How Do I Get New Massage Clients?
It’s a familiar question and I see it a few times a week in Massage discussion groups online.
The responses are usually great and….. all over the place. This is good! Variety is important, there are many types of massage businesses, and many approaches to success. But all the ideas in the world won’t help without a really strong foundation and a structured plan.
And there is no single tactic that will get you tons of new and long-term clients. Sorry. No shiny easy answer here.
Running a business has multiple layers, with many moving parts. But it all starts with a standard foundation. You may have already built some of the foundation, but left it unfinished as you try to juggle other tasks. You may have laid a great foundation, but have no idea what to do next. Or maybe you’ve found that your growth has plateaued.
Start by reading our post, How to Start a Massage Business. If you missed any steps in laying a strong foundation for your business, like creating a logo or getting a Google My Business page set up, now is the time to handle those tasks.
So how do you get new massage clients? Here’s my answer.
Think about who you serve
Hopefully, you've already identified exactly who you serve, your ideal client. Think about where that person hangs out, who they socialize with, what other kinds of practitioners they see to help them with their health-related issues. Keep this all in mind as you choose the next step.
Think about your own strengths and weaknesses
Your strengths, schedule, and desires will determine what you do next, and you don’t have to do all of the following.
Check out your options, consider what is best for you, and pick one.
Then throw yourself into it. For reals. Commit time in your schedule to learn, master, and execute the tasks needed. In three months, see how it’s going. Make some adjustments and move forward. If it’s a total failure after six months, move along to another idea.
Or if what you’re doing takes off well and you really get the hang of it, add another idea in the mix.
This is the thing I most wish I had done sooner. For the first several years of owning my business, I was extremely shy and very lonely. I wish I had pushed myself a little further outside my comfort zone and joined a BNI group or my local Chamber of Commerce. It’s a great way to meet potential referral partners and also to get support and mentoring from other small business owners. (Also, with in-person networking groups, give it a year to take off.)
You’ve got to do some legwork, find the groups in your area and visit a few, maybe more than once, to find one that fits best for you. Consider your business and your community, maybe listen to our podcast episode Is It Worth It to Join a Formal Networking Group?
If you’re ready to dive in, check out Michael’s great post, How to Make BNI Work for You as a Massage Therapist. Then find a group near you and get something on the calendar!
On the surface it just seems so boring. But email marketing can also be the easiest, most cost-effective retention and recruitment tool in your business.
In a nutshell, you get a sign-up box on your website, get email addresses at events and from client intake forms, and then you have a way to reach out with news, offers, last-minute appointments, and anything else you want to tell clients and potential clients about.
Presence on Social Media
Being active on social media is great for your Search Engine Optimization. It can also be great just for connecting with your community. But which social media platform should you be on? We tackle that question in a podcast episode Do I Need Have my Massage Business on Pinterest? The super-short version is: you should be wherever your ideal clients are. Think about your ideal client, maybe ask a few clients you already have. Are they active on Facebook? Instagram? Pinterest? Somewhere else?
Pick one and focus your efforts. Read that platform’s user guide from start to finish, and jump in. Practice, connect with other small businesses in your area. Watch other massage therapists and see what they’re doing to help you get ideas.
Local events are a pretty obvious way to get yourself seen and known in a community. Check with the Chamber of Commerce, do some google searching, ask around about local events that match up with your ideal clients’ interests.
Not every event will be right for you, so really do your homework. Will you be paying for space at the event, or providing massage for free? Check out When Should I Do Chair Massage and Community Events for Free? To help you make an educated decision.
Ask business owners who attended previous events, and consider how much time and money it will take to prepare for, attend the event and follow up on any connections you make. Make sure you’re prepared and really willing to put the effort in, to make it worth your time and money.
Finally, the last tip is kinda boring and not at all glamorous: Consistency.
No magical unicorn dust or sorcery. Just good old-fashioned work. Get laser-focused on your to-do list, schedule time to get things done. Then do it.
This list of 'how to get clients' is not complete. Really, no list will ever be complete. There are a zillion amazing and creative ways to bring new clients into your practice. Laying strong foundation will help all those individual creative efforts succeed.
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