Have you noticed your numbers falling? Or maybe you just need a solid kick in the pants to actively recruit new clients? Marketing plans to the rescue! Here’s a quick primer on what a marketing plan is and how it can help you (with an example from Allissa’s practice!)
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Michael Reynolds Hey, everyone. Welcome to the Massage Business Blueprint podcast, where we discuss the business side of massage therapy. I’m Michael Reynolds.
Allissa Haines And I am Allissa Haines.
MR We are your hosts today. Glad you’ve joined us. Allissa, good morning. How are you?
AH I’m good. Good morning to you. It’s — what is our weather report. It’s, like, chilly and I had to bring an extra space heater into my little outdoor office today because I’m still learning how we’re going to handle winter around here, and it worked out really nice, so I’m super cozy and really happy and full of coffee and apple pie.
MR I think this winter will be the true test of your outdoor office. See how it survives Boston-area winters. [laughs]
AH That’s exactly what Walt said. He’s like if that extra space heater doesn’t handle it, then this is going to be a three-season office because I’m not doing anything else to it.
MR [laughs] He’s done. Love it. All right. Well, it’s about the same here. Warm — it’s not warm, but it’s sunny, not too cold. I love fall. It’s apple season, pumpkin season, just all the fun fall leaves. It’s my wife’s favorite season as well because she loves the leaves and the colors and everything. Fall is fun. All the autumn activities we take the kiddo to are fun, so yeah, good times.
AH What is his Halloween costume this year?
MR He is a ninja.
MR So excited. He’s worn it like three times already to various Halloween events.
AH I saw a picture and I wondered if that was his full Halloween-season costume or if he had something else ready.
MR Yeah, he’s full-on ninja. He’s having a blast.
AH That’s brilliant. I’m at the point where the kids here are so old that I don’t understand what they are for Halloween. The girl child’s going to be some kind of anime character from a video game or something. Actually, Liam’s going to be a caterpillar. He’s got this really great caterpillar costume that is a bunch of paper plates that are, like, I don’t know, glued together and he just holds the top one up, it’s got eye holes and gets painted like a caterpillar. It’s good because he can’t handle things draped over his face. He doesn’t really like uncomfortable clothing, so he’s got some sensory stuff, so he can literally hold up the mask part in front of his face, and the rest falls in front of him and he looks like a caterpillar. It’s really cool.
MR Nice. Can’t wait to see photos. I will stalk your Instagram .
AH Adorbs is what it’s going to be.
MR So —
AH Yeah, bring it, Michael.
MR I want to start today’s show by responding to a fun comment we got — actually a fun review we got on iTunes. [laughs] I think — I’ve heard a lot — you posted this on Facebook to kind of just share the humor a little bit, and a lot of people were saying hey, you know you’ve made it when you get this kind of criticism in your reviews. And I think that’s true. I think we’ve kind of arrived at a milestone here. I’m going to read this iTunes review we got by — jayjaysmitty is the username.
AH And let’s just open this by saying it’s four stars. The dude gave us four stars.
MR You know what, I actually didn’t even — I was so fixated on the comment, I didn’t notice the four-star review. So he only docked us one star.
AH Yeah, he only knocked us one star. So thank you, Mr. Smitty, for the four stars. Carry on, Michael.
MR [laughs] So jayjaysmitty on October 12, left us a review on iTunes regarding the CPA, accountant, bookkeeper, financial advisor episode, which was two or three episodes ago. And the comment is as follows. He said — he or she — “I usually really enjoy each episode including the friendly banter. I had to turn off the episode before the topic actually came up, which is a topic I was really looking forward to. The banter in this episode was less light and friendly. I listen to this podcast to lean how to grow my massage business, not to listen to opinions of Dave Ramsey and political ideals. I feel like this was unprofessional and not up to the usual standards I have come to expect from Allissa and Michael. Can we please just stick to the friendly banter and massage business topics?”
So I appreciate the feedback, I truly do. I think it’s good to hear all feedback. And I mainly only — I know you’ve got some comments, too, but I mainly only want to respond by saying actually, I felt it was pretty light and friendly. Allissa and I are not afraid to disagree. I don’t even know if we disagreed that much in the episode, but we’re not afraid to disagree because we like to hear from each other. I personally always learn a lot from Allissa’s opinions and feedback, especially sometimes when they differ from my own perspective. So I just want to say hey, you know, we thought it was no big deal. We have fun. We disagree sometimes. We kind of jab each other sometimes and it’s part of our friendship. So I want to reassure jayjaysmitty that we don’t consider that banter not light and friendly. [laughs] It just happened to be —
AH Yeah, that’s pretty light for us, actually.
MR Yeah, pretty light for us. So thank you for the feedback. I want to reassure jayjaysmitty we are still friends.
