To complement the MASSAGE Magazine article, “How to Market Your Geriatric Massage Specialty,” by Sharon Puszko, in the May 2011 issue. Article summary: Massage for seniors, also called geriatric massage, has become increasingly popular over the past five years. Statistics demonstrate seniors make up the largest growing demographic of potential clients. With such a large client base to work with, it is important to learn how to market yourself to elderly clients.
by Sharon Puszko
It is important to create promotional materials that target senior clients. Business cards, brochures and folders targeting elderly clients will resemble your other promotional materials, but with information tailored toward the needs of this specific clientele.
I have found it useful to always have copies of these items on hand; in fact, I keep mine in a small box in the trunk of my car, because I never know when an opportunity might arise to build up my client base.
• Your business card is one of the smallest pieces of marketing materials you will own, yet also one of the most important. It can be frustrating at times to think this tiny item creates the first impression of you and your work.
I find it more difficult to write and design a business card than to write and design a trifold brochure: ultimately, you want both to convey the same message, but you have about 10 times the amount of room for the brochure.
The most important information you want to include on your business card is your name, contact information and type of modality, such as senior/geriatric massage. Be sure the font on your business cards and brochures is large and easy to read.
• One can follow the same guidelines for a brochure, but you can include a lot more information here. It is important to include some detailed information specific to older clients in your brochure, such as brief statistics on how massage improves the quality of life for seniors, especially those challenged with arthritis, joint replacements, fibromyalgia, depression and other conditions more common to the senior population.
You might also mention in your brochure that geriatric massage is personalized to meet the unique needs of each client, and the more a therapist knows about the client’s physical and mental abilities, the better the massage experience will be.
You may also mention the massage session is designed to make the client as comfortable as possible with options for the location (residents in-room, in-home, massage room at a facility); type of massage (seated, in bed, on table); level of dress (fully clothed, partially clothed or undressed); and length (15 minutes, 30 minutes, 60 minutes).
• You might also consider drafting two brochures: one for clients living in nursing homes and another for clients who receive massage sessions in your office.
• Informational folders are useful for introducing your work at assisted-living facilities, special events, businesses and health fairs. Your folder should contain the following items:
- Curriculum vitae and resume (not more than two pages)
- Business cards
- Proof of insurance
- Secondary school diploma
- Massage school diploma
- Geriatric massage training certificate
- At least two short client testimonials
- Copies of your massage certificates
- Any newspaper or trade magazine articles on your work or that you have written.
Once you have an outline of how you want your business cards, brochures and informational folders to look, pay a graphic artist to create a logo for use on your marketing materials, and always have someone other than yourself read your material for typos.
Sharon Puszko Ph.D., L.M.T., is an educator and owner/director of Daybreak Geriatric Massage Institute, a nationally approved continuing education provider of massage for seniors. Puszko has 35 years of experience teaching and working with the senior population. She is a contributor to textbooks and has published numerous articles. For more information, visit www.daybreak-massage.com.