Marketing is actually very simple. It involves telling people what you do…over and over and over. The key to successfully marketing your massage therapy business is consistency.
So, first, let’s take a look at the difference between marketing a service and marketing a product.
Products are tangible… you can touch and feel and see them before you buy. However, when a prospective client is considering coming to you for a massage, until they actually work with you they don’t know for sure if you are the right person to help them with their specific situation or challenge.
It is for that reason that the first thing your prospect has to buy is YOU, before they decide to become a regular client or patient. It is important to remember this in all of your massage marketing endeavors.
Secondly, I would like to talk about the difference between advertising and marketing, because all too often when I ask therapists about their current massage marketing plan, they tell me about a classified ad in a local newspaper, or a display ad in the yellow pages.
Advertising is just that…the placement of an ad, whether on the radio, print or web-based, in the hope that a prospect will call you as a result. Marketing, on the other hand, is relationship based. It is about building a relationship between you and your prospective client or patient over time. It is about building rapport, confidence and trust.
So let’s look at the 9 elements of a simple yet effective massage marketing plan.
1. Define Your Goals
In order to put an effective marketing plan in place you first have to ask yourself, where are you now, and where do you want to be 6 months, or one, five, or even ten years from now.
2. Measure Your Progress
You have to decide how you are going to measure your progress. You could measure:
Your total number of weekly massage sessions.
The number of new clients or patients that schedule appointments.
The dollar amount actually deposited in your bank account.
The dollar amount invoiced to massage clients and insurance companies.
Or some other measurement that you choose.
3. Who Do You Want to Work With?
Who is your target market or ideal client? What are their ages? Are they male, female, or both? How much money do they make? What are their hobbies? What is the biggest challenge or problem that they face? What are the qualities that your ideal massage client possesses?
For Example: I work with female executives between the ages of 28-50, making $60,000.00 per year minimum. They enjoy athletic activities, but want to experience less stress in their life. They are interested and willing to pay for regular wellness care.
4. What Specifically Are the Benefits That Your Massage Services (or products if appropriate) Offer?
Remember, benefits are different from features. Benefits tell the prospective client how your massage services (and products) are directly useful to them or how their wellbeing will be improved if they come to you for a session.
A feature is a characteristic of your service, like the number of years you have been in practice, or the massage techniques and modalities you use. While features are important, people do not buy based on features. They buy based on benefits. They want to know “what’s in it for me”. A good way to know that you are focusing on benefits is to finish the sentence, “You get…”
Examples of Benefits: I help tri-athletes reduce risk of injuries, enhance concentration and increase flexibility. I work with executives to relieve stress and tension and to increase concentration and productivity.
5. Your Uniqueness
What makes you unique from the other massage therapists and bodyworkers in your area? What is your “signature style”? What do you do differently from your competition?
For example: “I do energy healing with people in hospice who want emotional and physical support through their final life transition.”
6. Choose Your Strategies and Massage Marketing Tools
In choosing which marketing strategies to focus on it is essential to choose things that you enjoy doing, otherwise you will find ways to sabotage yourself. So if you are terrified of public speaking, don’t pick that (unless you plan on doing some work in that area).
Think about your strengths and passions and take those into account when you are choosing your strategies. This is a time to have fun and get creative!
Strategies can be divided into a number of key areas:
Direct follow up and contact (such as sending personal letters, making phone calls)
Networking and referral building (such as working with key strategic partners like a Chiropractor)
Public speaking (for example, a brown bag lunch talk for busy professionals on stress reduction)
Writing and publicity (putting a press release in a local paper)
Promotional events (like chair massage at a sporting event)
Advertising (putting a display ad in the good ol’ “banana pages”)
7. Create a Budget.
Many excellent massage marketing tools are free. Instead of money, all that is required is some time, creativity and imagination. But some tools will require that you spend money. It is important to decide up front what your massage marketing budget will be and how you will spend it.
8. Develop Your Action Plan
Your Action Plan involves the specific marketing and sales actions you plan to make, for example, how many calls a day, how many personal letters or invitations a week. Remember, marketing is about simple effective things that you do consistently. It is a good idea to map out your massage marketing action plan on a calendar, and commit to it.
