Finding massage clients can be difficult when you’re starting out—and if you’re relying on word-of-mouth marketing at a time when few people know your name, you may find yourself with a lot of unfilled appointments in your book.

Here are five client-seeking strategies that can work well when you’re new to the business.


1. Start with Your Massage Clinic Clients

Make sure your practicum clients know you’ve graduated and are starting your own practice. You can even offer a special discount—at least in the beginning—to help these people make the transition.

“You may lose many clients if they’re abruptly required to double or triple the amount they’ve been paying,” wrote Cherie Sohnen-Moe in the futurelmt.com article “Jumpstart Your New Practice: Transition Practicum Clients.” If they balk at the increased price, she recommends giving them a lower rate that increases gradually over time until it reaches your standard rate.



2. Talk Yourself Up

“Talk with everyone about your profession—family, friends, neighbors, and people in line at the grocery store, movies and department of motor vehicles,” Sohnen-Moe wrote in “Get and Keep Clients in the First 90 Days.”

“Share your enthusiasm for your work and the results it produces,” she added. “Excitement is contagious!”


3. Think Locally

Optimize your website for local search, or hire an Internet-savvy person to do this for you. You need to make sure that when that potential client who doesn’t know of any massage therapists in the area pulls out his smartphone and does a search for “massage therapists in Springfield,” for example, that your website will show up at the top of his search results.


4. Give Free Chair Massages

Watch for upcoming health fairs, trade shows, conventions and other community or charity events, and volunteer your services. Bring your business cards—and be ready to follow up, wrote Robin Wooten, L.M.T., N.M.T., and John Sanders, L.M.T., M.M.P., in the futurelmt.com article “You’re Graduating from Massage School … Now What?

“Do not just hand out your business cards and wait for them to call you,” wrote Wooten and Sanders, owners of Next Level Massage Education LLC. “Contact all potential clients within a day or two, while you’re still on their minds—and they still feel good from your massage.”


5. Excel as an Employee

Working for an established massage clinic or franchise location has advantages—including having clientele-building activities handled for you, which can take a lot of pressure off, especially when you’re new to the industry.

“Many new graduates find it valuable to start out in the industry by working for an employer, earning wages and receiving tips,” wrote Wooten and Sanders. “This will help you further develop your innate touch, build your confidence as a massage therapist, pay bills or student loans, and start saving money for your business.”