Nontraditional marketing drives nontangible services.

How to Build Credibility for Your Massage Practice: Part 1, MASSAGE MagazineLet’s face it: You can’t send out an ad that says “We’re the best… honest.” If you did, chances are slim to none that this type of marketing will build the type of image and awareness you are looking to create for your practice—unless you are a company with a long-standing image in the marketplace.

So what do you do?

Most of us have learned the hard way that if you build it, they will not come. To the contrary, massage practitioners hold the responsibility for building mindshare with the people most likely to engage with their service, and then for driving interest that ultimately leads to establishing a relationship with clients.

The most coveted marketing approach is viral word-of-mouth, better known as referrals. You can’t control referrals, right? Not so. Getting a return on investment for delivering top-quality services is as easy as asking for it—at the time the service is delivered. It costs you nothing but for the price of honoring your commitment to deliver your service on time and with the same integrity you would have others deliver to you.

Be the expert in the minds of your buying audience not because you proclaim yourself to be a self-appointed expert, but because other people say you are and are willing to put it in print. The editors in your modality-specific publications and even national print magazines can play a key role in helping you achieve this status. Once thought of as a source for giving expert input on pertinent subjects, you’ll be amazed at how often your phone will ring from editors looking for credible sources to quote in their articles.

You can also establish yourself as an expert by writing a book, and then publishing it yourself. What better way for prospects to know that you are a leading authority in your modality than to read about your philosophy, ideas, passions or knowledge base. Did you know most books sell less than a 100 copies, but the impact is the same as if you were on the best-seller list? If you write a book, make sure to promote it.

Randi Drinkwater, MASSAGE MagazineFor more than 25 years, Randi Drinkwater has successfully spearheaded high-impact marketing solutions for such global companies as IBM, Cisco Systems and WorldCom/MCI/UUNet. Today, Drinkwater resides as CEO for Alternative Growth Streams, ( a marketing-membership Web site designed exclusively to empower alternative and integrative health-care practitioners to grow their practices and get more patients/clients. She is well known and respected throughout the industry and is the recipient of the “BPAA Atlanta Peach” and “Southeast Addy” award for marketing excellence.