Episode 162

Jun 1, 2018

We’ve been talking about podcasting and niching in the past (at different times) and how powerful these approaches can be toward differentiating your practice. But how about together? Mind blown! We’re going to share three examples of massage therapists who are niching and podcasting and how it’s benefiting their practices.

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We’ve been talking about podcasting and niching in the past (at different times) and how powerful these approaches can be toward differentiating your practice. But how about together? Mind blown! We’re going to share three examples of massage therapists who are niching and podcasting and how it’s benefiting their practices.

Massage therapists showcased in this episode:

Sponsored by:


Sponsor message This episode is sponsored by Pure Pro massage products. For over 24 years, Pure Pro has been making extraordinary products for extraordinary practitioners who care about what touches their body and their client’s bodies. From their hypoallergenic lotion, which is ideal for oncology massage and safe for sensitive skin; to peppermint pedango foot cream, perfect for easing varicose veins and tired feet; to arnica relief lotion that knocks out muscle soreness stat, Pure Pro has products for every kind of massage. Pure Pro never uses chemically derived water dispersing agents or artificial fragrances. You’ll find all the ingredients for each product on the website as well as the patented Glide-o-meter rating that will help you determine which product’s slip, grip, glide, and weight is right for the work you do. And all Pure Pro products are vegan, cruelty-free, and nut free, making your job as a safe, mindful practitioner that much easier. You can trust Pure Pro because it’s made by massage therapists for massage therapists. For $10 off your next order, go to massagebusinessblueprint.com/purepro and use the one-time discount code BLUEPRINT at checkout. That’s $10 off your next order by going to massagebusinessblueprint.com/purepro and using the one-time discount code BLUEPRINT at checkout.

Allissa Haines Hello, everyone. Welcome to the Massage Business Blueprint podcast, where we discuss the business side of massage therapy. I am Allissa Haines. 

Michael Reynolds And I am Michael Reynolds.

AH And we are, you know, coming off of a holiday weekend feeling chipper. I’m full of iced coffee. I don’t know what Michael is full of, but, Michael, how are you?

MR I’m full of root beer.

AH Ooh, that’s delightful.

MR Living on the edge today.

AH So what’s up? How’s the weather? How was your holiday weekend?

MR Hot, but awesome. Did the usual — actually a friend of mine had a birthday party for a friend. She was having a cookout; so we did a cookout. 95-degree weather, but it was near a water park; so Eli and the kiddos got to run into the water and get soaked. So I would say it was a success.

AH That’s adorable.

MR Good stuff.

AH It was cold here. It was so cold we had to contemplate turning the heat on.

MR Wow.

AH But we did not turn the heat on. I just put on 4 sweatshirts and huddled under a blanket for a day. But it was good weather for getting a ton of — there was one day that was warm, but the other two were just freezing and mediocre. But it was good weather for doing yard work without dying from heat. No complaints. I was totally domesticated this weekend and did 12 loads of laundry and a ton of yard work. And I actually took almost 4 full days off from work and even forgot to check my email one day, so that was awesome.

MR Well done.

AH I feel good about it, so –. I feel even better knowing that you are in charge of today’s podcast.

MR I am in charge of today’s podcast.

AH And you know what? Just dive in, Michael, what do you got for us?

MR All right. So today I want to share three case studies. And I’m titling today’s episode Niche + Podcast: A massage therapists secret weapon. First of all, do you say “nitch” (phonetic) or “neesh” (phonetic)?

AH I think I say neesh.

MR We do this every time we talk about this. I feel so pretentious and awkward saying neesh, but then when I say nitch, I feel very not correct, so I never know what to say. I’m going to say neesh because I think most people say neesh.

AH Let’s get over ourselves and say neesh.

MR Okay. I’m going to say neesh, okay. This was inspired by — first of all, let’s do two case studies and then we’ll do our halftime, and then we’ll do our last case study. Sound good —

AH Got it.

MR — a good flow of events here? All right. We’ll do that.

AH Bring it.

MR What we’ll do here — there are three of our premium members in our premium community that are doing podcasts. It just so happens that those three members are also niching their practice and specializing in a certain target market. And I called this a massage therapist’s secret weapon as part of the title of this episode and this discussion today because I truly believe — it wasn’t just a catchy title — I truly believe that any of these — either of these methods or either of these approaches could be a secret weapon. Together they are amazing. And I say that because most massage therapists are not doing either of these things. They are not niching their practice, and they are also not running a podcast.

