Episode 310

Aug 21, 2020

Michael gets nerdy with it, in what Allissa calls, an "action-packed episode" about Google Analytics stuff you need to know.

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Allissa Haines Hello, everyone. Welcome to the Massage Business Blueprint podcast, where we help you attract more clients, make more money, improve the quality of your life, and where I answer emails where listeners tell me I'm not working hard enough and Michael has to pause the recording to get his child out of the room. I'm Allissa Haines.

Michael Reynolds [Laughing] I'm Michael Reynolds. And yes, that is alluding to the fact this is our second take because my five-year-old was not respecting the red sign on my office door and was standing singing songs loudly into the office doorway. So we'll try this again.

AH I personally --

MR Round two.

AH I thought we should include it in the podcast episode. Michael felt otherwise.

MR Well, if he comes back, you're going to hear it because we'll just keep going this time. So you may hear my five-year-old singing in the background.

AH I'm cool with it. What're you reading this week, Michael?

MR All right. What am I reading? This is going to be -- first of all, this is going to be an action-packed episode. I'm just warning y'all. Hang on to your butts because this is going to be full of value today, so.

AH Michael is pumped. He said "butts"!

MR I really am. I'm really -- I've so much to share in this episode today. It might be a little long, but it's going to be full of substance. Okay. So let's first talk about what we're reading today.

Unemployment extension update, that is what I am reading about because, as we all know, the previous round of unemployment extension ended at the end of July. There's lots of interest in what's happening next by many people, obviously, because we're all in this pandemic situation, and lives are being upended.

And what we know so far is this: The unemployment extension is likely to be between $300 and $400 a month as the extension portion, and we don't know when it's going to be applied yet. What is happening is the -- as you -- okay, everyone, get your shocked faces ready. Congress cannot agree on a package yet, but there are proposals at various ends of the spectrum. The Democrats want to extend the $600-a-month benefit to the end of the year. The Republicans want it down to $200 a month. The compromise appears to be $400 a month, where a fourth of that is carried by the state. So the federal benefit is expected to be $300 a month, with guidance for the states to apply the additional $100 a month from their funds. Now, that means the states don't have to do this. But the guideline is to apply that additional $100 a month from the state funds.

So what's happening is the White House is directing FEMA to be responsible for supplying the funds. There's a lot of red tape to go through to get there. So the bottom line is this: It's looking likely that we're going to see a $300- to $400-a-month additional benefit being extended, but there's no word yet on when that will actually be applied. Many people are hoping by September, but we don't know yet. So that is kind of what's going on. There appears to be a reduced additional benefit, but it's not confirmed yet. But it is looking fairly likely. There's an article on Fast Company that has some more details about kind of the why behind how all this is happening. But that's the update that we know so far as of about 18 hours ago. So I wanted to share that for those who are curious and concerned about that extension.

AH And by 18 hours ago, Michael is referring to Sunday. This podcast is going to air on Friday.

MR Oh, yeah. Sorry. Thanks for that. [Laughing]

AH That's okay. So do they think it's going to be retro?

MR I have not seen anything saying it will be retro, no.

AH All right.

MR I don't know, though. I mean, it would be nice if it were, but I don't see anything pointing to that specifically.

AH All right. I hope that aid gets to people who need it, man. (Indiscernible).

MR I do as well. Yeah.

AH So I am reading -- is that okay if I start sharing what I'm reading?

MR Yeah. Yeah. Go for it. I was going to ask you what you are reading, so great.

AH Thanks, Michael. As a matter of fact, I have actually been reading a little more of an old website and some eBooks that I purchased way back when from painscience.com. And it's written -- this website and the ebooks are written by Paul Ingraham, who's a pain -- he was a massage therapist, manual practitioner, in Canada. He does a bunch of other stuff. He does a lot of science writing. And what I love about this website and why I wanted to tell you about it is it is smart, it is funny, it is evidence-informed, but also really forgiving in a lot of ways.

It's written for clients, people who want to help themselves and get good evidence-informed advice for aches and pains and injuries. But it's also ridonculously useful for practitioners, and especially massage practitioners, and especially massage practitioners in the United States who don't have tons of education. There's a lot of massage therapists out there with 400 hours of education in massage. There's plenty like me who had about 800. There's some in other states and areas that have well over 1,000 or 1,500, but it's -- that's not a lot when you're talking about all there is to know about anatomy and physiology and how manual work can affect the body. So what I love about it is there's tons of free articles about all different topics. And there's low back pain, plantar fasciitis, carpal tunnel -- you name it -- migraine, headaches, all of these things.

