To complement the MASSAGE Magazine article, “Reader Expressions,” in the November 2011 issue. Article summary: We Asked: What is the best way to introduce potential clients to massage therapy and your massage practice?

Talking to small groups, having Q-and-A time and demos for small groups. Explain the scope of practice of a massage therapist and how massage therapy works well with other therapies. Express your genuine concern for your potential clients.
Jamie Vares
Aiea, Hawaii

I chose to do a deal like Groupon, but used a local company in my area. My thinking was that it didn’t cost any upfront money, and unlike advertising, they could feel what kind of work I do because I could put my hands on them. I ran the promotion the week before Mother’s Day, so they were also given as gifts. One of the questions on my intake form asks when their last massage was. I was surprised how many had never had a massage or how long it had been since their last massage. Several people have returned for more visits and some have even bought gift certificates.
Christie Clooney Monticello
Lake Charles, Louisiana

Working in a small town, the key for me has been volunteering. I have been able to set up my chair and offer people a sample of what massage can do for them, as well as just getting to meet countless leads. It never gets dull, and coming out with an average of 10 new clients pays off well in the end.
Krystina Carrino-Morris
Via Facebook

I think one of the best ways to introduce massage therapy and its benefits is through community events—churches, health fairs, partnering with an organization—with free chair massage samples. I also offer workshops at community centers for low or pro-bono fees.
Glenda Davis, L.M.T.
Via Facebook

I taught a basic massage-for-friends-and-family course at an adult community school and 60 people showed up. Business networking groups are good too. The more you get out there and touch people, the better. It’s important for people to meet you face to face, in my opinion.
Gloria Coppola
Marion, North Carolina

Chair massage and speaking to people always seem to work magic and help people feel more comfortable with massage.
Mary Huffman McPheeters
Via Facebook

I became part of a networking group and my local chamber. Word-of-mouth referrals have been the best way to market myself.
Kari Iddings Ainsworth
Millsboro, Delaware

Chair massage is the best way to introduce people to massage, especially if they have never received one. Chair massage is done out in the open, people can see what you are doing, they can see the reaction on the customers’ faces. It will also let the prospective customer be comfortable with you working on them. Once they have done a couple chair massages with you, then you can transition them onto a table for an hour or hour-and-a-half massage.
Rich Lingbaoan
Via Facebook

Many of my first-time clients had either no experience or bad experience with massage, so trust is a big issue. I offer a no-charge guarantee. If there is any reason—good, bad or just silly—that they are unhappy with the massage, they don’t pay. I haven’t had to give one away yet.
Natalie Marsh
Rapid City, South Dakota

Be enthusiastic about what you do, show a natural passion for your chosen field and it shines through. People cant help but ask about your treatments.
Jill Newman
Via Facebook

I offer complimentary massage. That way they can see what you’re doing and there’s no pressure financially on them. Also, chair massage because it is a casual thing and if they change their minds amidst the massage they can easily get up and walk away.
Andrea Murtha, L.M.T.
Tucson, Arizona

Workshops on the benefits of massage, along with a free sample, usually do the trick. That is, not a day-long event, though; keep it to an hour or less of presentation time and let your hands and good intentions do the rest.
Ahmad Majid
Via Facebook

Talk to them, find out what hurts, and explain how massage therapy can help. I have a great app on my phone that shows the muscles in detail. When someone hears I’m a massage therapist, they usually have an ailment to describe. If I can show them the muscle and explain why it hurts and how I can help, they always ask for my card.
Anna Larson
Via Facebook

I find that chair massage always works the best for potential clients or people who are skeptical to massage.
Courtney Miles
Park City, Utah

One of my favorite ways to introduce potential clients to massage is to give gift certificates to an auction. For instance, private schools, environmental organizations and other nonprofits I believe in will hold these auctions. As a massage therapist, you can give a gift certificate, it’s great visibility for your business, everyone sees your gift certificate along with your business name and a description of your massage. I have found that most people who purchase massage gift certificates at an auction have never had a massage before. Then you give them the best massage you can and most of these people will become regular clients. The best part is, you can write off the gift certificate as a donation on your taxes.
Terri Sandusky
Via e-mail

Free hands-on chair massage, first-time and referral discount rate. and passing out a flyer and business card.
Lisa Newman
Via Facebook

Getting out in your community with networking groups, charity events, local hospitals, and sports events. Offering special discounts with something such as Living Social or Groupon as you start to grow your practice.
Leslie C. Hitchcock
Leola, Pennsylvania

