When autumn colors begin to emerge, fallen leaves threaten to crunch beneath our feet, and tan lines start to fade, it is important to take a breath and a beat to reflect on the movement and expansion we’ve experienced throughout this most recent season, both personally and professionally.
Massage Marketing Plans
By this point in the year, carefully crafted marketing plans or even general goals and guidelines for promotion may seem a distant memory in the face of the roller-coaster reality that is running your (ideally thriving) business.
And that’s to be expected! Every effective strategy is meant to be malleable—to bend and stretch with the changing needs of your practice.
But taking a moment to assess (and reassess) your progress and direction can help you realize your vision of massage marketing success or provide a much-needed course correction.
As simple as it may sound: being reminded of your purpose, borrowing from what’s working and leaving the rest behind is the key to maintaining momentum throughout the year.
Now and Then
At the start of 2017, you may have set some intentions for your business after asking yourself the important questions about your professional goals for the year ahead.
These reflections might have involved the quality of relationship you hoped to foster with your client base, or perhaps which channels or tools you planned to use to make communication and feedback most effective.
You considered your audience, message, available tools, and implementation strategy, and set to work crafting a massage marketing plan.
Now, these promotions could easily feel like second nature rather than an analytical and strategic business choice, or perhaps they have fallen by the wayside all together.
Regardless of the role or prominence massage marketing and promotion take in your business currently, making a direct comparison between these initial goals and reality will help measure both effectiveness and return on investment on the resources you’ve allotted and the choices you’ve made.
Re-Assess with the Best
If you are the organized type that keeps meticulous records, now is the time to bring them out. If not, take a moment to recount your initial strategy at the start of this past year. Why were you promoting in the first place, and how?
Some additional questions to ask yourself are:
- What was your message and how did you seek to convey it?
- What goals did you hold for your business and how did you plan to quantify progress towards them?
- Would success be measured in new clientele?
- Would success be measured by expansion of your services?
- Would success be measured by the ability to comfortably increase your rates?
And how did that go? What have you observed at a surface level about the results of the time and energy spent on promoting your business and communicating with your community? Are your strategies effective?
These open-ended questions can lead to open-ended brainstorming, but considering each of the following dimensions of marketing will lead to more concrete and quantifiable conclusions about your promotional success:
How would you classify your initial audience or target demographic? Has this changed at all? Perhaps you’ve expanded or tweaked your services in a way that allows you to service a new type of clientele.
Whether your client-base has evolved or remained steady, are there adjustments that you have made or could make in the future to better support it?
Are you satisfied with the degree of change you’ve witnessed? If you were hoping for a greater increase or diversification of clientele, have you made the best use of the possible networks, such as athletes or new mothers, that they may be a part of ?
The nature and quality of the professional relationship you’ve built with new and returning clients alike will always be the cornerstone to any promotional strategy, and serve as a guiding principle to which you can return.
What relationships were you hoping to foster and how have elements like ambience of the physical environment and treatment variety factored in?
The voice you assigned to your business this past year is meant to reflect what you stand for and the caliber of service you hope to offer your professional community.
Do you feel that the media and language you’ve chosen has attracted the right clients and built the right relationships?
What channels of communication have you used? Perhaps you’ve made use of newsletters as an opt-in strategy for direct communication with your client-base, or relied on social media channels such as Facebook to provide a larger network a glimpse into your practice.
Remember that this is a great space for including images and video content that gives your community a visual feel for the nature of your work.
What tools did you put to good use? Did you have a reliable means of timetabling content to manage projects and promotions throughout the year.
Where did this truly serve you and where did it fall short?
Ultimately, the success of your massage marketing strategy is measured by the effectiveness of its implementation. Each of these dimensions will peel back a layer, allowing you to see more clearly whether your professional vision was translated into a reality.
Although we always hope to find the pace of day-to-day practice fulfilling, it is also undeniably draining. Your practice has a life of its own, and much like your favorite exotic plant, has specific needs that must be met for it to continue flourishing.
Often, considerations beyond the daily functions of the business can feel secondary, and sometimes like additional work. So how can we find and relish the pauses between the movement to stay inspired?
Alhough it is so often easier said than done to heed the timeless wisdom of healer heal thyself, life as a practitioner makes it all the more true–and all the more essential. In order do the work that you love you must remember the reasons you love to do it (are they to provide comfort, relaxation, support, healing?) and to secure those same things for yourself.
Make an intentional balance between work and play, and continue to build your business and your promotions in a way that leaves you feeling most fulfilled.
You undoubtedly hold a commitment to the quality of your craft and to the caliber of experience that your client receives when setting foot in your practice.
Though the rollout of your marketing and outreach efforts may feel relatively unimportant at times, keeping your intentions clear, focused, and active ensures that they receive the same quality of care no matter what day they are introduced to you and your services.
By renewing your conviction to quality and balance, you act as an exemplar of your business’ philosophy while being your best self: both personally and a practitioner.
You know your business better than anyone, and have planned your outreach and communication seasonally, generously, communally, and informatively (past article link). Recall the feeling of excitement at the start of the year as you first recognized the potential impact of your unique message when conveyed across the right channels to the right people? It’s time to get that back–and to get creative.
Let’s Get Technical
The following is a quick checklist to get you started:
- Check your newsletter subscriber lists: Are they up to date? Could you break them into groups that might be interested in more specific services? This will allow you an opportunity for more targeted and relevant communication.
- Send out a newsletter/social media post: What would you like to say to your long-time customers? How about your new or prospective ones?
- Express your appreciation: Is there a promotion or discount you could offer? Does it have the potential to bring people together or inspire word-of mouth (i.e. discount with referral)?
- Tis the season: Think from your client’s perspective. What might they appreciate most at this time of year, specifically?
- Educate: What information or knowledge can you offer that might be valuable to your clients? Every promotion need not be geared towards sales–recipients both appreciate and respect this.
- Take a risk: Grant yourself permission to get creative with this one. Envision a message, service, or event that provokes a smile. Your clients will be able to feel it too.
Recounting where you’ve been and envisioning where you would like to go professionally allows you to set a clear vision to execute and to make a reality.
The time, energy, and resources you’ve allotted to marketing and promotions for your business thus far have brought you to exactly where you are today—and this is merely a valid and valuable pullout on the year-long promotional highway–and one with a view.
Take a moment to enjoy it and learn from it! You’ll be surprised what a little perspective can do.
About the Author
Bonnie Campbell acts as director of outreach and marketing for KM Herbals, Inc., a private label manufacturer of botanical and aroma-therapeutic personal care products. Valedictorian of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of San Diego, Bonnie graduated with honors and a degree in Communication Studies and Sociology. She wrote “Map Your Way to Marketing Success” for massagemag.com.
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