I’ve been a bodyworker for almost 8 years. I started massage school in the fall of 2002 and graduated in June of 2003. School was what you would expect for a massage program; Anatomy & Physiology, Myology, Pathology, Technique, Ethics, and Business were just part of my 9-month program. I learned a lot, and I grew as a person. But how well did it prepare me to grow a successful massage therapy business?
I left school with a business plan in hand and an office space all set up to see clients. I just needed to get my license 창원출장. (a short one week process at that time) and some clients. So, I turned to my business plan and put my marketing plan into action.
I printed my business cards, gift certificates, flyers and posters. I carried my flyers with me everywhere I went and never missed the opportunity to place one on a bulletin board or post one in a window. I was offering new client specials at a ridiculously low price for this area. I networked to friends and family sending emails and letters with business cards offering this introductory rate to them and their friends.
Sometime around July that same year, I began my online efforts. I purchased a great domain name and built myself a very nice website considering I had never done any web work prior to this. The website made it to the top of the search engine pages. Perfect. All I had to do was wait for people to contact me, right? After all I was at the top of the page!
I continued to work a part time job at this point to help supplement my income. If i saw 4 clients in a week I was excited. All my marketing efforts, all my time and money… for 4 clients per week. Don’t get me wrong, I was very thankful for those 4 clients. But after a year of this, I was getting worn down. My business plan did not say it was going to be this tough. So, I made the decision to leave private practice and was offered a job managing a local spa. (I had 11 years or previous management experience. )
I spent two years at the spa. I had a great arrangement where I could still see clients but I didn’t have to do my own marketing. Plus, it meant I could leave my part time job. However, it still wasn’t the vision I had of working for myself.
I worked at the spa for 2 years. During which time I was discovering my passion: CranioSacral Therapy. I was training through the Upledger Institute; I became a teaching assistant and was on the path to certification. But the more in depth I got with my training the more I realized I had to go back into private practice to fully come into my own.
In October 2006, I went back into private practice. This time I had some clients that followed me from the spa. But I knew I would have to start marketing again in order to grow my practice. So, I went online to research massage marketing tips and strategies. And that’s when I came across an upcoming webinar for massage therapists on how to create a referral based business. It was a free webinar, so i thought, ‘Why not? ‘ I had no idea that it would be the marketing technique I would use the most with the most success.
Before I get to that, I want to say one thing that i have learned. And that is, that typical marketing methods do not work for massage because massage is not a typical service. Massage marketing has to be different. There is a therapeutic relationship involved and we need to take that into consideration. This ties in directly with what I believe to be the marketing strategy that makes most sense for massage therapists and other bodyworkers…
What’s the number one way most therapists say they get clients? Word of mouth referrals. If you can build a solid relationship with your clients, they will become referral machines. Seriously. If you have a strong relationship with your clients and someone asks one of them who they recommend for massage or bodywork, who do you think they will say? You, of course!
The relationship in the office is practically a no-brainer. You should have a great intake with the client, listen to his/her needs, and provide a session that meets his/her goals. Your customer service should be top notch without being over the top or fake. You should be a great listener. But what happens after they leave? How do you continue to build the relationship? Are you ready for this?
Greeting cards. I kid you not.
Clients get greeting cards from me all the time. They are never forced. I never send one if i don’t mean what I am saying inside the card. But I do use them. The power of a heartfelt, unexpected greeting card is amazing. Clients talk about this level of detail. They post the cards on their refrigerators. They tell others about them. This is powerful stuff. What kinds of cards do i send?
After the first session, the client will receive a thank you card. Then, throughout the year, they will receive a birthday card, a client appreciation card, thanks for the referral card, and maybe one or two other seasonal cards or sometimes a funny holiday card, like National Watermelon Day (which is August 3 if you need to mark your calendars). There are so many reasons to send cards, but here is the catch.
I mentioned it briefly before. They have to be genuine, heartfelt cards. NOT marketing cards. These cards are not to talk about your monthly special or offer discounts or do any kind of promotion. If that is the point of the card, they will be treated like all the other junk mail and the value is lost. They must truly come from a place of appreciation. That is what builds the relationship. And when you have that relationship, your clients will talk about you to all their friends. They will become the best form of marketing anyone could ask for: walking, talking testimonials.
So where is my business now? I have been back in private practice for almost 3. 5 years. I am Upledger Certified in CranioSacral Therapy. I have clients who have been with me for over 5 years. I am booking 3 to 4 weeks ahead depending on the time of year. I send out 30+ cards per month and I look forward to that number getting larger each month.