Online Reviews

Guide to Earning Awesome Online Reviews

As a massage therapist, client reviews are vital to the growth of your business, and online reviews are the new “word of mouth.” Without them, you won’t see the growth that’s possible with just a little effort. Keep reading to learn why online reviews are crucial to your success, and how you can generate them.

Why You Need Online Reviews

Your clients’ experience with you will make or break your practice. Because each patient has different needs, your ability to cater to those needs is the most important part of your job. If you do that, clients are sure to come back for more sessions and…drum roll, please…REFER new patients! So the next best way to grow your business is to provide opportunities for satisfied patients to leave online reviews. Consider these statistics from the 2012 Local Consumer Review Survey:

  • 52% of consumers say positive reviews encourage them to use a business.
  • 52% claim they trust online reviews as much as recommendations from friends and family.
  • 76% of people seek online reviews to decide which businesses to use.

With numbers like that, it’s not hard to see the importance of online reviews. But what control do you have over this? Turns out, a lot.

How to Control Online Reviews

There are several things you can do to generate more online reviews. By completing the steps below, you’ll have a large database of awesome reviews.

Take Advantage of Social Media and External Review Sites

The most basic step to generating online reviews is to set up your presence on sites like Yelp! and Google Places, as well as social media sites. According to Socialnomics, 25% of results from online searches come from review sites, social media updates, and blogs. If that’s not convincing enough, eMarketer reports that 65% of consumers from ages 18 to 24 take information from social media into consideration when making a decision. To capitalize on this, dedicate space on your social media pages for reviews, improve your presence on review sites, and ask satisfied clients to leave feedback.

Craft a Space for Reviews on Your Website                       

Once a potential customer has found you online, she’ll most likely want to check out your website. Let’s face it: websites are the first impressions of the online world. They leave either a negative or positive impact on clients – both current and potential. Having a space on your where current patients can easily leave reviews and potential patients can easily read those reviews will bump up your number of positive impressions. Here’s how:

  • Create a “Testimonials” section.
  • Set up a form that makes it effortless for clients to leave feedback.
  • Link this form to your homepage so it’s easily accessible.

Not only does this generate good reviews, but it helps you avoid bad ones by providing an outlet for unsatisfied clients.

Utilize What You Already Have: Email

Creating an email campaign asking for reviews may seem a bit desperate, but with the right wording and the right timing, it’s an effective way to get what you need. Once a patient finishes a session with you, send a follow-up email asking for feedback. Again, make it a simple process – maybe a survey – so that it doesn’t take up too much time. Additionally, be sure there are links in your email signature to all the places people can leave reviews. This is a simple, one-time task that can have a lasting impact. Note: Remember to get permission to share clients’ feedback online.

Make the Most of Your Blog

User-generated content makes great material for blog posts. Once you’ve collected enough good reviews from clients, create a series of posts titled something like “Patient Reviews.” Following this method not only gives you content for blog posts, but it also allows you to incorporate reviews from your other online outlets like social media and your homepage. As a result, you’ll have a permanent spot of reviews that’s easy for clients to find.

Customize Your Efforts to Your Point of Sale

Just because you do business in person rather than online, it doesn’t mean you can’t encourage online reviews. In fact, most marketing professionals agree that asking for feedback right after a sale (or in your case, a session) is the best time to get great results. Clients are on a high from their massages, meaning any reviews they leave will reflect that feeling. Get the reviews you need by utilizing comment cards or other paper formats, or by verbally directing them to the review section of your website.

The End Result

With the methods outlined above, you’ll have a full array of awesome reviews to utilize in all your marketing efforts. It’s been proven that online reviews are crucial to consumers, so why not take advantage of that to grow your massage therapy business?

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Email Marketing Templates for Massage Therapists

MassageBook Adds Over a Dozen New Email Marketing Templates

MassageBook, the leading massage practice management and scheduling software solution for professional massage therapists and bodyworkers, adds over a dozen new email marketing templates for massage therapists to use in their email marketing campaigns.

