11 ways to reach new massage therapy clients
Growing your independent massage therapy practice is exciting and, let’s face it, a whole lot of hard work. One of the biggest challenges for any practitioner is finding new clients, whether you’re thinking ahead to graduation day or you’re an experienced therapist looking to expand your clientele.
I’ve pulled together a laundry list of ways to find new clients and grow your business. It's a mix of online methods with some traditional networking techniques to help you get the creative juices flowing. If you're just getting started, tackle this list a bit at a time. If you're new to using the web and social media for your practice, pick one or two ideas that seem the most doable and then work forward after you've had success. Hope you enjoy it and let us know in the comments your secrets to getting new people in the door!
- Identify your clientele
This is a very helpful exercise to get started with. Who is your ideal customer? Medical/non-medical? Cash only? High-end salon clients? You may be open to any and all who are willing to pay, but take some time to think about who your ideal client is, get into their head, and figure out how best to reach that person.
- Go beyond business cards
There are so many possibilities for coordinating your business card with other marketing swag. We loved this idea from a massage therapist in Olympia, Washington. She said "I posted business cards on my neighborhood bulletin boards and participated in all the neighborhood functions. I always wore T-shirts made from Vistaprint.com that match my business card. The front had the services I offered and my name, the back had the business name. Neighbors always asked about it." Which takes us nicely to the next point...
- Schmooze it up!
Get involved with groups where your target market is hanging out. Is your ideal client a well-to-do stay at home mom? Where's that mommy hanging out? At the salon, the library, neighborhood cleanup day, the gym, 5K walk/runs? Yes, there's always joining the chamber of commerce, but we know you can get more creative than that!
- High-end salons
Another great piece of advice from a seasoned therapist is to get friendly with fancy salons in your area. "I became a customer at several high end salons in my area who didn't already have on-site massage. I got friendly with them and asked if I could cross-market. For example, salons I contacted had an open house and I was there offering free or $1-per-minute chair massage. That worked the best." So go on, get friendly!
- Play nice with chiropractors
A therapist in Boise, Idaho has this bit of wisdom to share, "Do talk to chiropractors and MDs open to massage. Most of my new business comes from chiropractor or MD prescriptions. Here's an interesting quote from an article I just read: As perceptions regarding the multiple benefits of massage evolve, it’s interesting to note that some of its most prevalent evangelists are doctors. This trend will continue as more doctors refer patients to massage therapists and see how it can help their patients recover from injuries, alleviate pain and ease stress."
- Register with Google Places
Well, if you know us at all, then you knew this was coming. We've just eased you past the traditional marketing and networking world, into the internet zone! We've talked about this before, in the context of mobile search. Registering your business is such a simple step to getting your website and contact information found...by the exact people who are out there looking for your services. So go to Google Places right now and do it.
- Keyword search
How many people are searching for massage in your city? What are the magic words and phrases they're using to find a therapist or learn about massage? Well, I'm glad you asked, because this information is at your fingertips, thanks to our good friend the free Google Keyword Tool. Use those popular keywords and phrases on your website, in blog posts, page titles, urls, and metadata. Wait, if I lost you at "metadata" please keep reading. This is also a good opportunity to see if people in your area are in fact using the internet to search for your services. Depending on where you live, your target market may not be the tech-savvy, Googling type.
- 'Can't refuse' offer
When new people find you, make sure they have every reason to book an appointment. You might offer a free 30-minute massage to new clients. Set yourself apart and get clients in the door. Perhaps they might not book again, but chances are you'll be so delightful that indeed they will.
- Gift certificates
Who doesn't love a good gift certificate? It's the perfect excuse to pamper myself. What's not so fun is to get a gift certificate that someone printed on a color bubble jet printer from 2001. If you do use Vistaprint for your business cards, you can get some lovely matching gift cards or note cards to sell or give away. Give new clients and loyal clients a reward–gift cards that they can pass along to friends and family. You could even create a referral program, where clients get a discount when they refer someone who books an appointment.
- Reach out to past clients
Dust off the rolodex! What's a rolodex, you ask? Exactly. Hopefully you are keeping track of your past clients, and their information in some sort of database or email service, right? We won’t judge you if you still have a rolodex or 3-ring binder somewhere, just as long as you have some contact information handy. This is low-hanging fruit we're talking about, and there are plenty of ways to reach out to people who haven’t booked in awhile. Send an email, or a hand-written note card or letter via snail mail, or even a friendly “hey there, haven’t seen you in awhile” message on social media. People are busy and need a reminder that you’re still there, ready to help them deal with their stressful lives. Let them know about a promotion you’re offering or a "welcome back" discount.
- Facebook page
Your facebook business page is separate from your facebook profile. I could easily do a whole post (or social media guide) on how to use your Facebook business page to boost traffic to your website, connect with new people, run ads, and much more. But for the brevity of this list and the sake of your attention span, we’ll just say that you really must set up a Facebook page and start asking your clients, friends, and family to “like” it and pass it on to a friend. Lightening speed networking! And speaking of...have you liked the Massamio page? (hint, hint)
This really is the tip of the iceberg. I'd love to get your ideas, tips, secrets, and success stories for finding and attracting new clients to your independent massage therapy practice. Share with us in the comments!
image credits: hownowdesign, google