Niching a practice is a very scary thing. You’re specializing in a target market or a specialization and that can feel very scary for all the reasons we’ve talked about before in this same topic in other podcast episodes. A podcast is also something very scary for a lot of massage therapists because it involves learning some technology, it involves getting out of your comfort zone, a little bit of public speaking kind of context. These are two things that can be very scary to a lot of people, including massage therapists.

What we’ve seen is there are — there might be more, but there are three members of our premium community that are really sharing information about how they’re doing their podcast, and they’ve been running their podcast for at least a few weeks now. A couple of them are into the double-digit episode numbers and really getting a flow going. And I could not be more excited. I love podcasting and so I’ve been kind of — we’ve shared a lot of information about podcasting on this particular show about how to start your own podcast, what the benefits might be — and we are seeing some really cool stories from these members about how their podcast is helping their practice and how they’re getting going with it.

What I want to do is I want to share — I got permission from all three of these members, and I want to share the stories of how these massage therapists are niching their practice and publishing a podcast to go with it and kind of how it’s going for them. We’re going to talk about Sara Kotila from Exeter, New Hampshire; she runs a podcast called Knead to Run. Then we’re going to move on and spotlight Rianne Chavez from Panama City, Florida, and she runs a practice called Balance and Peace Massage Therapy. And then we’re going to wrap up with Meg Donnelly from Northern Virginia who runs a podcast called NoVA Weekend Warriors. And these are different angles, but they are really, really cool podcasts and really interesting stuff they’re doing.

So let’s start with Sara. Sara runs a massage practice called Knead to Run. Her website is kneadtorunmassage.com. That’s knead with a K. So K-N, Knead to Run Massage. If you go to kneadtorunmassage.com/podcast, you’ll see her podcast there. Looks like she is up to episode 9 or 10 so far. Episode 9 is the last one, yeah. So what she is doing is she is focusing her massage practice on runners. So right off the bat she is doing something really cool, which is she is no longer saying hey, I’m the massage therapist for anybody who needs a massage, like most people do. She is saying I run a practice specialized exclusively on runners. She focuses on runners, their needs, their pains, their issues, how massage helps them, and her practice is exclusively focused on runners. So right off the bat, she is really digging deep into a tribe of people and a target market that is a very tight-knit community; they run together; they’re in clubs together; they talk to each other. I love her specialization. I love her niche. I think it’s a great idea, and she’s really getting momentum in it.

Now, her podcast is called the Knead to Run podcast. She has been — like I said, she’s 9 episodes in. She publishes, I believe, every week like clockwork; so she’s done a really good job of staying on a schedule and she does a mixture — she interviews people sometimes; she does kind of a monologue-style teaching episode sometimes where she talks about injuries and techniques and performance and all sorts of things about running. I love her podcast. What’s really cool is she’s starting to get some really great feedback on the podcast as well. Here are some ways that it’s actually helped her practice. I think it was a couple of weeks ago, she actually posted in the group and mentioned that someone came up to her and — at a race she was at — and someone came up to her and said hey, I love your podcast. Just out of the blue, someone came up to her and said that she loved her podcast. And this was not a current client; this was someone who was listening to the podcast and has potential to become a current client. She’s actually saying yeah, I hope she becomes a client soon. So she’s stating to get people that are listening to her podcast that are not her clients, and these are people that could either become clients or refer her to other people who could become clients as well. So she’s really starting to see the magic of a podcast going beyond her current client base and also starting to reach people who could be potential clients and potential referral sources. She also told me — there was another story here — she says she has a new client in the past month that has been on the fence and listening to the podcast for a while, and the podcast actually kind of bumped her over the fence to call and make an appointment. So she was on the fence about making an appointment, and her podcast kind of convinced this client to go ahead and book and appointment. She’s getting great feedback from her community in general about it, and we’re seeing real tangible results of her getting business from her podcast.