“Massage Therapists are busy. Time is money, and often it doesn’t make sense for therapists to spend time creating email templates from scratch. Our goal is to build a comprehensive library of ridiculously easy to use tools to save massage therapists time, while executing more effective marketing campaigns to help drive more clients in the door,” commented Mark Volkmann, CEO of MassageBook.

MassageBook has email templates for:

  • Seasonal Holidays and Sales Opportunities
  • Newsletters
  • Holidays
  • Gift Certificates
  • And More!

Email marketing is one of the best ways to keep clients coming back. Email marketing also delivers a healthy ROI. In fact, for every $1 spent, $44.25 is the average return on email marketing investment (according to ExactTarget). MassageBook provides bodywork professionals pre-made, optimized marketing tools needed to attract new clients and increase return visits. With holidays, birthdays, anniversaries etc. around the corner, now is the perfect time to increase sales with email marketing.

About MassageBook

MassageBook was created specifically for professional massage therapists and bodyworkers. The comprehensive back end bodywork practice software solution gives professionals the tools they need to attract new clients, retain existing ones, and keep the business end of things humming. Massage Book includes essential tools such as online booking, scheduling, SOAP notes, a directory listing on MassageBook, payments and more. Visit http://www.massagebook.com/marketing/home for more details.

Learn

What Have You Learned From Your Best Clients?

Every day there are new opportunities to increase your marketing reach. You can run numerous campaigns, such as blogging, click ads, real commercial campaigns and events. As a massage therapist, you can also give out entry level discounts and business cards, as you are providing a tangible health resource that your customers can use. So how can you learn from your customer base, and how can you use this information to expand your business?

Marketing

To succeed in marketing, you need to tightly focus on specific goals. Your marketing framework should be scalable and be easily replicated. Whether you are just beginning or advanced, you must have a tightly focused marketing technique. Without direction you could be wasting time and money. Let’s explore how to focus your marketing and leverage your customer base.

First Step to Success

The first step in becoming a successful marketer, and ultimately grow your business, is to get to know your customers and why they are YOUR customers! This means learning from your best clients in an effort to understand why they use your service, and how you can use them as a template for your audience and prospective new customers. Your marketing machine must be laser focused on your customers to achieve the best possible results. To do that you must gather information and do research by asking questions.

What to Ask your Customers

Your marketing should always begin with how you can provide value. Here are a few questions to ask first:

  • Who are the people using your service?
  • What do your customers value?
  • Why do they need massage?
  • What do they feel when they come to you for a massage?
  • If they are not your client, are they currently using another therapist?
  • What will it take to make them your client?

Learn from Your Best Clients

Have a serious conversation with your best clients, and ask them a few questions. These questions can provide insight on how your service is helpful outside of the normal everyday visits.

  • How did they find out about you?
  • Why did they choose you and the type of massage therapy you provide?

You will find that in many cases your best clients came to you because of a pressing issue in their own lives – such as back pain. You will also find that it didn’t really matter whether they found you online, or in a brick-and-mortar building, because your services are what they were seeking. This will give you some direction for your marketing, because you will know that some of your services have benefited existing customers, so likely it will benefit new customers as well.

Learn Their Why

Ultimately, what you want to learn from your best clients is why they choose you and your services. For example, do they sit at a desk all day? Do they have severe lower back pain because of this? If so, massage therapy is likely the best treatment they’ve found for relief. This information can help you craft marketing messaging that targets people with desk jobs and lower back pain. Once you learn what motivates them, then you’ll know the best way to market to them.

Summing Up

It is vitally important to focus on your customers, know their why and how best to market to them. Find ways to research their pain points, and use your marketing to highlight massage therapy as the solution to their pain.

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You Had Me At Hello

You Had Me at “Hello!” ~ Building Your Personal Brand – Part 4

Because your particular chosen profession requires you:

  • to meet with your clients in person,
  • to engage in face to face conversations with them,
  • to have them come to your brick-and-mortar location, and
  • to physically touch them ~

Your professional image plays thee leading role in the success (or failure) of your massage therapy practice. If they’re greeted at your building’s entranceway by the ever-texting teen-aged receptionist you hired, if you’re sporting the same shirt you wore when you first accidentally dripped some BBQ sauce on it three days ago, if your fingernails are still filled with dirt from the gardening you did over the weekend, if your breath smells like an ashtray, if your massage therapy room looks like it hasn’t been cleaned ~ ever, or if you are nowhere to be found when your client arrives for his/her scheduled massage therapy appointment ~ you can rest assured knowing that the professional image you chose to share with the world just cost you your reputation, your future clients, and your career.

