Many books and articles have been written on how to build a successful massage practice. Unfortunately the simplicity of the big picture gets lost in the many details. Today I'm going to boil it down to the basics every massage business owner needs to do to grow their practice in the modern world. First let's start with a basic truth that I think everyone can agree on:
"To succeed, a massage therapy business needs to attract new clients and get them coming back."The ideal practice allows the massage therapist to focus on his or her clients and not be distracted or consumed by day to day tasks. Clients can see practitioner availability and make their own appointments online. They can be reminded of their upcoming appointment automatically. They are gently reminded to come back if they haven't been seen in a while (also automatically). The modern massage practice spends more time being present helping care for clients and less time doing administrative and marketing tasks.
The Modern Massage PracticeMassage therapy businesses that embrace the modern age use technology to save precious time, to market their practices and to stay beautifully organized. Even single person practices that still use paper and pencil are realizing it's time to find a massage practice software solution that can help simplify both their lives and the lives of their clients.
Where does success start?Like any professional, to succeed as a massage professional, you'll need to have reached a certain level of proficiency. Don't expect to have a thriving business if you're not very good at what you do. It doesn't matter how long you've been in practice, you need to challenge yourself to keep learning. It's fun to challenge yourself to become better, and you're improving the quality of your service each time you do so. Be insatiable in your curiosity and hunger to improve. Manual therapies are fascinating and we're just scratching the surface of understanding the benefits!
The single most effective marketing you can doThink about the information it would be helpful to have for each client. Contact info, birthday, massage preferences, appointment history, payment history, SOAP notes, referrals, time since last appointment... That's a lot of really valuable information. If you're using paper and pencil, there's just no way you can easily pull up a holistic view of each client's history. Modern practices use this information to provide their clients with a professional level of service and to create amazingly effective targeted email marketing campaigns that clients respond unbelievably well to. The single most effective marketing you can do? Targeted emails, hands down. Looking to sell gift certificates before Valentine's Day? Target a message to all the guys in your client list who, most assuredly, are stressing about a gift to give their significant other just a few days before Valentine's. A specific message tailored to a specific audience will always get a better response. There are a thousand ways to segment your client list and put together effective email campaigns, but none of that is possible if you don't have the client information available.
A review is a referral, sillyFew would disagree that referrals are a powerful and effective way to gain new clients. You should begin thinking of online reviews as referrals, because that's what they do. Think about the last time you shopped on Amazon, or went online to look for a local service provider. It doesn't matter if it's a doctor or a pair of pants - people are much more likely to buy from a business or buy a product that has favorable reviews. So where are your massage business reviews? Again, the modern massage practice owner uses software to help, and even automate, the process of building online reviews for their massage therapy business.
Where are you in the cycle of success?Providing your clients with a great massage experience and getting them to come back and rave about you publicly in online reviews represents the hard work needed to get the wheel of growth going. But what does the modern massage practice owner do to convert these reviews directly into new customers?
Converting reviews into new clientsThe modern practice owner has a website. Not something that looks like someone's "website 101" DIY project, a real, honest to goodness website that conveys the professionalism you'd like to be known for. Designed cleanly and easy to navigate, this website should tell visitors everything they need to know to develop a high enough level of comfort with your business that they'll be willing to book their first appointment with you online. Pictures, a service menu with prices, some words to describe what the business is about, reviews, and the ultimate conversion tool: online booking.
Putting it all together: Promoting your success engineYou have great reviews and a beautiful website to display them on, but you're not showing up in local internet searches. Now what? Most people's minds shut down when they hear "SEO". Search engine optimization is just stuff you do to get a better ranking when somebody searches for "massage therapist" on Google (for example). Contrary to what most would like you to believe, getting ranked locally won't take a huge effort and it won't be complicated. The single most important thing that you can do to help your ranking is to make sure you have some good local citations (links from local directories or other local websites). Tip: Use the free MassageBook SEO Visibility Index tool to check if you have all the key your local business citations in place and that they're correct.
A word from your sponsorWe created the MassageBook practice management software solution to help massage therapists modernize and succeed. While MassageBook is the ultimate massage practice modernizer and can do everything we've hinted at above, we've kept it simple to use. Perhaps we can help modernize your practice and assist you in achieving your goals? Or maybe you're stressed out thinking about where to start? We suggest you book a massage with one of your local massage therapists already using MassageBook.