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Bodywork Buddy Blog

Bodywork Buddy: business management software for the solo therapist that keeps you organized and makes tax time a breeze.

Showing posts with label marketing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label marketing. Show all posts

Monday, June 22, 2015

How to Run a Successful Deal Campaign: Part One

Crowd deals like Groupon seem to be a great way to introduce your massage to a whole bunch of new, prospective clients, but are you prepared? This blog will explore the positive aspects of running a deal and also the pitfalls.

Read on to find out if group deals are for you.

To Groupon, or not to Groupon…
Here’s the deal, if you are not on board with deeply discounting your services, possibly running in to some unpleasant clients, or working your tail off for very little money in the short term, daily deals are not for you.

The main idea behind running a deal is to retain the clients that come in with vouchers.
It’s a marathon, not a race.

What you make money wise from doing the initial deal is not the focus of a successful campaign. The real focus is retention.

You can't retain clients if you have a bad attitude. You must offer the BEST you have in order to keep the clientele, so giving a bad service because you're in a mood about "working for free" won't make this deal a success. Don't even go there because it will do more harm than good to your practice.
Clients can pick up on this very easily and your ratings online will reflect this.

So why SHOULD you do deals? 
I can’t tell you why you should but personally, I chose to run a few deals to start up my private practice because of a few reasons:

1. I had no clients (zero) and needed to build up my clientele FAST.
2. I had no advertising budget. I needed something that would get me a bunch of clients as quickly as possible and I only had to pay for results.
3. I needed to stay busy. Taking the leap into self employment was scary for me and I knew that if I sat around, I would run out and get another job, which would take me away from focusing on my practice.

If you’re like me, running a deal might make sense. The best thing that I can suggest is to look in to all your options and assess your unique goals and needs as a business owner.

Something else to consider:
Did you know that there are several deal platforms out there?
Research and see what options you have in your city. I was lucky to find a smaller, higher end deal site that was perfect for my private practice. I really enjoyed working on their more exclusive clientele.
Search for local sites like amazon local or guilt city (my favorite). Avoid sites that highlight the “savings”. I typically steer clear of sites with “deal” or “save” in the name.

Do NOT get into a long term deal contract where they can run your deal over and over. Scarcity is the key.
Do NOT run massage packages as deals.
Do NOT run offers for services that use expensive product.
Do NOT give up control or be bullied by overbearing salespeople.
Do NOT run a deal without a plan of action.
Do NOT run a deal if you are not ready to WORK IT.

Do work with a company that will give you control over your deal.
Do only run your deal ONCE. Consider using another company if you decide that you want to run another deal.
Do work with a company that will negotiate terms with you.
Do read your contract!
Do create unique services that would appeal to higher end clients.
Do make a detailed plan for retention and prepare for your deal BEFORE running one.

Hopefully I’ve helped you decide if group deals are a good fit for your practice. Part two will help you develop your plan of action to run a successful deal.

Do you run deals?
What has been your personal experience?

Hi! I’m Hillary Arrieta and I help people improve their lives by offering holistic solutions to eliminate stress. I own Gaia Bodywork in Richardson, TX. and specialize in unique and effective massage and meditation techniques such as Barefoot Bar Therapy and iRest® Yoga Nidra.

Friday, April 10, 2015

My single most effective marketing tool…and it’s FREE

by Hillary Arrieta LMT, Richardson Texas

This weekend I was working as a vendor at the AMTA Texas chapter convention. I was approached by many of my fellow local massage therapists about marketing.

"How do you market your practice?" They asked.
“What's working for you?”

This is a topic that I have come to love. When I first started out, I would say that marketing made me a little bit crazy. When I thought of it, I had the impression that I would have to spend a ton of money on print, radio, or TV ads. I didn’t want to become a sales person. Now I know that marketing is so much more than sales and I find it fun and challenging!

As I discussed my current marketing process, many therapists were surprised to learn that one of my top marketing tools was my email list.
Maybe you’ve heard that saying  “email is dead.” Well my friends, It’s very much alive and well.
My email list is one of the most successful marketing tools I’ve encountered, if not THE most successful.

My clients love my weekly emails. Yep, that’s right, I email my clients at least once a week. When I was trying to come up with my email marketing plan, I thought weekly emails were a bit much and that maybe it was going to come off too pushy. I didn’t want to annoy my clients.