Sara’s a great example of owning a niche, specializing in a target market, which is runners, and then creating a podcast specifically for runners. That podcast is being shared; it’s being distributed among the running community; it’s being talked about; people are coming up and telling her about it. And so only 9 episodes in, she is really starting to get some momentum already. I can’t wait till she gets to episode 25 or episode 50 and becomes the defacto running podcast in her area. I love what Sara’s doing. It’s a great example and a great start and great results already. What are your thoughts on Sara’s podcast, Allissa?

AH I think it’s fantastic, and I have been impressed in the same way you have with her turning that swing vote over into a scheduled client after they’ve listened for a while. And I mean, there’s nothing better in the world that having someone come up and be like I love your podcast. One, it’s good for your ego, which is, in general, heartening when you’re in the pits of running a business. So, yay. But, yeah, no, it’s great. It’s great stuff. And she’s really focusing on her community and what serves her community of runners. It’s not just that every episode talks about the hamstrings when you run. It’s a variety within a niche, and it’s really great. That’s what I think about Sara’s podcast.

MR Agreed. All right. So next let’s talk about Rianne. Rianne Chavez practices in Florida, and her podcast is Balance and Peace. Actually, her practice name is called Balance and Peace Massage Therapy, and she runs a podcast of the same name. She is on episode 18 it looks like. Her last episode was 18. Here’s what I love about Rianne’s podcast. First of all, her practice is focused on mental health. So she’s done the niching work, the specialization, she’s gone through the process of picking a niche, and she is, again, specializing her practice on “for the mental health of it” is what she says and also says this in her podcast. She is targeting a niche. She is, again, taking her practice from a generalized practice which serves “everybody” to a specific target market of people that are focused on massage for mental health, and that’s really, really cool what she’s doing right off the bat. So even without a podcast, the specializing sets her apart.

Now, her podcast — I love Rianne’s podcast because it is so much fun to listen to. Here’s why. Again, Rianne’s practice is all focused in this niche and her podcast — she even says at the beginning of her podcast she says, hey — she introduces herself and says and I probably over share. And she owns that and then she does it. It’s so much fun. I’ve listened to episodes where she talked about where she and her kid were destroying the bathroom in an airport because her kid was having a bathroom issue and all the embarrassment that came with that. Her latest episode talks about lessons learned along the way and mistakes she’s made along the way as a massage therapist. She talked about all sort of embarrassing things she’s done as a massage therapist and kind of the horrified idea of all these things she’s done and awkward feelings and beating herself over this stuff. And really her message has been hey, I’m human, we’re all human; here’s how I’ve goofed up.

The whole theme of her podcast is really amazing because it’s a theme of vulnerability. She teaches things that are really interesting as well like awkwardness of tipping, all sorts of things. But she really focuses on being vulnerable. I think that really resonates well with her audience, especially, and I think with a lot of people in general. I really appreciate that because how often do all of us feel like we’re just screwing things up left and right; we feel awkward about everything; we feel like we’re failing at life. We keep it to ourselves sometimes because we want to make sure we hide those vulnerable feelings inside. Rianne just shares it with the world and makes us all feel like we are —

AH Normal.

MR Normal, yes. That’s a good way of saying it. [laughs] She makes us all feel normal. Yeah.

AH And I totally like you said the word “vulnerable,” and I was like oh, that is so it. But in such a “positive, we’re all normal” way. And also it’s got real good variety in that she talks about what an ideal client is, and then she talks about who should not come to her for massage. Like that guy — she proactively answers so many of the questions that people ask us, like have you had people — it’s beyond the realm of reality for some of our clients that we would have people come in expecting sexual services. But yet it’s something that’s happened to just about every massage therapist. And she just addresses it head on, like here’s a situation that has happened. You do not want to be that guy. And she does it in a way that is not cruel; it doesn’t judge people who seek sexual services; it just makes it clear that that’s not the kind of business she’s running.

The tipping episode I just listened to this morning. I’m not sure if it’s the latest episode or not. But she really goes through all the gray areas of when you may and may not tip and how to tip. She even covered when is the best time to give your massage therapist a tip if that’s the situation that’s appropriate. She really proactively answers a lot of the neurotic questions that potential clients could have, and I say that lovingly. We’ve all got our little neuroses. I think that she really makes herself welcoming to a clientele who might have apprehensions about seeking massage for depression, anxiety, various mental health issues, because she’s just so normal.

MR Yeah.

