP notes as a feature. But just because SOAP notes are offered doesn’t mean that they’re good. Considerations like how SOAP notes are stored, shared, and what kind of visual aids are available need to be weighted as either pros or cons. I’ve done the research for you and you will have a full understanding of what you can and can’t do with SOAP notes for this software.
  6. Automation. Part of investing in a massage scheduling software is the ability to automate certain processes. Automation saves you time and money. If your online scheduling software is compatible with your website and social media pages, that will make things more automated. It will further help you feel saner because you won’t have to remember so many things that you need to do. In this rating criterion, I am going to help you know what will save you time and money if you use this software.
  7. Payment Processing. Yes, some online scheduling softwares take payments. Maybe you want a software that will hold a credit card as a reservation or charge clients for a no show. Payment processing can make your life a lot easier when the software is working right. I’ll be sharing a lot of helpful information about the software’s payment processing capabilities and what it can or can’t do for your business.
  8. Add-Ons. Sometimes softwares have some cool features that you may have not even considered. I’ll review these features, providing more information about whether they’re worth your time and money.

When reading through each criterion, you will see an overall rating number after the title. I used the familiar “on a scale from 1 – 10” rating system. This number represents the quality of the software, specific to the criterion reviewed. For example, if you see a number 5 in the section, you will know it is average. 1 is poor. 10 is excellent. After each number rating is shared, there will be explanations and examples about how the software provides this feature.

Now that you know the what and how of this massage software review about Artichoke, let’s dive right in.

Software for Massage Therapists- Artichoke Review

Pricing-   9/10

Artichoke’s pricing is $25 per month, with the opportunity to do a 30-day free trial. 30 days of free use is generous. (Most massage scheduling softwares offer a 14-day trial.) There is no tiered pricing (tiered pricing means that you pay “x” amount of dollars for “x” amount of features, and pay more for more features). I really like this. It makes things more simple for you, knowing exactly what you get, and not have to be bothered with the upgrades or downgrades. Payments are month to month. You are not bound to a contract or a long term commitment.

massage software review- artichoke pricing

If you are a member of ABMP, you can save 20% on a yearly membership. I know I just stated there is no long term commitment but Artichoke must have some special arrangement for ABMP members. It isn’t advertised on Artichoke’s website. 20% off a yearly membership would cost you about $240 for the year, rather than $300. You save $60 a year.

Artichoke has done a really great job to make the pricing very simple to understand. Also, for what you get, $25 a month seems like a steal. (More on what you get is in the Automation criterion section.)

Responsive-   6/10

Artichoke is web based with responsive design. This means that you can access the software from any type of device, as long as you can access the Internet. This is both good and bad. It’s good because it’s convenient. Yes, it’s great to quickly login and check something on your phone while at the grocery store or somewhere else that is unpredictable.

The bad part is that you either have to remember the URL or you have to bookmark the login link on every device you use. For example, take this scenario into account. You’re at your best friend’s house hanging out. You realize your phone was left at home and you haven’t checked your massage scheduling software in 6 hours. You’re a little anxious so you ask your friend if you can borrow her laptop to see if anyone scheduled for tomorrow. You open the computer, open chrome, and then what? You have to type in the website of your login page. Plus, you have to remember your username and password (we know how hard that is to remember!).

An app might be more helpful in most cases of using the software. However, in the example above, an app is of no use because you forgot your phone at home.

There really isn’t an ideal option for a massage scheduling software that is responsive to all situations. Artichoke may have chosen the better option by making something that is web based.

massage software review- artichoke responsive

User Friendliness-   8/10

When you use Artichoke, it’s like logging into a simple website. The key is to know your login credentials and to know what the login URL is, as noted above. (Every Artichoke URL is something like <your business name>.getartichoke.com) Once logged in, the navigation is pretty simple.  There is a column on the left-hand side of the page that tells you exactly where you are and what your next step is.

Massage Software Review- Artichoke User

 

Sometimes you get stuck without knowing what’s happening or why. When glitches in the software arise, or you have a question about your use, you want to talk to someone about it. The logical thing to do is to contact support. Artichoke has a support system that is set up by a company called Zendesk. This is a good thing because “tickets” are created and it makes sure that your questions/needs get fully answered.

Artichoke also has a platform they call “University” available to help answer frequently asked questions. This saves you time by not having to wait for a response.

Customer Friendliness-  6/10

Your clients will be able to schedule with you in a few clicks of a mouse or taps on a phone or tablet. The thing that I’m not that excited about is that they are taken away from your website (your branding) and pointed in the direction of something created by Artichoke (their branding). Ideally, you want everything to look the same. This has an influence on whether or not your client follows through with booking a session with you. This is all part of branding and it is vitally important to your practice. Artichoke’s branding looks something like this:

massage software review- artichoke branding

Notice the colors; black, white, and gray (and an orange “book now” button). This isn’t too exciting and looks kind of stale. If your website, logo, and marketing colors are purple, blue, or green, then this display on the book now page is going to look very different to your client. This may confuse them. Once they are confused, they might think twice about booking a session. They may ‘x’ out of the page, leaving you short of a new or returning client 🙁

Contrary to the branding challenges, the client user navigation is really nice. It’s easy for them to book a session. They select the location of the session (you list the options when you set up your account. I’ve created a tutorial for that) and a time. If the time is available, they are prompted to confirm. If the time is unavailable, they are offered alternatives. This is very easy. Artichoke has done really well with this aspect of online scheduling.