And there's also a stack of ebooks you can buy. And what's really nice about the ebooks -- I first, several years ago, wanted to buy the plantar fasciitis ebook because I had a couple of clients with it. It was kicking up in myself. I felt like my treatments weren't being really effective. And I realized that instead of buying just that book for 20 bucks, I could buy the whole stack of books for like 100. And once I bought them, I realized that you can actually share them. You can actually -- so I was able to share the plantar fasciitis book with my client who, maybe because it's written for clients, found it really, really useful. So sometimes, I forget that I own them, and then I go back to them, and I'm like, oh, yeah. I have a bunch of clients with a headache right now. I need to reread through this because there could be techniques that I have not remembered and have not employed to help these clients.

And I got to tell you, with the plantar fasciitis book, it was really, really helpful. My outcomes definitely improved, and my suggestions for self-care within my scope improved. And it was really helpful. So if you haven't read the painscience.com website, I would encourage you to visit it and browse around and bookmark it so that you can remember that it's there next time you need it. Shin splints -- oh, my gosh, the shin splints tutorial is fantastic. I'm scrolling through the home page right now, and he's got it broken down into a head, neck, and throat section; and a back, chest, and torso section; shoulders, elbows, wrists, hands, et cetera, et cetera. And so it's fairly easy to find what you need. And it is -- but it's a ton of info, so grab yourself a cup of tea and sit down. And I can only strongly advocate for spending the 100 bucks to buy the series of books. It is -- you won't regret it. And yeah. Everything's there. So painscience.com is what I'm reading, my friends.

MR Nice. Thank you.

AH Michael, who's our first sponsor?

MR Jojoba!

AH Yay, Jojoba!

Sponsor message As you know, I recommend The Original Jojoba Company for use in your massage practice since it doesn't go rancid, and it's nut free, so it's safe for all clients. And with all the handwashing we're doing, it is fantastic to have some at my sink at home and at the new office so that every time I wash my hands, I can slather a little bit on there, and they're not so dry and terrible. You, my friends, get a 20% discount off the price of the product when you shop through our link, massagebusinessblueprint.com/jojoba.

AH And now I would like to turn this episode over to Michael, who is very excited to talk to you about understanding the Google Analytics for your massage business website. Take it away, Michael.

MR Wow. That was a gorgeous intro. Thank you. [Laughing] Yes, I am very excited about this. So we were recently asked by one of our Community members about Google Analytics. Someone posted, saying, hey, do you guys look at your analytics, blah, blah. And a lot of people also commented after that, saying, hey, I have them installed, but I never look at them. I don't really know how to use Google Analytics, what I should be looking at, how to understand it. And so this, I thought, would make a great podcast episode.

So what I'm going to do is walk through just some very basic, high-level stuff on Google Analytics and a suggestion on how you might use it to interpret what's going on in your website. So you're welcome just to listen to this like any other episode, but you may also want to take some time and sit down and crack open Google Analytics and kind of walk through this with me as I step through these different elements. You can listen to it, but then later on, if you want to maybe go back and sit down with Analytics and turn this on, it might be worth walking through with me.

So first off, just in case you don't have any background information on what Google Analytics is, Google Analytics is a software tool on the web that you install on your website. And it gathers data about what's happening on your website, the people that are coming to your website and what they are doing, and information about where they're coming from. So that's, at its core, what it does. It sits there. It listens. Whenever someone comes to your website, it gathers data about them. And it adds to that report and shows you things like how many people are visiting your website over what period of time and where they coming from, and are they coming from social media or search or linking, and where in the world are they coming from geographically, and what are they doing once they come to your website -- things like that. So that's what it's designed to do.

It does a lot of stuff. Even marketers, like professional marketers, probably only use like 20% of it. And the general small business owner is going to use probably like 5% of it or less. So the first thing I want to really emphasize is do not get overwhelmed by Google Analytics. It does a ton of stuff, and we're going to talk about three or four things that are all you really need to worry about. You can go deeper if you want to, but I really suggest getting to know just a few very basic elements of it, and that will serve you well.

So backing up even a little further, I want to remind everyone that, to me, your website is your home base, and it really should be your destination for all of your marketing efforts. I say that because I've seen a lot of times massage therapists, and small business owners in general, they kind of neglect their website because Instagram is shiny, or Facebook is shiny, or TikTok is shiny, or something else is shiny. And it feels like it's more fun to post photos on Pinterest or whatever and this thing or that thing. And that's fine and all, but when it comes down to it, when you want people to book a massage, you want them to go to your website and read about you and book a massage. It can happen on Facebook. It can happen on Instagram. But your website really should be thought of as your home base and where you ultimately want to drive people to get the best information about you and your practice, and the best way to contact you and book a massage.

