As a massage therapist, you know how tough it can be to expand your customer base at a time when many consumers are tightening their belts and cutting back on services that they tend to view as optional. Unfortunately, no one has yet developed an analytics program to present clear numerical data quantifying the health benefits and cost savings that can be achieved through a program of regular massage therapy. So how does a massage therapist go about bringing in more customers?
1) Send Out Post Cards
Whether you offer mobile massage or your customers come to you, proximity is key. If a client can stop in for a relaxing massage on the way home from work, that’s ideal. The closer to home the better. Who wants to jump right back into rush hour traffic right after a relaxing massage? Target neighborhoods close to your business location with introductory postcards offering a new customer discount. The USPS has a wonderful site where you can set up bulk mailings to selected neighborhoods, and even review demographics for those areas.
2) Host an Open House
It doesn’t matter whether you’re new to the neighborhood or just want to meet some new customers, an open house is appropriate any time you want to hold one. Make up a flyer and post it on community bulletin boards, at libraries, medical offices, fitness centers and upscale apartment complexes. Be sure to list it on local online event sites as well. Make it a meet and greet with complimentary food and drink, and round up some massage students to provide chair massages. Offer free massage sessions as door prizes.
3) Start a Loyalty Rewards Program
A customer loyalty rewards program is a great way to keep clients coming back, but it’s also a draw for new customers. When shopping for a massage therapist, people like to know that they can accrue discounts and freebies over time, so be sure to mention your rewards program in all of your advertising.
4) Offer Package Deals
This one’s a no brainer. When clients can get a price break by paying for a bundle of services up front, everybody wins. They get a discount and you get the funds in your bank account. Consider joining forces with a spa or salon in the same area to offer relaxing spa packages or even just reciprocal discounts.
5) Take Appointments Online
Free yourself from phone duty by setting up an online appointment service. Customers will appreciate the convenience of being able to schedule immediately without waiting for a callback, and having an online appointment service will strengthen your web presence.
6) Publish a Blog
Post regular articles about the health benefits of massage therapy, the latest breakthroughs in homeopathic medicine, dietary advice, helpful stretching exercises and/or anything you specialize in that’s related to your business. Publishing a regular blog centered on health and wellness and massage therapy will help boost your website’s local search results and establish you as an expert in the field.
7) Find Your Niche
Don’t be afraid to specialize, and then leverage that specialty by networking with health care professionals to get clients. There’s no need to compete with fancy day spas offering relaxation massages when you can get all the work you can handle working with sports injuries, pregnant women, fibromyalgia patients, geriatric patients or any other specialty clients.
8) Go Mobile
For many clients, the worst part of a massage is the end, when they have to get dressed and drive home. Consequently, mobile massage services are booming, especially in busy metropolitan areas. A mobile massage business has little overhead, and can operate on a virtual shoestring. Mobile massage equipment can also be set up at business conferences, sporting events, health fairs and many other types of well attended gatherings.
9) Go Corporate
Contact any local corporations or large businesses nearby and offer a corporate discount. Go through the HR department and offer your services as a way to improve their health and benefits package.
10) Leverage Social Media
Make use of a host of social media tools to connect with your clients online. Survey your best customers to find out what sites they frequent and set up business pages on those sites. Offer them a discount on their next service if they like or follow your page. Post links to informational articles and blogs about health and wellness, and updates about new services or discounts you’re offering. Remember, it’s not enough to just have a page; you need to keep it fresh and interesting.
11) Email and SMS Marketing
Collect client email addresses and phone numbers and use them to send out notices of special discounts and availability. SMS texts are an especially useful tool for filling in slow spots where you don’t have any appointments. You can instantly message your clients that you have an open time slot at a specific discount. Your clients will feel special being privy to these exclusive deals, and you’ll be able to fill up any gaps in your schedule.
These are just a few helpful ideas to add to your overall marketing plan. Between connecting and marketing online, via email, text and also networking with local businesses, there are a wealth of opportunities available to broaden your massage therapy client base. The key is to know and understand your local customer demographic, and choose the methods that will best reach them.
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