There is one inexpensive thing you can do yourself, to not only market your massage practice, but also help you get the most out of your advertising and other practice-building efforts: lists.
Called database marketing or list marketing, building lists is at the heart of all successful businesses, from single, independent contractors to the biggest Fortune 500 companies.
Your client list
As a massage therapist, you have two primary lists: your current client list and your prospective client list. You can put together your current client list easily, since you already have clients’ contact information.
If you are going to use email or text messages for marketing, make sure you get clients’ permission to send them these messages. Every practice should have a form regarding fees, procedures and privacy laws that new clients read and sign when they receive their first treatment. On your form, include language letting new clients know you will use their contact information to send them massage marketing messages.
Staying compliant with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, and the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, is not difficult once you know the rules. If you don’t, it’s better to use an online list-marketing service to send messages instead of your regular email service or mobile phone.
Utilize the proper tools
Online list-marketing tools usually come with compliance measures built in, to prevent you from making mistakes. The cost of these tools ranges from free to try, to a few dollars a month, to hundreds of dollars a month. A quick online search will give you plenty of choices.
Once you choose a tool, use client relationship marketing to engage current clients. Send important communications such as appointment reminders, new practitioner introductions and value-added health information. You may also make special offers, ask for referrals or promote events.
For example, current clients might respond well to this offer: “Client Appreciation Night Is This Friday. Free Food and More—Bring a Friend to Introduce to Wellness Massage.”
If you use this list wisely, you will keep your practice in your clients’ minds, which means they will visit you more, refer you, and feel connected to you. Through client relationship marketing you help your current clients, reach more people and create income.
Your prospective client list
Your prospective client list contains people who are interested in your services and have opted in to receive massage marketing messages from you, but are not yet paying clients. These might be people who have visited your website or clicked on an online ad you have placed, then opted in to receive your e-newsletter or subscribe to your blog.
Grow this list by using calls to action in print and online advertising, your website, and in email and mobile marketing.
In print and Web advertising, and on your social media pages, always make it easy for visitors to opt in to your email or mobile marketing list. Once you have them opted in, a simple, effective call to action to send these prospective clients might be: “New Client Special—$25 Off.”
With calls to action, you also have to consider the media you use to deliver the message. Text messages and emails can have calls to action with shorter deadlines, whereas print advertising typically needs calls to action with a longer shelf life.
Strive for details
An easy way to know what information to collect when building a prospective client list is to think about the communication you will have, and offers you would like to make, in advance. The questions you need to ask at the time of opt-in will then become apparent.
For example, if you have services targeted to men, and others that appeal to women, you would ask gender when opting people into your list. You might also want to find out information such as age; massage techniques preferred; or health concerns. These details can give you ideas for offers to create.
Offers for prospective clients should have what is known in marketing as the lowest barrier to entry. Such offers make it easy and inexpensive to try your services—the easier and less expensive, the better.
Do whatever you can to get new people to give you a try; when they redeem an offer, move them to your current client list. Treat these first-timers like gold, and they will come back again and again.
Once established, watch it grow
Once you have lists to market to, everything you do will become more effective. You will have to set time aside to work out strategy, and make initial decisions; however, once you get things in motion, the rest of your list-building efforts will be fast, or nearly automatic.
List-building is a fundamental foundation of your advertising and marketing efforts. It’s exciting to watch your lists grow—and enjoy the results.
Matthew Fiorenza has over 25 years of sales and marketing experience, and is the senior marketing consultant at Text I.Q. (www.mytextiq.com), a company that provides text and mobile marketing services for health care practitioners.