So with that in mind, Google Analytics is going to be set up to handle all the information about your website. So first of all, how do you set it up? I can't really -- in an audio format, it's really hard to really tell you how to set it up. But here's the conceptual gist of it. You would go -- you could Google the term "Google Analytics," and it'll lead you to the Google Analytics website. And you can click on Set Up or Sign In or Create or whatever the blue button is and activate your account. And you will then install a chunk of code on your website. And that code on your website will then sit there and start gathering data. So the instructions are in the system there. You can message us for instructions if you want, and we can point to the right direction. But that's really what you do. You install the code. It sits there and listens on your website.

So when you have Google Analytics installed, it is going to start gathering data from the instant you install it. It's going to be most useful after a few weeks, after a month or two after you've started to gather a good time period of data. When you first install it, you're going to see -- after a day, you're going to see stuff happening, but it's really about trends. It's really about seeing what the trends are on your website. So what are the first trends you want to look at? What are the primary things you want to focus on?

So to me, the very high-level, most basic trend that's important is your website traffic. That is simply how many people are visiting your website and over what time period. So if you're looking at Google Analytics, and you're following along, and you open it up, you're going to see something on the left-hand side called Audience. And when you crack open the little Audience triangle to drop down the submenu, you're going to see an Overview tab. And when you click on Overview, that is going to give you a graph showing you your website visitors over time. And you're going to have little time period toggles like hourly, day, week, month, and time periods and so forth.

Some of the default time periods are Last 30 Days. That's a decent one to look at. So if you want to do Last 30 Days -- I'm going to do this as I'm talking through it as well. And you'll be able to see in the last 30 days what the website traffic on your site looks like. If you want to go back to the previous six months or so, you can do that. In that little calendar icon, you can just select what time period you want to look at. So that's pretty clear, pretty cut and dry. You're going to see, over time, hey, the graph is showing me that, day by day or month by month, this is what my website traffic looks like. Does it stay the same? Is it increasing? Is it decreasing? What is it doing?

So why is this important? I like to look at this because it is an indication of how effective your marketing is when it comes to bringing people to your website. Now, this all should be with a grain of salt because it's not always a one-size-fits-all. But in general, if you have a desire to -- if you're in growth mode, if you're maybe a newer practice, or you're expanding your practice, or maybe you're, like many of us, kind of slowly ramping up after -- well, not after because we're during the pandemic, but slowly ramping up after reopening a little bit, and gradually starting to selectively reopen and see clients -- whatever stage you're in, if you're in a growth mode in some fashion, I think it's really good to see that traffic increasing. It's really useful to see that your website traffic is going up. So as you go from left to right, you're going to see the graph increasing in number of visitors. Now, it may not be dramatic, but it's good to see that happening because that is an indication that whatever you're doing is bringing more and more people to your website, either new people that are finding you, new potential clients, or maybe existing clients that are coming back and rebooking and booking online and using your site more or reading your blog posts or whatever content is on your site for them to interact with. So at its very basic core, like I said, if you're in growth mode, you want to see that increasing. You want to see traffic going up.

Now, if you're an established practice, and you want to maybe start seeing one or two more -- let's say we're past the pandemic hypothetically. Let's say we're in normal times. If you're pretty much full, and you maybe want to take on one or two more clients a month here and there, you're probably not going to care a whole lot about your website traffic increasing. It's not going to be that big a deal to you. But if you want to grow, that's where it comes into play.

All right. Next. I like to see where my website visitors are coming from. If you go to -- let's actually go back to the menu on the left. If you're following along, you're going to see an item called Acquisition in that menu. And if you pull down Acquisition, you can see Overview, and that's kind of where you're going to start. The Overview will give you a little graph, and it'll show you Top Channels. And a channel is basically a source for traffic, a source where people are finding you, so things like Direct traffic in that blue area; Social, things like social media; orange area is going to be Organic Search. The yellow area will be Referrals. You'll see Email and Other. So these are all different sources that people are using to find your website. So for example, if they found you on a Google search, that Organic Search orange area is going to be that slice of when people are going to a website and typing in, hey, "massage therapy, New York City," or "massage therapy, Plainville, Massachusetts." Then they might find Allissa, for example. So that's that Google search area.

Social media is if someone sees a link to your website on Facebook, for example, and they click on that link, and that leads to your website. That will show up under that Social referral area.

The links from other sites -- if you have a link somewhere, if you have a link on the ABMP or AMTA directory listings or on your local chamber -- maybe you're a member and you're listed there, and there's a link to your website -- those types of links will show up as Referrals. So if someone clicks on a link from another website and comes to your website, then it will show up in Google Analytics as a referral. You'll see Paid Search and Paid Social as well. So if you're running paid ads like a Google ad campaign or a Facebook ad campaign or Instagram ad campaign, you will see those show up under Paid Search -- I'm sorry, Paid Social. And that will -- actually, Paid Search and Paid Social depending on which one it is, Google or Social -- and that will show you how many people are clicking on those ads and coming to your website as well. So all the good stuff, all good stuff to see where people are coming from.