AH Yeah, and I do want to address this a little bit. And I poked fun at this a little bit in my Instagram and my Facebook. So there’s a little bit that I want to address here. One, really, that’s light and friendly for us. Michael and I are very different people with very different backgrounds, and we disagree on stuff. And that disagreement usually leads us both to much deeper thought that is more useful to the people we serve. So I love that Michael and I can get annoyed with each other and still be friends. So I didn’t feel like that was whatever.
Anyhow. The part where “I listen to this podcast to learn how to grow my massage business, not to listen to opinions of Dave Ramsey and political ideals.” Well, first of all, we are 100% going to give you our opinions of resources that we often recommend. So when I recommend any resource to anyone, I try very carefully and very conscientiously to point out the positives and the negatives of that resource. I liked this book because X-Y-Z. I didn’t love it because I think it left out whatever, L-M-N-O-P. I do that with every resource that I suggest to people. We suggest a lot of different financial wellness tools, which are important in growing your massage business. We were directly discussing a resource that we often recommend, and I’ll apologize for a lot of things but I will not apologize for that. And I wanted to make sure that everyone, including Mr. Smitty, saw the relevance of that conversation. There were some really important nuggets in there —
MR Or Ms. Smitty.
AH Yes. I don’t know. It could be. I’m thinking Jay is the first name, last name Smitty. So there’s that. An in regards to the political ideals, I have made reference more than one time to my political ideology and leanings. I am a 43-year-old woman who owns my own business. I was raised in a pretty progressive suburb of Boston, and I still had a chemistry teacher in high school who told me, when I went to him for extra help, that I would be better off finding a husband in college than spending my time getting tutoring in math.
I really don’t care what other people think in regards to if I should or shouldn’t speak my mind. I am a woman who is in between generations of activism regarding any kind of civil liberties and rights to any kind of marginalized groups. And I’m not necessarily referring to myself as marginalized. I’m a middle-class white woman in a suburb of Boston. But, Mr. Smitty, and anyone else out there —
MR Or Ms. Smitty.
AH — or, Ms. Smitty, you do not get to tell me that I will or won’t be able to use the platform that I have created to speak the things that I feel and know to be true. I have worked very, very hard to be a woman business owner. I have worked very, very hard to be a leader in my community and to do things that facilitate the growth of other massage businesses. If you don’t like that I occasionally on my podcast will speak my mind about something, then you don’t have to listen to my podcast, and that’s totally okay.
And the second portion of this, if anyone’s made it his far, is that if you think that social justice has nothing to do with massage and massage therapy, you need to rethink your career. We touch people. We touch people of all races. We touch people anywhere along the spectrum of gender and disability. We touch people who are among the marginalized and among the most privileged portions of our population. And social justice has everything to do with the touch that we provide. That’s a whole other episode, but if you want to be a kind, a compassionate, a disciplined, and a thoughtful massage therapist, a touch therapist, you have to have some level of thought about what’s involved in the great culture and the greater social justice atmosphere. Whether you believe or don’t believe with any particular ideology, it is relevant. So there’s that. And that’s what I have to say about that.
And also, again, Mr. or Ms. Smitty, thank you for the four stars. And thank you for the thoughtful commentary and critique. And I will be certain to be more mindful when we do offer critique that is in any way related to an ideology that I express more clearly why I feel it’s important to the conversation. And this was in regards to our CPA, accountant, bookkeeper episode, so y’all can go check that out if you want. All right, I’m done. Thank you, Michael.
MR Well, on that note, do you want to talk about marketing?
AH I really do.
MR [laughs] All right. So today’s episode — if anyone’s still listening, today’s episode is actually about marketing. So hey, here you go. That time Allissa needed a marketing plan is our topic today. What do you got? I’m intrigued. What does that mean?
AH All right. So I have been running a lot of numbers for my massage business in the past couple of months. I had a definite downturn over the winter, and so I starting running reports regarding appointment numbers per week and per month and how much money I brought in. And my numbers, all of them, were just way down. And I have done absolutely nothing to help that. And doing nothing, as it turns out, is not an effective way to recruit new clients or retain old ones. So I got off my butt and I made a plan.
We need to very, very briefly touch on what a marketing plan is. It’s different from a business plan. A business plan is more — might include bits of a marketing plan, but a business plan is much bigger. The kind of marketing plan I’m talking about is super simple and involves just a few steps of taking note of where you’re at, how many clients you’re seeing per week, per month and what your gross and net income is. It involves identifying your target client and then, even more specifically, identifying your target client just for this specific marketing campaign that you’re going to run. And it involves choosing reasonable goals. What is success going to look like? When I’m done following these steps that I decide on, how many new clients will I have gotten, how many repeat clients will I have gotten, or what’s the monetary number I will have taken in, what’s my income? Because really a marketing plan is just a series of decisions about how you’re going to get new clients or retain old ones. It’s just making ahead of time a decision about what you’re going to do.