AH She is all of us. The episode what the heck was I thinking when she gets a kitten is brilliant and very human. Okay. That’s my tangent on Rianna.

MR Yeah, we’ve all been there. Every episode is like oh yeah, I’ve been there. We all can relate. I love it. I think her podcast is really, really well focused. It’s focused on her niche. It’s really well done. She is being bold and vulnerable in a way that most people are scared to be, and I think she is just absolutely owning it. I love what Rianne’s doing. Why don’t we pause there and do our halftime sponsor, and then we’ll go to our last case study. Who is our halftime sponsor today, Allissa?

AH It’s jojoba.

MR Thank you.

Sponsor message We’re so pleased to have Jojoba Company as a continuing sponsor. And I firmly believe that massage therapists should only be using the highest quality products, and jojoba is one of them. Jojoba is nonallergenic, so I can use it on any client and every client without fear of an allergic reaction. That takes a weight off of my shoulders, people. It’s noncomedogenic, so it won’t clog pores; so if you’ve got clients prone to acne, jojoba is really the best product for them. It doesn’t go rancid so my office can get hot and cold and hot and cold, and the jojoba won’t go bad. And there’s a whole lot of other great stuff about jojoba, but we’ll tell you about them another time. It’s the only company in the world that carries 100% pure, first-pressed quality jojoba. And we are so thrilled to have them as a partner. You can learn more at massagebusinessblueprint.com/jojoba. That’s J-O-J-O-B-A.

AH Bring it in, Michael.

MR Love it. All right. So we’re going to wrap up with Meg Donnelly. And Meg practices in Northern Virginia. Her website is massagetherapybymeg.com. Her business is named Meg Donnelly, LMT. She is focusing on weekend warriors. Her niche is weekend warriors, that includes a lot of different types of athletes and active people. Her website right off the bat is awesome. It’s massage for the weekend warrior is her theme. And her podcast is called — make sure I get it right here — NoVA weekend Warriors. NoVA stands for, I think, the terminology for Northern Virginia community there. So it’s called NoVA Weekend Warriors. And she is on episode 7. Her latest episode is 7. She’s a little bit early on in the podcast, but she is actually the spark behind me wanting to do this episode in the first place because she posted a great story this past week about how her podcast has helped her.

She titled the — the first line of her post was “Whoa, the power of podcast and focusing your niche.” And right off the bat I got excited to see that. There’s a couple stories for Meg. Meg’s first story here was she posted her latest episode, and she said within — now, first of all I want to say don’t always expect these types of dramatic results. This happens to be a really cool thing that happened here, but this is not always going to be the case. But in this case, she got one new client appointment within 5 minutes of the post, 5 immediate hits to her website within minutes of the post, and she got the largest reach ever on Facebook when she shared this particular episode. What she did, is she — again, her podcast is focused on weekend warriors, and her podcast interviews weekend warriors or interviews them about the things weekend warriors love to do. So there’s a running club nearby and she partners with them for events sometimes, and they have a race coming up. And she basically approached the brewhouse owner she’d been working with and wanted to talk to her about the event and promote the event as well. One of these weekend — they’re called Ragnar Warriors. One of the Ragnar Warriors connected with her for an interview on the podcast, and they happened to be part of a local ambassador program and, of course, shared it with other people, the podcast went out, and through that partnership and the extra lift she got from her guest and the people in the community, it got a ton of reach. And the brewhouse that was actually sponsoring the event linked to her website from their post as well, so she got additional traffic to her website. As we mentioned before already, she got a new client from it, right off the bat.

That segues into the other bit of feedback she gave us, which is how her podcast is helping her go deeper into her niche. She kind of mentioned the other success quote is what she is sharing is she is “able to further solidify her referral partner relationships through the podcast.” So she’s able to meet people in that community that she wants to serve and get better connections with them. How often do we want to find referral partners? And we maybe make calls or emails or knock on doors or whatever and maybe with limited success. Meg has a podcast. Meg is now able to go to people in her community that are either referral partners or her direct target market and say hey, would you like to be on my podcast? How much stronger is that to be able to say that than just to say hey, can we meet for a referral discussion or whatever or something random. You really have something tangible to invite them to be a part of, and it makes them feel special. It’s a really easy way to get them to connect with you. And so she has that tool available. She’s learning all the terminology and the lingo that her niche uses. She mentions it’s exclusive to her preferred tribe. Weekend warriors have some terminology they use, some lingo and jargon, and every time she does a podcast episode, she’s mentioned that she learned something new about that community which allows her to serve them better, speak their language better, and therefore resonate with that community better and set herself up as a differentiated massage therapist who serves that community. She is absolutely owning this.

