Having an open house is an excellent way to market your services, generate leads and network.

You can have different open houses for a variety of target customers. For example, an open house can be directed towards students or massage clients. See the open house as a way to get face-to-face time with your potential clients. You should present mini workshops that highlight aspects of your practice. If possible, have current clients there to mingle with guests and share their experiences. Word-of-mouth is a great way to build credibility and generate leads. Offer 10 minute mini treatments, so attendees can get a taste of what you have to offer.

Be sure to display your diplomas and certificates prominently. It is vital you have promotional material strategically placed around your office, so that it increases the chances of someone picking up your material. Your promotional material should include business cards, fliers and brochures. Compile a professional binder that contains any community or charity work you have done, thank-you letters from clients and students, and magazine articles. This is an excellent way to show you are a vital part of the community while building your professional credibility in the eyes of your potential clients. One way to bring in more attendees is to offer mini-service gift certificates as door prizes. In addition to door prizes, you can also have giveaway items, such as sticky notes, pens with your name and contact info on them, water bottles and a small bottle of face cream or aromatherapy.

In order to help with the load of having an open house, use your network of friends to help you with the various tasks needed to make it a success. Ask people in your network to help with setup and serving, showing people around the open house, to answer basic questions about massage therapy and to help with collecting visitor contact sheets upon arrival. Be sure to take care of your helpers with either gift certificates or offering to help them with something they are working on. Creating a win-win with your network contacts is important for the growth of your network.

The final touch to an open house is to have simple and straightforward refreshments. A simple platter of cheese, veggies, dip, fruit and herbal tea will be sufficient. Be sure to get plenty of rest beforehand, so you can be fully energized for the open house.

Ariana Vincent, L.M.T., M.T.I., N.C.T.M.B., is a Nationally Certified Massage Therapy Instructor and workshop leader based in Austin, Texas. Learn more about her at www.arianavincent.com.