So the insights I like to get from this are, first of all, understanding just the general breakdown of how people are finding you. But then, is it intentional? And the reason I ask is this intentional? is so much marketing -- I shouldn't say that so much -- not so much marketing, but so much of the data we get is just sort of happening without intention. And this is common for all of us. If you're running a business, you're just looking at the data, saying, oh, interesting. People are finding my website through here and through here, and you're probably not affecting any of it, really. It's just sort of happening.

So I like to look at this by asking the question, is this intentional? The fact that I'm getting most of my website traffic from Facebook, is that intentional? Is that something I want to happen, or is that just by default happening? And going further, how does this align with my marketing efforts? If I'm getting half of my website traffic from Facebook, and I'm doing zero on Facebook, then maybe that tells me something. Maybe there's someone else out there promoting me. Maybe a client is linking to me a whole bunch and posting things. Maybe, for some reason, this post I made a while back is just really popular or something. Maybe that's an indication that there's an opportunity to capture more attention there. If I'm doing nothing on Instagram, but I'm getting a little bit of traffic from Instagram, and it looks like it's growing a little bit, or it's maybe significant compared to other sources, maybe that's telling me that there are people on Instagram that care about what I'm doing, and I should do more of it.

Or if I am getting very little traffic from Google searches, but I'm putting a ton of effort into SEO, which is search engine optimization, maybe that means my efforts aren't working very well, and I've got to change something. Maybe I need to look at my Google My Business page. Maybe I need to blog more. Maybe I need to get more intentional about my keywords and my title tags. Maybe I need to focus on that more because I think it's working, but it's really not. So these are all good things to learn from the channel, the source acquisition channels, and where people are finding my website.

All right. Next. I also am interested in learning where my visitors are located. So if you look at the Audience tab again, and we pull it down and look under Geo, for Geographic, and click on Location, you're going to see the locations geographically where people are coming from. So what we typically want as a massage practice is we want local traffic. We want -- first of all, we're going to drill down to United States if you're in the U.S., or Canada if you're in the U.S. (sic) Pick your country, and make sure that you drill down to that first. And then you're going to drill down by state. And so for example, we're going to -- for me, I would pick Indiana. So I'm going to go ahead and follow along here on my own Google Analytics and choose Indiana. And then I can drill down by city. So Indianapolis is the top refer here, which is to be expected. If I'm located in Indianapolis, I'm going to click on that. And then you can see how much of your traffic is coming from that location.

So this is interesting to see because you want to make sure you're attracting the right people geographically. So if you find that your traffic is pretty spread out across the country and maybe you don't have a very high concentration of website traffic in your local area, this might be an indication that you have some work to do in terms of localizing your presence. What that means is maybe your Google My Business listing is not really built out or even active at all. That's going to be a really key factor. Maybe you want to do more local partnerships and link to other local websites and have them link back to you so that you've got more of a local network of links built up. Maybe you want to have other social partnerships with businesses and run campaigns with them or promote them and have them cross-promote you and do more with the community specifically. So whatever you can do to promote that local presence, you might have an indication of if it's working or not in that geographic listing in Google Analytics as well. Now if you already have a high concentration, then you're doing pretty well. So that'll give you some insights.

Next, what I also like to see -- I said next and mostly last -- I would say, is I want to see what visitors are doing on my website. What're they looking at? So if you're following along, we're now going to click on Behavior, and we're going to click on Site Content, and we're going to choose All Pages, and we're going to see what pages people are looking at on my website. This is going to give you a ranking of the most popular sections of your website from most popular to least. Now when you look at your website, you're going to likely see that the home page is going to be the most popular. That's pretty common. It's going to be indicative by just a slash in that number one spot. That means the home page. That's normal for everybody. You're going to see that. That's to be expected.

Then you're going to see what pages they're looking at most. For example, is it the About page? Are people looking for your bio or information about you most of all? Is it your services and pricing page? Are people quickly going to see how much it costs to get a massage with you? Is it your contact page? Are people immediately going to learn how to contact you? Is it your online scheduling page? Is it a particular blog post? Is it your blog overall? Is it a news section? Is it a particular article that you've written that's really popular? So all these are really good insights into what people are looking for on your website.

