In order to market yourself well, you need to know where you want to go and how to get there. A good marketing plan can be your guide. Writing a marketing plan may sound daunting, but it's really not difficult. The few hours you put aside to research and write your plan can result in a guide that will help you promote your massage therapy practice efficiently and successfully for months, if not years.
Step one: Do your research
To chart your goals and direction, start with background research in several areas. Take notes, make copies, clip articles. Gather a lot of information, so you can sift through later to see what will suit your particular practice. Here are some questions to guide you:
• How do others succeed?
Make a list of successful colleagues and where they promote their services. Contact a few you have met, or would especially like to meet, and ask them if they would be willing to share their take on trends or how they boost their practice when business is slow. Offer to take them to lunch. Better yet, show your respect by treating yourself to their services, and talk to them while you are there.
• Who else serves your ideal clients?
Talk to other kinds of professionals who work with the type of clients you would like to serve, such as mental health counselors, chiropractors or yoga and fitness instructors. Ask them how they reach their clients.
Search the Web for marketing ideas, and check out the many free marketing newsletters available.AA
Also, dip into marketing books for ideas on reaching clients. Try Business Mastery by Cherie Sohnen-Moe, Marketing Massage by Monica Roseberry and One Year to a Successful Massage Therapy Practice by Laura Allen.
Step two: Brainstorm and discover
• Now that you've been exposed to lots of advice, let your creative juices flow. Write down all the marketing ideas you can think of, in no particular order.
• Begin to discover the goals that fit you and what you want to accomplish. Ask yourself these questions:
Who are your ideal clients, those you most want to work with? Elders, pregnant women, people with repetitive strain injuries, stressed-out office workers? Once you've focused on a particular group, ask yourself: What do they have in common? What do they need? What do they find appealing? Where do they go and how can you reach them?
How do you want to be seen? As an injury specialist? As the best option for complete relaxation? As the go-to business for corporate chair massage?
Where should you go to reach potential clients? For example, if successful clinical practitioners told you that one way they receive contacts is through physician referrals, establishing physician contacts may become one of your major goals. In another example, perhaps your friends who are pregnant or have small children tell you they always glance at the coupons in your area's family news magazine. You may want to create a special promotion for that publication, and fit that into your marketing plan.
Step three: Begin your plan
• Write down your beginning goals.
• Make a list of necessary steps needed to reach one or more goals.
• Decide on completion dates for each step, and mark them on a calendar.
When you take time to do the research, and then use the results to create a marketing plan, you will have a guide that can lead to consistent growth and a satisfying practice.