Massage & Bodywork

November/December 2009

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what's on the web BY ESTHER PEARSON MASSAGE YOUR WEBSITE You've heard the spiel about massage websites and getting in touch with those tech-savvy, search-happy clients. Maybe you've got your website already up and running. Maybe it has even brought in a few new clients. But overall, the effort and investment doesn't seem to be paying off. Maybe it's time to take a second look at your website. With a little more effort and guidance, you may be surprised to find that it is a worthwhile endeavor after all. Let me introduce you to two massage therapists who can more than vouch for the marketing success of a massage website. First, meet Amy Morgan, a licensed massage therapist in Faribault, Minnesota. Sixty-three percent of traffic to her website comes from the search engines. As far as reaching new clients, Morgan says, "My website has been very effective. I would say I average two to three new clients a week who find me through my website." And it's not only local clients who find her. "I have sold numerous gift certificates to people from out of state for their loved ones in my area," she says. "I have also been contacted from people that will be coming into town and are looking to have a massage while they are here." Andrea Porter, a licensed massage therapist and yoga teacher at Santosha LLC, in Omaha, Nebraska, also raves about her website traffic. When asked about its effectiveness, she replies without hesitation, "Very effective! We get not only local people shopping around for massage therapy services, but people all over the country shopping for gift certificates, as well. Fortunately, we rank high on Google pretty consistently, so people are able to find us quickly. Also, people who have heard of, or have experienced, some of the specialty services we offer (such as Thai massage, Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy, and pregnancy massage) search for those services by name, and find us very easily." Along with a high rank on Google comes a steady stream of new clients. And the numbers keep growing. In 2007, 11 percent of Porter's client base consisted of Internet referrals. "In 2008, 27 percent of my new clients were direct referrals from the website, and so far in 2009, that goes up to 31 percent," Porter says. "I'd say we've had some growth!" How did these two massage therapists reach a healthy return on investment for their websites? They optimized their websites for higher rankings in the search engines. When people search online for a massage therapist in the Omaha area, Santosha shows up in the first few results. For the Faribault area, Morgan shows up in the top results. GET FRIENDLY WITH THE SEARCH ENGINES Getting your website to rank well in the search engines involves a number of different factors. It's a complex process. As Morgan knows, it's not all about how pretty the site looks. It has to do with the content and using keywords for search engine optimization (SEO). That's why it's important for you as a massage therapist to have a basic understanding 22 massage & bodywork november/december 2009

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