Web Strategies reports that, in 2017, most businesses spent somewhere between 8.9 and 10.9 percent of their budgets on marketing.
Furthermore, that number is expected to either stay the same or rise next year.
If you can feel your heart begin to race and palms start to sweat at the mere mention of spending your hard-earned money on marketing that may or may not work, stop and take a deep breath. There are many different ways to advertise your massage therapy business that don’t cost much at all.
Some don’t even cost a thing.
“I’ve been an LMT for a decade,” says Mandi Weiser, “and always had to moonlight doing other jobs.” However, that changed about two years ago, which is when Weiser says that she dedicated herself to taking care of her own marketing efforts.
“In that time, I’ve opened my own shop and increased business 150 percent,” says Weiser.
And she did it all with a number of free marketing tools.
Get Active on Social Media
“Facebook was really the key,” says Weiser. “The strategy was to post something nearly every day regarding massage therapy and the benefits. I also wanted to be sure to take some candid shots to virtually invite people inside of the business.”
Her thought when creating these posts was, “if somebody thought of massage therapy, hopefully they would think of me.”
Anthony Kane, senior digital marketer with 1SEO Digital Agency, agrees that being active on social media is a great way to interact with your customers and audience.
“Social media has become a great trust factor and helps businesses seem more human,” he says. “There are also programs on Facebook and Google where you can receive free ad credits to test out the waters.”
This marketing avenue doesn’t have to cost you a penny, but Weiser says once you have a marketing foundation built, you can add to it—at a cost.
“Once I had a little more money, I worked with a local marketer to develop a ‘Benefits of Massage Therapy’ video to post on Facebook and my website,” she said. “I also created a long-running ad on Facebook using the video that was seen by nearly 20,000 people.”
This video cost Weiser around $500, but it also gave her a lot more visibility, so it may be something to consider once your budget is there.
Questions to ask yourself: What social media sites is your business currently on? Are you posting regularly? Do any of them offer free ad credits? What improvements can you make to your posts once you have a bigger marketing budget?
Regularly Post to Your Website and Blog
In addition to regularly posting on your social media pages, Kane also recommends that you regularly post new content to your website and blog.
While this option tends to take a bit more time and effort, he shares that creating great content helps you become an authority in your space and create relationships with your customers.
You can even get a two-for-one type of marketing deal by posting a new blog on your website and then sharing it on your social media. This allows you to grow your followers on both online sites with one post, but, most importantly, it also drives more people to your website, which is where they can learn the most about how much your massage services can benefit them.
Weiser says that she spends $60 on her WordPress site.
“This is] essentially a landing page for people to learn more, with my photo,” she says, adding that some of this platform’s options are free.
Questions to ask yourself: Do you have a blog that you can post content on regularly? If not, what site will you use to put one up? And if you do have one, how often do you post on it? Do you post regularly or just every once in a while?
Optimize Your Business Online
Another no-cost way to market your business online is to utilize search engine optimization (SEO) so that your clients can easily find your website when searching for massage therapists in your area.
This involves making sure it contains keywords that people would likely use when looking for your type of services.
The easier you make it for your clients to find you online, the more your business will benefit.
Most of the free website platforms help with this, so check out their site builders or call their customer service department if you aren’t sure where to look.
“Make sure you have a verified and optimized Google My Business,” Kane says.
“Your business appears in the knowledge panel whenever someone searches for your brand,” he adds. “Additionally, Google just recently introduced a Book Online call-to-action button that can be applied right to your spa’s Google My Business listing.”
Questions to ask yourself: Is your website and/or blog SEO optimized? Have you verified your Google My Business listing?
Reach Out Locally
Another free marketing tool that helped Weiser increase business was local media outreach.
“When I moved into my own office, I reached out to our local news for coverage and was featured in both print and broadcast,” she says.
She also made herself more known to her community by participating in local events.
“I have a contest where I offer a free massage during our town’s First Friday event,” says Weiser. “I also donated 15 massages to the local fire department as part of a Rotary Club initiative.”
If there are no events scheduled, Weiser creates her own.
“I make a real effort to hold an open house or some sort of event in my office a couple of times a year,” she says. She also partners with other local vendors, allowing them to hold events at her business too.
You can make an even greater impact locally by simply making sure everyone in your area knows about you. Weiser shares that she spent $50 to $75 to develop flyers and various handouts to spread the word. She then spent a couple of weeks posting them around town to help get her name out.
Questions to ask yourself: Are there any local events that you could participate in to market your services to patrons in your area? Any donations you can make for free massages? Are there other local vendors you could potentially partner with on an event (preferably a vendor that would have a similar target market)? How else can you market locally for just a couple of dollars?
Provide Stellar Results
Although each of these options can help you market your massage therapy business on a budget, when you put them all together, you can enjoy stellar results. At least, that’s what Seb Dean, Managing Director of Imaginaire Digital found when working with one massage therapy practice.
After creating a content schedule of weekly blog and video posts and sending two pieces to local press per month, Dean says that this particular practice “added 876 Facebook likes, 654 Twitter followers and 980 Instagram followers within three months, and saw their bookings increase by over 30 percent.”
So, one final question: What could you do with 30 percent more bookings? If the answer puts a smile on your face, then it’s time to get these things going. Today.
About the Author
Christina DeBusk is a freelance writer dedicated to providing readers relevant, research-backed content related to health and wellness, personal development, safety, and small business ownership.
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