So why is this important? Well, I think it's really useful to see that because it gives you some insight into where some room for improvement is on your website. Example: If your About page has two sentences on it, and it says, hey, I am a massage therapist. I went to school here, and I do this, and that's it -- you didn't really put any effort into it -- but that's the number one page that people are going to, then that probably tells you you might want to beef it up a little bit. You might want to add more credentials and background and fun facts and information that really helps people get to know you better and decide if you're the right therapist for them. That's an opportunity to really improve that page. If everyone seems to be going to this particular article you wrote on plantar fasciitis or something, then that may tell you that, hey, your audience cares about plantar fasciitis so maybe has interest in that topic. And maybe you write more about it. Maybe you tune your practice to really help those people more. Maybe that tells you what people are really interested in and it gives you an -- some insights into what you might focus on. If everyone is going to your pricing page, and it's not very descriptive, maybe you want to elaborate on your pricing better or maybe make it more clear. So these are all really good insights to have when you're seeing what people are doing on your website.

Okay. I've talked a lot, and I have more, but I want to pause there, Allissa, to see if you have any questions or anything maybe that's not clear or anything I should expand upon as I take a drink of water.

AH Yeah. Okay. So I've actually been following along on my own Google Analytics. And I was with you until we got to the part where you can see exactly what page they've looked at. I feel like I missed a blip. So if I'm in Behavior, where do I go to find out what pages people are hanging in?

MR You click on Site Content.

AH That's not an option in my Google Analytics.

MR Oh, really? Under Behavior?

AH Yeah. Yeah.

MR Oh, interesting.

AH I got New versus Returning, Frequency and Recency, and Engagement. And that's it. I don't have any spot to look at what pages specifically, so y'all need to keep in mind that sometimes some Analytics look different than others. That information is probably in here somewhere because I feel like I've seen it before when I've been playing, but not for quite a while.

Oh, oh, you know what though? Nope. This is -- might be -- yeah. Okay. So here's the deal. So what I was looking at was not the right Behavior menu. So if you click on Audience, there's also a Behavior submenu.

MR Yeah.

AH However, if you close that -- sorry. You might have said that out loud, and I lost it.

MR Yeah. No, it's all right. It's not very clear.

AH So Site Content, is that what I wanted, or what did you --

MR Yes.

AH Yeah.

MR And then All Pages.

AH There it is. Okay.

MR There it is.

AH All right. Good to know. Okay. Thank you.

MR Yeah. Yeah.

AH And yeah. This is -- okay. So you can keep going.

MR Awesome.

AH Fascinating.

MR All right. [Laughing] So by the way, since we're paused, as you're clicking around in Google Analytics, you probably noticed there's a ton of stuff in there. Again, I want to reiterate. Don't get distracted if you're overwhelmed. I'm purposefully focusing on just the really basic, high-level stuff that is going to benefit you as a massage practice. If you really wanted to, you can dig into landing pages and exit pages and all this other stuff and all the intricate, different nooks and crannies of Google Analytics. You can do that if you really want to. But if you're the type of person that gets overwhelmed by too much tech and too much information like many of us, then it's okay to focus on only the stuff we're talking about today. That's why I kind of compartmentalized it.

All right. So let's talk about some takeaways. So I've already said this; don't obsess over Analytics. Monitor a few key things. I kind of said that already. How often should you look at them? I would say once a month is fine. There's no right or wrong. You could look at them every day if you really want to. You can look at the data whenever you want. But I would say, if you want to put a little reminder on your calendar or a reminder on your to-do list that says, hey, at the beginning of each month, I'm going to crack open Google Analytics, and I'm going to look at the last month, and I'm going to see what happened, and I'm going to maybe make a few notes on what I'm seeing based on what we talked about today, that's fine. That's probably all you need to worry about. Just make it a 20-minute thing each month and learn from it. That's really all you have to worry about.

As you do that, I would really consider adapting your marketing efforts each time you learn something from your data. So if you see that your website traffic is not increasing at all month over month, maybe say, you know what? I'd like to grow. I'd like to ramp up and get more clients, so how can I do that? Then just start thinking about ways you can bring more people to your website. Do you want to send more emails? Do you want to send better emails? Do you want to blog more? Do you want to blog better? Do you want to run social ads? Do you want to run Google ads? Do you want to do other things that might bring traffic to your website? Do Facebook Lives and videos and whatever -- all sorts of things, whole different discussion. If you're seeing that -- you're noticing all your visitors are coming to this one particular page on your sight that is not very good, okay. Maybe this month you work on improving that page and really building it out better. And then next month, you can focus on something else. So little baby steps are perfectly fine. Just do maybe one -- learn one thing each time you look at it, and do one little thing to improve.

Again, metrics to focus on to recap -- increasing website traffic. Focus on increasing traffic to your geographic area. Look for gaps in your online referral sources and find ways to strengthen those sources. Those are kind of the things I would focus on.

