Massage & Bodywork

September/October 2009

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ten for today BY REBECCA JONES HOW TO TOOT YOUR OWN HORN The last item a wise farmer will cut from a strained budget is seeds, because seeds that don't get planted will never bear fruit. Likewise, the wise massage therapist won't cut back on marketing simply because times are lean. Marketing is the only way to plant the seeds that will produce a flourishing practice. The key to surviving a tough economy is to look for low-cost but still-effective marketing strategies, experts say. Be creative. Be bold. And don't be shy about tooting your own horn. Here are some ideas from experienced marketing professionals on ways massage therapists can promote and grow their practices without investing a lot of money. WITH EVERYONE YOU MEET "Carry your business cards everywhere," advises Joell Diane, spokeswoman for WaterColors, a printing company based in Biloxi, Mississippi, that specializes in massage and bodywork promotion. "If you go to dinner, leave a business card with the tip. Nobody needs a massage more than waiters and waitresses." Consider printing different business 1. cards that target specific groups. Does your child play organized sports? "You could get a business card or a postcard printed up that has all the practice dates and game days of your kid's soccer team, and hand them out to all the kids' parents," suggests Eileen Ryan, marketing coordinator for Natural Touch Marketing of Olympia, LEAVE A BUSINESS CARD Washington. "It could say 'Mary Ann's Massageā€”I cater to soccer moms.' That's something they'll keep on their refrigerators or in their wallets." 2. FIND A PARTNER If you can identify another practitioner who deals with your target audience, you can share the costs of a promotion. "Say you specialize in sports massage," says Cherie Sohnen-Moe, an author, business consultant, and seminar leader on marketing strategies who is based in Tucson, Arizona. "Maybe you could team up with a sports psychologist and do a mailing together." Or perhaps the manufacturer of a product you carry will partner with you in promoting your use of their product line. You might also find local businesses willing to let you insert flyers into their mailings for a small fee, Sohnen-Moe suggests. 3. BE SAVVY ABOUT ELECTRONIC ADVERTISING One of the easiest and most cost- effective ways of attracting new customers is through savvy Internet marketing. Zac Adler, CEO of Bodywork Sites, a company based in Santa Barbara, California, that designs websites for massage therapists, recommends Google's AdWords (www. adwords.com) for therapists who haven't had much training in Internet search protocols. When someone does a Google search for the keywords you've defined (for example, massage and Taos, New Mexico), your ad may appear next to the search results. "You only pay when someone actually clicks on your ad and goes to your website, so you're only paying for visitors," Adler says. "You're catching people right when they're looking for a massage therapist in your town. This is easy to set up, even if you're not technologically skilled. Google does a good job of holding your hand as you go through the setup steps. In my mind, if I had a friend looking to grow a business in this wintery economic climate, I can't think of something that would produce more in a shorter amount of time." 4. 90 massage & bodywork september/october 2009 MINE YOUR CLIENT BASE "Make sure you're touching base with your clients at least twice a year," Diane advises. "Send them something on their birthdays, and contact STR

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