9. Have a Tracking System
It is important to have a system in place to track your efforts as well as your results. Having such a system in place gives you a clear sense of direction as to where you and your business
are going. It also helps you to stay focused and on task.
A tracking system also gives you the evidence that what you are doing is actually working. This will motivate you to stick with it until you reach your desired goals. It also lets you know when things are not working so that you can make the necessary course corrections to get your marketing back on track.
You may choose to keep a record of:
The exact source of each prospect.
How many new prospects each massage marketing strategy produced.
How many of these prospects became regular clients.
The actual monetary value that these new clients produced.
Remember to periodically evaluate the results you are getting, and make any adjustments to your plan as necessary until you reach and maintain your client or patient goal, and the massage business of your dreams.
Qualitative research, whether individual interviews, in-homes, focus groups, ethnographies and the like are conducted all over the world, as everyone knows. But how are the markets to be studied selected in the first place?
New York, London, Paris, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Toronto, Boston and Dallas are all great places to see first rate entertainment, dine out and by their size, must be great places in which to conduct qualitative research or so the common thinking goes.
A little research into the demographics of a market can save researchers more than a little money, and get better research. Take for instance…The State with the most Dentists per capita – If you said Arkansas, you would be right. The City with the most new homes built in the last year – If you said Las Vegas you would be right. The City with the highest incidence of coupon clippers – If you said Buffalo you would be right. The City with the most new Volkswagens sold per capita – If you said Minneapolis you would be right. But how do you know?
Let’s take Las Vegas; bright lights and a City that truly never sleeps. Most focus groups are conducted there in concert with the world class convention center. It’s a great idea. Go where folks from all over the country or even the world converge for days of meetings, walking aisles and of course dining, shows and gambling. But Las Vegas is not usually considered for testing the folks that live there, outside of occasional television show tests for new programming. In fact, in recent interviews with several QRCA (Qualitative Research Consultants Association, 888 – 674 – 7722) researchers, not one had been to Las Vegas other than to conduct research in conjunction with a show or convention.
This is not a promotion for Las Vegas, as the City does enough of that on its own, but let’s look back at those homeowners. Who are they? Retirees – Right – well some yes, but not so fast. The greater metropolitan area is building schools like crazy. So it may not be as you or your client suspected. This is the point. Are we in a location rut?
According to the website of the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce:
* More than 5,000 people move to Las Vegas each month
* 69.9% have lived there more than 6 years
* 10% of the residents are over the age of 65
* 62% of the Households have incomes in excess of $35,000
Depending on the topic, Las Vegas might just be a selection for a market in which to conduct a qualitative project involving children, new homeowners, health issues, food, beverages and more.
The other argument for selecting a City is the ability to get a direct airplane flight from the client or moderator residence City. If one lives in a hub city like Chicago, Minneapolis, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Pittsburgh or other hub town, direct flights are a breeze. Higher airfares to go anywhere direct, especially if there is no competition on the same leg prevail.
Many times a less populated City / area has more diet soft drink drinkers, cancer survivors, remodeling contractors, hog farmers, children ages 8 to 12 per capita than a major city with direct flights. What happened to the old “If it’ll play in Des Moines, it’ll play anywhere?” That is not an endorsement for Des Moines either.
Okay, so how does one determine where to go to conduct qualitative research? The answer can be simple in many cases. All one needs is a search engine connection from a computer to visit websites of Chambers of Commerce, International Trade Offices, Federal, State and local Government offices and more. There are also companies who assist researchers determining markets such as the Qualitative Research Network – 800-601-0834.
For a web site to make the most money it must be a direct response web site. That does not mean that sites with contents do not make money. But for a small business owner the direct response website is the key to real profits.
Purpose of direct response website is very simple. It just takes orders. The customer reads your product and decides either to buy or leave. Simple and pure business. No confusion at all.
What is a direct response website?
It is a site which aims at stimulating a response from the customer. It focuses on selling a product and getting an immediate response. The response can be a purchase or a lead generation. Mostly it is in form of a sales letter featuring a product and having an order link at the end.
When a customer comes to direct response website he simply has two options. Either he buys the product or leaves.
Beauty of this site lies in easy to reach and accomplish the final deed or sale in just one or two clicks.
A site which requires more than three clicks to reach the order page cannot compete with a direct response site when it comes to making sales if they are getting the same traffic.
