As a solo massage therapist, it may seem daunting to try and compete with the franchises. The key is to set yourself apart from the big chains, not to try and compete with them on prices or try to run deeply discounted groupon deals or membership specials. Remember that they have a huge staff to implement those deals… you only have YOU! If you try and compete on price, you will only burn yourself out and not make any money in the process. (Not to say that you shouldn’t run group deals, but if you do, know how to run them to work for you! Don’t expect to run them the same that the franchises do and be successful. Check out Hillary’s blog posts on running a successful deal campaign: Part 1 & Part 2. We also have a special offer just for the Bodywork Buddy readers of 50% off Tiger Lily Studios audio book on using social buying sites. Enter code BWB50 when ordering. Valid through July 31st only, so go get it now!)
It’s important to create a niche to set yourself apart from the big massage chains. Identifying or creating a niche means digging deeper into what sets your business or service apart from the competition. The typical marketing question is "Why would I schedule an appointment with you instead of <insert massage franchise>?" Identify what makes your independent massage practice different, and then play up those features.
In addition to having a niche, it’s important to have systems in place to keep your business organized and to have a professional online image. Take a look at your local massage chain’s website. Now view that side-by-side with yours.
- Where is there room for improvement to appear more professional?
- Is it obvious to clients viewing both sites how your independent massage practice is different?
- Do you offer unique services or techniques and is that prominently displayed on your website? (Professional images will really help here.)
- Do you offer the convenience of online scheduling? (Remember that a lot of clients are now doing most browsing and scheduling from their phone… is your scheduler mobile friendly?)
- Do you have client testimonials or raving reviews on your site?
These things can boost your professional image online and help further set you apart from the chains. (If you’re looking for a solution that offers all of these, we’ve made it super simple for you! Check out the free trial with Bodywork Buddy.)