A couple of weeks ago, I posted The Best Thing I Ever Did For My Massage Business, so I thought it only made sense that I cover the other end of that spectrum.
I know this marketing technique has worked for some therapists... but for me, the worst thing I ever did was to run an ad in the local free paper. (The paper was free, not the ad). At the time, I was just starting out and working at a small salon. On the urging of the stylists there, I ran the ad. For the hairstylists, this had been their most successful form of advertising for their business. (But I soon came to realize that their only marketing "plan" consisted of an ad in the paper and the luck to be available when there was a walk-in for a haircut.)
I won't go in to all the details of the results of the ad, but let's just say... it did include receiving a 4 page "fan letter" from an incarcerated individual. (No, there was nothing suggestive in my ad, and no, there is not a prison nearby. This just goes to show you the local paper was not targeting potential massage clients.)
I'm literally shaking my head as I write this... but, I didn't know any better at the time. And what is that saying? When you know better, you do better. I learned a lot in the beginning. (I'm not saying that an ad is a bad idea for every therapist. Just that for the demographics of my area, it was not the answer I was looking for.)
After I realized that my massage business was nothing like a hairstylist's business, I set out to try every marketing idea I came across. I had long left that salon before finding my most successful marketing strategy through trial and error. I focused my efforts on a large corporation in my town that I knew employed the kind of clientele I was trying to build, and I never ran another ad again.
Have you had luck with print ads? If you've had a positive experience with it, I'd love to hear about it in the comments below.
What has been the worst thing you ever did for your massage business?