To complement “Stepping-Stones to Success: Build a Path to Career Longevity” in the July 2016 print edition of MASSAGE Magazine.
As a current or future massage business owner, you will have to learn about all aspects of your business—which sometimes means taking on projects that may seem out of your comfort zone.
For example, you know you need to market your massage business, but there is so much to it. Between finding and joining networking groups, creating a business website, making printed marketing materials, and posting to social media, things can get overwhelming. Where should you start? What should you say? And what if you can’t figure something out? It’s enough to make anyone want to give up—but don’t do that, or you won’t make any progress or money.
Let’s avoid procrastinating by conquering your fear and then taking action one step at a time. Almost all marketing projects can be broken down into small, doable steps.
Fear #1: What do I put on my business website?
Since the goal of your marketing is to send potential clients to your website, that is where I recommend starting first. It’s always a good idea to begin with a good brainstorming session, to get all of your ideas and questions out of your head and on paper.
What ideas do you have for your website? Will it contain a lot of content? Include special pages? List your contact information? Feature a blog? What do you want the general look and feel to be like? What parts do you need to find out more about? Where can you get that information? From here you can start creating some action steps.
For example, research and look at massage websites today for ideas, to see what you like and don’t like.
Action step: Today I will look at 10 massage websites and start my content plan.
Fear #2: Where will I get content and photos?
Create a plan for your pages. It might include the services you offer, information about you, links to massage research or your blog.
- Create a list of my website content ideas
- Write massage service descriptions
- Write “about” page content (this is where you include biographical information)
Now, decide what photos you will need for each page.
- Shop around on free and paid photo sites; save photos you like. You can purchase the exact ones you need as you need them.
- Schedule taking a good photo of yourself with a friend or professional photographer.
Fear #3: How will I make the site look good?
Look into do-it-yourself options vs. paying a website designer.
- Check out a few website creation sites, and maybe even sign up for a free trial.
- Look into local web designers and ask friends for referrals.
You will need to figure out if you want to create your own website using a website builder or hire a professional. Creating a website on a website builder such as weebly.com is a great option to save money; however, the frustration level can be high (there is a learning curve). The advantage to a website builder is that you will be able to make all of your own website changes and maintain your own website.
Hiring a professional can mean you get a more customized website, and free up your time for other marketing activities and work. The cost of a professional website can vary greatly depending on what is included.
I would suggest hiring based on a recommendation from another business owner; a local company you can actually visit and talk with is a plus. A few things you will want to look for are examples of their work; a web format where you will be able to make basic edits (to your specials and/or blog); how long the project will take; and if your website will be optimized for search engines and connected to social media. The best-looking website in the world won’t help your business if no one can find it!
Ask for a breakdown of exactly what is included, and the price, in writing. Generally, you will pay a deposit up front and the balance when your website is done and you are happy. Check with your local chamber of commerce for a referral. I met my web designer at a local business expo, and love that we can talk in person a few times a year.
I highly recommend that you don’t hire your friend’s kid, husband or nephew, if you actually want a professional website. I’ve seen too many therapists get poor quality sites that took months to create. Just because someone knows more about web design than you do, does not mean that person can create a professional website.
Fear #4: A website will take forever to create.
Creating an entire website is a huge task, but it can be broken down into 30- to 60-minute time blocks. Add time to work on your website to your planner, and focus on your action steps (I set a timer to stay on track). Keep in mind that done is better than perfect! A good website where clients can find out about you is certainly better than a perfect website that never gets published. You can always upgrade and make improvements as you learn more and earn more.
There is nothing you can’t accomplish by deciding what you are going to do, getting your ideas out of your head and onto paper, and creating an action plan. There will likely be unexpected obstacles and lots of learning, but if you do the work and keep going, you will amaze yourself.
Gael Wood has worked for more than 20 years in the massage and spa industry, and now concentrates her energy into educating and training massage-and-spa therapists in the areas of marketing, business start-up, customer service and spa services. Read more and enjoy free business-building resources at gaelwood.com. Wood wrote “Stepping-Stones to Success: Build a Path to Career Longevity” for the July 2016 print edition of MASSAGE Magazine.