The Secret to More Bookings

The Secret to More Repeat Bookings

Every business gets excited when a new customer walks through the door. The excitement grows when that customer completes their first purchase, and the experience is no different when your clients complete their first massage therapy session.

However, getting the customer through the door for the first time is only half the battle. The other half involves encouraging them to become a repeat visitor. Client retention is essential if your massage therapy business is to grow. Luckily the secret to getting more repeat bookings isn’t all that difficult to implement.

Turn on the trust

Your relationship with your clients is based on trust. They trust you to provide a high quality, personalized service and to put their needs first. Similarly, you trust your clients to provide accurate information, give honest feedback and spread the word about the service you provide.

Trust is ultimately earned through joint experience; the better the experience, the greater the level of trust, and, ultimately, the more positive the relationship. None of this happens overnight and it all requires a certain degree of hard work. You need to put just as much effort into this relationship as you would into any other.

Clear, consistent and constant communication

You don’t have to tell your customers every time you break a nail, but you do need to remind them regularly that you are there:

  • Send out weekly email newsletters
  • Create flyers for special offers or special events
  • Send reminder texts for appointments, or even something along the lines of ‘We haven’t seen you in a while.’
  • Create a blog and send out reminders for every new entry
  • Create a social media page or group and invite them to join

Social networks are excellent mediums because they can be used to create a two-way conversation between you and your existing clients. Social networking can also work as a way to recruit new clients through recommendations. A word of caution though; if you go down the social media route, remember that the conversation does have to go both ways. If you get questions and comments, you must respond and moreover, respond in good time. If your existing or potential clients feel they are being ignored, the trust you have built will disappear quicker than you can say ‘Lay down and relax.’

Gushing with gratitude

Without your clients you don’t have a business; it is really that simple, and it doesn’t hurt to let them know that you realize that this is the case. The easiest way to let you clients know that you appreciate them is to say thank you. While the words themselves are likely to be well received, adding a little incentive to visit you again will add the icing to the cake. Incentives that work well include:

  • Loyalty cards – points adding up to a free treatment
  • A percentage off of their next treatment
  • A half price treatment when they refer a friend
  • Money off if they tweet / retweet / share a status

Personalize

Massage therapy is by its very nature a very personal business. You get to know your clients better than most other businesses they deal with. Make the most of this relationship and add small touches that will make your clients feel special and feel appreciated. Some of the options include:

  • Addressing them by their preferred title / name – some clients may still prefer to be addressed as Miss or Mrs (Surname) rather than by their first name
  • Sending greetings to them on their birthday
  • Personalizing a special offer for them if they have a particular event or stressful situation coming up
  • Being interested when they tell you about their lives – try to remember key points to show you have listened

The feedback

As has already been noted, trust is important in any relationship, and it has to go both ways. One of the best ways to show that you trust and value your clients is to ask for, and respond to feedback. Requesting feedback does not have to feel like setting up an interrogation. You can provide anonymous cards for clients to fill in or create a quiz on your social media platform. The key is to ensure that clients don’t feel under pressure to either respond at all or respond in a certain way. Feedback is only valuable if it is freely and honestly given.

Many of these techniques are used in pre-sales marketing to recruit your clients in the first place. You probably realize that employ most of them without even thinking about it. The skill, however, is remembering to continue the process once they have visited you for the first time. Doing this will create relationships with longevity and, therefore, enhance the longevity of your business.



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Marketing Influence

Does Your Marketing Influence Bookings?

Marketing is a major factor in building your client base. Not only do you need to get people in the door, but you also need to get them coming back again and again. In order to do this you must appeal to the strongest factor of decision making. While logic and finance play a role, the most important element is emotion. More than any other factor, our decisions to make particular purchases are determined by emotional motivators.

Ask yourself why you don’t buy everything generic. Is the name brand version so much better? Not really, but it brings forward an emotional response in you. A particular brand of soda reminds you of fun times with friends, happy holidays with family and the carefree summers of your childhood. And that’s why you will pay 3 times as much for it. Not because its taste is that far superior, but because of the emotions that are tied to the product. Have you ever purchased an item you couldn’t really afford simply because you wanted it? It didn’t make sense logically or financially but emotional reasons override those factors. Emotion wins every time.

Here are a few simple changes to make in your marketing that will appeal to your prospective clients’ emotionality. Developing a powerful emotional motivation for new, as well as returning, clients will help you market yourself in a more meaningful way while also increasing conversion.

