Low-Cost, Low-Tech Solutions to Gain Massage Clients
By Angie Patrick
Gaining and retaining clients is one of the most important tasks you will face in your career as a therapist. You may be one of the world’s most naturally gifted therapists, proficient in multiple modalities, with a strong and impressive education and certifications to cover the walls. You may have a beautifully finished table, with the most comfortable and luxurious appointments, and a treatment space that is tranquil and healing. You may even have harps and violins playing live in your space! But in the end, none of this is financially fruitful for you if the client does not know about it, experience it, and return for more.
You may think your role is that of a therapist; but as an entrepreneur, your role is far wider than that. One of the most important roles you fill is that of being a proficient marketer. Marketing is not scary, and in reality, it can be quite fun. Even if it is not in your nature to “sell,” you should definitely learn how to gain interest for your practice with the public, give a compelling and interesting reason for them to try your services, provide a unique and positive experience whilst on your table, and learn to engage them on a regular basis to keep them coming back for more. I know there are therapists out there who are not tech savvy, or are afraid of building business pages on social media. What I am about to share with you is about as low-tech as you can get, so anyone can do it. This process is really not as hard as it sounds, and if you can think a season, a need, and a likely place to find candidates, you can build on that.
Starting with a Season
Let’s use spring as the example. We all love spring, and with the flowers and blossoms come a number of opportunities to utilize in order to reach out to potential clients in a meaningful way. Spring is a season when people get out into the yard and begin caring for their lawns, pools, and gardens. After long months of looking at the inside of their homes, they look forward to the time when they can get in the sunshine and work up a sweat. While everyone can appreciate the work that goes into keeping your place in tip top shape, this can also mean these clients with green thumbs and sparkling pools have sore muscles. This would be the need, a potential client in need of massage to help with sore muscles after overworking them. In order to find likely candidates who may be experiencing issues, consider reaching out to your local nurseries, home stores, and pool supplies and see if you can leave a stack of business cards along with a framed sign with the details of your business, perhaps with the targeted message concerning your skill at helping with sore muscles resulting from gardening. Include an introductory offer, specially priced for customers of the business you have targeted. The business you approach will see this as an added benefit for their clients as you have a deal created specifically for them, and the client will feel a connection as you are speaking to the very thing they are experiencing at the moment; sore muscles from yardwork.
Consider spring as an opportunity to reach out to those who have been held captive by winter, to escape and go out to play the sports they love. These might include golfing, rock climbing, softball, baseball or even fishing. All of these sports require repetitive motion, and with this kind of motion, the opportunity for injury or soreness abounds. Sports massage is a highly sought after skill set, particularly if those who are playing the sports have been less active over the winter, or are weekend warriors. Let’s take the same idea we had for the home improvement clients, and apply it to these sports enthusiasts.
You can reach out to golf courses, indoor sports arenas, sporting goods stores, and pro shops with the same outreach request. You can even target your local gyms. Tailor the message to meet the client needs of the establishment you approach. For example, you might look at a fishing pro shop, and have your sign speak about being sore from reeling in “the big ones,” and how you can help relieve some of the shoulder and lower back issues these sportsmen may face.
You can likely come up with a number of scenarios and places you can connect with in order to reach potential customers. In every case, you should provide an incentive for them to call in the first place. An appealing introductory price is a great start. You may also wish to include an incentive for an additional perk should they also bring a friend. This perk can be an add-on treatment at no charge, or a small gift with purchase. Maybe even a deal that allows the client to buy one treatment session, and get another for a friend at 25% off. The goal is for them to bring you another potential client to the table, and allow you the opportunity to book them an appointment as well.
Once you have established your relationship with the businesses in allowing your cards and information to be shared on their premises, you might inquire if they have a weekly, monthly or quarterly newsletter that goes to their clients. In many cases, these businesses market in a host of arenas, not the least of which may be a targeted email to their client base with information the client may wish to read. If they do, you should inquire as to whether they would entertain an ad, or an offer for your services to be included. They may well charge a fee, and if so, weigh out the cost to see if it makes sense for you and your budget. Seeing your business name in alignment with a company they already frequent and trust can serve as a manner of endorsement, and keep your name top of mind should they have a need, or hear of someone in need of a therapist.
Once you have a robust list of clients, you should consider your own newsletter. In this newsletter, you can share information that massage clients may find interesting. You can create your own content, or you can also share research findings showing the efficacy of massage therapy in specific instances. In each newsletter, I would suggest making an offer of some kind to engage the client, and compel them to book an appointment. Again, this can be a discounted price, a buy one get one offer, or even something as simple as a free beverage in the quiet room before a treatment. Your imagination is your only limit.
In a world filled with technological marketing solutions and social media advertising, it is still possible to find ways to inform the public of your existence, your abilities, and your business using a less technical approach. This is not to say you should forsake all technology. In fact, I suggest you do embark on educating yourself on the proper uses of social media, online marketing and website development. But if you are looking for grass roots, low cost-low tech means to get the ball rolling, I am in hopes you will find these suggestions of use. I would love to hear your success stories. To share your grass roots marketing story, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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