“The hardest thing about getting started... is getting started.”
A good business name for your new Massage Practice is only the beginning
I’ve spoken to many massage therapists in their late thirties, forties and beyond and asked them what they would do if they could start their massage practice over again.
I would have taken more risks.
I would have believed in myself more.
I would have networked more and just talked to people in my community.
I would have been more courageous.
It’s safe to say the hardest thing when starting out is not just getting started.
It’s taking risks and believing in yourself.
Which is why as massage therapists we’re hesitant to get started.
Think about it. Wasn’t there a point in your life or massage career where you’d wish you could have been braver or trusted in yourself more?
For all of you massage therapists who are just starting out, here’s the good news:
You really can start your own massage practice. There are many success stories and theirs no “Secret Sauce”. Just a strong will, good bodywork and people skills, and the ability to persevere. As Nike say’s - Just do i!
Of course it does require you to be bold, to trust in yourself and to take risks.
Because the reality is you need to put in the effort required to get your name out their. Especially at the start. Overwhelmed? Don’t know where to begin?
Here’s one secret to success: break down overwhelming tasks into smaller manageable ones. As the ancient saying goes, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
Let’s break those steps down.
Define your Specialty.
Position yourself as a massage expert.
This still sounds vague, too general?
Having a specialty narrows it down, and reduces the competition. What you want is to be the absolute best solution for “X”. Where “X” is a problem folks have that needs a solution.
Focus on your strength and what you enjoy most then give it your all.
Consider that positioning yourself to be an expert on a massage therapy specialty makes you look like a professional, someone passionate, skilled and knowledgeable in your field of expertise whether it’s sports massage or neuromuscular therapy. Or both.
In this regard, passion is important, so choose a specialty(s) you are most passionate about. What feels natural and right for you?
Remember - it can be a specialty around a specific modality, but it can just as well be a specialty on a specific kind of individual (age, gender, occupation, hobby).
If you love what you do and enjoy who you work with, work will remain enjoyable - even through the difficult times.
Know your Clients
If you’re starting out and you haven’t found a focus yet, potential clients can help you identify massage therapy specialties that are a good fit for you. Ask yourself the question: Who are the kind of people you love to help?
Are they pregnant women? Are they athletes? Are they people in pain? Are they spa-goers?
The answer to these questions will help you define your specialty and your clients.
By knowing who your clients are, you can customize the way you connect with people.
Just as important, you’ll have an idea where to connect with them.
If your clients are working mothers, you could use an empathetic approach in your social media strategy.
If retired seniors are your market, you can try traditional advertising means like distributing flyers or getting featured in newspapers or magazines, or offer your services at active retirement communities or a town’s senior center.
By defining your clientele you’ll boost the potential of really getting your massage business out there.
You’ll know where to focus your advertising efforts and maximize your opportunity for referrals.
Market yourself Effectively
But you say “I am a massage therapist, not a marketer.”
That’s true. But these days, especially with social media, everyone sounds like a marketer. There are many ways to get your name out there
Here are the some you proven methods to market your massage practice you shouldn’t ignore:
Have a website
Whether you’re selling a service, a product or your expertise as a massage therapist—you’ll need a website.
It’s the easiest way to set yourself apart from other professionals and to be found by those searching online. Your clients can learn about your skills, your qualifications, your experience and your values just by looking at your website. It’s your 24/7 salesman!
Because you’re starting out, keep it simple. Choose a platform you can update on your own as your massage business grows.
Don’t worry about the costs of this though, because some platforms offer websites for free like MassageBook, which has the added benefit of being a full massage practice management software solution.
Also think about the other systems your massage business will need to have in place to present itself professionally and to get through the day efficiently.
Things like online booking, email and text appointment reminders, SOAP notes, and email marketing.
Don’t wait until you’re feeling the pain of disorganization and overwhelm.
Start using a software solution to help you early, and the growth of your massage practice will be much smoother.
If you already have a website, make sure you register for a free directory listing in the popular MassageBook directory of massage therapists.
This ensures that people who are looking for your massage specialty can easily find you and book an appointment with you online.
It’s the perfect way to get your name out there without spending too much to get found.