Here’s a look at specific actions you can take to create a truly stellar, shining, and impressive professional image:

Be consistent.

If you plan to schedule appointments and be available from 7:30 AM through 8 PM four days a week, then your practice must open during those times.  If the weather sometimes gets scary and the weatherman recommends everyone stay home, make sure you have your clients’ contact information so that you can let them know that, due to the potentially-dangerous weather, your practice won’t be open today.

If you always welcome walk-ins (along with scheduled appointments), make sure you have the staff available to handle those unexpected clients.  A woman who wants to bring her sister from out of town to visit you on a Tuesday night at 7PM, must be able to do that knowing that you are always open at 7 PM on Tuesday nights and that you welcome walk-ins.

If the first Monday of every month you offer a free workshop in  your building’s conference room on Top Ways to Reduce Stress, you must ensure that you are there every first Monday to present an engaging and informative talk ~ whether one person shows up or 50.

If you charge $75 to one client, don’t charge her brother $25; give them both a special deal, charge them the same, or reward her for the referral.

Be consistent across the board with how you look, how you present yourself, how you run your business, and what you offer your clients. They’ll appreciate, respect, and count on you to be the ever-available life raft amid life’s stressful and stormy days.

Be Creative.

Ever walk into a doctor’s, lawyer’s, or accountant’s office and think that it looks as if they’ve rented the space for the day because it lacks personality? Don’t make your practice like that.  Be creative in all you do and in every way you present yourself to your clients and the world.  From your website design and the engaging blogs on it, to your building’s landscape design, your waiting room, the scent of your practice, the music you play, and the pictures on the wall ~ each and every component of your brand should never be cookie cutter, but always creative.

People gravitate toward creative professionals.  They like to listen to their ideas, opinions, and suggestions. Be that creative massage therapist that your clients, your colleagues, your neighbors, your associates, and everyone on your life’s path gravitates toward. Join professional groups so that you can brainstorm with others, publish creative and inspiring newsletters, associate with other creative individuals who inspire, uplift, and motivate you.

Be memorable.

Think of your favorite bakery, sandwich shop, or shoe store. Think of the pizza delivery person, the dog groomer, the mailman.  Throughout any given day you meet and are greeted by individuals that just seem to have a ray of sunshine following them; they’re memorable. They’re kind, patient, thoughtful. They look you in the eyes when you talk to them, they have a firm handshake; they make you feel like the most important person in the whole universe – even if it’s just for the moment, the hour, or the day you are with them. Be that memorable person, naturally. Your clients will rave about you; they’ll  refer their family and friends to you, and they’ll look forward to the next time they’re in your company.

Be the face in a professional headshot.

Part of your brand is your image. Whether you put your photo on your business card, your newsletters, your LinkedIn profile, or your website, it must be an amazingly-awesome headshot that is 100% professional but doesn’t necessarily look like it is!  A professional “headshot whisperer” can capture a photo of you as you are, as you see yourself, and as you want others to see you.  That’s a hard feat to accomplish. Considering that pic of yourself at the restaurant with your friends? Or the one with you standing on the stairs with 7 other people? Or the selfie you took this morning on your deck? Fugettaboutit! You need a creative and professional photo. Period.

Be ever-present in your online presence.

From your website to your LinkedIn profile, your Facebook page, your email blasts, your signature,  and everything in-between that is online, think before you post and proofread before you post.  If you have a Facebook page, make it a business page. (If you have a personal Facebook page, keep it “private” and only accessible to family and close friends – no clients!) Don’t post pictures of yourself in bathing suits, drinking, smoking, or acting in some way you wouldn’t be happy to have your great-grandma see. For every blog you post, make it engaging, interesting, and informative; proofread it over and over. Post regularly, but professionally and creatively. You can hire a professional writer to do this for you if you want to be sure it’s perfect!