Once your client schedules, they are sent a confirmation link to their email address. This is a good thing because it helps eliminate chances for a no show but it’s a bad thing because it is an extra thing your client has to do. Ideally, you want convenience for your clients. Convenience ensures more sessions scheduled with you.

Lastly, clients schedule sessions via an artichoke booking URL. This link needs to be embedded/pasted on all digital marketing materials. I didn’t see an option to make the URL something of a subdomain for your website- like schedule.mymassage.com. You would have to do some redirecting through your domain provider, and that gets pretty techy.

SOAP Notes-   6/10

Artichoke’s SOAP notes are pretty basic regarding their design. They don’t offer any cool visual aids. Instead, they focused on features that help you stay organized. They added a search bar in their notes section so that if you have a dozen notes for one client, you can use a keyword to search for a specific note relating to that keyword.

Massage software review- Artichoak SOAP

Artichoke also stores notes automatically in your client online files. Again, this is great for organization. If you create a SOAP note, you will need to connect that note to a name.

Automation-   8.5/10

After looking more into how Artichoke designed their software, I realized they were well intended with helping their customers automate processes and business management. Artichoke offers a lot in this area. Here are some of the things that Artichoke automates and helps you save time and money managing your practice.

  1. Intake forms can be automatically sent to clients. This can greatly benefit you if done right. It’s a bit technical for setting up (you have to have a web page to link to) but I have covered that in the instructional tutorial for how to set up and manage an Artichoke account.
  2. Client notes are customizable (can make templates) and each note automatically attaches to a client file.
  3. When a client pays by credit card, their information is stored in the system. When the client schedules another session online, they can select their credit card as the method of payment. Nice.
  4. The day before an appointment, the software will send an appointment reminder to your client. This is sent via text or email, depending on what they chose when the scheduled.
  5. When you log into your Artichoke account, you see numbers in a bar graph. This is an automated bookkeeping feature. There’s a lot that the numbers indicate, which is very helpful come tax time (or anytime).

massage software review- artichoke automation

Payment Processing-  8/10

Artichoke has done their best to streamline credit card payments. They assume credit card is the preferred method of payment by every client you work with. There is a process of capturing information to create a one-touch payment process. If Artichoke has assumed correctly that your clients want to pay by credit card (and you want to charge credit card), then the software is going to work pretty well for you.

The software partners with Stripe for payment processing. You will be charged 2.9% and 30 cents per each credit card transaction. This is reasonable and also competitive with most other payment processing companies.

Add Ons-   7/10

There are several add-ons Artichoke offers. Below is a list of some of their featured ones and more information about their usefulness for your practice:

  1. Client Reviews. They are stored on a “booking” page within your Artichoke account. You can comment on these, copy and paste (or screenshot) them to your website, and invite clients to write reviews. It’s not the best thing for your practice because you actually want the reviews written on Yelp, Facebook, or Google so that new/potential clients see how great you are before getting to your booking page.
  2. Automated Referral Engine. Artichoke has an “engine” that helps you ask for referrals. You can also track referrals and a total value of each referral. This “engine” is a little foreign to me (how it works) but as long as it doesn’t steer clients away, it can only help.
  3. Gift Cards. They can be sold and used online. Everything is tracked. You are able to see unredeemed gift cards on your Artichoke dashboard. It’s all automated and it helps your Gift Card tracking stay organized.
  4. Email Marketing Integration. If you use mail chimp or constant contact for email marketing, client emails will sync when someone new schedules a session with you via Artichoke.
  5. Fallen Off Clients. Artichoke has a reclaim feature that creates a list of clients who have “fallen off” (haven’t scheduled in a long time). Once you view your list, you can contact your clients and try to get them to reschedule.

Software for Massage Therapists Review- 7.3/10 Overall Rating

Artichoke is a pretty good massage software (7.3 out of 10) to use for your scheduling and practice management needs, especially if you work for yourself. Its functionality is pretty smooth and the company has done their best to make things work with less effort on your part. The price is pretty fair at $25/month. When used comprehensively, you will get more than what you bargained for.

Now that you know the ins and outs of Artichoke, you may be interested in trying the software out to see if it works well with your practice. If so, I would like to help.

I’ve created a step-by-step instructional tutorial to help you set up the software very quickly, without any confusion or stress. Instead of spending several hours to set up everything by yourself, follow my lead and save yourself a ton of time.

I will also help you integrate the systems to make this software work in ways that automate things. I will walk you through every step of the set-up and management process. This is a tutorial that eliminates confusion and doubt.

The instructional tutorial is a $27 investment. Following my lead will make life easier. You will have more time to massage clients, relax, do yoga, take an Epsom salt bath, or read a good book. Plus, you’ll feel really good about how to manage your new software. Get started here

 

Bodywork Business School

Posted: February 12, 2017 By: Comment: 6
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!!!!
Cheers,
Betsy
p.s. I am a Rolfer/OTR. My website is www.TheBeProjectLLC.com

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