So what are some tactics for improving the metrics? What can you do if you see some room for improvement? Work on website optimization. This helps organic search. Focus on your title tags, making sure your location, your geographic location, is in your title tag. For example, if you are Lotus Massage, don't just put Lotus Massage as your site name. Make it Lotus Massage, and then pipe symbol, Brooklyn, New York. Make sure you put your location there so that people can see and Google can see where your massage practice is located and what audience it serves.

ADA compliance stuff -- make sure your images have alt tags in them. Anything that is good for ADA compliance, which is Americans with Disabilities Act, is going to be good for Google as well because it's the exact same stuff. Anything that makes your site more accessible to people with disabilities is something that Google is going to reward you for as well.

Content -- if your site is pretty thin on content, maybe increase your blogging quality and schedule a bit. Maybe put more content on your site. Maybe build some pillar pages, which we've talked about in previous podcast episodes. Increase your --

AH And I just -- can I interrupt, Michael?

MR Yeah. Yeah.

AH I just also want to note that we have a podcast episode about ADA compliance as well, and as well as the pillar pages, so we will put the links to those within these podcast notes. Okay. Carry on.

MR Yeah. Right on. Yeah. Site speed also -- site speed really helps your Google presence. So if you can speed up your website, that will help as well. And we will probably -- I don't know if we have a podcast specific on that, but we may make one shortly. Site speed is a whole different discussion, but if you can improve the speed, that's going to be a good thing.

Work on your Google My Business profile. So if you have not set up your Google My Business profile, go to google.com/business and follow the instructions. Build it out. Finish it up. Beef it up, and that will help your Google presence as well.

You can work on your social presence. If you're seeing opportunities for more social media traffic, then maybe pick a social network that you like best and really get good at it. If it's Facebook, build out your Facebook page. Go on a regular posting schedule. Post interesting stuff, useful stuff. If Instagram's your jam, then make Instagram the one you work on this month or in the next few months, and really beef it up.

Consider paid advertising. Paid advertising costs money, so it's not attractive to everybody. But it can be effective if you're very strategic about it. So if you focus on -- you have a special offer running, or you have a blog article that is really high value and attracts the right kind of people, maybe run a campaign on Facebook or Instagram or Google to promote that particular section.

Look for partnerships at local media and prominent businesses. So if you have relationships or want to build relationships with other businesses or publications in your area, that can sometimes help; so getting links from news publications, partnering with other local businesses to cross-link and kind of partner with them. Any kind of local partnerships you can create can sometimes help.

And in general, generate more content. Now, we don't really want to just go for raw quantity. You want to make sure it's good stuff, so don’t just pump out a video every day that's crap. Make sure it's something that is really useful. So if you're going to do a weekly YouTube video on DIY stretches to complement your massage sessions, that can be something you can really add to add value to your website. Embed them on your website. Put them in the blog and make a video library. That kind of stuff can really help. Written content is good too. If you're a community member of Massage Business Blueprint, hey, we give you a free blog post to use every month. No effort, just modify it a little bit for your own purposes, and you're good. So you can use that too.

So those are all things you can do to focus on increasing traffic, focusing on your geographic area, and getting people to have a better experience on your website as well. So those are the basics, in my opinion. Again, you can dig deeper on all this stuff, but this was really meant to be a starting point for the people a lot like -- a lot of people I noticed who were saying, hey, I have Google Analytics installed. I don't really know how to use it. I never look at it. Help. Where do I start? That's what this was for, and I hope this has been a good walkthrough.

So I welcome questions. You can send those to podcast@massagebusinessblueprint.com, and I'd be happy to answer anything that wasn't clear in the episode as well. So that's what I got.

AH That was thorough, Michael. And I love when you get super excited about a nerdy thing.

MR Thanks.

AH So thank you. Thank you for all of that.

MR [Laughing] Yeah.

AH It's a lot, people. I will tell you that it's a lot, and what you heard seems overwhelming, but when you actually get into it -- and just, like Michael said, focus on one thing at a time. It is entirely doable. And I think that this is going to be a webcast-worthy topic --

MR Yeah.

AH -- because the visuals would be helpful and a little -- so we'll -- I'll put that on the to-do list for next month or something, and we'll talk about doing some more live webcasts again.

MR Whoo.

AH Yay. We've been talking about that anyway. Are we ready for our second sponsor message, Michael?

MR We are. It's time to show some love to ABMP.

AH Yay.

Sponsor message Thank you, ABMP, for being a sponsor and a long-time supporter of us and the podcast and me in specific too. All massage therapists and bodyworkers can access the free ABMP resources and information on the coronavirus and the massage profession at abmp.com/covid19.

