Marketing Ideas for Massage Therapy

Marketing ideas for massage therapy can be found all over this site, since it is all about revenue generation and getting you in front of the right people to build your business. This page shares some tips for client retention. Felicia Brown, MT, owner of Spalutions and Every Touch Marketing joined us at the end of October to share her proven strategies for client retention.

Marketing Ideas for Massage Therapy - Felicia Brown Anyone who's been in the bodywork business, or any service business, a long time knows that retaining clients is the skill that pushes your business into profit. If you are constantly having to seek new clients, it's exhausting and expensive. There are some specific strategies that can encourage people to come back to see you. That's why we've engaged all of these experts to share their proven marketing ideas for massage therapy with YOU.

One of the skills we encourage you to master, is getting really comfortable with asking your client directly and confidently for the rebook. Felicia Brown Felicia Brown gives some specific wording suggestions for marketing ideas for massage therapy, related to client retention in the summary below. She also addresses some of the newer tools with technology that can be really useful in staying in touch with your clients. Check out the questions asked by participants, and the abundance of great answers for marketing ideas for massage therapy from the awesome Felicia Brown!

Q: Felicia, how can client retention affect revenue generation? In thinking of marketing ideas for massage therapy, I don't usually think of retention as a strategy. Why is it important?

Felicia: Simply put - Regular repeat business comes from retained clients. So if someone is coming into see you again and again, they are spending money again and again.Also if you are retaining a client that you have already seen, you aren't having to spend time, money or energy to acquire them as a new client.

Q: How is this achieved? How do you handle when a client comments that "they just can't afford to get a massage that often?

Felicia: It is a process with lots of possible steps. The main thing is shifting your mindset to think of all clients as potential regulars or "lifetime" clients rather than "my 2 o'clock."

Not everyone is gong to be a good fit for your business. When people say that, I try to share options about how even a 30 minute session could help them or that getting a massage even once every month or two can be beneficial to their health.

I am finding, though, that this seems to be the norm in my much as I am helping them and they know that by seeing me on a regular basis would be beneficial to can get quite costly..and I understand where they are coming fromThink about how you could create an affordable wellness program that would fit your clients or how you can educate them that massage will help them save money from missed work or doctor's visits. Educate the people about massage in other words.

Additional participant comments: I think the key here is consistency. If you offer the chance to rebook (as Felicia suggested) to EVERY client, you will see a definite increase in your rebooking rate. Don't worry so much about the ones that don't, just focus on the ones that do!For the ones that "just can't afford it" too often, break it down by the week light heartedly. Or have articles on hand with info related to their problem and how massage can help it. Focus on what they will be missing out on if they don't come see you. And if you believe they can't afford, they won't buy it and you won't get the return apt, and you won't be able to afford things, either. However, some people really can't afford it often, just be helpful when you can. I use packages to keep clients on a regular routine.

Q: What are the biggest mistakes you see in massage businesses, when it comes to client retention? When addressing marketing ideas for massage therapy, how could more of us improve?

Felicia: Therapists not understanding that clients want to be invited back as clients. That they want to be directed as to how to feel better through massage/bodywork by the professional they just saw.

Q: So be systematic and proactive with customer relationship management?

Felicia: Absolutely! But not so structured it feels fake or forced.

I have a set of guidelines I go by for my clients. The main things I make sure to do are to help them understand why massage could be of help to their issue or complaint, let them know I'd enjoy working with them and ask them to reschedule.

Q: Felicia, in marketing ideas for massage therapy, can you give an example of how you phrase the 'rebook' conversation for new clients?

Felicia: You: “Jennifer, you mentioned earlier when you checked in that you wanted to start getting massage therapy regularly. Would you like to schedule your next appointment while you’re here?”
Client: “Sure. I’d like to come back in about a month.”
You: “Perfect. Four weeks from today is Friday February 26th. I could see you that day for a 60 or 90 minute Custom Massage at 2 or 3:30 PM. Which would you prefer?”
Client: “I’ll take the 3:30 slot.”
You: “Thanks Jennifer. That’s Friday February 26th at 3:30 for a Custom Massage. If anything comes up or changes, please be sure to give at least 24 hours notice.”
Client: “No problem. I’ll see you then.”

Q: Is there a certain way a therapist should market themselves to come off as a possible lifelong therapist? Meaning what can we do to help others see we are here for the long haul? I have been around for a few years but some have not, and really need some help with marketing ideas for massage therapy.

