Massage & Bodywork

November/December 2013

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GET MORE CLIENTS WITH ONLINE REVIEWS Where to Rave Follow up with clients after their sessions and encourage them to share their positive thoughts about your work. Begin with the old adage: "If you're not happy with my service, please tell me. If you are happy, please tell your friends and family." Here are a few of the top sites you can refer them to (including your website). The resulting raves will fuel your practice and help promote the benefits of massage. • www.angieslist.com • www.bing.com • www.citysearch.com • www.foursquare.com • www.google.com/places • www.local.com • www.mapquest.com • www.superpages.com • www.tripadvisor.com • www.yahoo.com • www.yellowpages.com • www.yelp.com "Ahhhh, so relaxing. I wish I could go here every day. Just love it. I will definitely be going back!" your business name and address, with or without a link to your website, that counts as a citation. The goal is to get your business name, contact information, and website listed on as many reputable websites in your area as possible. Choosing Categories It's not enough to simply list your business in local directories; you also want to do everything you can to make sure your business gets found in the directory's search results. That means placing your listing under the categories that consumers will most likely use to search for your business. Most local search directories allow you to list your practice in 2–5 different categories. Choose the categories that best describe your practice—if you don't choose any, or are wrongly categorized, it will get buried in the search results. USE VISUAL ELEMENTS TO PERSONALIZE YOUR PRACTICE Photos and videos probably don't affect your practice in terms of ranking for local searches, but they can increase the number of clicks your listing gets. Take the opportunity to show off your practice and the smiling faces behind it. Photos and videos have the potential to transform your business from "just another massage place" into a warm, approachable environment or a healing oasis. Use these visual elements to solidify your brand and attract the type of clients you want. For most clients, booking an appointment with a therapist they found online is a significant step, so posting a personal portrait reduces buyer anxiety. Use pictures of yourself, other therapists who work for you, the outside (particularly nearby landmarks) and inside of your practice (including treatment rooms and the waiting room), and product photos of specialty items you sell. Make sure the photos are professional quality—a poor quality photo can turn a customer away with a bad first impression. Even though you might not enjoy looking at pictures of yourself, potential clients want to see what you look like. Pictures add a personal dimension to your directory listing that makes clients feel like they have a chance to get to know you before meeting you in person. Pictures of you and your practice satisfy a sense of curiosity and remove doubt from the client's mind. REAP THE REWARDS As a massage therapist and business owner, you have plenty of responsibilities vying for your attention. Registering with local directories can feel overwhelming unless you have a specific plan to reach your goal. Reagan suggests starting small. "Start out with 10 directories and make sure you are listed on each one," she says. "Ask 10 clients to review your practice online. Most will be honored and happy to do so. Wait two weeks, then ask another 10. Keep doing this until you have built up a good collection of reviews." With more searches taking place online and on mobile phones, getting your business listed on local search directories is more important than ever. Although the process can occasionally feel tedious and time-consuming, as Reagan testifies, "In the end, it is so beneficial to your business." Esther Pearson is the lead copywriter for OneTouch Massage, an online retailer of portable massage tables and equipment, and the web content strategist for www.snapagency.com, an online-marketing company that specializes in local search for small businesses. You can reach her at estpearson@gmail.com or learn more at www.1massagestore.com. www.abmp.com. See what benefits await you. 65

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