by Amy Roberts

Combat Massage Business Lethargy, MASSAGE MagazineMost massage therapists know it’s important to keep in touch with their clients. Constant client contact is a crucial part of the marketing plan.

In all honesty, this well-intentioned activity is spasmodic at best. Giving your clients holiday cards is great, but what about the monthly check to see which of your clients is celebrating a birthday? We tell ourselves it can be done later, but later never comes.

The way to combat massage business lethargy is to have a calendar. When you design your schedule in your calendar, make sure you include when and how each person (or group of people) will be contacted. The most effective way for massage therapists to keep on top of contacting clients is to have a good, working system in place and, ideally, one that’s easy to follow. The system should be as automated as possible.
You can create this scheduling system in a number of ways. You can do it electronically using Microsoft Outlook and Excel. The beauty of these two programs is you can merge with Microsoft Word to create phone lists, mailing labels and personalized letters to your clients.

Marketing tools for keeping in touch with clients
There are a variety of different marketing tools small-business owners can use to keep in touch. Here are just a few ideas.
E-mail newsletters, or e-newsletters, are a great way to communicate with a large group of people. There are a number of great online resources available for e-newsletter creation and management. Use e-newsletters to provide product information, such as fitness products or essential oils, and to promote special events. You can use an auto responder called for this approach.
Real greeting cards received in the mail are great marketing tools to use at holidays, birthdays and other times of the year. To be completely creative about this, you can simply send a card for no reason at all. That is the nicest way to receive a card in the mail. (Contact via phone calls, personal visits and lunches are always appreciated. The key there is to remember the marketing message when scheduling those calls or visits.)

The most important part of any marketing system is for it to be utilized regularly. If you are busy or have a hard time working with schedules, you are better off hiring someone to help you. If you have extra help, such as a friend or family member that can write e-mails and even sign holiday cards for you, then a lot of your work is done. You can even hire a secretarial service to assist you, which leaves you free to work on other areas of your massage business. Also, you can try using a virtual assistant. The marketing money you spend to outsource these routine tasks will be repaid many times over with new business you receive.

Remember, the key to a successful marketing system is to have it automated as much as possible. The less work you have to do, the more likely it is to be done on time, and the more likely you are to get referrals to your massage practice.

Amy Roberts is a massage therapist and massage therapy business coach. Her Web sites, and teach massage therapists around the world how to get more clients quickly and easily, and keep them coming back. Roberts has regular business video tutorials available on her marketing Web site.