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Marketing your massage practice need not be costly

Jan. 20, 2014 — Marketing is a word that brings a variety of thoughts and ideas to most people’s minds – perhaps even some emotions as well. (Expensive, time-consuming, “I don’t want to do it!” all come to mind.) To some, marketing means spending lots of money to buy ads, business cards other promotional materials – and then crossing your fingers in the hopes that you make some of that investment back with the clients that hopefully decide to try you out.


January 20, 2014
By Felicia Brown

Topics

Since that is the case for many people, I think it is important to share
my definition of marketing before I share some of my truly affordable
and effective marketing ideas. Simply put, I believe marketing is
everything that “touches” or makes an impression on a client or prospect
and causes them to want to do business with you for the first time or
the next time.

I call this “every touch marketing.” Of course,
in the case of negative touches and impressions, which I call
anti-marketing, they may cause people to do business with you for the
last time – or perhaps not at all.

It is important to recognize
that marketing isn’t just about having a brochure, website or expensive
ads. These “touches” are the factors that cause people to entrust their
body, wellness and welfare into your hands, an hour or a session at a
time. It is imperative that you think about what you’re doing, saying or
being out there in the world because it all “touches” the people who
will become or refer your clients. Taken even further, the impressions
you make may also affect the ability of your clients to benefit or heal
through the treatments you provide. 

By looking at marketing
through this new lens and thinking of the way you impact people in all
that you do, it should begin to be clear that you are immersed in
marketing every single day regardless of whether it is part of your job
or not. In fact, marketing yourself starts from the moment you wake up
and decide what kind of day you’re going to have. It continues when you
leave your house and speak to the cashier at Starbucks or the grocery
store and continues with the way you answer your phone or respond to
client messages throughout the day. Every smile, sentence and moment of
interaction you have with others is and can be a marketing vehicle for
your practice whether you like it or not. Today’s successful
practitioner and businessperson not only realizes this but takes every
opportunity to send the right message and intention out into the world.

Now
that we’ve settled that, you’ve probably gathered that I don’t think it
is necessary to drain your bank account to grow your business. And
after all, just because something costs more does not mean it is better.

But in terms of free marketing, we have to ask the question “Is
anything really free?”  I’ve thought about this a lot and realized
although there is an investment of some kind in most marketing, there
are a few things we can do that are absolutely free. 
• Smile – that’s one of your greatest marketing tools
• Exhibit a positive, enthusiastic attitude
• Be happy when your clients come in
• Show confidence when meeting new people
• Use kind words instead of mean or derogatory ones
• Be polite, honest and friendly
• Live passionately
• Be prompt and professional
• Create and hold an intention
• Actively listen to whomever is speaking to you

Other
than the above, most marketing tools and strategies aren’t completely
free. Even if they don’t cost you any cash, they will cost you some of
your other resources such as time or energy. Thus, it’s also important
to become aware of, budget for and keep track of all the investments you
are making in your business. 

Start by giving some thought to
how much time, money and energy you are willing to commit to growing
your business each day, week and month. As you are growing a full-time
practice, you may not necessarily have a large budget of cash and will
instead spend more sweat equity to grow your business in the beginning.
You may also have some small up-front monetary investments along the way
to purchase business cards, visit networking groups or do mailings.

I
suggest using a typical workweek schedule of 30 to 40 hours as a basis
for the time you commit to marketing and business development. As you
start to fill in a few hours here and there with clients, the amount of
hours for marketing will likely drop back a bit. However, if you treat
the business development part of your business as seriously as you would
a full schedule of appointments, you’ll be well on your way to filling
up those empty time slots in no time. 

If you are already in
practice and are primarily looking to maintain your existing clientele
while continuing to bring in a regular stream of new clients, it will
likely make more sense to plan a block or two of regular business
development time each week. Here you may be spending more money than
time through discounts or incentives given in referral programs,
birthday offers or investments made in client communication tools. This
also happens because your schedule is getting more full with clients,
and so the supply of extra money on hand may become greater than the
supply of extra time.

There are simple yet inexpensive
promotions you could do to get the ball rolling for your practice.
However, I think the very first thing you should focus on is marketing
yourself and your services to the people you know (aka PYK). In fact,
when you are trying to get more clients and dollars into your practice
or business, one of the most valuable assets you can utilize is the pool
of people you already know – and who already know you.

This
group is made up your friends, family, social acquaintances, classmates,
past work colleagues, people you regularly socialize with at school,
church and other groups and the people you do business with. Since these
people already know you, they will normally be more supportive of you
and your business than total strangers will be.

Begin by sending
an announcement about what you offer along with an invitation out to
everyone on your PYK list to try your services. You may want to offer
special, limited time pricing or another incentive for them to try your
services, especially for anyone who could be a good regular client or
referral source for future business.

There are tons of free and
easy ways to promote your massage practice. Begin with the awareness
that you are always marketing yourself just by being yourself and being
with the people in your lives. Make the commitment to do so in a
proactive way and be on the lookout for new, fun and effective
opportunities to make “every touch” positive.

—-
Felicia
Brown, LMBT, is the author of Every Touch Marketing – Free and Easy Ways
to Promote Your Massage, Spa and Wellness Business.
She is also the
owner of Spalutions and provides business and
marketing coaching to massage, spa and wellness professionals. Parts of
this article are reprinted with permission from the book: Every Touch
Marketing: Free & Easy Ways to Promote Your Massage, Spa &
Wellness Business
by Felicia Brown. The book is available at Annex
Bookstore.


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