Let’s look at how to market massage techniques you’ve learned, to get new clients and keep your existing clients coming back.
You’ve learned something new! That’s exciting, right? You’ve taken a great class or gotten certified in a certain modality or technique you’ve been wanting to add to your repertoire for a while, and it’s finally time to start implementing it into your massage practice.
There are 5 key steps to marketing massage techniques.
1. First, Know Thyself
Before you go about adding any new technique into your massage practice, it’s important that you are truly proficient at it. While single-day or weekend classes are the norm for much of our continuing education, that doesn’t mean you leave those classes really knowing what you’re doing.
Just like you weren’t able to deliver a great massage within the first day or two of your basic massage training, the same holds true with your continuing education as well. You’ll want to practice these new skills and expand your knowledge over time before charging people full price for these new services.
It’s important that you can take an objective look at your competence on the subject when you leave a class and the time it’s going to take to not only get more skilled, but also to simply become more comfortable with it.
If you’ve been practicing massage for long, much of it has probably become second nature to you; you can palpate or mobilize a client and know what to do without consciously analyzing and wracking your brain over the anatomy and specific techniques and strokes.
So, be honest with yourself about your current skills in this new style and understand you’ll need to practice quite a bit before adding it to your service menu. This is especially the case for more complex skills and knowledge, such as orthopedic testing, oncology massage, etc.
2. Practice, Practice, Practice
It’s not only friends and family you’ll want to practice on. As you spend this time testing yourself and getting your bearings with these new skills, don’t be afraid to go ahead and start mixing a little in here and there with your other massage services.
While you may not be ready to add it into your menu just yet and want to build your skill-level, you can use your clients as guinea pigs, so to speak. Don’t be afraid to tell them you’ve learned something new and you want to try it out with them if they’d like.
You won’t necessarily charge for this specifically or even do full sessions of the technique, but you’ll be able to practice your new skills on your clients while educating them on the subject, explaining the benefits, and showing them what it’s all about in small increments.
This is also part of your marketing; these little teases as to what you’ll be offering soon are a great way to build up excitement in your clientele and get them ready to book more sessions and try out those new skills when the time comes and the service is even better.
3. Avoid Discounts
Now, a common approach many therapists take when adding new services, is to provide a discount or some sort of steep promotional pricing in order to get people to try it out. To be frank though, this isn’t a good idea.
You see, it’s one thing to provide discounted services in that practice phase to those clients you’re especially close with that are willing to experience your fumbles and struggles as you fine-tune your skills. That’s perfectly acceptable, and actually an honorable thing to do. However, once those skills are established and you’re launching this new service, discounting can be counterproductive. Your prices should reflect your education, skills and experience.
You also need to factor in your investment of time and money into taking the class, practicing the techniques, and adding any new products, supplies, or equipment in order to provide the service.
Instead of discounting, try promoting the service based on the results your clients can expect and what this new technique brings to the table for their health and well-being. If this is a unique set of skills that sets you apart from other massage therapists in your area, focus your marketing on that aspect and build on that uniqueness.
If this is an entirely new approach that shifts the clientele of your practice, find local businesses that cater to those same people and network to reach that new audience. If this is a complementary service to what you already do, or an expansion on what clients already expect from you, upsell the addition of this into your existing sessions.
4. Marketing is Education
When the time comes to add this new technique into your service menu, you’ll want to remember what marketing isn’t
• Marketing isn’t throwing out a single post or email and expecting people to book.
• Marketing isn’t explaining the ins and outs of the technique itself.
• Marketing isn’t giving discounts so someone will make an appointment.
Marketing is strategically educating, building anticipation, and calling them to take action. It’s telling clients how you can help them, the benefits you can offer, and the problems you can solve for them.
And when you’ve added a new technique to your skill set, your marketing has to reflect that type of education.
Remember though, it’s not about the techniques which you may have found so interesting. You have to look at this from your client’s perspective. Those mobilizations, strokes, techniques, and whatnot are of no real interest to them. What they want to know is how this new set of skills is going to solve their specific problems. Sell the solution, not the technique.
Let’s say you’re adding cupping into your services. Here’s an example of what you should and shouldn’t say to an existing client when you’re marketing this new service to them:
Don’t: “I just got certified in cupping. I use glass and silicone cups that create a vacuum that pulls up on the skin and underlying tissues to create space for improved circulation and range of motion. Want to try it out?”
In this first example, you’ve used jargon about the technique that the average client won’t be able to understand or extrapolate to their own health and well-being.
Do: “I took a class a few weeks ago on cupping and I’ve been practicing every day on my husband and myself. You wouldn’t believe how much it’s helped my neck pain and the range of motion in his shoulder. I really think this could increase the effectiveness of your regular massages and get that back pain under control without me having to use any deep pressure, which I know you’re not a fan of. What do you think about adding that into your next session and seeing how it works for you?”
In this second example, you’ve shown the client that you not only learned something new, but you’re taking the time to finetune the craft and you’re seeing results from it personally. You’re also bringing it back to their specific problem and offering this new technique as a solution to that problem.
5. Use Your Marketing Channels
Now, as for the marketing that is a little less one-on-one, such as in mass emails, social media posts and the like, you’ll want to build up some hype around these new skills.
When you take the class, post pictures to social media or send out a short email telling people what class you’re taking and a brief description of what it’s about.
When you finish the class, tell them how excited you are to start practicing this. Give them regular updates on how that practice is going along with testimonials and experiences your practice subjects provide. Then, when you add this new service to your menu, give them more information and calls to action to expound on all of that.
About the Author:
Savanna Bell, LMT, is the owner of My Massage World, a membership company focused on providing marketing content and business education to help massage therapists around the globe build successful businesses as quickly and efficiently as possible. Her articles for MASSAGE Magazine include “5 Essential Components of an Effective Client Retention Strategy” and “Take Control of Your Time by Adding Business Systems to These 7 Areas of Your Practice.”