So you make decisions about what you want your goals to be and then you decide on your strategies. It can be something like Facebook ads, or an email course, or a regimen of networking, or creating some kind of new media to use in your business like a podcast, or doing radio advertising, or print advertising, or direct mail — and obviously those are not the ones I’m going to suggest — but determining what kind of strategy you are going to follow. You set a timeline, like at what point am I going to start these efforts, at what point am I going to finish them and measure my goals? And you set a budget and then you execute the plan.
So the plan is the key and the executing is the portion of it that you’ve actually followed the steps that you’ve laid out. And we’re going to go through the plan that I laid out for myself, and then in 12 or 16 weeks, we’re going to follow up and see if my plan worked.
So before we do that, we need to talk about our halftime sponsor. Michael, who’s our halftime sponsor?
MR Our friends at our favorite scheduling app, Acuity.
Sponsor message This episode is sponsored by Acuity, our 2018 software of choice. Acuity scheduling is your online assistant working 24/7 to fill your schedule. It means you no longer play phone tag. It means you can handle your forms before the appointment, so when someone walks in the door, you can get right to your intake and massage. You get to look and act more professional by offering convenient scheduling and the customer service is a delight. And Acuity’s style will help you chill out and have fun running your business. You can get a free 45-day offer — sorry, I said that wrong and I want to say it right because I love it. Get a special 45-day free offer when you sign up today. Check it out at massagebusinessblueprint.com/acuity. It’s A-C-U-I-T-Y. massagebusinessblueprint.com/acuity. 45 days free, yo.
AH Okay. Flipping back to my notes here so we can talk about the marketing plan that I put into effect. I actually used the template we have for marketing plans for people who have take our course, our big massage business course, the Transformational Journey. I kind of did the homework along with our class this fall. This is what I decided to do.
I checked out my current situation and listed the number of clients I’ve been seeing per month and the gross income there. And then I identified a target client for this particular campaign. And I decided — my massage business target is people with anxiety and extreme stress, and there’s a subset of people with this anxiety-stress element and concurrent sleep issues. So I decided specifically to target people who are having trouble sleeping, and I decided that my — I listed my goal, which is to increate my client numbers by six clients a month, which ultimately means an increase of $600 a month for me because I’m basing all this on a one-hour massage time.
So I like to pick two prongs, two portions to any particular marketing plan. The first prong for me was to create and publish a blog post every week for eight weeks. Just having a schedule like that really helps me. And it can be video or it can be written, and it’s specifically going to be for people with stress and anxiety and concurrent sleep issues. So it’s going to be about how to help yourself and probably a little bit about what massage can do for that issue.
The second prong is once everything’s published — that’ll put me into after the holidays into January — and I will, if I haven’t already achieved my increase in numbers, I’m going to run some targeted ad campaigns for four weeks. I’m going to use Facebook and Instagram and then probably also Google AdWords. So I set the timeline, which was 16 weeks beginning last week. The first eight weeks of that are all creating blog posts and then the last — the second six weeks or — I guess it would be eight weeks and eight weeks, but the holidays kind of mess it up a little bit. The last six weeks are going to be all about paid ad campaigns.
I set a budget of $240 because I wanted to — I forgot the math on that — it gives me a certain amount per week to spend on Facebook and Instagram and Google AdWords. Along with when I create these original blog posts, video or written, I’m going to publish them once a week and send to my email list that I already have existing and publish on Facebook and Instagram just with a post each, and then the second portion is actually adding paid ad campaigns. So you’ll notice I put the big budget item at the end because I may or may not need it. We’ll see what my numbers are like the first week of January and then make some decisions moving forward.
So the execution is the tricky part, right? Actually doing the thing you made the list of to do. So I have made a list of videos and blog posts, and I’m not even going to say outlined them; that would be more assertive than I’ve been. I have bullet-pointed them. I know I’m going to make eight or nine original blog posts so I have given eight or nine titles or subjects and started to bullet point what the content will be. And I also, to push myself over the beginning hump, I made my — even though it was a little ahead of schedule, I made my first one right away. I made this marketing plan at the beginning of last week, and then two days later I had a four-hour block of time where I could work on it. And I decided listen, you got four hours, you need to do this start to finish; get it done. So I figured out how to record in my new office, and it’s just a video of me showing a breathing technique for sleep. And I did it in two takes. And after the second one, I was like ah, I should do a third take, it’ll be better. Then I was like nope. You’ve got two hours left, you need to edit this and you need to get it up on to YouTube. So I decided to, instead of being perfect about it, just let it be good and let it be done. And I learned — I had never used iMovie on my — I use a different video editing software usually, but I tried iMovie. I learned it. I had to watch a video tutorial, and then I uploaded it to YouTube, and then I posted it on my Facebook and Instagram, and then I sent it — I set up and schedule the email to go to my clients.