Funny enough, I began receiving great feed back about them.
My clients LOVED that I sent out my availability so that they could hop on to my online booking site (thank you Bodywork Buddy!) and schedule right then and there. Everyone is so busy these days and having my openings delivered to their inbox every Monday morning was just another way to support my clients in keeping up with their self care.

Many of them told me to keep it coming! That they actually looked forward to my Monday email.
I also have a handy sign up form on my website that allows prospective clients to sign up if they are interested in hearing from me.

In addition to my weekly availability email, I’ve used my list to run successful semi annual massage package sales ( take that, Groupon!!) as well as sending out important information about changes in my practice. I love emailing reminders for my meditation class, and adding a link to my blog so that my clients can read about self care suggestions and current events within my practice.

I always keep the information valuable and relevant to my clients, because who is going to read boring newsletters?

If you don’t have an email list, here are some resources to get you started!
And they are free!

How do you use your email list?

Monday, June 16, 2014

Life Is Good

Everyone always loves the little massage-y guy "Life Is Good" image whenever we've posted it on social media before, so we thought we'd share where you can buy it on a Tshirt that would make a great massage office uniform!

Full Circle Bodyworks


Monday, June 9, 2014

4 Quick Tips to Rebook Clients

1. Offer a complimentary add-on such as hot stones, hot towels, aromatherapy, foot or
back scrub, etc.

2. Email with openings for the week sent out on Sunday or Monday. 
Be sure to include a link to your online scheduler to make it as easy as possible for clients to schedule.

3. Offer tiered rates. 
For example: Monthly rate $65, biweekly rate $55, and weekly rate $45.

4. Ask them at the end of their appointment when they would like to schedule their next one!
This seems too simple, but many times all it takes is asking. Remember that clients are relaxed after their massage and may not be thinking about their calendar - likely to float right out of your office without remembering to schedule their next appointment.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Teacher Appreciation and Nurses Week

This week has two great marketing opportunities for your massage business. Teacher Appreciation and Nurses week are both this week in May.

While it's Tuesday and this week has already gotten started, it's not too late to send out an email to your clients to remind them that you have gift certificates available for purchase. Massage is a great gift to honor our teachers and nurses!

Haven't gotten started with email marketing yet? Check out these past blog posts for some ideas:

Monday, March 31, 2014

Our Story & A Gift For You

Over the weekend, the NCBTMB Facebook page posted a graphic about National Mom & Pop Business Owners day. It reminded me that while most massage therapist's businesses are "Mom & Pop shops", we are here at Bodywork Buddy, too! So I thought I'd tell you a little more about how Berin and I got started with Bodywork Buddy and why it's a labor of love for us.

I'm not a naturally organized person. I started my massage practice with my very unorganized ways... and it was fine, for a while. (Until I got busy.) And believe me, I really struggled in the beginning.

A lot of my blog posts here are drawn from what I have learned in my own massage business. I experienced for myself what works and what doesn't when trying to build a clientele. Once I did things like offer a unique service and online scheduling, I started to get really busy. I soon realized that it was going to quickly become a big mess if I didn't get organized and have set systems and processes in place. I was using about 4 different programs to run my business at that time. One for online scheduling, one for my website, one for client management, one for bookkeeping... half of those being desktop software that I could only access while at my office.

I know you're wondering...
It's pronounced "Eye-Loo".

Embarrassing confession: I would wait until the end of the year and then go through my whole appointment book and record the income into my bookkeeping system for taxes. (and by bookkeeping "system" I mostly mean paper.) What a mess! I wanted something that would make it easy for me to track my income, and make it effortless to stay on top of it and be organized. (This is why Bodywork Buddy will show you past due appointments that haven't been completed with payment information yet. Bodywork Buddy tells you that it still needs to be done! So you can't forget or wait until the end of the year to stay on top of it... not that you would do that, right? I just know that I would!!)

I wanted to make my life easier with more automated practices for my massage business. And to have all of these services in one easy program, accessible from anywhere with an internet connection.
on the left: my bookkeeper, Oscar.

So while all of this was going on with my massage business, my husband Berin was laid off from his development job. He'd been working remotely for a company in Los Angeles. They were acquired by another company, and brought in a couple of "Bob's" to make big cuts. (By big cuts, I mean pretty much everyone.) The only jobs available for his industry were in California or Texas at the time, and most were as independent contractors with not much security anyway. We didn't want to move since I had my massage practice here (and family, of course - Michigan is our home!). But we also didn't start Bodywork Buddy thinking "hey, if Berin can't find a job in his field then we'll just create one!".
It honestly started as him having the time on his hands, and my need for a solution. He was still doing some freelance work and looking for more permanent work while starting to build the system.
It was after he started building it that we thought "If I need this solution, maybe there are other massage therapists out there looking for the same thing!". And hence, Bodywork Buddy was born.