Discover what Brought Them to You

It isn’t enough to know that your client wants a massage. The secret to turning a customer into a repeat customer is discovering WHY they have sought out your service.

  • Do they want to alleviate pain?
  • Perhaps they need to eliminate stress and tension.
  • Do they consider a massage an indulgence or an integral part of their total health?

The more you know about why a client has come to you, the better you can match your services to their specific needs; and the better you can promote additional services and sessions tailored to those needs. Customization is key.

Seek out a Deeper Understanding

When you ask the client “why”, you are likely to get a short, to the point answer. Something like “I have pain in my back” or “I am stressed”.  You need to dig deeper. Asking follow-up questions serves two purposes. It aids in matching them to the best possible services, but most importantly, it gives them the feeling that you really care.

  • Ask how the issue is affecting their life.
  • Discover how this pain or injury is holding them back.
  • Without getting too personal, inquire about how the stress affects other areas of their life.
  • Explain that sometimes what they think is just a surface issue has deeper ramifications.

Giving the client a chance to explain the scope of their issue creates the sense that it is something that needs to be dealt with promptly. A sense of immediacy is another strong emotional tool.

Promote Solutions, NOT Services

What people want from their time with you is not really a massage. They are actually after the results of the massage. They are coming to you with a problem. You need to show them what solving that problem would bring into their life. Feelings are what you should be promoting, not techniques. It may be easy to say no to a massage—it is more difficult to say no to a better quality of life.

  • How would less pain improve their daily interactions?
  • What activities have they been missing out on that they want to get back to?
  • What feelings (strength, pride, relaxation) would they like to have again?
  • What is their ideal result?

Solving problems or bringing dreams to life is a nearly irresistible marketing message.

Show Them You are on Their Side

Sympathize with your client. Commiserate and let them know that the two of you are a team. Show them that their problems are your problems and you are going to tackle them together. Don’t use language that creates space between the two of you. Words like ‘we’, ‘us’ and ‘our’ show that you are invested in their wellness and recovery.

  • We need to get you back on the tennis court
  • We have a long way to go. But we know it is worth it
  • Taking care of ourselves helps us do a better job of taking care of others
  • It is important for us to make our health a priority

Again, it is all about creating an emotional connection. If you have similar experiences share it with your client—they will put more trust in you if they know that you can relate to what they are going through. Letting them know that you have been where they are and come through it will put them at ease. Being comfortable with you is a major factor in a client deciding to return to you.

Lastly, Bring it All Together

By following these steps you will create an emotional response in your client. They will see that you care about their health, that you are eager to help, and you want them to be well. They will see massage not just as a treatment but as a solution—a pathway to a better life, to getting back what they have been missing out on and feeling better in general. When promoted in this manner, the emotional appeal is too strong to resist. You’ll be re-booking and growing your business faster than ever.

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How to make your marketing copy better

How to Make Your Marketing Copy Better

Words are powerful tools. You can use them to attract potential customers. They can arouse consumer interest in your massage therapy service. They can convert potential customers into paying clients.

Copywriting uses words to persuade people to buy a product or service, or to influence their beliefs in some way. For a massage therapist, the goal for copywriting is to convince potential clients of the benefits of massage therapy, and to persuade them to try the massage therapist’s services.

Make It Modern

TV dominated the copywriting world in the last half of the 20th century. With the dawn of the 21st century, things started changing quickly as the Internet began to dominate the world of business. Copywriting has had to evolve to keep up with these changes.

The copywriting you use in your massage therapy business needs to reflect these changes.

