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

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Marketing Your Massage Business in Just a Few Hours a Week {Guest Post by Gael Wood}

We all know that marketing a massage business takes time, money and creativity, and most of us would like to save on the first two. You CAN market your massage business in just a few hours a week, with some planning and focus.

Taking a day every quarter or so, to plan your promotions and marketing themes can save you HOURS in the long run. Knowing what you want to do is the hard part, and it’s easy to hop online because you need ideas and end up completely distracted and confused!

Figure out an overall marketing strategy and go from there. I recommend using printed marketing materials (rack cards, brochures, business cards or flyers), having a clear basic website with online booking, regular social media posts and networking in your local community. That may sound like a lot, but with a good plan it’s very doable in just a few hours a week.

Organize your printed marketing materials and keep them with you in your car. This way you can put them out while you are running your normal errands, and you’ll never inconveniently run out of business cards. Keep some thumb tacks and business card and brochure holders on hand too. You’ll be surprised how many places you can leave your advertising when you start looking for it. It’s a great way to reach people who need a massage but aren’t actively looking for one online.

I’m always surprised at how many massage therapists don’t have a website! Think about it, if you pick up a brochure and want more information, where do you go?

There are some great choices for building your own website, like weebly and wix. There’s a bit of a learning curve, but very doable for most people. Another option would be to pay someone to set it up for you or trade for a few massages. You will probably want to know how to do basic updates for specials and new blog posts. If you don’t have time or don’t want to update your site often, just have basic info, so that it doesn’t get outdated. I know I’m not impressed when I visit someone’s site and the Christmas specials are still up in May!

Social media is probably the most time-consuming marketing activity for most of us. On top of figuring out what to post, creating images and content, and searching for great content, it’s a very distracting place to be! Did you know that Facebook uses some of the same technology that casinos use to keep people at the slot machines? This is why I recommend a post scheduler, like eclincher, sprout social or viral tag to help you to preschedule, and even automatically recycle you content. 

Plan an hour or two a week to sit down and schedule out a few posts a day. 

Be sure to post a variety of content that you think will appeal to your ideal clients. If you don’t have time to create images, blog articles, and look for great content to share, check out the Massage Marketing Content Club by downloading your free samples HERE.

Last on the list is networking! If you are in a formal networking group, like the chamber of commerce, be sure to get events like business after hours on your schedule. It’s easy for these events to sneak up on us, and we end up missing out. If you aren’t in a formal group, check a few out or check your local paper, and even your kids school or your church for volunteer, donating and opportunities to help out and get involved.

Once you get in the habit of marketing your business, you will see opportunities everywhere!

Gael Wood has over 20 years of experience in the massage and spa industry. including day spas, resorts, and office settings, owning a therapeutic massage office, full day spa and currently an out call practice. She has amassed an immeasurable amount of knowledge and expertise in the art of growing and maintaining a thriving massage & spa business.
She now concentrates on educating and training massage and spa therapists in the areas of marketing, business start up, customer service and spa services. She is a NCBTMB approved CEU provider, licensed massage therapist and esthetician. Gael has over 20,000 massage therapists on her social media pages and email list.

Monday, August 28, 2017

What You May Not Know About Facebook Check-ins

You have a Facebook page for your massage business, right? 

Not only is a great way to get keep in touch with clients and reach prospective new clients on Facebook, it's a helpful tool for reviews.

Clients can leave reviews on your Facebook page which can then help sway new clients thinking about schedule a session with you.

But how do you get clients to leave a review on your Facebook business page? One easy tip is to have clients check-in at your business.

Facebook will automatically
ask them the next day to leave 
a review of their experience.   
It doesn't get any easier than that!

First, you'll want to make sure that the ability to check-in at your business is enabled in your Facebook. Then start working to get clients to check-in.

Ways to encourage clients to check-in on Facebook:

  • Have some signs posted at your massage business with a reminder to check-in

  • Offer an incentive like an upgrade to a service or being entered in a drawing for an upgrade or special service or gift when they check-in

  • Partner with a charity

Check-ins increase brand awareness and recognition with your clients and their social circles, but did you know that it also helps your SEO (Search Engine Optimization)? 

