He was a high-level athlete and used stretching as a way to stay on top of his game.
Having been in the massage industry for four years at that time, I was immediately drawn in to the benefits he was experiencing and wanted to be trained to provide stretch sessions to my clients.
Fast-forward 14 years, having gone through certification in a few different stretching methods, it is now over 60 percent of my practice. A constant curiosity of the human body and how the fascial relationships affect different conditions has lead me down a path I never imagined.
Early on in my career, I wanted to focus on professional athletes. I found myself doing just that.
From Olympians to the NFL, and from the Major League Baseball to collegiate sports, I was providing an increased number of stretch sessions to athletes.
After taking courses, I quickly integrated stretch therapy into my practice and soon found that working with the every day athletes, the ones who are out there having fun and staying fit, was the most rewarding.
Helping them achieve their goals and stay injury free through stretching has been just the niche that has taken my practice to a new level.
It is what people are finding they need help with, and need the benefits of, in order to stay active and healthy. With need comes an incredible opportunity for growth.
8 Ways to Market Assisted Stretching
Finding ways to market assisted stretching sessions has been challenging when it isn’t the first thing that people think of as something that will help them to perform at their best and to feel better in their everyday lives.
Through the years, I have found some ways to bring attention to the general public on the benefits of stretching. Here are a few marketing strategies that have helped me build a clientele that comes specifically for stretch therapy sessions. Rest assured, if you have a Massage Magazine Insurance Plus policy, assisted stretching is included in the 350 services you’re already covered for.
1. Donate time to local gyms, running stores or triathlon stores to speak about the benefits of stretching and how it can help them perform at a higher level.
Education is the key to helping people understand how your services can benefit them.
2. Encourage everyone to bring a yoga mat and take the attendees through a few stretches that target the needs of the group you’re presenting to. This allows them to FEEL how good stretching feels in their bodies and encourages them to come in for a stretch session.
Words rarely sell the service by themselves, although the words can create some initial intrigue. For the potential client to feel the effects will create a strong desire for them to schedule an assisted stretching session.
3. Ensure your website has information on the benefits of assisted stretching so that potential clients can learn about your services. Answer questions that are relevant to the benefits of stretching and the conditions it can help overcome. A large percentage of the population does their research online before scheduling.
When you provide information, as well as a platform for scheduling, your appointments will increase. Booking online makes it easy for the consumer, which means they are more likely to book than if they have to call or email.
4. Create a social media presence. Offer stretching recommendations on a consistent basis to draw potential clients in. Several clients have decided to come in and try stretching after they have seen a post on a social media page.
Ensure the post is engaging and that it identifies what the stretch can help with, such as low back pain, shoulder pain and plantar fasciitis.
As much as we want them to come in the door, allowing the consumer to see what you’re all about and what you offer helps them choose you over other practitioners.
Designing posts that trigger the “I need that” thoughts from the consumers lead to scheduling appointments. The need for a social media presence isn’t going away any time soon so this is an important piece of the marketing puzzle.
5. When clients are in your office for another modality, encourage they try a stretch for whatever they are in for. Ease them in with one stretch and build on that in subsequent visits. When they come in again, be sure to ask them how they felt after assisted stretching and then build on that.
Offer an additional stretch at the end of their session so they begin building a toolbox of stretches that they can do on their own.
Helping a client learn to help themselves goes far beyond requiring them to experience the results only from coming in to see you. They always appreciate learning and although they may not start doing stretches on their own right away, by providing the education, you give them the option of helping themselves.
I have had several stretch cards printed with the home versions of each stretch. Before the client leaves, I give them the cards of the stretches we covered so they have a reference and don’t have to try to remember everything we covered. They always appreciate this and comment on how much it helps them.
6. Attend local events and provide stretch services free of charge to the participants. Most event organizers will welcome services that complement the athlete experience.
Whether the event is for the weekend warrior or experienced athletes, a post-race stretch session can help them recover faster. Set up a booth and offer your services for free. Have business cards and fliers available so that the participant has an easy way to contact you after the event.
7. Consider adding a coupon or discount code to event participants when possible. This incentivizes them to schedule an assisted stretching session after their event. When people are trying something new, they look for a way to get it with a small discount.
Once they are in the door, you can further incentivize them with package offers to keep them coming in. This would be the equivalent to a first time client offer that you may already offer.
I would caution to not discount it so much that you only get them in the door once. That will only devalue your services and create a lot of one-time clients rather than the long-term client that you are seeking.
Give them an incentive that makes sense to your business and also that helps the client experience what you have to offer with stretch.
8. Ask clients to leave reviews. When you have a Yelp.com or google.com page, the reviews are what help drive people to your business. These services are free of charge and can help potential clients find you more easily.
Add Assisted Stretching to Your Menu
With the number of people who are working hard to stay active and fit, adding stretch therapy to your menu of services will certainly help your business grow. It may take a few tries to figure out what works best for you to draw these athletes into your office.
However, once you do find what works, there will be no turning back. Stretching, flexibility, and mobility fills in the gaps of other modalities and makes any movement available to any body.
With its high level of safety and effectiveness, clients will not see any other option to helping them achieve their goals. Stretching will become their way of life!
Judy Stowers, LMT, CST, is an educator, and an expert in exercise, massage, flexibility and stretching. She owns Apex Bodyworx in Scottsdale, Arizona. Stowers is a National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork-approved continuing education provider. She wrote “Take Your Massage Results to New Heights with Assisted Stretching” for MASSAGE Magazine’s June 2018 issue.