  • Make a personal connection. One of the major changes brought by the rise of the Internet is a change in consumer perspective. Consumers are no longer impressed by impersonal marketing. They want to make a personal connection with the businesses they patronize. You can do this by telling your story. How did you come to be a massage therapist? Why do you like it so much?
  • Know your audience. In order for you to make a personal connection, you need to know your target client. Consumers use products or services that address wants, needs, desires, or pain points in their lives. A potential customer for a massage therapist may have problems with stress and need an occasional massage to relax. Another potential customer may use massage therapy as part of a self-care routine.
  • Ask your customers for testimonials. People like to hear what others say about a product or service. Another person’s perspective can convince them to try out something new. You can use testimonials to highlight the benefits that your massage therapy customers enjoy. You can have the customers write out their testimonial or put it on video.
  • Back up your written words with visual cues. Consumers do not like to read long pages of text. Pictures help to break up the text and give your readers a visual clue of what you are talking about. If you have a friend who is good with a camera, have him or her photograph a typical massage therapy session (with the client’s consent of course). You can also use stock photos if you do not want to disturb one of your client’s sessions.
  • Use video whenever possible. Studies have shown that landing pages with videos have a much higher conversion rate that pages with just text. That fact alone is reason enough to start using video. You can use video to outline the health benefits of massage therapy, to capture customer testimonials, or to offer various bits of advice on health living.
  • Do not use the hard sell. Most consumers today will not only ignore the hard sell. They will also view your business in a negative light if you use this tactic. They are far less likely to become a client. They are also more likely not to tell friends and family about your service.
  • Offer useful information. There is always pressure to sell, sell, sell. But, consumers do not like a pushy salesperson. They are more likely to trust you if you offer advice instead. Create a video offering tips on healthy life style changes that your clients can make to complement your service. Offer quick tips on stress relief. Demonstrate ways to reduce stress between massage therapy sessions. This will build trust with your potential clients and make them more likely to try your service.

Modern marketing still needs high quality copywriting. Make sure your copywriting reflects the modern needs of your target consumer.



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Boost Holiday Sales with eGift Cards

Do This Now to Increase Bookings by Years End

One of the fastest and most effective ways to increase your bookings and fill up your schedule is by selling and/or distributing gift certificates.  You can offer them at different dollar amounts, use them for a “Buy 1 Massage, Get 1 Free” promotion, and/or bestow them to your most loyal clients to share with their friends and family members.

Here’s a look at how and why gift certificates are perfect for your massage therapy practice:

They generate more revenue.

It’s easy to increase overall revenue by utilizing the benefits gained from selling gift certificates. In fact, gift certificates are an efficient referral-generating tool, especially for massage therapy. This is because when a gift card is purchased, not only is that specific session already paid for, but also it’s individually endorsing you and your practice. With all prices already being eliminated from the service that will be received, any client objectification is minimized. This is the opportunity for your skills to shine and be highlighted, since it’s not common for many businesses to have existing customers pay their money to bring in more clients for you. Highlighting your skills and making them shine, while also promoting unique deals such as gift certificates, will create a lot of buzz for your business and also set the cycle of new clients in flux.

They generate a big return on a little investment.

There are a bevy of benefits, depending on your financial needs at the time, that will affect many variables of your business when utilizing gift cards. Acquiring new clientele via gift certificates will cost you absolutely nothing, especially if you’re offering eGift Cards. Additionally, utilizing gift certificates will never result in any type of acquisition fee, such as placing an ad out and attempting to draw in more clients. This means you will never have to worry about making that fee back. It is also possible to maximize your redemption rate by having high-quality gift cards which clearly indicate usage restrictions on them and even offering them at discounted prices, when financially appropriate.

They can be used for different promotions, at different dollar value amounts.

Choosing to discount gift certificates at a financially acceptable time for your business is, strategically, a smart decision. Doing this will set the buying cycle in flux to not only generate repeat customers, but also ensure that you bring in many new clients. In addition to the temptation of a discounted price, chances are current clients will also recommend your place of business to any friends, family, or co-workers once they give them the gift card. The summer wedding season and holidays such as Christmas, Hanukkah, Valentine’s Day, and even Father’s Day or Mother’s day are perfect times to start incorporating gift card discounts.

If you plan it efficiently, by starting their campaigns at least six weeks ahead of time, utilizing holidays for strategic discounts will enhance your current clientele.

Offering eGift Cards on your website and at the front desk of your practice are great places to have gift cards available. Since they are at the place of checkout, chances are they will easily be noticed, especially if the cards are high-quality and have descriptive terms of usage on them. Since gift cards can be bought at the very last minute, often times they are extremely appropriate gifts for people to buy – especially if they have just remembered a gift-worthy occasion at a short notice. Of course, if you are seeking only to increase your transaction value then more focus should be placed on selling them at their usual fee. Having a set goal of an amount to sell will help bring dreams of creating a larger client base to life for massage therapists.

They easily link to other promotions and marketing initiatives.

Just because they can be an affordable and appropriate last-minute gift doesn’t mean that there should be no incentives to buy them. Even at discounted prices, everyone loves an incentive to buy and the more gift cards that people buy, the more clientele you bring in. Ideas such as treatment upgrades, or a free session available after a certain amount have been bought, are incentives to consider. Having an email newsletter that is sent out to your entire client base is an appropriate way to, not only efficiently make them aware of any incentives available to purchase gift cards, but also encourage them to take advantage of any special short-term deals available or how to apply for any discounts. All of this will generate positive reception, and having as many user-friendly ways as possible to strategically promote discounts, incentives, or special offers will generate more clientele.