Google values and accordingly rates businesses that are seen as trusted providers with a high number of check-ins. It helps to increase the legitimacy of that business and therefore Google will trust it more, which in turn will help your massage business be more visible in search engine results.

Cindy Iwlew is a licensed massage therapist who has had a private practice since 1999 and cofounder of Bodywork Buddy massage software.

Friday, August 25, 2017


I am a certified Groupon geek. 
Using Groupon to build my practice fast has been the single best decision I’ve made for my business. 
But it was one I resisted. I’d heard that only cheap people use Groupon, that they just come in for the deal and never return, and that I’d get so booked with Groupon clients I wouldn’t have space for anyone else. What I hadn’t heard is that Groupon provides massive exposure for your practice in exchange for a highly discounted service, and when used strategically, can create rapid, sustainable growth.

In any marketing campaign, planning is the most critical step. 

Unfortunately, it’s often neglected or skipped entirely. I’ve identified five critical skills and tools to planning a successful Groupon campaign. Let’s take a look at what they are, why they’re important, and how they can make a Groupon deal work for you.

Before we begin any promotional activity for our practice, we need to be clear about what it is we want to accomplish. “Get more clients” is way too vague. How many more clients do you want? Take a look at the number of clients you average per week now and decide how many more you want to have on the books each week. So if you’re seeing 10 clients per week now and you want to be seeing 25, your goal is to attract 15 more clients per week.

Having a goal allows you to evaluate how effective your marketing strategy is because it can be easily measured. 

It also helps you set the monthly maximum for your Groupon deal. This limit not only determines how many vouchers can be sold per month; it’s the metric used for the algorithm that determines where your deal shows up on the Groupon website. High visibility will sell more vouchers to a more varied group of members. Lower visibility means your deal will only be seen by those searching for massage. The monthly maximum can be adjusted to sell more or less vouchers while your deal is active to give you the best results.

Who exactly are you trying to appeal to? It’s easy to fall into the “anyone who wants a massage” trap, but what’s going to really create growth and fulfillment in your practice is serving those who you are the best fit for. If you love and are really good at giving the most relaxing massage in your area, then you want to help people looking for that find you. They’re the ones who are going to enjoy what you offer, want to return, and tell others about you.

Massage is a popular item on Groupon, which can work to your advantage or against you. It’s become a go-to directory for those looking for a new massage therapist because they can try us out without breaking the bank. It can also make it harder for us to be seen among the numerous choices. A targeted description of your deal will set you apart from other massage therapists and make you resonate with those who want your unique skill set.

Once you get a new client, what do you do to inspire them to become a regular client? Aside from giving an extraordinary experience from beginning to end, clients may need a little financial incentive to visit frequently enough to get great results and stabilize your income. Having an enticing loyalty program, membership or discounted package will increase conversions dramatically. These types of incentives make frequent visits easier and keep your schedule fuller.  After all, isn’t the whole point of using Groupon in the first place to bring in more clients who will keep coming?

In my experience, offering a single session and a package of three in your deal gets more conversions in the long run because those who purchase a package are more interested in receiving massage frequently. Have an expiration date for your package (I use 90 days from date of activation) and stick with it. You can always offer to let them pay the difference for expired sessions (most likely they won’t, so those are free money). Use the pricing of your ongoing program (or special for returning Groupon customers) as a guide to price your deal (anything less than 70% of what they would pay for your discounted services is going to make converting them more challenging). You may not sell as many vouchers with a higher priced deal but you’ll retain more of the clients who buy them.

It’s human nature to seek immediate gratification. You will make some money from the sales of your vouchers, but using Groupon isn’t about making money from the deal itself. It’s about helping customers who want what you do find you. Getting them to come back is up to you.

