To complement the MASSAGE Magazine article, “Moving Pictures: 5 Steps to Add Video Content to Your Massage Website,” by David Allan, D.C., in the July 2011 issue. Article summary: Adding video files to your website will give you a stronger connection to visitors to your site while providing a personal touch to your brand image. Both of these elements are extremely important when it comes to marketing your massage practice.

by Eric Richard

Gone are the days when a print ad or a business listing in the Yellow Pages was sufficient to properly market your massage practice, build awareness about your services and generate new business. Today’s tech-savvy consumers are increasingly turning to the Internet instead of printed materials to learn and communicate with service providers, such as massage therapists, and practices that don’t maintain an adequate online presence put themselves at a huge disadvantage, especially if their competitors do.

Advancements in technology have pushed the online business spectrum well beyond e-mail and a simple website. Here are a few areas massage professionals should focus on as part of their online strategy:

  • A professional business website. Today’s business websites need to be more than just a few static pages and an “About Us” section. They must be interactive, engaging, visually appealing and provide benefits that keep clients coming back. Many clients want the ability to schedule appointments online, pay for services and purchase items, and quickly learn about current specials and discounts. A practice can easily and affordably create a site that includes these and other features.
  • Social networking. Sites such as Facebook and Twitter are no longer just for reconnecting with friends and sharing family photos. A growing number of businesses are wisely using these to their advantage to promote their services, announce discounts and specials, provide a seamless portal for clients to schedule or purchase services, maintain communication with clients and establish a forum for individuals to provide feedback and converse among themselves. Social networking pages provide a familiar and comfortable setting for clients and, in some instances, are becoming just as important a tool as a business website.
  • E-marketing. Whether it’s through a social networking site, e-mail message or professional newsletter, taking a proactive approach to your practice’s marketing can have an immediate impact. Individuals want to keep abreast of news and specials from their service providers, so they’ll appreciate the updates. Be sure to capture and maintain all of your clients’ e-mail addresses, as these will comprise your e-marketing mailing lists.

Take advantage of all the online tools available for your business. Your clients and your staff will thank you for it, and you’ll soon see the important role they play in helping your massage practice grow and succeed.

Eric Richard is the senior technology writer for Appointment-Plus, an online scheduling software application used by massage therapists to automate, streamline and improve their appointment-scheduling processes. The software has helped small and large businesses, Fortune 500 companies, colleges and universities, government agencies and other organizations schedule more than 60 million appointments since 2001.