Your professional image does matter; plan accordingly!



Building Your Personal Brand

Imitation + Inspiration = Ingenuity: Building Your Personal Brand – Part 3

“No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.”

These words of John Donne are as true today as they were when he first wrote them in the 17th century. Everyone’s connected; everyone’s a part of the whole. As a result, your decisions and your aspirations are naturally inspired, enhanced, and influenced by those who have gone before you and those in the world with you now. Whether from meeting, reading about, hearing stories involving, or witnessing with your own eyes, they’ll always be those on your life’s path you want to emulate. You learn that what they’ve accomplished, you’d like to accomplish, too. You discover that how they operate their massage therapy business, is just what you had imagined for yours. While imitation of others is the highest form of flattery, and while following in someone else’s steps to success can often lead you to success as well, true joy in the business world comes with embracing what inspires you personally and then creating something ingenious from it ~ your own personal style, voice, and uniqueness.

Here’s how to surround yourself with those who inspire you and create your own success:

Step #1 Make a list of people you admire.

Just like business plans and dream boards, literally making a list of people who inspire you will help you to be more like them. On your list, include other massage therapists and owners of massage therapy businesses. In addition, think of relatives, friends, acquaintances, neighbors, colleagues, peers, and celebrities you admire. Add all of them to your list. Next to each name, write down what those people do for a living or, if they’re retired, what field they were in before retirement. Last, detail the reasons why you admire each person that’s on your list.

  • Do they make sound business decisions?
  • Are they “idea” people?
  • Are they millionaires?
  • Are they dependable?
  • Trustworthy?
  • Philanthropic?
  • Can you count on them to always be there no matter what?
  • Are they selfless?
  • Kind?
  • Creative?
  • Spiritual?
  • Generous?
  • Funny?
  • Forgiving?
  • Flexible?
  • Easy to be around?

Identify what it is - specifically – about all the people on your list that makes you admire them.

Step 2: Remove your rose-colored glasses and take another look at your list.

Now that you have your detailed list of all the people you admire and would like to emulate in some way, take a closer look at each person on your list. Do they own 5 lucrative and vastly-popular massage therapy locations, but you know that they haven’t taken a vacation in 5 years? Do they share their time and attention with all sorts of community events and activities, yet they’ve been renting a small apartment for years? Have they published several books about massage therapy, done speaking tours, and create new TV commercials every month, but don’t seem to have any time for their spouse and kids? Are they able to work normal business hours, enjoy time with their family and friends, and have a joyful and meaningful personal life and professional life? While you might first admire the most financially successful massage therapist in your community, perhaps when you take a closer look you’ll discover he’s been divorced 5 times and is often found cranking his elbow at the local watering hole. Not everyone is as they seem; look at the whole picture before you decide you want to be just like someone else.

Step #3: Create a “Top 3” list.

While you can certainly still admire and emulate certain qualities, the work ethic, and character traits of everyone on your list, pick 3 people whose personal and professional lives most succinctly match what you imagine for yourself. If you want to be married and have children and run a successful massage therapy practice, the top three people on your list should not all be single jet-setters who hire others to run their offices. If you want to be involved in the community and of service to others beyond your clients, the top 3 on your list should also reflect those actions in their own lives.

Step #4: Identify the steps your Top 3 took.

It is difficult to emulate someone else if you have no idea how they got where they are. Meet with, interview, or read about the top 3 people on your list and see the path they took that led them to be outstanding in their personal and professional lives. Did they earn advanced degrees? Did they open multiple massage therapy locations? Did they go into business with a partner? Do they have a website that they update on a regular basis and that’s what draws a lot of new clients in? Did they secure investors to help them launch their first practice? Did they connect with vendors to sell soothing candles, minimalistic music CDs, therapeutic pillows, and other stress-freeing products at their practice? Identify the steps the people you admire took. Follow their tracks. Discover as much as you can about their personal and professional journeys that led them to a place you’d like to be.

Step #5: It’s ok to venture off the marked path.

