In this article, I offer three ideas for promoting your business which—at least once a few initial investments of time have been made—are both free and easy. Whether you choose any of these ideas or none, the most successful marketing tools are the ones you use and stick with. Try a few things out, find what works best, adjust as needed and keep at it.
Here, we’ll look at marketing to people you know, asking for referrals and testimonials, and using social media marketing.
Market to People You Know
Whether you are just starting out or have been established for a while, spreading the word about what you do to your existing list of connecting and contacts is worthwhile. With all the changes of the last two years, many people are considering massage for the first time or ready to get reconnected to a regular therapist. However, people’s lives are busy and they may need a reminder or introduction about what you do.
Steps to take:
• Make a list of people you know in your area. Think school, church, work, neighborhood, vendors or people you do business with, friends and relatives, clubs you belong to and so on.
• For those for whom you have mailing or email addresses, create a short note or newsletter to introduce yourself, your services, your ideal client and the invitation to work with you.
• Include some type of call to action to get folks to pick up the phone or visit your website.
Ask for Referrals and Testimonials
Even in the digital age, one of the greatest free marketing tools out there is personal recommendations or referrals. If you are a new therapist without a lot of clients, it may take some time to get the referral ball rolling, so be patient. But if you have even one client who loves your work, ask them if they would tell others why and send them to you.
Depending on your state or province, you may be able to offer a referral program which rewards clients who send others your way with a discount or some bonus hands-on time. (Check your licensing guidelines.) Even if that is not available, you can ask satisfied clients to share a few words of why they would recommend you to others to use in your marketing materials—with permission, of course.
• Map out a referral program. ($10 discount or bonus 15 minutes for each client referred)
• Ask satisfied clients for referrals or testimonials
• Ask for permission to use testimonials in your marketing.
Social Media Marketing
One of the most effective ways to reach people is to meet them where they are. This idea is obvious in the paid advertising that meets us at every turn—even park benches, city buses and gas station pumps! But regardless of where your potential clients are, they likely have a mobile device or laptop and one or more social media apps. Used wisely, they can be effective in promoting your massage business.
Social media marketing can be both free and easy, but if you are one to get pulled into rabbit holes of time when you were planning to “make one quick post,” then there is a cost. Similarly, if you aren’t clear on what you are promoting, who you are promoting to or how to work within the guidelines and algorithms of the site you are using, gaining anything significant may be difficult.
However, if you are committed to making free social media marketing work for your practice, these hints can help you in that area:
• Use the social sites that you and your ideal clients like. Instagram and Facebook are popular choices, but YouTube, TikTok, LinkedIn and others may fit your practice and purposes better.
• Besides sharing open appointments or this month’s specials, aim to build rapport and relationships.
• Create posts that connect, engage, inform or entertain.
• Post with regularity—at least a few times a week to daily.
• Think before you post!
• Create a business-only account for every platform you post to. Keep your personal social media out of your professional social media.
About the Author
Felicia Brown, LMBT, is a business, marketing and life coach—as well as a recovering workaholic and a survivor of multiple burnouts. She is a regular contributor to MASSAGE Magazine; read the article, “This is what the Highest-Earning Massage Therapists Have in Common,” featuring Brown. Download her free e-book, “Do ONE Thing,” on spalutions.com.