AH I will tell you personally, they have a phenomenal batch of resources that is helping me put together my "COVID Heads-Up" intake form and waiver. And they've been super helpful. They've got an amazing blog post about ventilation and air quality in your massage space. And I think that they link out to a consumer reports article about air filters and air cleaners and stuff. And it's probably the thing I have most shared with people over the last few weeks as we start getting back into our work. So anyhow, that was a sidebar.

Sponsor message There's also a special digital issue of Massage & Bodywork magazine all about COVID-19. And they did a webinar just last Friday with Ruth Werner about what we need to -- more -- what's the new information we have and how is it relevant to massage. You, my friends, can check out the ABMP podcast, which is phenomenal, and all kinds of other resources at abmp.com. You can check out the podcast at abmp.com/podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. I hope they're okay that I just totally vamped in this. But you, my friends, can expect more and get more from ABMP.

MR Right on. All right.

AH Got a quick tip today?

MR I do. Do you have one?

AH I might by the time you're done.

MR [Laughing] Okay. I'll give you plenty of time because I'm going to go a little deep on this quick tip today too. I'm also really excited about this. I'm kind of pumped about this for a couple reasons. So I know I talked about this maybe two or three weeks ago where I am starting a personal -- or I have started a personal training program. So it's been about 30 days, I guess. I'm in the week five, really. I was -- part of my three -- one of my three words is "health," and up until recently, I'd been doing a pretty crappy job of it. And so I was like, hey, I need to get serious about my health and get in shape. And so about four and a half or so weeks ago, I did some research and looked around for a personal trainer who was virtual. I wanted to work virtually. I wanted to use my home gym and have someone that could kind of coach me virtually along the way.

And so I found someone. Her name is Ricky (phonetic). She is awesome. I've been working with her, and it has been a really good experience. And it's prompted an idea as well for our audience. So here's my experience. I pay 159 per month, $159 per month. And there is an app. And the app I open up, and she puts in a daily workout for me with -- there's videos that show me exactly how the workout has to be done, or the moves, how many reps and how many -- the whole thing is in there. I -- just check boxes, and I go through, and it kind of guides me through the workout routine. And there's a different one every day focusing on different areas. She's tailored it to my schedule, so I've got -- hey, Mondays and Thursdays I've got time for an hour. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday I've got maybe 20 minutes. So (indiscernible) focus on my schedule. And she's done that.

And we have a monthly Zoom call where she pulls up my stats and gives me coaching and ideas and then does messaging throughout the app as well. So pretty much every workout, I get feedback on was it hard? Was it easy? Was it intense? They give kind of a level on the workout, and then she tailors it based on the feedback. And she'll post inspirational comments like, hey, great job! Or, hey, I see this looked hard, tell me about this. And we have conversations through messaging in the app as well. And it is awesome. I'm really loving it.

And it's, I think, the best of both worlds. I don't have to drive to a gym. And of course, right now no one wants to drive to a gym because COVID. But I don't have to leave my house and drive 20 minutes to a gym or whatever. I can just go to the basement and pull out my weights. She knows exactly what my equipment is, and so she has tailored all workouts to exactly the equipment that I have available to me at home. It can be anything, any kind of basic weight kind of stuff, and she's very adaptable to whatever we have. And I can work out when I want to at home, and I also have the support of a professional to kind of guide me -- through nutrition as well. She actually looks at my nutrition log and gives me feedback on what I'm eating and how to increase protein and stuff like that. So anyway, it's been great. So I'm really enjoying it.

This led me to an idea of thinking through -- this is a really good model, potentially, for a massage therapist to add to their practice. And I say that because as a business person, I'm always thinking of what's a new business idea. So I was curious, hey, what would it take to launch a virtual training business? Well, you get certified as a personal trainer. I know basically zero about this. All I've done is a Google search, so if someone out there can correct me -- or, Allissa, you can correct me. I may be wrong, but it looks like, for about $500 starting point, you can take a course and learn -- go through the personal training certification program in about 12 weeks or so. There's probably more that I don't know about, but it seems like it's a fairly attainable certification to get.

And once you do that, there is an app. There is a multiple apps, but the one I'm using through the gym I'm working with is called Trainerize. And Trainerize will brand the app to match your personal training business. And it looks like it's your own app for your own business. I think there's a free version. There's a $5-a-month version depending on how many clients you have. And you can basically launch a personal training business with an app and get clients and charge them around what I'm paying and launch a personal training business virtually.

And to me, a personal training service is pretty complementary to massage. It's working on your body. It's improving your health. It's very, very complementary. It kind of goes hand in hand. And so it just kind of led me to think, wow, this could be a really interesting opportunity for a massage therapist to add a line of service in personal training to their massage practice. So if they're not ready to go back to work, or maybe they want to keep their practice really, really limited, or the cleaning protocols -- or making their capacity much lower than it was before -- you could also potentially add a virtual personal training program to your business without really any additional branding because it's health-related and add this whole new stream of income.