The reason is simple. Ease of reaching and reacting to the order.
So if you want to make good money out of your product or want to get ever pouring leads write or get written a killer sales letter, setup a direct response webpage with your order link and go.
The next thing you do is just count your sales.
There are a few things that you need to take care of. A theme based domain name and a good sales letter. If you cannot write one hire somebody who can. A little search and queries in the forum will surely get you one.
The principle of direct response website can also be applied to your existing website. Make your site such that when traffic comes to you it stays till it has gone through what you are offering. Here are few tips
# Do not post unnecessary links on your home and product page
If there are too many internal links the customer gets confused. If there are external links you have already lost the traffic before you could sell something. Design your site with the concept in your mind that your links should pull the visitor to the page where you are selling. Otherwise you have already diluted effectivity
# Your sales page should not be more than three clicks away maximum.
Earlier your potential customer reaches there better the results will be. All your customers are not on fast loading connections. Who will go through unnecessary hassles to reach your sales page if the work is tiresome? So make it easy for them. Everybody likes a comfortable experience.
# Design your site to be fast loading
Everybody including me and you hates slow loading sites. Your customer will turn away before your site appears. Cut those unnecessary graphics and test yourself for the results.
I will end the article with a quote from a leading internet marketing guru -
“A web site created out of a hot sales letter and an image of your product will make you much more money than a web site full of links ever will. This may be the exact opposite of what you have heard. If it is, then what you heard was wrong”.
The steps to creating an effective marketing plan begin with identifying who you are going to be targeting, what you are going to spend, and how many sales you are going to receive as a result of your efforts. By identifying this information in the initial stages of your market plan development, you will significantly increase your return on investment and substantially increase your sales. Below is a step by step process to help you lay the framework for your own marketing plan:
Step 1) Identify your budget.
Identify how much you are planning to spend on your marketing endeavors in order to maximize your investment. How much are you planning to spend on your marketing? How many prospects are you planning to reach, and how many sales do you expect to close? Include your time investment in this analysis as well. Many inexpensive marketing tools take an enormous amount of time and subsequently have a significant cost.
Step 2) Identify your ideal customer.
In order to target your customer effectively, you must know what they look like. This process is generally known as “stick figuring” and identifies the key traits of your ideal customer. Who are they? What do they do for a living? What do they read? Where do they shop? What do they value? How do they entertain themselves? Where do they spend their time? What does their family look like? What is their income level? Answer these questions as specifically as possible to determine the best way to target them.
Step 3) Identify the medium.
List all of the possible mediums to touch your customer. Arrange the list from the most specific way to target the customer to the broadest way to touch your prospect. On the same list, list the prices per piece and the specific price per prospect. This will give you an idea of where to best spend your money and where you will receive the greatest return on investment.
Step 4) Allocate your budget.
Identify the top five mediums that touch your prospects in a cost effective manner and allocate 80% of your budget across those pieces. Reserve the remaining 20% to use for unique or targeted follow-up marketing pieces.
Step 5) Schedule your campaigns
Schedule each campaign to touch customers multiple times through different mediums. Plan some overlap on when each piece hits each prospect to maximize awareness of your services, but draw out the periodicity of the total campaign as long as possible to maximize the duration of awareness. A good rule of thumb is to touch a prospect at least once per week. Multiplicity of your message is also beneficial. However, do not touch a prospect with the same piece more than three times as resistance to your medium and message may develop.
Step 6) Track your results
Continually track your campaigns and where each prospect hears and acts on your message. With this information, you can know which portions of your campaign are effective and which parts need to be modified.
When developing your marketing plan, some general rules of thumb are useful to help manage your expectations. As you develop your budget, mediums and plan, keep in mind the following widely accepted marketing statistics:
* Typical response rates from print advertising and direct mail are between 0.5% and 1.5%
* Generally, you will need to touch a prospect six times before they recognize your brand and eight times before they take action
* Always include a call to action in all of your pieces and a way to track the response from each piece.
* In every piece, always include multiple methods of contact, i.e. internet, telephone, fax, mail, etc.
* A prospect will typically spend three seconds on your piece before moving to something else. Make your communication simple and attention grabbing.
* Be consistent in your message across all marketing pieces to create awareness of your brand and services.