It’s more important than ever to keep lines of communication open with clients, especially as you pause or relaunch your massage practice.
Whether you have reopened yet or not, keeping on top of your marketing is key in order to make sure clients know you intend to be a health resource for them when the time is right.
Your clients will need massage more than ever to cope with the stress and isolation the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation has caused. Let’s dive into communication best practices that will help you help your clients understand how the techniques you are skilled in will provide relief.
New Things Matter — but Only if You Communicate Them to Your Clients
I often get emails from local south-Florida restaurants that inform me they’re introducing an entrée from the kitchen, a dessert from the pastry chef, or a drink from the bartender. Frequently they’ll discount these offerings, so I try them. It’s effective marketing, especially when products are good and price is inviting.
If this works for restaurants, why can’t it work for massage therapists? The answer is it can work for massage therapists, and it does work for many of the 325 massage therapists whom I’ve privately coached.
Yet, for many of the many hundreds of massage therapists I’ve met at countless CE classes and in private sessions, I’ve seen how difficult it is for many of them to market. Far too many body workers — even highly talented ones—see selling what they do as an anathema. It’s for usually one or two reasons or both — marketing and selling are nothing a massage therapist, doctor or hospital would do. (Even though hospitals advertise all the time.)
The other reason: fear. Consequently, for many therapists there is no marketing whatsoever, no announcement to tout their availability to offer a new technique.
Let’s suppose you practice Swedish massage and have just been trained in myofascial release. How do you let clients know you’re offering more than just relaxation? What’s a good way to communicate this availability to your clients? There are many answers. As Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote, “Let me count the ways.” What follows is a 10-point integrated marketing program.
1. All the newsletter that’s fit to print. You have one, don’t you? I’ll assume you do. With email marketing companies like Constant Contact and Mailchimp, it’s easy to communicate with clients so they know what you’re doing — even if it’s just quarterly.
You have one, don’t you? I’ll assume you do. With email marketing companies like Constant Contact and Mailchimp, it’s easy to communicate with clients so they know what you’re doing — even if it’s just quarterly.
When introducing a modality, it should kick off your newsletter. You can donate a free session to the first person who calls to collect it. I offer a coaching session in both my general newsletter and massage therapist newsletter, and I find it inspires people to read them carefully to win the freebie. Those who win sessions who’ve never had one before often wind up becoming clients.
If your clients pass your newsletters on to those in their lives who are not clients of yours, they might become winners of your free session and become clients, too.
Plus, email makes communication free. Create a mailing that announces your new modality and send it to your entire professional and personal mailing lists.
2. BOGO. Supermarkets, bookstores and other retail businesses have found buy-one-get-one-free offers have been very popular with customers. Yet, only a tiny percentage of massage therapists have employed this strategy — even though I’ve been telling them for decades how effective it can be.
Why not make your myofascial release treatment available on a buy-one-get-one-free basis? This strategy gives clients the opportunity to experience not just one, but two sessions.
Considering the more thorough healing that could come from myofascial release versus its Swedish counterpart, it’s likely clients will be enamored of the method even if it’s likely to cost more than their Swedish sessions. If you decide to adopt this BOGO approach, make sure you communicate with clients about it in all your communications and platforms.
3. Caught in the web. I’m afraid to ask, but, you do have a website, don’t you? If you don’t, what are you waiting for? Please don’t tell me — as I’ve heard far too many massage therapists say in the past — “I’m not a computer person.” If you’re not a computer person and you’re a massage therapist, you’re rapidly approaching the time when you won’t be a massage person either.
You wouldn’t dream of going into business without a business card; the time is rapidly coming when you wouldn’t dream of going into business without a website either. I’ll assume you have a site. Make certain myofascial release is described in great detail, including its many benefits.
If you’ve done some treatments already, ask those who’ve received them if they’d kindly give you a testimonial. Don’t be shy! Your shyness could cost people the opportunity of receiving its healing influences. (The website should also contain your newsletter with the free session offer and the BOGO offer.)
4. Tweet, link and post. I’m still afraid to ask, but, you do use social media, don’t you? If you’re on Twitter, tweet the news of your new method for helping clients heal. If you’re on Linkedin, link in and let contacts know of your development. If you’re on Facebook — you gotta be on Facebook, at least — then, let’s face it, it’s time to start posting about your new technique.
If you don’t have a separate Facebook business page for your massage business, it’s time to set one up. Don’t mix up news about massage or myofascial release with news of your family, your vacation and the delicious entrée you just ate at your favorite bistro.
5. Seeing is believing. We live in a very video culture, and one of the most-watched channels these days is YouTube. Make a short video explaining the benefits of your work, and feature you doing a myofascial release treatment for a minute or two. Then cut to a client giving a testimonial, or information about your free-session offer or BOGO plan.
6. Read the signs. Put up a sign in your office that communicates to clients that the new technique is available. Say something very positive about it, and put the sign on your desk in a very prominent place, so they see it very easily when they pay for their massages and schedule new ones.
7. Press on. Publicizing massage work is almost never done by massage therapists. (That, of course, is a big missed opportunity, so don’t get me started on it; it’s another article.) While only a community-minded newspaper is likely to give any coverage to the addition of a new modality, it’s certainly worth the few minutes it takes to write a press release and find out the contact information of that newspaper, because it might carry the item.
In one paragraph you can tell the story of your new technique. Be sure to indicate what client or condition — Athlete? Headache? — the technique best serves. In the closing paragraph you can summarize your career as a professional massage therapist, indicating how long you’ve worked in the area.
What’s great about this is everyone who reads the story lives or works close to where you work. Hence, they’re potential clients. If the piece runs, make sure to mention it on your website, in your office, and in your next newsletter.
8. It adds up. I’m not a big fan of massage therapist advertising because much of it is a total waste of money the way it’s usually done. But an ad that promotes the healing nature of massage can help bring in new clients and more than pay for itself — just make sure the ad speaks to the benefits the technique brings about.
9. Talk is anything but cheap. Massage therapists are extremely talented with their hands but not so much with their voices. But this is no time to be shy — let everyone know you’re now making available deep healing work. All you have to do when your client is off your table, out of your room, and about to set up their next appointment is to ask if they’d like to book a myofascial release session. It’s no more complicated than that.
If you’re doing a BOGO offer you can ask them if they’d like to get a free deep tissue massage. All they have to do is buy one and the second one is on the house.
10. Party! I’m not saying you need to throw a party to celebrate your new offering — but, hey, it wouldn’t hurt. Some stores celebrate their grand openings by decorating with bunting and streamers. It’s not needed to go this far but a little gathering could be just what the therapist ordered. Perhaps a get-together for a few hours with snacks like fruit, cheese and crackers, water and juice, even wine if you want to splurge. (Before you invite people in, please make sure you are observing your state or local rules regarding social distancing and gatherings.)
You could give a brief talk to explain the value of myofascial release. You could even give a few short demonstrations of five minutes apiece, so people can feel the advantages in their bones — or at least in their muscles.
About the Author
Coach Cary Bayer, an AMTA national convention keynote speaker, worked with Quality Inns, Oscar-winners Alan Arkin and Pietro Scalia, Emmy-winners comedian/director David Steinberg and Judy Henderson, and more than 325 massage therapists. He created 14 NCBTMB-accredited workshops, two DVDs for massage therapists, wrote for 15 massage newsletters, and authored the Grow a Rich Massage Business trilogy of full-length books.