Being successful with Groupon requires you to see it as way to attract more clients so you can then blow them away with your awesomeness. You won’t retain every Groupon client, but you most likely won’t retain every new client who hears about you from other sources either. Focus on those who do rebook rather than those who don’t. Keep the big picture of a full, thriving practice in mind. If you can’t get past the highly discounted rate you’ll receive from Groupon for your services, it’s not the tool for you.

If you’re already using online scheduling, I don’t have to tell you how much it streamlines the booking process. If you’re on the fence about trying it, I encourage you to take the leap. Bodywork Buddy offers a free trial period, so you have nothing to lose. Any concerns you have about optimizing your schedule or not having control will be minimized once you experience the freedom from phone, email and text tag you’ll have. It also provides an added convenience that many clients will appreciate, especially when you have an influx of new customers AND you’re busy working so aren’t available to answer the phone. I wouldn’t recommend doing a Groupon deal without it.

I’m not going to tell you that working with Groupon is all butterflies and moonbeams. It can be very challenging because you’re dealing with well-trained salespeople. It’s your responsibility to make the best decisions for your business and not let them steer you toward a deal that won’t serve you. But with a sound plan, it can be an unmatched option for growing your practice faster. Give some thought to what you want to achieve and create a strategy to support that BEFORE contacting Groupon. Then you’ll be prepared to negotiate a campaign that works for you and those who need you to reach their wellness goals.

Cath Cox has been a licensed massage therapist in Colorado since 1999 and is the creator of the Booked and Busy in 90 Days System™. Her mission is to heal the world by inspiring independent massage therapists to build thriving practices of their own so they can work authentically for as long as they desire. She currently provides Ashiatsu barefoot deep tissue massage exclusively in her private practice. You can learn more about Cath and her journey at

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Truth in Your Marketing {Guest Post by Erin Howk}

We're all marketing ourselves every day, whether we think we are or not.

It seems there are some conflicting arguments out there over which is the correct, honest, or better way to use marketing terms to sell our services. No matter what setting you are in, you are selling your massage services to someone and need to have specific language to attract the kind of clients you want to sell to. The fallacy here, is that one way is more 'honest' than another way (assuming you are not lying about the services that you provide and committing fraud, but that's a different problem). Some feel using flowery, emotional words that do not describe accurately how massage techniques are performed are a disservice to the industry, instead a technical approach would be more desirable.  However, you are not being more honest by using technical terms, you are being specific to a different target market; those who value a clinical approach and gravitate toward that language.

The purpose of marketing is to find specific people who want what you sell
and convince them to
buy it from you.

The key here is the finding the people you want to sell to, and to do that you manipulate your words and descriptions of your product to appeal to that group.  One of the arguments in the massage community is over the term “Deep Tissue Massage” used as modality.  This term is a vague descriptor and not a specific protocol, and some feel that it should not be used to describe massage or that it “is just a marketing term”.  It's been suggested therapists should use the term Deep Pressure instead because it is a more honest description of what you're selling… but this is not true. Deep Pressure is also ‘just a marketing term’ and is no more honest or accurate description of massage.

It is equally misleading to describe something as Deep Pressure Massage to refer to pressing really hard to achieve therapeutic effect on tissues closer to the skeleton. In massage, deep refers to the location of tissue, and not the strength at which you are pressing. It isn't exactly accurate to describe a unit of force as ‘deep' either. It's much more accurate to describe this type massage as Deep Tissue Massage, because you are targeting the deep tissues of the body.  However, the public thinks you must use heavy or maximum pressure to reach the deep tissue, which is where this description becomes problematic. There are several protocols out there that achieve therapeutic effect on deep tissue without using maximum pressure. You can see that the description of Deep Tissue Massage has an inaccurate association with the amount of force, but that the public wants what you are trying to describe when you say it, so some find useful to use that term in marketing.

Photography's main
purpose in marketing
is to sell a feeling.

A “real picture” of a massage may not be what your clients want to see.