And I got to say, I’ve gotten really good feedback. A whole bunch of my clients in the last week have come in and been like, I tried that breathing technique and it helped me. Or a couple were like, I tried that breathing technique and it did nothing for me, which is okay because it opened a conversation for me to show them something else that might help them with sleep.
So that’s where I’m at. I’ve got time carved out this week to do — the second post is going to be a written post with some still pictures. Or if that gets too complicated, I’ll suck it up and do a video. But I do want to make a variety. I don’t want to make them all video. I want to make them for — I want to make enough of a variety that it fits people who prefer all different kinds of media. I want there to be something for everyone in here. Yeah, so that’s where I’m at. So now I’m just forcing myself into spending two hours, three hours a week on in depending on that week and executing the plan. And that’s where we’re at.
There’s a couple holes in this marketing plan that I already know exist, but I kind of wanted to ask Michael what are— what’s missing from this plan? In 16 weeks, I’ll assess the results and see if I met my goals. But outside of not finishing yet, do you see any big marketing holes in this, Michael?
MR I don’t see any big marketing holes. You may have — maybe I missed it and you said it, but d you plan to do a podcast?
AH I don’t yet.
MR Okay. Because with your particular niche, I can see a lot of topics around that that could be fun to talk about. So maybe “fun” is the wrong word, but useful to talk about.
AH Yeah, and I thought about that and that might be the next project after I finish this one if it hasn’t increased my numbers the way I want.
MR And that’s a real long-term investment. It’s not going to be a quick turnaround or anything. It’s something that’s a year or two to really ramp up. I was just kind of curious what your plans were because I know that you’re a big fan of podcasting as am I.
AH I am. But I’m a big fan of it because Michael does the heavy lifting with our podcast here. He does all the tech stuff. I just have to show up with some notes.
MR [laughs] Well, I love everything about your marketing plan especially that you are using AdWords. I think more massage therapist could benefit from exploring AdWords for many reasons, but one of the reasons being most massage therapists don’t use it. So there’s not a ton of competition.
AH Yeah. There’s not even a ton of competition for people in my area who are using websites well.
MR That’s true.
AH I mean, even still. Even 13 years later from when I started, in my town there’s probably 20 massage therapists and only five of us that have decent websites, and the other four are in my office.
AH It’s ridonkulous. I’m probably exaggerating. There’s a couple more, but they’re not very good. They’re fantastic hands-on therapists, but they don’t communicate well in any way except phone and even then, I’m not playing phone tag. So yeah. I wanted to point out a thing that’s missing from this is, that could be really useful, is networking. I have not laid out in this plan any efforts to get more involved in a person-to-person networking group. I purposely back-burnered that because at this point, we’re at the end of October and we’re pre-holidays, and I just can’t. It’s winter. I hate winter. And yeah.
MR I just assumed you intentionally left out networking because you didn’t want to run into — your experience a few episodes ago where you were just kind of done with networking.
AH (Indiscernible) Yeah. That too. But I actually did look at the schedule for that particular women’s group for the next couple of meetings, and I’ve got it on my schedule if my regular clients cancel I can go to that. But I am going to look into — after the holidays, I’m going to look into the local chamber of commerce and maybe visiting them and maybe visiting a BNI group, although, I think that’s beyond my commitment level right now. It’s the think I like the least, so it definitely pushes me to do these other things first. If they work well, then I can just keep doing what I do best and happiest. And if it doesn’t, then I need to bust a little further out of my comfort zone and go to some different stuff.
MR I like it.
AH So I built this plan around my strengths and desires and we’ll see if it works. So we’ll follow up with you guys towards the end of January. We’ll do another podcast to see how I have succeeded and/or failed.
MR [laughs]. Either way, you’re going to tell it like it is.
AH That’s all I got.
MR All right. Awesome. Well, can’t wait. Well, thank you and thanks, everyone, for listening today. We are glad you’re with us. We are happy you’re a subscriber. We’re happy you found us. You can find us online at massagebusinessblueprint.com. And if you have any feedback for us, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and/or post a review on iTunes much like jayjaysmitty did. We appreciate his or her review and everyone else’s. If you’d like to give us some feedback publicly and kind of put it on there on the timeless wall of reviews that you see on iTunes, we would love that as well. No matter how many stars you give us, we appreciate all reviews. Feel free to do that as well. And again, thanks so much for joining us. We appreciate you being here. Have a great day. We’ll see you next time.