Don’t plan (or expect) to follow the paths exactly of all those you admire. It just cannot be done, so there is no use tossing and turning when you find yourself straying from the directions. You are your own person with your own experiences, personality, quirks, strangeness, and charm! Embrace it! If a person you admire gives lectures, participates in conferences, and publishes an industry magazine twice a year – those are things you can do, too. If, however, one of the massage therapist you admire has her practice open 6 days a week, you don’t have to do that. You can still provide exceptional client service and earn a wonderful income working four days a week! Be inspired and influenced by those you admire, then combine that with your own personal style, skills, and aspirations.



Understand Your Clients

Should You Refine Your Approach?

To really grow your massage practice and ensure that your marketing strategies are actually achieving their intended ends, you need to understand your clients more intimately. There’s no two ways about it.

If you create blog content and circulate newsletters with great promotions and updates about upcoming services that you’re going to unveil in coming months, you could actually be doing yourself a disservice.

How? By potentially not taking into account where your clients get their information, the scalability of your marketing, or losing that personal touch. Everything in marketing in centered around the client, and in massage it’s especially important not to lose touch with that.

Marketing 101: Understand Your Clients

To find out what works and what doesn’t and to avoid squandering time, energy and money on promotions and referral programs that don’t have an obvious payoff, it’s important to get in closer contact with clients to your massage practice.

You want to find out the values, behavioral patterns and even personality quirks of all of your clients to ensure that referral programs and targeted promotions actually payoff and lead to higher monthly revenue for your massage practice.

Sometimes the connection between listening to clients and implementing new programs can be tangential.

For instance, if you notice that through networking and referrals from other professionals are ballooning the amount of clients that you see every month, then it may be time to incorporate a systematic referral program into your website’s design.

It’s really about paying attention to what works and what doesn’t, and retaining the former while discarding the latter.

If you notice that bundled deals through your website are leading to more buzz around your practice, then you might want to retain that practice and let more people know about similar discounts through social media, newsletters and your blog.

Value Propositions and Anticipating Needs

A value proposition is simply a promise of value between you and your clients. It helps to fully understand upfront the kinds of benefits the client hopes to glean from interacting with your practice. Do your clients want extended hours? Free hot wraps? These are questions to ask yourself and anticipate to provide higher value to clients.

You should also try to foresee the kinds of discounts and services that customers are really on the lookout for.

Make sure to put clients in contact with promotions if you notice that their current recurring weekly massage corresponds to a loyal client discount. Also, you could tell clients about similar massages. This all enhances trust and value from the client’s perspective.

Streamline Decision Making and Exchanges

Understanding how your clients learn more about your practice and how they make the decision to pursue your services is critical to anticipating any concerns or questions that they could have and fostering a closer relationship with your clients.

Try incorporating a suggestion or forum section into your massage practice’s website to allow clients more of a voice when it comes to the services and the value that your practice can offer them. Do they want more discounts? Different types of massages? Create an open-ended dialogue with clients to find out.

Gauge Each Action and Measure ROI

Return on investment (ROI) simply relates to how well your investment in various marketing endeavors increases your profits, or leads to a higher return on your initial investment.

A lot of websites today that host your massage practice’s essentials have built-in tools to calculate how well social media marketing, referral programs and bundled deals improve your business from one month to the next. Take advantage of these tools.

Be realistic about how you measure ROI, though. Some discounts take time to materialize while others should be evaluated immediately and retained, enhanced or scrapped depending on their long-term viability to your practice.

Understanding Your Client’s Tendencies

If your communication with clients is slackening, you need to analyze every phase of the client’s decision making and their interaction with your practice to plug up the leaks and turn lukewarm clients into satisfied ones.

Anticipating your clients needs and offering services that are tailored to their previous requests, expectations and personality is a great way to engage clients and offer more value.

You also want to measure ROI on all aspects of your marketing – everything from social media integration to how well your newsletters are reaching clients – and set realistic expectations moving forward with your practice.



MassageBook Mobile

MassageBook Announces New Mobile Software For Massage Therapists

MassageBook, the leading massage practice management software solution for professional bodyworkers, opens the Beta version of their Mobile App to all its customers. MassageBook Mobile enables individual service providers and business owners to easily manage their schedules and accept payments – all from their smartphones.