Felicia: Perhaps talk about your years of experience or time in the area, your commitments to the community, that wort of thing.

In my practice, I just put it out there, that I am looking for clients who want to include regular massage therapy as a part of their lifestyle and wellness/health management.

Q: What about those who don't have the experience?

Felicia: Then, I guess you just have to prove yourself. Show how you've been committed to other things (school, the military, volunteering, lifelong passion for health, etc). Be someone people can count on. Deliver what you promise.

Q: Felicia, what do you find to be the most effective way to keep in touch with clients for retention? Do you have specific marketing ideas for massage therapy related to the way you contact them?

Felicia: This really varies by clients. In "olden times" I used to do it all by phone. Now many of my clients prefer texting or email - even Facebook. WHat tools do you guys use for staying in touch?

I do use email marketing for blanket messages and write notes (handwritten) to new clients also.

There are services out there that can help with texting. But I mostly text individual clients based on their preference of me doing so. My software (one of them) is also set up to do text confirmations as well as emails. Most software programs have a lot of tools for staying in touch. I use 2 - one more for coaching/consulting and one more for massage but I really like them both. Use the resources you have - it really helps to save $ and time!

Q: I have a client who books regularly (monthly) but needs to come in weekly? He can afford it but if I press he might not come anymore. How would you deal with that situation? Possibly losing a regular client?

Felicia: Why do you think you would lose him? If the client needs more massage, explain to him how and why it would help him feel better. Perhaps offer him a frequent buyer or package incentive of some kind. But unless you are stalking him or hounding him about it, he can just say no and stick with what he is doing.

Q: Do you have a plan or system for contacting people who haven’t been in for a while? This would be of great help to those looking for marketing ideas for massage therapy, who don't have a system for getting massive amounts of NEW clients in the door.

Felicia: I think it is a great idea to have a schedule or system for doing this. You have to get a feel for what works but I'd say 3 months for people you haven't seen - meaning (oh these folks haven't been in for 3 months, let's send them a postcard/email etc.

Q: I know you stated you set forth an intention to invite clients to become regular clients, do you offer discount packages to help overcome the price conscious consumer or do you not discount at all? There seems to be a split among professionals offering marketing ideas for massage therapy about when to discount and when to only compete on specialty instead, can you share your thoughts?

Felicia: I've done a lot of different things over the last 17 years. Recently when I was ready to grow my practice a bit and create a "regular client mindset" with some newer clients, I offered a specially priced package. My goal was to get people to come in once a month for 6 months so I offered a 6 session package at about a 20% discount. The catches were a) they had to pay up front b) they had to use it in 6 months and c) they could not share it. I sold A TON of them!

Q: What about calling past clients to try to reactivate? Also many insurance clients seem to only want to come when someone else(insurance) pays. Any marketing ideas for massage therapy in relation to those insurance folks??

Felicia: My ebook on Getting Clients to Rebook will help some of that. You can check it out for the insurance piece, my friend Don Dillon is all about insurance. I'll ask him about that or you can contact him. Not sure where you are but he will be (as will I) at the Canadian Massage Conference next week where he is launching a new book and teaching a class about insurance. If you are in the US, Vivian Madison Mahoney is a good resource.

Q: Felicia, is there one technique for client retention you wish you'd STARTED out using? If you wished someone had given you specific marketing ideas for massage therapy when you first started your career, what would it be?

Felicia: Hmmm...I'm not sure. I guess initially it would have been client management software because it can do so much for you. I love being able to pull up at the touch of a button or two exactly what services people have had, when they came in, what products they bought, how many sessions they have in their packages, etc. I didn't start doing that until about 5 years into practice.

As for my current practice and what I would change about client retention, I am really happy where things are. It might be nice to stream line all the ways my clients want me to communicate (phone./text/email/facebook/carrier pigeon) to just one or two. But again, it is important to be where people are and to make it easy FOR THEM to do business with you.

Q: What software do you use?

Felicia: MindBodyOnline and Schedulicity.

Q: Do you have any marketing ideas for massage therapy for MTs on running specials or promotions with existing clients?

Felicia: The package special I mentioned earlier worked really well. I was getting ready to start the summer slow season. A lot of my regulars travel that time of year and some had scaled back their massage sessions for economic reasons. I offered a package - 6 sessions for $354 - a discount of $96 off my usual price - and people went crazy for them.

Q: Did you offer it only for a short time? How did you communicate the special offer?