While you can certainly have them available all year, the winter holiday season is a perfect time to promote your massage therapy practice’s distinct gift card program. Start promoting gift cards now and give yourself a year end bonus!


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Pinterest Marketing for Massage Therapists

Instantly Fix Your Pinterest Marketing with These 8 Easy Tips

From regularly emailing clients and prospects, mailing promotional postcards each season, social media and launching informative videos, to developing client loyalty and referral programs, there’s countless creative and effective ways to continue to promote your massage therapy practice. While each marketing effort should be purposeful to attract new clients while still maintaining the loyalty of established clients, each marketing initiative should also reflect your unique brandPinterest is another unique way to continue to differentiate your massage therapy practice from the others.

What is that?

Pinterest is a fabulous and free marketing tool that enables you to create a virtual cork board where you can “pin” and share the engaging and informative photos,  website pages, products and countless other things you find online that are of interest to you. If you’re new to this platform (where over 11 million other people have already created Pinterest accounts), here’s a few things to keep in mind before you launch your Pinterest presence:

Tell me again.

Remember you are using this platform as a marketing tool for your massage practice. So, you must purposefully and thoughtfully make wise and effective choices for every image you to pin/post to your page.

Say my name. Say my name.

There are two names you’ll have associated with your account: your username (used within the URL of your Pinterest page) and your account name (displayed on your page for all the world to see). So, when you are asked for your “first name” and your “last name” when creating your account, be sure to know ahead of time if you want to use your actual name or if you want potential and established clients to find you via you’re your massage therapy practice’s name (if that is different from your name).

Pick a perfect pic of yourself.

Post a photo of yourself that’s interesting and reflects who you are and how you want your clients to see you. While some companies prefer to include their logo on their Pinterest pages, for a massage therapist, it’s best to have your photo since you will be meeting with your clients in person.

Seconds anyone?

Include content that will keep people coming back to your page. The more interesting and unique images you share on your Pinterest page, the more viewers your page will get and the more they will be exposed to your brand. Make every addition to your board relevant.

Since 21% of Pinterest users have bought products and invested in services as a direct result of finding them on Pinterest, it’s important that you embrace this unique marketing platform. Once you’re set up, here’s some tips to help increase your traffic to your practice’s Pinterest boards. 

Include hashtags and keywords to describe your photos.

Although the marketing channel may look different than a longer blog post on your website, all streams lead to revenue if done correctly.  So, similar to what you do when writing SEO-keyword-rich blogs on your website, remember to include not only a search-friendly description of up to 200 characters, but also hashtags with the main ones. For example: Holiday Massage Therapy Trends: Give the Gift of a Body Massage. Buy 1 Massage, Get 1 Free via Victoria’s Spa Sensation’s Holiday Gift Card: #FreeMassage

Link the photo.

When you post a photo of your massage therapy practice’s gift card (or whatever the image is relating to your practice) link it back to the specific page on your website that directly relates to it.  There’s no need for the Pinterest visitor to be linked to your website’s homepage; link to the product or service being promoted. If your new website visitor wants to read your homepage, he/she can easily navigate to that destination.

Write creative, catchy, and clever titles for your boards.

Try using alliteration (repeating the same consonant sound at the beginning of the words): Making the Holiday Moments Merry!  Interesting titles get noticed!

Give credit where credit is due.

If you didn’t personally snap the photo that you’re including on your board, then you must:

  • Give credit to the person who captured the pictured
  • Link back to the website where you found it
  • Connect to the Pinterest board where you got it

Simply use the “@” symbol.  For example: Massage Gift Card @thebestmassagepractice.

Nit-pick, nit-choose, and nit-pin.

Only and always use high-quality photos. The images must be crisp, clean, and sharp. You don’t have to be a professional photographer to create (or have an eye for) focused photos (but it’s sure fun trying!) While there’s no limits on the height of a photograph on Pinterest, the image can’t be more than 600 pixels wide. Research has shown that taller images are re-pinned more often than shorter ones!

Like everything else you post on the internet, it should reflect your brand.



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Gift Card for Massage

[INFOGRAPHIC] Do You Offer Gift Certificates?