“The team has worked extremely hard building a first class mobile app. By releasing it to all of our customers, we’ve addressed their number one request: Letting them run their day to day business from their pockets. We’re eager to get feedback and find ways we can improve what we feel is already an amazingly easy to use portable tool for business success,” says Mark Volkmann, CEO of MassageBook.

The MassageBook Mobile App complements the fully featured back end solution for service based businesses by allowing massage and bodywork professionals to manage their schedules and payments from their smartphones. MassageBook Mobile allows massage therapists to:

  • Easily view their schedule and always know “what’s next.”
  • Book in-office and outcall appointments with a few taps of the finger.
  • Accept online bookings and time management.
  • View recent calendar activity such as new bookings and cancellations – Real-time activity updates.
  • Check out clients – Make payments and accounting a breeze.
  • View and modify client details – Save important notes about your clients.
  • Keep their MassageBook schedule synched with their Google calendars.
  • All from a smartphone!

Massage therapists are busy; having the ability to manage core business functions from their smartphones is crucial. “Our goal with the mobile app was to give our customers the ability torun their practice day to day from their pockets.,” added Mark. MassageBook Mobile is fast and simple to use, allowing massage therapists to extend their scheduling functionality from their desktop to mobile devices. “Mobile is enormously important. Whether you offer outcall services or have a storefront, having real time schedule information and being alerted to any changes immediately is important.” explains Mark.

MassageBook Mobile makes it quick and easy for the busy massage therapist to manage their business calendars, view client details, be notified of schedule changes, and even accept payments.

About MassageBook

MassageBook was created specifically for massage therapists and bodyworkers. The comprehensive back end bodywork practice software solution gives professionals the tools they need to attract new clients, retain existing ones, and keep the business end of things humming. Massage Book includes essential tools such as online booking, scheduling, SOAP notes, a directory listing on MassageBook, payments and more. Visit http://www.massagebook.com/marketing/features-biz-mobile for more details.



Gift Card

How To Leverage Gift Cards For More Sales

If you’ve ever scrambled for that perfect gift come Christmas and felt increasingly nervous as December 25th rolled around, then you’re not alone.

The fact that US consumers spent over 20 billion (with a “B”) on gift cards over the previous year shows that gift cards can help individuals as much as small businesses.

Gift Cards and Your Practice

Consumers spent around forty dollars on each gift card they purchased last year. Here’s what you need to know, though – gift cards aren’t the I’m-not-sure-what-to-get-you gift that they once were.

A gift card can actually deliver a personalized experience and put clients in closer contact with your massage practice.

Offering gift cards from your practice’s online storefront is a great way to generate buzz and provide clients a gift solution when birthdays or Christmas rolls around.

Personalizing the Experience

To address the elephant in the room, yes, gift cards can still potentially be seen as a last-resort gift that the faint-hearted take up in a moment of well-meaning desperation.

Generic gift cards from electronics stores are a dime a dozen (well, not literally, unless they’re expired!) and probably come up short most Christmas mornings. Gift cards for small businesses – and especially small businesses like restaurants or massage practices – can definitely deliver smiles and return visits if used in the right way.

Gift cards should be personalizable and readily available through your online storefront and brick-and-mortar massage practice.

If a relative or friend can walk into your practice and personalize a gift card redeemable for one Swedish massage, that ultimately translates to a more heart-felt present to someone and a way to expose your practice to the public and generate good press.

Price Tiers and Gift Cards

Personalize gift cards in your massage practice by offering gift cards at graduated price points ($50, $100, etc.) and, more importantly, provide gift cards that are redeemable for increasingly premium massage services.

If you offer gift cards online, make sure that you are offering gift cards based on both price (e.g., $50) and personalized services (e.g., two Swedish massages). Offering customers the chance to add personalized messages to the gift card can also be a nice touch.

The reason people purchasing personalized gift cards favor the latter route – choosing a gift card that promises an experience like a deep tissue massage – is that the general public often doesn’t know the monetary value of different kinds of massages and individuals are therefore unsure how much to allocate to a gift card.

