Massage & Bodywork

March | April 2014

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play on sports teams or participate in arts clubs, get to know the other parents who are always sitting in the stands. Joyce Hauber, owner of Enjoyce Massage Therapy & Bodywork, LLC, actively participates in a job-shadowing program at the local high school where she talks about what it takes to become a massage therapist and why people choose the profession. She has a packet of information she passes out to the students that addresses all aspects of the job, and which also has her contact information on it. As a bonus, Hauber says, "The teachers and staff at the school know who I am and what I do. I have received new business from (them)." Don't be afraid to talk about your career within your own social circles as well. Word-of-mouth marketing can go a long way in promoting the massage business as an important asset in people's lives. Creating Loyal Clientele Though community outreach is one tool in gaining name recognition and getting people through the door, one of the weakest links in many marketing strategies is retention. A lot of day spas and massage therapists spend money on recruiting new clients. They may offer coupons for first-time visitors, but providing one-off, discounted experiences through Groupon and other means doesn't necessarily equate to steady clients and ongoing business. Massage therapists need to value their clients and their clients' needs, but they also need to value their time. Avoid putting yourself in the same category as the local dollar store by dangling discounted coupons for customers who simply seek cheap services. "We avoid discounting," Daly says. "We don't want the bargain client because it's a one-time thing, and they don't want a relationship with us or our spa." Once someone has been convinced that massage is a necessary expenditure and she's walked through the clinic door for the very first time, it is essential that she is treated with respect and not simply as a person who hands over a credit card at the end of an appointment. "When someone comes into our spa, I want them to feel immediately relaxed," Daly says. Start getting to know clients beyond the info on their intake form. Your intake form should ask for a phone number and/or email address, and therapists should make it a point not to forget about these first-time clients. I t p a y s t o b e A B M P C e r t i f i e d : w w w. a b m p . c o m / g o / c e r t i f i e d c e n t r a l 63 Las Vegas-based writer JoAnna Haugen has written for more than 50 publications and numerous clients in a variety of industries. Contact her at Call a couple of days after the initial appointment to follow up and ask how they are feeling, if they had any questions, and whether they enjoyed the experience. Stay in touch at least once a month with a newsletter or outbound email that specifically communicates with your paying customers. Consider sending handwritten thank-you notes to loyal clientele expressing appreciation for their continued business, or take the time to send a birthday card or holiday greetings. "Doing these simple things will go a long way with retention," Biro says. Every client should be treated like an individual, and each visit should focus specifically on that client's care. "We really listen to what their problems are. We don't do cookie-cutter massages," Daly says. "We have the same protocols for every massage, but not every client needs that exact same massage." To perpetuate the message that massage is essential for health and wellness, not just relaxation, massage therapists should actively educate themselves so they can educate their clients. When they learn about new massage techniques or related issues on nutrition, exercise, or general health (water consumption, weight loss, improving circulation, etc.), they should create handouts for their clients with branding from the business. At the conclusion of a new client's first massage, Daly talks to the client about problem areas and writes down what she thinks the client needs in order to maintain optimal health. "By the end of that experience, I want my client to think, 'I was taken care of, they thought of me, they want to see me again,'" Daly says. Taking the time to address client needs beyond the massage shows them that you care and that your business isn't all pampering and fluff. "To me, educating my clients is a vital aspect to keep them coming back to me for their therapeutic massage sessions," Hauber says. And if they're convinced that it is, in fact, important to return for another treatment, the money these clients may have spent on a lunch out will be saved for a necessary expense— your massage services.

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