Educating. I find the best way to introduce new clients to the massage industry is to explain the benefits of massage in such a way that they can relate and understand what to expect when they get a massage. I find most people who have never received a massage just don’t understand why they should, or are anxious about actually getting on the table.
Katrina Farber, L.M.T.
Via Facebook

Hands on up is the best way. I’m 6 feet, 5 inches, with tattoos, but get a person in a chair then explain things like what the body is doing and what the pain is. I also offer discounts and the first three massages at the cost of a co-pay.
Kelly Waters
Via Facebook

The best way to introduce potential clients to massage therapy and my practice would most definitely be to offer free full-body massages.
William Edmund Young
Beverly Hills, California

There are so many ways to introduce potential clients to massage. Be active in your community by helping with fundraising for local nonprofits. Do lectures about the many benefits of massage therapy. Plus, there is the time-tested and true word-of-mouth that comes from giving a real good massage to someone who tells everyone how wonderful massage is.
Julie Schroeter
Missoula, Montana

Free chair massages and talking to everyone I see. My co-worker and I just did a health fair on Saturday and we could tell that we made an impression on the people we were able to massage.
Fran Schur
Via Facebook

A fantastic website. I get more traffic from the web than anywhere else, my website is very personable and informative. I have a blog and they can schedule online from the site. I am also very involved with networking in my community. People do business with people they know, like and trust, so getting out in front of people is a must. Wearing a shirt with your business logo is helpful too. Have a brand that people can recognize within your community.
Gretchen Steinkruger Rivas
Wilmington, North Carolina

I have found the best introduction is community events. Your potential clients see you working (chair massage) and ask, “Why am I not getting massage?”
Kat Roman
Via Facebook

I take my massage chair to craft fair and community events and do 15-minute massage for $5. If the event is sponsored by a nonprofit organization, such as the library, I do massages for donations and donate all the money to the organization. Seeing people getting massages in public and having the people tell them how good it is makes it irresistible. Shy people may not get a massage right there but they may book an appointment or call later.
Kristy Berge
Lovelock, Nevada

Partner with a gym that does not already offer massage, and give new members a free half-hour treatment with an option to upgrade for a fee. They always take the upgrade, so you are not doing services for free, and it gives folks a chance to try you out. Gym members are there constantly, so be seen as much as possible. Offer to massage the trainers for a few minutes and ask them to talk to their clients about you. (They break them, and you fix them!)
Amy Kolasky
Via Facebook

I do a professional trade with a chiropractor. I get adjustments and his wife gets a massage. The referrals I get from their word of mouth have brought me high-quality referrals and long-term clients.
Pam Bilyeu
Appleton, Wisconsin

Massage is such a personal service. Getting out there, anyway you can, so people can get to know and trust you, is the best way. Even having a website with photos and showing your personality, and Facebook and Twitter, helps people get to know you too. I think trust is the key.
Heather Karr
Via Facebook

Get in touch with people! Massage demonstrations and presentations are working very good for me. Interact with a group, ask them their expectations of massage. Also, getting to work in synergy with other professionals. I am specialized in pregnancy and baby massage, and I work in conjunction with an M.D., OB/GYN, pediatricians, an acupuncturist and more. They are great referral sources.
Infant Massage Institute Inc.
Coral Springs, Florida

A lot depends upon the person. For most, I begin by talking about it and being confidant in what I am saying. I’ll ask them questions about what they know about massage, what they think it can do. For those who are skeptical about massage and its benefits, I emphasize that it just plain feels good. I ask them if I could work on a hand. Most people really enjoy that, especially if they use their hands a lot. In most cases, they want the other hand worked on as well.
Kryss Jackson
Via Facebook

First, I have an informative website with links to be able to contact me in more than one avenue. Facebook, e-mail, phone, contact form on website are all ideal places in today’s day and age. Having a Facebook page for my business has also been a successful way in exposing friends of friends and friends of clients to massage that otherwise would not look. Making massage affordable and working with a client on a therapeutic plan and cutting down on costs for them makes people more willing to try massage as an option.
Nikki Kucharek
East Greenville, Pennsylvania

Donating your time and services to a local charity event is great. It’s a win-win for all who are involved. The therapist gets exposure to his business and practice through offering chair or table massage services in the event. (Golf and running charity events, in particular, are great.) Also, donate gift certificates for auction prizes. Participants get to try you out at the event, and they come to the clinic for a full massage service.
Mihael Mamychshvili
Via Facebook