It's never too early to start thinking about your massage career once you graduate from massage school. One of the biggest questions new therapists ask is, "How do I attract massage clients to my practice or place of employment?"
Advertising can be expensive, and traditional marketing techniques may take awhile to show results. Fortunately, there is another option.
As a business owner or professional in the massage industry, you are also seen as an expert. Potential massage clients want to learn about how massage therapy can help them, whether for pain relief or general wellness, and it makes sense for you to share your knowledge by giving informative presentations on your areas of expertise.
Before you let your self-doubt creep in and proclaim, "But I'm not a speaker," rest assured that people aren't expecting a high-tech motivational event. What they do want is targeted information that can help them improve their business or their lives. Chances are, this information will be the same message you communicate to clients via phone or in personal interactions every day. When you can deliver these bits of information to a larger audience, you can get more business. Here's how to do it.
Hone in on Your Topic
Even though you may not aspire to be a professional speaker, if you're going to market and brand yourself as an expert, you have to pinpoint some key speaking topics. To do so, think about questions you commonly receive from clients. These questions will make great speaking topics.
For example, if you are speaking to a group of athletes, explain how sports massage can enhance their performance as well as alleviate pain, reduce muscle tension and prevent injuries.
Whether you are paid to speak to a group or not is not as important as the value of being able to connect with your target audience. The idea is to get in front of your ideal massage client with some useful information; this is how you get perceived as an expert.
Next, you need to decide where to present your information. Often, you can have a speaking event at your business location. If your massage practice does not have enough space or is not conducive to hosting a gathering, you could use a room at the local library or reserve a meeting room at a restaurant-both of which are relatively low-cost options. Also, look for local Meetup group or clubs that attract your target audience, such as yoga clubs, Rotary clubs, sewing circles, local chambers of commerce, book clubs or any other organized gathering of like-minded people. It's common for these groups to bring in speakers several times a year. If your message resonates with a particular demographic, offer your speaking topic to the group.
Finally, contact other local businesses that are complementary to what you do and offer to speak to their customers. Think of businesses that do not directly compete with you and whose customers would be a good match for your massage practice.
One of the best ways to increase the number of people who attend your speaking events is to promote it to your current clientele. Make sure you get your existing clients' email addresses so you can email them a monthly newsletter, coupons and announcements of your upcoming speaking engagements. Also, post event information on your social media channels, and put up signs around your business about the next presentation. You may even be able to announce it in local news media in a community events section.
Of course, email and social media will only get you so far in promoting your events. Studies show more than 294 billion emails are sent every day. The sheer amount of information people are being bombarded with is overwhelming. So while email and social media are great tools to reach people, if you really want to reach people, you will need to start using one of the oldest marketing tools available: the telephone. Call your existing clients and extend a personal invitation to attend you speaking event. Personally contacting them rather than just sending an email allows you to develop rapport and gain their attention faster than any email message ever could.
You want to be the expert people think of first when they need massage. This is called top of mind awareness, and public speaking can help you achieve that. When you gain top of mind awareness, you'll have a leg up on your competition and will be perceived as a massage expert in your community.
Sharing knowledge is one of the easiest and cost-effective ways to bring in new business. So don't be shy, and get out there and market yourself as an expert speaker. By doing so, you'll stand out from the competition and reach new levels of professional success.