Many massage-business newbies and veterans alike have discovered listing their services on an online massage therapy directory helps with exposure and increases their ability to promote themselves and their business. However, with this added exposure come drawbacks massage therapists need to be aware of. If the benefits to you and your practice outweigh the challenges, directories can offer you an additional channel for marketing your business and standing out among the competition.
Online directory listings offer many benefits. Being more visible to your target audience can increase traffic, and in turn increase sales for your business. This method is very simple and cost-effective for many massage therapists. You list your services within an online community, often paying a fee for the exposure.
One big advantage of listing with online directories is you don’t have to be technologically savvy to promote your business. These sites can be a great place to start when you don’t have the budget or the know-how to create your own personal website. Building a website from scratch takes an incredible amount of time and patience, and hiring a web designer can be a bit expensive, especially if you’re new to the industry. Online directories essentially do the work for you by providing a space for you to promote your business and get more clients.
Using online directories does have drawbacks. Giving away a portion—sometimes 10 percent—of your booking fees to a paid directory service is a major one. If you are paying for a directory, make sure you are getting enough traffic out of it so you can still cover your daily expenses.
If you do decide to use a directory, keep this advice in mind:
- When you submit your listing, provide plenty of keywords. Include general keywords for massage therapists, such as massage therapy and massage therapist, and include any services and techniques you offer. Then, get specific. Think about your location, and include local keywords and combinations people might use to find a massage therapist in your area; for example, massage therapist in Seattle or best spa in Washington for massage therapy. When online users enter a query, or question, into a search engine, the search engine will compile information on you and the search in order to find a match. It does this by collecting keywords and phrases, including the ones in your listing. If you have a professional, keyword-rich directory listing, search engines are more likely to rank your listing higher. If you have a business website, your listing will improve that site’s ranking, too.
- There are a couple of basic ways to check if your directory is credible. Check its authority and domain age—there are several online tools available that allow you to research these factors. Also, see who else is using the directory. Do they look professional? If the directory itself looks professional and has great reviews from others who have used it, adding your listing could be a wise choice.
While online massage therapy directories may work for some massage therapists, they may not work for all, so listing your services on a directory shouldn’t be your only form of marketing. More traditional promotions, such as word-of-mouth and print advertising, are still extremely effective in the massage industry.
While word-of-mouth is by far the least expensive form of service promotion, listing your services on a directory is a close second. With many free and paid directories to choose from, listing your services can help boost your exposure.
Sheena Christensen, a Wisconsin native turned Chicagoan, is the content manager for Rubstr (www.rubstr.com), an online massage therapy directory service. An aspiring children’s book author, she has experience writing everything from short stories to website copy, and is particularly interested in the topics of health, wellness and education.