Felicia: When one of my long-time regulars asked if I really wanted him to buy a package since he usually paid full price I said "Let's see, you've been a client for 16 years. That discount is equivalent to $5.64 discount for every year you've been seeing me. Just consider it a thank you for all your past business.By the way, it was a limited time offer for the summer only. It was paid up front only, with no sharing and had a limited redemption period. IT got clients excited, feeling special and in the door more often. And it helped me pay my bills ahead of time in a season that it is usually dead.

Q: Do you work with a particular demographic? How much does your business slow down in the summer, typically? It's useful for new therapists to know the marketing ideas for massage therapy that are related to fluctuations in business models.

Felicia: My average client has a large amount of disposable income, is an entrepreneur or the partner of one, and are very tuned into to using massage for their wellness needs. Lots of my clients have summer homes or travel extensively and are away for part of all of the summer. Typically my business gets cut in half but this year I was busier and made more money from massage in July and August than ever before in this practice.

Q: You have been in practice a while now, what is the ratio of time spent on retaining your 'regulars' and acquiring new clients? Knowing how other MTs sustain their business can help business owners to refine their marketing ideas for massage therapy that will be more effective for their business.

Felicia: I spend no money on acquiring new clients at least not in terms of spending actual cash in my bank account for ads, etc. They only money I have spend on new massage clients in about the last 6.5 years has been for printing gift certificates (or the online fees for certificates) that I have given to key referral sources to pass out.Oh and of course business cards, cost of maintaining software, etcWow! Awesome example of just how important your existing clients are!!I do reward for referrals in the form of a $15 discount for the referrer (or a 15 minute upgrade.) I also give a "new client discount" of $15 off.

Q: Have you been in practice in the same city for the last 17 years, or did you move when you sold your practice?

Felicia: Most of my new clients - for years - have come from referrals or from those I know/meet. I don't need a huge clientele and try to average about 10 a week. But if I could see more, I have no doubt I could find them the same ways. I have been in the same city for 17 years and many of my clients have been seeing me almost that whole time.You are absolutely right, marketing is a process that never ends when you are in business. Though I stopped looking for new clients for about 10 years when my spa was really busy and for a while after I sold it, I have always stayed in touch, accepted referrals from existing clients, etc.

Q: Felicia, do you offer gifts to your clients for holidays? Birthday month specials or anything like that? Taking these marketing ideas for massage therapy into the holidays may help with some idea generation around the world!

Felicia: Some years yes, some no. I can't say I have a particular tradition. I've given clients wine, candles, my meditation CD, a book that I contributed to, etc. But it may not necessarily revolve around a holiday. I do send out a birthday email also with a special offer for their next retail purchase.When my practice was in the early stages through to when it became a spa and I sold it, we sent out $10 coupons to every client for their birthday. When I went back into private practice, I stopped doing that a) because I really didn't want to discount my services and b) I didn't have a staff to help me with it anymore (lazy I know)!

Q: What about promotional marketing ideas for massage therapy? What do you think about something like giving tee shirts with your logo to VIP clients?

Felicia: I think it's a great idea, especially if it makes others want to come in and see you. I wear the free t-shirt Massage Today gave me a lot (if says "Have you had your Massage Today?" People always ask me about it and want a card. One with your logo or website with a catchy saying or phrase could do the same!

We started the Professional Massage Network to help you to recognize their GREATNESS! We want to encourage you to stop living in any part of a lack mentality and really move forward in your lives and businesses. You bring value to other people's lives, you deserve to make great money and enjoy your work!

Look over as many marketing ideas for massage therapy as you can, to trigger your creative brain to work for you! Having clarity about your purpose in life, passion in your business and vision for your authentic expression of your work is vital to making quick and clear decisions about your marketing. If you have resistance to marketing your business, you need to work through that FIRST, so that the clarity you have about your work can pull you through to your goals. Oh, yes...and have your goals in writing. Marketing ideas for massage therapy are the means to the end, which we hope is a thriving business you love! Be clear about what you really want and the 'how you get there' will be MUCH simpler to determine.

Click through the links below for more marketing ideas for massage therapy, or check out the bar on the left for additional ideas. THEN, if you really want to commit to working your business and enjoying it more, through really expressing your own authenticity, then you can sign up for our newsletter. We'll send you some marketing ideas for massage therapy, tips and tricks monthly, so you can easily continue on your path of an inspiring and purposeful business owner.

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