Added Reasons for Personalized Cards

It’s also more personal to give someone a gift card that promises a certain kind of massage package versus a strict monetary value.

As a worst case scenario, the amount that an uninformed shopper picks could be less than the amount that the eventual gift card recipient wants to spend at your practice. Having the gift card holder shell out the difference is definitely a recipe for disaster.

Instead, make it easy for the client to snatch up a gift card that’s tailored to their wants. Walk clients through different services your practice offers and link them up with services that are sure to please.

Often people will come to your practice with a pre-set amount that they’re willing to spend on friends and family as a gift. Take this into account and start offering clients gift card deals based around these pre-set spending limits.

Get the Word Out

It’s also a good idea to let people know that your practice actually offers gift cards. Tell staff to inform clients about gift cards. Make sure an icon to purchase personalized gift cards is prominently displayed on your website.

Finally, send around gift card and other promotional offers in an email or social media marketing campaign. Something as simple as “get your holiday shopping done early with personalized gift cards…” could float the idea to people who are idea-strapped around the holidays.

To go one step further, though, offer promotions in addition to making it clear that you offer gift cards. Promise a discounted massage for people who purchase a gift card worth $50 or more before December 14th, for instance.

Timing is Everything

In life and the small business world, timing is everything. Make sure to send out promotional offers in time for people to actually purchase gift cards from your practice before they’ve made other gift decisions. This will give people early peace of mind and ultimately drive up leads, conversions and good press for your practice.



Increasing Rates

One of the Quickest Ways to Make More Money as a Massage Therapist

We all know that the overarching goal behind massage therapy is to make clients feel more relaxed and free of unneeded tension. That goal is even the primary one for most massage therapists.

The catch, though, is that massage therapy is a business that doesn’t flout the tenets of commerce. Massage should be a win-win for you and the client.

Raising My Rates?!

It’s important to bear in mind that we all have bills to pay and that massage shouldn’t be charity. You can give clients a great massage and not go hungry yourself.

How? Simply by cutting your overhead and taking in more money than you spend on activities that maintain your practice (rent, salaries, etc.).

There are ways of raising your rates and offering clients deal bundles that can put you closer to realizing your monthly income goals.

Rationale Behind Raising

You should especially consider raising your rates if your clients are satisfied with the service you’ve been providing and you’re taking on a sufficient amount of work in a given week.

Clients realize, if only intuitively, that real wages have largely stagnated over the last few decades and that a dollar doesn’t stretch as far as it used to.

You can raise your rates very marginally at first and see how clients respond to the changes. By raising your rates just five or ten dollars per hour session, you could bring in a few hundred dollars more per week.

You should still be upfront with upcoming rate changes in person, though social media and on your bulletin boards or online newsletter.

Itemize Your Monthly Expenses

If you’re already fully booked (or close to it) and you have a phone book full of satisfied clients, there’s a great chance that raising your rates slightly is the way to go.

That said, you should itemize all of your maintenance expenses (office rent, utilities, etc.) and then determine how much money you need to go beyond financial viability to thriving and crafting your ideal practice.

Take into account one-off expenses like uniforms or a massage table as well as mandatory annual costs like renewing your license to determine how much money you need to thrive from week-to-week with your current client base.

Supply and Demand

You shouldn’t be afraid of spying on the competition, so to speak. Many massage practices have a strong online presence. You can check out the rates, bookings and number of massage practices in your area to help determine your own rates.

If, for instance, your massage practice is in an area that was hard-hit by the recent recession, then substantially raising your rates might not be the best way to retain clients in the short term.

If, however, you have a fully booked calendar, and other massage practices doing great business in your area and charging even higher rates than your own practice, it might be time to email a newsletter to clients telling them that your rates for X massage are changing by Y amount every month.

You might also be surprised to find out that lowering your rates isn’t always a surefire strategy for having clients queuing up around the block of your practice. People expect to pay for quality and it’s been shown that lowering your rates doesn’t necessary equate to more clients coming through the doors.

Add Value to Attract Clients

If you offer clients more value and reason to come to your practice, then it’s likely they’ll take very well to a slight increase in your rates. Let me explain.