She is doing two episodes a week, which is phenomenal. I love the music she’s using, the cover art, the title of her podcast, the style, everything she’s doing is awesome. We’re seeing some really, really tangible results already from what Meg’s doing in her podcast. I love the direction she’s going. What do you think, Allissa?

AH I do. I so — it does not — I love it. It’s a fantastic podcast, but I don’t understand a lot of it because I don’t run.

MR [laughs] You and I are not the target market for her —

AH I am not her target market in any way. That said, I have listened to a couple episodes, and it’s fantastic. And the way she has really stuck with her structure and her two episodes a week and really refined her processes about how she publishes and the tech that she’s using. I know a lot about this because she is sharing with other Massage Business Blueprint premium members. We actually had to create a separate podcast discussion group on Facebook for all our premium members who are podcasting because they were being so amazing about helping each other with the tech and learning different portions. Meg’s been so generous and sharing about how she’s doing all of it. And I’m so in awe of her ability to structure and create a process and then really stick with that. She’s a really discipled business owner, which is why I think she’s having really good success pretty quick in owning her own business. I so admire watching her work. For me that’s been the most benefit there, versus the content of her podcast which is not directed at me and how I sit on the couch and eat a lot of Doritos at all and Pinterest my weekend away.

MR If only that were a sport.

AH If only that were a sport.

MR Eating Doritos.

AH Man, you should have seen the temper tantrum I had today — this weekend when I couldn’t log in to Pinterest properly. It was terrible. Anyhow, that is an aside. Anything else you want to say about Meg and this niche podcasting stuff, Michael?

MR Yeah, I’m just thrilled to see the results here. I want to come back to the reason why I wanted to share this. Again, going back to why I call this the massage therapist’s secret weapon, niching plus podcast, is the deeper you go into a specialization and a way to differentiate your practice, the easier it is to get clients, just bottom line. The easier it is to get clients, the more momentum you get, the more stability and more money you get and so obviously everything takes time. These are early stages.

But what these three massage therapists have done is they have taken two very unique, scary things that most massage therapists are not willing to do. They’re not willing to niche their practice, and they’re not willing to go out of their comfort zone and do something different like a podcast. They have done this and done both together, and the power of that together is absolutely amazing. Some people might do a podcast; some people might do something else. I like the idea in general, though, of coming out of your comfort zone and doing something to differentiate your practice. And they’ve chosen to do these two things, and the momentum they’re getting is phenomenal. If anyone listening is maybe feeling stuck in their practice or feeling like they would like to figure out how to get to the next level, these are some really great examples. I encourage everyone to listen to these three podcasts and get a sense of not just how they run their podcast, but how they run their practice, how they’re specializing, how they’re focusing their niche, how they’re talking to their niche, and I think it will possibly give you some really interesting ideas on some things you can do as well. These are some really cool pioneers that are doing these things. I love what Sara’s doing; I love what Rianne’s doing; I love what Meg’s doing. Keep it up. Can’t wait to keep listening. Just wanted to share that. They were thrilled to share their story with our listeners as well.

AH Thank you, Michael. That was super thorough and kind of exciting. It’s a really exciting thing. I love seeing people move out of their comfort zones as well. That about wraps it up for today, people. I want to remind you that you can visit us online at massagebusinessblueprint.com for lots of free content as well as our premium member community. If you’ve got a topic you want us to cover in this podcast, you should email it to us podcast@massagebusinessblueprint.com, and we will do our best to answer it in a future episode. And if you like this podcast, give us a review, yo. If you’re listening on iTunes or Google Play or Stitcher or that weird Alexa thing, or there’s another place you can listen to our podcast, too, and I can’t remember. Or just go to the website massagebusinessblueprint.com, click on that little podcast header, and you’ll see all of our episodes. Share them with your Facebook friends, email it to your favorite massage business teacher. Whatevs. I’ve gone too long here. Until the next time, have a great day.

MR Thanks, everyone.

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