If you find yourself hesitant to talk potential clients about your massage therapy practice (or where you are employed as a massage therapist), you’re not alone. Marketing and networking are challenging for many professionals. Just like when you were in massage school, however, you’re going to have to find an effective way to talk about massage therapy that won’t leave you feeling uncomfortable. Following are a few tips to help you market to your current and potential clients:
BACK TO BASICS
Take some time to remember your time in school, as well as any recent continuing education you’ve completed. What prompted you to enroll in massage therapy school, or why did the continuing education course grab your attention?
When you reflect on what inspires you, why you feel so passionate about massage therapy, talking about your profession to clients and potential clients can be easier.
So when you know you’re going to be face to face with a client or potential client, take a few quiet moments beforehand to recall exactly why massage therapy is so important to you.
YOUR OWN EXPERIENCE
Along with thinking about what inspires and motivates you as a massage therapist, recalling your own experience with massage therapy may also be beneficial. Think about how massage therapy makes you feel. What benefi ts do you get from having a massage? Can your clients and potential clients benefit in some of the same ways?
If you have a few minutes, write down some of your initial impressions after just receiving massage. For example: “I went for a massage because I could feel my muscles tightening due to stress. After 60 minutes of massage, the pain in my shoulders had eased and I was able to sleep better.” Speaking to clients and potential clients about the benefi ts you personally experience from massage therapy can be very powerful, as you are showing your commitment to the profession in two ways—as a practitioner and a client.
In other words, you’re walking the walk and talking the talk, and consumers can appreciate that.
BROADEN THE MESSAGE
Advertising is pervasive in today’s marketplace, and some consumers are showing signs of marketing fatigue by either not paying close attention to ads or actively eliminating promotional material when given the option. Messages that educate clients and potential clients about massage therapy resonate much better with consumers—and are much more comfortable for you to deliver, as well.
So, when thinking of how you market your services, don’t start from the perspective of selling something to someone.
Instead, approach your marketing plan as a way to talk to people about how massage therapy can contribute to their overall health and well-being.
Now is the time to look for any research that might apply to the particular consumer demographic you’re trying to reach, as well as any other helpful material you might be able to offer.
If you have a lot of clients who deal with stress, for example, look for material documenting the effects massage therapy can have on stress levels.
Then, provide clients with a few additional tips if you can, like some breathing exercises they might try at home or stretches that can help them relax.
Clients need to feel you’re investing in their well being not just looking for a sale.
HEAR WHAT THEY SAY
Educating clients on the benefits of massage therapy, however, can be more about listening than talking. Be ready with material that can help explain how massage therapy can benefit your clients, but take the time to really understand what your clients are telling you first.
You don’t even have to ask directly, as many times people will give helpful information during the course of a very simple conversation. When you ask how a client is feeling or what they do for a living, listen to what they’re telling you. Are they in a profession that typically causes more stress or injury, for example? Listen for any needs they express, such as feeling tired or rundown.
Pay attention to body language. Do they look like they might have some pain when they walk or get up?
Do you notice they’re often rubbing their neck?
Really being present with your clients and potential clients, asking appropriate questions and listening to what they are telling you, are great ways to begin talking about the benefits of massage therapy—whether you’re introducing a new modality to an existing client or educating a consumer who has never had a massage.
When thinking of who you’re target demographic might be, consider any local organizations you can either join or support that work with these types of clients. The opportunities here are seemingly endless and allow you to connect with people you’d like to work with.
If you’re interested in working with pregnant women, is there a parenting organization in your area that you might be able to join or provide services for in some way? Can you give a demonstration of pregnancy massage or perhaps talk to a group of new mothers about how massage therapy can help with stress relief and relaxation? Or, if you want to focus your business on athletes, can you fi nd a sporting association or running club you can join?
Many of the opportunities you have to meet people who are prime candidates to become loyal clients aren’t necessarily going to be directly related to massage therapy.
Think of the interests you have outside of your practice, the causes or organizations you are enthusiastic about, and then find ways to connect with other people who share your passion for these things.?