Some take issue with the photography used to market massage as being inaccurate and overly fake. Photography's main purpose in marketing is to sell a feeling. They are an impressionistic representation of your services, as opposed to a literal one. Their purpose is to tell your client "This could be you, you could feel as relaxed as this person, here in this picture". The photo does not have to look exactly what your massage space looks like, it does not have to depict what a massage session looks like in real life, and last of all it can look pretty. Pretty sells.

If you want to increase business,
the right words can make a difference.

Sounds like everything is just a big pack of lies, doesn't it? Until there is a universal definition of massage modalities that cannot be disputed, all types of massage are "just marketing". And really, marketing terms and photos can be pretty powerful. If you want to increase business, the right words can make a difference. Marketing is less about pristine truth, and more about a quick glimpse of what awaits them when they walk through the door. It's true, there is terrible photography out there. The lighting is terrible, the aperture is off, they didn't even consider the rule of thirds... There are people who use marketing to mislead, but you are not that person. There is something to be said for truth in advertising, but that doesn't preclude you from conveying a feeling.  If you have access to a good photographer and want pictures of your space, go for it… but don’t expect it to be free. As a photographer, their business is just as hard as ours to get people to pay for their hard work. However, if you need to use a free photograph, or inexpensive one and it has candles and flowers in it, that’s okay. If it gets your client in the door asking to feel like that picture made her imagine she would feel underneath your talented hands, and you can provide that, then you've reached your ideal client. She's not going to care if there aren't any flowers by her face.

There is something to be said for truth in advertising, but that doesn't preclude you from conveying a feeling.

Erin Howk BS, BCTMB
Thank you to my photography instructors for teaching me to edit in frame.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Using Video Marketing to Boost Your Online Bookings {Guest Post by Sachiyo Langlois}

If you are an Ashiatsu Therapist, I am sure that you get a lot of - " So.... what do you? " or " A~shi what?" questions.

After losing a contract with a company which used to offer an alternative medicine program to their employee, I lost about 1/3 of clients. So I had all the time in the world to do something about it. 

I saw a silly family short movie that was made and posted by my friend on the Facebook. And literally I had the light bulb moment; I decided to make my own commercial video for my business.
First, I asked general questions to the Ashiatsu Therapists for tips and suggestions for creating a commercial video. I wanted the video to look professional (non-sexual), informative and somewhat entertaining.

I placed my dear friend (who also made the family movie) behind GoPro camera. I showed her a few examples of how other Ashi videos look and I directed how exactly I want her to capture the strokes. I brought 2 desk lamps to brighten up the room, chose a female model client who is fit and has nice skin tone without any tan marks, chose red wine colored sheets so that will pop out against powder blue walls, I wore black or green t-shirts with black capri pants so that I look professional rather than Asian prostitute look. I also included a foot washing scene, which I was so happy with avoiding dirty foot image, etc...etc...  

We spent about 1 hour for this video shooting and the toughest part was choosing only a very few good scenes so that the total length of my video would be around 1-minute. I added caption throughout the video to explain what it is, and contact information at the end. I spent a lot of time searching for how to, but I managed to create an pretty darn good video without spending any money.

3 months later, I have also decided to make a second video doing Ashi-Thai Bodywork outdoors. This one came out even better than the first and includes the water mark / my biz logo in it. If I ever get hurt and not being able to do Ashi, I may get into this.

I have released these videos on Facebook ads with a Holiday Sale and I got a great result. Also, even people from far away (like an hour away!)
came to receive a one hour massage. I think that now, most mysteries are solved... let's make an appointment. Kind of.

My Ashi video's are posted on my "Kooma Massage Therapy" Facebook page and YouTube. Youtube share can include related but inappropriate videos so I would suggest sharing them from my FB page. Please make your contact info visible in your post and don't forget to " Like" my page. :)

Ashiastu Barefoot Massage - Go Pro camera and its video editing software  
Music by Nathan Mark ( Lindsay camera girl, her husband )
Ashi-Thai Bodywork  -  GoPro camera and iMovie software. 
I used the music from the iMovie software.