Bodywork Buddy has evolved since then from the features that I felt I needed and now includes many other features that our members have requested since our inception.

When massage therapists ask me what sets Bodywork Buddy apart from other online schedulers, I honestly think the biggest thing is that we're focused on the massage industry because we're in it. We're not some huge corporation or software company that has been started by serial entrepreneurs and investors. We didn't set out with the intent of being entrepreneurs. We're invested in this in a different way, with the love that we have for massage therapy (and Berin's love for coding). Also, unlike many software companies, self-taught cofounder Berin is also the software architect and has built the entire foundation of the system himself. It's hard to explain just how beneficial this is if you're not familiar with outsourcing software development. Let's just say: our developers aren't going to all of the sudden "not care" about updates or upgrades needed to the system. Our developers are the owners, we care with our blood, sweat, and tears... similar to the way that you care about your massage practice.

I love that not only has Bodywork Buddy helped me to organize my business, but I love even more that now we're helping other massage therapists get more organized and thereby become more successful in their massage business!

I can't express how awesome it is to hear things like this from our members:

"I am really enjoying Bodywork Buddy. It will be such a great resource for my massage practice. I am dyslexic and having everything in one place is such a gift. Everything from soap notes to being able to mark massages as trades. I have been bouncing around between booking sights for about a year. One of the biggest things that has not kept my business is that I just can't read them. This is NOT the case with Bodywork Buddy. I feel so grateful to have found this resource." [sic]       -Tisha R.  

It's been quite an adventure. And we're really glad you're part of it! As a thank you for being here, here's a free facebook timeline image. (many thanks to Ryan Hoyme of Hoyme Consulting for the massage images!) Just right click, and save image to download for your use.

Thank you. I hope you didn't find this post too personal or boring. Or cheesy. It's very new for me to write from such a personal perspective. I just want you to know that I get how hard it is to build your massage practice from scratch. I've been there... and I'd love to help you build your business in any way I can.

Cindy Iwlew is co-founder of Bodywork Buddy Massage Software, a complete online management solution for independent massage therapists that includes online scheduling

She continues to operate her own private massage practice of 15 years.

My other bookkeeper, Raven.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

3 Easy Tips For Starting Your Email Marketing

Are you collecting email addresses from clients? Have you been wanting to, but not sure where to start? Or not even sure there's much benefit to having client email addresses on file? 

A while back, Hillary wrote this guest blog post about how she made $10,000 in one day. A huge part of her success was that she regularly emails her clients. And like I pointed out in this post, email marketing is a more personal way to connect with clients than social media.

So here's a few ways you can start to collect the email addresses from your clients:

  1. Online Scheduling.
    Bodywork Buddy requires the client to enter their email address to schedule an appointment online. (I would imagine most online schedulers require this - as it's kind of a cornerstone to the concept of online scheduling!)  Bodywork Buddy also automatically sends email reminders to your clients of their upcoming appointments which helps to cut down on no-shows.
  2. Health Intake Form.
    Make sure your health history form asks for their email address and states that they are approving you to send them emails.
  3. Opt-in Form on your website.
    Include a newsletter signup or a "special offers" signup on your website.  (Mailchimp offers a great free program up to 2,000 contacts and lets you easily create a signup for your website.) Often times, prospective clients may be visiting your website but not committing to making an appointment yet. This is a great opportunity to get their contact information so you can continue to keep in touch with them and stay on the top of their mind.
Once you have gotten started on your list, you can start working to create email campaigns.  More on this in an upcoming blog post - stay tuned!  

If you're on Networked Blogs, be sure to add this blog to your list of follows (click follow in the Networked Blogs box to the right). Or you can signup to the right to receive each new post in your inbox so you're sure to get upcoming posts.

Do you have other tips for collecting email addresses that I haven't included here? Leave them in the comments below, I'd love to hear what has worked for you.

Cindy Iwlew is co-founder of Bodywork Buddy Massage Software, a complete online management solution for independent massage therapists that includes online scheduling. She continues to operate her own private massage practice of 14 years. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

6 Ways to Stop Ruining Your Massage

The truth is, relaxation begins prior to your session...

