Marketing is actually very simple. It involves telling people what you do…. over and over and over. The key to successfully marketing your massage business or practice is consistency.
So, first, let’s take a look at the difference between marketing a service and marketing a product.
Products are tangible…. you can touch and feel and see them before you buy. However, when a prospective client is considering coming to you for a massage, until they actually work with you they don’t know for sure if you are the right person to help them with their specific situation or challenge.
It is for that reason that the first thing your prospect has to buy is YOU,before they decide to become a regular client or patient. It is important to remember this in all of your marketing endeavors.
Secondly, I would like to talk about the difference between advertising and marketing, because all too often when I ask therapists about their current marketing plan, they tell me about a classified ad in a local newspaper, or a display ad in the yellow pages.
Advertising is just that… the placement of an ad, whether on the radio, print or web-based, in the hope that a prospect will call you as a result.
Marketing, on the other hand, is relationship based. It is about building a relationship between you and your prospective client or patient over time. It is about building rapport and trust.
So let’s look at the 9 elements of a simple yet effective marketing plan.
1. Define Your Goals
In order to put an effective plan in place you first have to ask yourself, where are you now, and where do you want to be 6 months, or one, five, or even ten years from now. You have to be clear about the vision for your massage practice and what you want your marketing plan to accomplish.
2. Measure Your Progress
You have to decide how you are going to measure your progress. You could measure:
- Your total number of weekly sessions
- The number of new clients or patients
- Your billable hours worked weekly
- The dollar amount actually deposited in your bank account
- The dollar amount invoiced to clients and insurance companies
…Or some other measurement that you choose
3. Who Do You Want to Reach?
Who is your target market or ideal client? What are their ages? Are they male, female, or both? How much money do they make? What are their hobbies? What is the biggest challenge or problem that they face? What Are the qualities that your ideal client possesses?
For Example: “I work with female executives between the ages of 28-50, making $60,000.00 per year minimum. They enjoy athletic activities, but want to experience less stress in their life. They are interested and willing to pay for regular wellness care.”
4. What Specifically Are the Benefits That Your Massage Services (or products if appropriate) Offers?
Remember, benefits are different from features. Benefits tell the prospective client how your massage services (and products) are directly useful to them or how their wellbeing will be improved if they come to you for a session.
A feature is a characteristic of your service, like the number of years you have been in practice, or the techniques and modalities you use.
While features are important, people do not buy based on features. They buy based on benefits. They want to know “what’s in it for me”. Benefits can often begin with the phrase….”you get”.
Examples of Benefits: “I help tri-athletes reduce risk of injuries, enhance concentration and increase flexibility. I work with Executives to relieve stress and tension and to increase concentration and productivity.”
5. Your Uniqueness
What makes you unique from the other massage therapists and bodyworkers in your area? What is your “signature style”? What do you do differently from your competition?
For example: “I do energy healing with people in hospice who want emotional and physical support through their final life transition.”
6. Choose Your Strategies and Marketing Tools
In choosing which marketing strategies to focus in it is essential to choose things that you enjoy doing, otherwise you will find ways to sabotage yourself. So if you are terrified of public speaking, don’t pick that (unless you plan on doing some work in that arena).
Think about your strengths and passions and take those into account when you are choosing your strategies. This is a time to have fun and get creative!
Strategies can be divided into a number of key areas:
- Direct follow up and contact (such as sending personal letters, making phone calls)
- Networking and referral building (such as working with key strategic partners like a Chiropractor)
- Public speaking (for example, a brown bag lunch talk for busy professionals on stress reduction)
- Writing and publicity (putting a press release in a local paper)
- Promotional events (like chair massage at a sporting event)
- Advertising (putting a display ad in the good ol’ “banana pages”)
7. Create a Budget
Many excellent marketing tools are free. Instead of money, all that is required is some time, creativity and imagination. But some tools will require that you spend money. It is important to decide up front what your marketing budget will be and how you will spend it.
8. Develop Your Action Plan
Your Action Plan involves the specific marketing and sales actions you plan to make, for example, how many calls a day, how many personal letters or invitations a week. Remember, marketing is about simple effective things that you do consistently. It is a good idea to map out your marketing action plan on a calendar, and commit to it.
9. Have a Tracking System
It is important to have a system in place to track your efforts as well as your results. Having such a system in place gives you a clear sense of direction as to where you and your business are going. It also helps you to stay focused and on task. A tracking system also gives you the evidence that what you are doing is actually working, as well as the motivation to stick with it until you reach your desired goals.
You may choose to track:
- The exact source of each prospect.
- How many new prospects each marketing strategy produced.
- How many of these prospects became regular clients.
- The actual monetary value that these new clients produced.
Remember to periodically evaluate the results you are getting, and make any adjustments to your plan as necessary until you reach and maintain your client or patient goal.
Adapted from the free 28-page workbook, 8 Steps to an Outrageously Successful Massage Practice. Available for download here.
For more information on marketing, check out our Massage Marketing Marathon.
About the Author
Elizabeth Fletcher Brown LMT, and Certified Success Coach is the founder of the Massage Business Center, dedicated to supporting massage therapists and bodyworkers in creating financial freedom through their business success.
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|Elizabeth is an Expert Author and is regularly featured in EzineArticles.com, the Holistic Health Journal, and other related publications.|