We should all realize that 21st century technologies like massage chairs, creams, pads and other professionals like chiropractors can encroach on massage’s territory. Does it have to though?

Probably not. Here’s why – clients can get benefits through a referral program, complimentary services like refreshments, and extended night hours to suit their schedules.

These all add value in the client’s eyes and put your practice a cut above the competition, which definitely goes a long way in justifying a few more dollars per session.

Summing up Rate Changes

Massage therapists are business professionals like those in any other industry. Therefore, the basics of business apply to massage like any other profession – when you have more money coming in (e.g., through more sessions and higher rates) and less money flowing out (e.g., through rent), then you reap higher profits.

You can raise your rates without causing a three-ring circus but there are some important steps to follow. Be upfront with clients about impending rate changes.

Research the massage practices in your area, take a look at rates and really ask yourself how much you’re charging and evaluate the value you’re adding to clients. Your practice may be worth much more than you think.

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Networking

How To Grow Your Practice Through Networking

In this generation almost everyone networks, even housewives. Although it isn’t complicated, if you are doing it for your business and not just for personal benefits, it does require a few extra steps to guarantee efficiency. There are many technical ways such as various blogging sites, Facebook and Twitter; just to name a few but don’t forget about the good old fashioned meet and greet. Here are five tips that will have you networking like a pro:

1. Understanding your Target Market

Research, research, research! Through research you can find networking opportunities to mingle with your target market. Local functions or events in your area that will have your target clients or social media that can keep you updated and allow you to update others of your professional agendas.  This is not about just meeting as many people as you can but about meeting the right people.

Research the type of careers people would have that would need your services. If the massage you specialize in relaxes people then zone in on careers that are particularly tiring or stressful.

Since word of mouth is the key element of networking, get to know one or two people in as many fields as possible. The real estate agent you bought that house from may have a client who plays sports may be in the market for a deep tissue massage, which just happens to be your area of expertise! One of your clients son’s may have a vehicle that broke down, which you could recommend your mechanic who is so thrilled he may send his wife to you for a massage. Card exchange with other massage therapists also because if the client needs a massage that isn’t your specialty, you have a good referral, which may come back to you in a referral via the client as well as the massage therapist.

Look up website that is regularly updated that can be useful knowledge for your field. There is the ever so popular Craigslist and Facebook but there are other sites that specialize in your fields that you can find very useful and will allow you advertisement.

As you can see, the reasons and areas to research are endless and would need to be updated semi regularly. These are good reasons why if you are going to network, be in it for the long haul. Be knowledgeable of exactly what you bring to the table.

2. Know your Strengths—Know What People Want

Networking is the most powerful marketing tool when it is a win-win with both parties involved. By knowing your strengths, you can give them your best and help others build their clientele, by doing so; they will do the same for you, in return. It’s a scratch my back and I will scratch yours world but it works!

3. Set Networking Goals

Set goals for yourself prior to going into anything. Don’t walk into a gala or event unprepared. Set goals and know what you want to accomplish, otherwise you will be just wandering aimlessly around, gathering some numbers and by the end of the day you haven’t gotten anywhere.

4. You have to Give to Get

If you selflessly give to someone, it will come back to you, according to “Law of Reciprocity.” Whether if is in monetary, services, time or effort. With this in mind, when you are doing unto others, do as you would want done to you. If you can help someone else expand their clientele via referral, the likelihood that they will refer someone to you, when needed, is strong—thus expanding your clientele.

Offer discounts for birthdays, anniversaries, weddings and certain areas of employment. Possibilities are endless when contriving various marketing strategies via networking.

5. Follow up Swiftly

It doesn’t take much effort to stay on top of following up. From the comfort of you laptop you can send and email or a post on their Facebook page. However the more personable you are, the more likely you will build a solid connection. Have coffee or lunch to celebrate a new shared client is a good way to ensure that someone feel more comfortable with you, and then they will be more likely to refer or obtain your services for themselves. Avoiding a follow up may just make your previous network attempts in vain.

Networking is not instant gratification, like all great things—it will pay off with a little work. By putting the time in to gain the trust that client needs, preparing yourself to “ride or die” networking, you will be a pro waiting on the rewards to soar in.

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