Looking to boost sales this holiday season? Of course you are! Gift cards are a powerful way to increase sales and provide flexible gifting options for your clients.

To really maximize your earning potential from gift cards, you really need to start promoting them now! More gift cards are sold during the holiday season than any other time of year.

See the infographic below to see the opportunity and value of offering and promoting gift cards for your massage therapy practice. Next week we’ll share some tips on promoting gift cards to boost sales and maximize profits.

Click To View Full-Sze Infographic

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MassageBook makes offering and promoting gift certificates a breeze! Try it free for 30 days!

Social Media Tips for Massage Therapists

13 Ways To Improve Your Social Media For More Bookings

Having a credible social media presence is vital for every business looking to standout in their field, and this absolutely stands true for massage therapists. Social media advertising is a proven and inexpensive way to increase business traffic. This article includes 13 ways for established and growing massage therapists to improve their online presence for more bookings.

Don’t Just Open a Bunch of Social Media Profiles

Maybe you do not have a social media presence or maybe it is small; however, don’t open an account on every media outlet. This will waste your time and money, unless you have the extra time to spend on these social networks. Start with a couple of sites and spend time to develop your standing on each site.

Figure out Which Networks Will Work Best For You

One of the best networks for a small business like yours is to have a Facebook page. Facebook is one of the largest and well known social media sites on the internet. Your future clients are already on Facebook!

Create a profile on LinkedIn—great place to reach professionals. After all, professionals need massages too!

Other big social media sites include Twitter, PinterestYoutube, Yelp, and Quora.

Find Out Where Your Clients Hang Out on the Internet

You already have a pool of clients and of course you want to make sure they are following you. Ask them what their favorite social media sites are. Perhaps they are more interested in PinterestYoutube and Facebook than Twitter or Yelp. Focus on to the social media sites your clients are on as well as your target market.

Build a Virtual Community

As the name implies, social media is a virtual community. When you start to build your business on such platforms, make the effort to start a community. Some ways to do this are:

  • If on Facebook, “Like” pages similar to yours and “Like” pages of people you know.
  • If on Pinterest, “pin” things you like and be active in the community.
  • If on Twitter, “retweet” messages that align with your business.

These activities show you don’t just want people to come to your page and follow, it shows that you are an active member of the internet community.

Gather Contacts and Emails

Offer a small promotion or a newsletter and ask people to sign up with their names and email addresses. People love free stuff and they enjoy entering contests. You can grow your email marketing list when you make a big announcement or talk about a promotion.

Don’t Post on Social Media When Everyone’s Off

Just because you might be awake at midnight, doesn’t mean your clients and potential clients are. Make a quick posting in between clients during the day or make time for posting right before you open the store. If you’re pressed for time, take an hour and schedule out a weeks worth of social posts. Tools like Hootsuite make this easy. The goal of using these communication channels is to make people see your messages.

Content is King

Ever heard of the phrase content is king? It is so true, but as a massage practice owner you can’t just post your hours and other postings related directly to you and your business and expect to get the attention of clients. You want to make sure you post almost every day. The kind of content people like:

  • Share massage benefits on your Facebook business page.
  • Post interesting quotes, facts, and articles on massage and massage therapy.
  • Post stories and other status updates from other local businesses.

Be Social

When someone asks a question or makes direct contact with you, respond back, even if it’s a simple “thank you.”

Host Online Only Events

Make your followers feel special by hosting events available only to the people who follow you. This could be a contest for a massage gift certificate or maybe some beauty care products.

Talk to Others

Social networking is all about socializing. If you like a supplier, make it known on their page. If you enjoy the restaurant next to your shop, highlight that through your social media business profiles.

Start a Conversation

Is the local sports team driving you nuts? Hop on to your Facebook page and ask your followers for their opinions. Engage with them with meaningful conversation. It breaks the ice—a conversation does not always have to be about massage.

People love Pictures

Everyone loves images. Share lots of real-time photos of your staff, yourself, your facility and post them for the world to see. If you’ve recently done a little redecorating, take some pictures and post them online.

Keep Track of Your Results

One way to do this is to see how many new followers you have and how many new bookings you received. If your business seems to be coming more from one media channel, focus a little more on that one and little less on the others.

As a massage therapist, the main goal is to expand your business. Yes, it takes a lot of work but a well maintained, highly visible online presence will put you and your services in the forefront of your follower’s mind which is exactly where you want to be.