Stand out in Social Media
Another great marketing tools for newbies and experienced massage therapists alike is being active on social media: Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin or Youtube.
Don’t be pressured to have accounts on all these social media sites. Just start with one or two like Facebook and Youtube.
There are 3 critical things you should be doing on social media, which are: Filling out your profile completely, engaging your audience and being consistent with your social media strategy.
But it’s not just an avenue to get likes and shares, social media is a good free business platform to, so take advantage of it when you’re starting out. There are many ways to generate income from Facebook alone.
With MassageBook, all you need to do is integrate your “Book Now” buttons into your Facebook page or in any social media profile you choose.
Congratulations, you’ve now given yourself a way to generate online bookings 24/7 with little to no effort from yourself. Work smarter - not harder.
Have a Strong Online Presence
Google yourself or search for your name and your business online. Does your name or your massage therapy business even show up on search engines like Google?
If you want your website found on Google, social media can help you get your website ranking faster by simply creating a social media page with your business name and web address added on it.
Registering with credible sites to increase your online rankings on search engines is another great way to increase your online presence..
Claim your listing on MassageBook Directory, Google Business, Yelp, Google Maps or Google+. You have no excuse not to register on all these sites because, it’s FREE to get listed.
Registering your business on these sites is the perfect step for getting your website ranking in google found by the exact people who are looking for your services on these sites!
Build your Reputation
How should yo ugo about proving your authority in a massage specialty?
Stand out from the pack by sharing your knowledge and experience on your website and on your social media profiles.
Think about the problem(s) your massage services can help people with and write specific articles around these topics to attract online searchers to your website.
Show others how passionate you are about your work.
Here are a few suggestions:
BLOG. Share your knowledge and experience (post articles that are educational, entertaining or inspiring)
Review anything online that resonates with your audience (like a good wellness product, a massage technique they can do at home or a place to relax or eat within your local community)
Share videos or create your own that provide tips and tricks (like how to massage when you have a headache, do a foot massage, give a massage to others)
Share some tips related to health and wellness (like, did you know that….)
Send an email newsletter containing valuable information you know about massage therapy that would be of value for your client list.
Highlight Reviews for your Massage Services and Increase Referrals
One of the most effective ways to get your name out there?
Have your happy clients do it for you.
Ask clients to leave reviews for your massage practice after their sessions. (You can automate this with software from providers like MassageBook)
In fact, just five reviews on Google earns you a star rating display which makes you look more credible.
You can give a small reward or a token of appreciation to motivate clients to leave a written or video review.
Then, when a client or local business shares a good story about you, highlight it. Promote it in your website and your social media pages. Nothing is more authentic than the “social proof” of happy clients!
Thanks to the internet, getting your name out there is easier than ever, but don’t miss out on other opportunities to connect with people in person.
Look for conventions or health and wellness fairs where you can offer your massage expertise to people who could use a massage after merciless walking and shopping all day.
Partner up with hotels, spas and other businesses and show them how their business can benefit from your massage therapy expertise.
When outside, have some massage business cards handy.
If you can’t engage prospects, let your business card do the talking.
As your efforts pay off and your fledgling massage practice gains traction, you’ll still need to work hard to keep the momentum going.
Do More When You Automate Your Massage Practice
When you’re starting out there are many things to juggle - your schedule, appointment changes, client communication around bookings, marketing, social media, email marketing and trying out new and different things to get your name out there.
I recommend checking out our massage practice software options to help you streamline your massage business and marketing tasks.
Your client intake and SOAP note forms, appointment reminders, marketing and even accounting can all be streamline.
Don’t burden yourself with manually doing these tasks . So, make the decision to work smart not hard!
When you work smarter, you’ll save energy to do more meaningful tasks like learning to improve your skills or spending more time with your loved ones!
Fortune Favors The Bold
When you start out - be intentional about stepping out of your comfort zone.
We’re all afraid to take risks because we fear failure, but that shouldn’t keep us from trying!
Don’t underestimate your capacity to handle the consequences.
You’re stronger and more resilient than you think you are.
Keep the passion alive, the fire inside of you burning and build the life you want to.
One step at a time. Article by Sheree Evans at Massagebook