And at 159 a month or so, or whatever you charge, the effort is fairly low, in my opinion. Ricky does good work, and she knows what she's doing. But she sends messages a few times here a week. She does a Zoom meeting for about 30 minutes once a month. She puts in workout routines, which are probably templated. You can really scale this out and take on a number of clients without working incredibly hard at it. So I don't know. I'm just throwing the idea out there because it looks like a really interesting opportunity to build a business that supplements and complements your massage practice but is virtual.

So what do you think?

AH I think it's an interesting concept. I know we have a handful of premium members who have taken personal training certifications. Some of them have taken it just because the scope of practice for a massage therapist in their state doesn't allow them to do even virtual consultations, however -- or teach self-care virtually. But personal training does allow for that, so they have added that. And it -- yeah. It's an online weekend certification, which I have mixed feelings about. I don't want Joe Shmoe off the street who's never had any kind of anatomy or physiology training to take a 15-hour online course and think they can tell people how to lift weights safely. I am okay with massage therapists who've had training and experience in anatomy, physiology, and injury, I'm a little more okay with them adding such a certification, even from a virtual training aspect. I'm a little more comfortable with that because I think we can be a little more prudent and mindful, and we know more as a base of knowledge.

Yeah. I mean, it's hard for me. I'm not the best conversation partner on this because I have moved very much towards an intuitive eating and body positive approach. And that means rejecting traditional fitness models and body types, so I'm kind of anti-workout. My quick tip would be throw out your scale and eat what you want, or -- and that's not "eat what you want." Intuitive eating is a much more complicated thing than "eat what you want." So I come from a different approach. I've actually thought about doing some training to become an intuitive eating counselor. But I think it's a great idea. And actually, that could be applied to that concept as well.

So yeah. I think it could be a really neat idea, and that app sounds really interesting, and I think we're going to have a lot of members who reach out to you with more questions and brainstorming about this podcast at massagebusinessblueprint.com. And yeah, I think it's really neat. And I don't have a quick tip other than throw out your scale. My quick tip would be forgive yourself for the shape that you might be in in this -- the age of COVID-19. [Laughing] I'm kidding.

MR Well, yeah. And my stance would be "everyone's different." And this is not to shame anyone into thinking they should do it.

AH No, I know.

MR It's more of if you want to start an exercise routine, then there is a demand for that out there. There are people that want to have a personal trainer to help them with certain things. And I've really -- like I said, I've been loving it. And I'm just -- from the business standpoint, I'm just so excited how low cost and relatively low effort it seems to be to start a virtual personal training business.

AH And if you think about the accessibility of this as a massage therapist, maybe your training -- maybe you do a lot of work with people in treatments for cancer or having recovered from cancer or immune compromised. To gain this knowledge and deliver it virtually might be a really great way to work with your very specialized audience in a way that most serves them. And also, at the same time, something like this where most of it -- and I know you've got a half-an-hour Zoom meeting a month, but outside of that, nothing is scheduled as far as the work that the trainer needs to put in. If you need to do it at 9 o'clock at night when you put your kids to bed, then that's an option.

MR Yeah.

AH So that's -- as far as work that can be scheduled around your current life without taking you out of your home and putting you in an exposure situation or just needing to be home because your kids are home and remote learning, this could be a really, really flexible work model for people looking for something they can do from home and on their own schedule because frankly, the only time I can get work done is 6 to 9 a.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. when my partner can take over with the children. So this could be a really good model for people who need that kind of flexibility for the next year and beyond.

MR Yeah. Yeah.

AH So thank you for that, Michael. Sorry, I crapped all over it with my body positive, intuitive eating stuff. But it's good. I love it.

MR [Laughing] No, not at all. I know it's different. It runs different. By the way, I'll put a shout out if anybody wants to talk to Ricky and maybe work with her. I told her I'd love to refer her as well, so feel free to reach out to me and let me know, and I can do an intro. So if you want to become a client to kind of see how it goes or just kind of learn about the model, yeah, let me know. I'd be happy to do an intro. So (indiscernible).

AH Sweet. And that's all we got. People, if you have stuff you want us to cover, email us, podcast@massagebusinessblueprint.com. Leave a review wherever you're listening to us. Please leave a review. It helps other people find us. Thank you, Michael, for this action-packed, intense, deep-dive, almost-an-hour of an episode, which is really unusual for us. I promise the next one will be like 12 minutes. And everyone, have a really great week.

MR Thanks, everyone. Bye. 

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