Have you ever rushed in to make an appointment, and then felt scattered and anxious through the first half of the session?  While this may not be a huge deal for say... an appointment with your accountant (who doesn't feel some anxiety about taxes?), it's really a shame for this to happen for your massage appointment.

It's easier to sink into a deep relaxation and get the most out of your massage session when you include some time in your schedule before the appointment to begin the relaxation process. (Before you even get on the table.)

Here's some tips to help you prepare for your session and ultimately, get the most out of your massage:

  1. Include some buffer time in your schedule so you're not coming directly from traffic or a meeting.
  2. Turn off your cell phone.
  3. Don't eat just before your massage, but also don't show up starving.
  4. Take several slow, deep breaths before you even walk in to your massage therapist's studio.
  5. Use the restroom.
  6. If your mind is still racing during the massage, focus on how the work feels on your muscles.

Learning to take some extra time and preparing can help deepen your experience, making the effects much more far reaching.

What other tips do you have for the best massage experience?

Cindy Iwlew is co-founder of Bodywork Buddy Massage Software, a complete online management solution for independent massage therapists that includes online scheduling. She continues to operate her own private massage practice of 14 years. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Make or Break Your Massage Business With Testimonials With Cindy Iwlew

Last week I was on Massage Nerd talking to Ryan about creative ways to collect and use testimonials in your massage business.

The replay is below, and you can also signup for a free checklist detailing these ideas at

Many thanks to Ryan for having me on his show!
Just an update - I have more details about using testimonials for marketing in Canada.  I'll write a post soon with that info for our friends to the North!

What unique ways do you collect reviews?  How do you like to incorporate them into your marketing?

Cindy Iwlew is co-founder of Bodywork Buddy Massage Software, a complete online management solution for independent massage therapists that includes online scheduling. She continues to operate her own private massage practice of 14 years. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Network Marketing for MT's - Guest Post by Jess Weagle

There are many massage therapists would like to expand their business, but don’t want employees. And are trying to find a way to enjoy some passive income from their website and don’t know where to start.

And let’s face it, being a solo LMT isn’t the best long standing business model either. If you get hurt or can’t work you are SOL without a backup plan.

The great thing about a network marketing company is that people have to buy from a rep, and that gives the solo business owner a great advantage. I like to think of going this route no different than
buying into a franchise. Just like a franchise you need to buy into the name and there are franchise fees. But joining a network marketing company cost a lot less capital!

Joining a network marketing company takes care of all those problems and can be a great option for your back up plan. The industry however, has a bad rap with a lot of people. But just give me a moment of your time and I will explain a way to integrate network marketing products into your practice that is classy, won’t offend clients, and add extra money to your bank account.

Your first task is to find a product line that you believe in and will stand behind, there are so many to pick from you just need to decide what direction you would like to go. Here were my must haves when I was researching companies.

1 – Must have products that I can use during a massage

2 – Be able to sell the products retail

3 – Have an online store and be able to blog about the different products

If any of my must haves weren’t meant the company was out!

You also need to be ready to spend money to join there are quite a few that you can join for just $35, but you will also need to spend money on product every month and the amount varies from company to company. And don’t ever feel like to need to buy a big fancy kit. So that is something you need to plan for, but if you are proactive you can meet that requirement by selling that as retail.

Having their online store is also a great way to sell the products online and have them shipped to the person’s home without having to worry about having product in stock and shipping. Network marketing companies also have all the marketing material done for you for a small fee. So your clients can take home a professional looking catalog and order products when they are ready or they can add what they want into your monthly order.

A lot of people complain that the mark up isn’t high enough version traditional retail. Which is true, but if get enough reps under you that will pay for your products that you need to buy. But you just don’t have anyone sign up as a rep. Don’t ask your clients to join (keep your clients as your retail buyers) that’s just tacky and could cause problems down the road. Instead focus on other holistic business owners. Talking to random people about your business opportunity is just wrong on so many levels and you would never market your massage business that way. So market your network marketing company just like your massage business, know your ideal retail customer and rep.

And in doing lots of research on different companies I found most of them have a great support system you just need to take the time and look for what you need or ask the person that signed you up for help.

If you play your cards right pick a great product line for your business within a year you could be gain same great passive income.  And this will help to the take pressure off of always having to worry about finding new clients and can recession proof your business. And bringing in a product line will help to attract different clients into your business.

Jess Weagle has been an LMT since 2001. 
She owns Deep Relief Massage Therapy in West Boylston, MA. 
You can also check her fan page