Marketing a massage practice consists of sharing yourself with potential clients so they get a sense of who you are. This allows them to make an informed choice whether to utilize your services. It's not about force or pretending to be someone you're not.
Few people can afford the luxury of building their practices solely by word-of-mouth. If you are good at what you do, genuinely care about and respect your clients, and charge a reasonable rate, you eventually develop a strong clientele base. Yet, most therapists want to accelerate that process, and that requires marketing yourself smartly.
The Essence of Marketing
The essence of marketing is good public relations. Simply put, marketing encompasses all daily activities to attract potential clients and retain current ones. These activities include promotion, advertising, community relations and publicity. Marketing is about enabling your clientele to value you and your services.
The biggest mistake therapists make is overextending themselves; they try to be the practitioner for everyone. Yet one person cannot fulfill all the needs of every client. Effective marketing involves targeting the appropriate people and informing them of the benefits they receive from your services.
For 12 steps to define your service and your target market so you can tailor your marketing to them, see "Target Market Analysis" at futureLMT.com, issue 4.
The most successful practitioners incorporate their marketing activities into their daily lives. They know their target markets, understand how to find those potential clients through appropriate marketing techniques, and attract the desired clients by clearly and engagingly describing what they do. They maintain a thriving practice by being client-centered: having an inviting treatment space, using good equipment, doing thorough treatment plans, following up-and most important-listening and responding to each client's needs.
Everything you do makes a statement about how you feel about yourself, your clients and your practice. Thus, you are always marketing yourself- for better or worse. Marketing isn't just about the outward activities you do, such as advertising and promotions; it also incorporates the manner in which you relate to your clients, your ethics and your professional demeanor. It's important that your outward image be consistent with your vision of a successful wellness provider.
The more creative and natural your marketing techniques, the more successful they are, mainly because you like to do them. No rule says that you can't have fun while promoting your business! Stay centered in your enthusiasm about your work and the results it produces-this is what attracts people to learn more about who you are and what you do.
Educate Your Clients
Client education is the key to marketing a massage practice. This includes formal activities such as giving demonstrations, public speaking, writing articles, publishing newsletters, and compiling information packets.
Don't take it for granted that people "know" what you do because you have a certain title. Define what you do. Explain the benefits of what you offer and clarify your differential advantage. Every practitioner is unique and brings his or her experience and personality into play along with whatever techniques are employed. For sources of client education materials, see Issue 4's Online Resources at futureLMT.com.
Do What You Love
A popular phrase in this industry (and the title of a book) is "Do what you love and the money will follow."
Unfortunately, most people forget about the key verb in the sentence: DO. They assume that deciding what they want to do is enough. Doing what you love doesn't mean sitting in your office waiting for the phone to ring; it implies taking action to attract new clients and actually doing your work! In other words, if you don't have a full client load, either invest that free time in educating people about your work or donate your services (do what you love)-then the money truly will come.