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Massage Today
June, 2003, Vol. 03, Issue 06

To Advertise or Not to Advertise - That is the Question

By Andrea Adler

I once knew a great yogi from India. He was a very wise man; but I didn't always understand his logic, especially when he presented dissertations on the body. One day he would say, "The body is the temple; it's where you find God, so treat it with great love." A few days later, he would say, "The body is nothing but flesh and bones, phlegm and blood.

The body is filled with feces and will eventually turn to dust." Boy, was I confused! It took me some time to realize that this great meditation master was right - on both counts.

I tell this story to practitioners who ask me whether they should advertise, because the question about advertising is as paradoxical as the question about the body. On the one hand, if you are doing everything right in your life - taking care of your care of your needs (eating properly, exercising, meditating); nurturing your practice; educating yourself and others; making offerings; and envisioning your future - and people are coming to you because you do wonderful work and have a good reputation, you may wonder why you should advertise: "Why throw my money away?"

On the other hand, if your desire is to get the word out about your practice, and it is in your budget, why not let more people experience your gifts - your passion? People won't be able to experience what you have to offer if they don't know where you are or what you do. The more we share our resources, the more the world returns the favor in kind. This is the law of the universe and the law of Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth.

The Essentials of Advertising

  • Advertise an event, such as an open house or introductory program, in addition to advertising your practice. It's a good idea to make an offering to the community. Once your neighbors meet you and learn about your modality, trust will be established. After the event, place your ad on a rotating basis. You may even want to share an ad with other practitioners in your building or healing center. The consistency of your ad will remind people who you are and to spread the word about you. Don't crowd your ad with too much information. List who, what, when, where and why, and use an image or a photo - a picture is worth a thousand words.
  • Target your advertisement with precision. For example, there is no point in advertising the opening of your new practice to the editors of Car & Driver magazine, unless, perhaps, you have a story angle about stress-relieving exercises for drivers!
  • Timing is essential. What good is working to put on a great event if you haven't given your audience enough time to schedule it on their calendars? Many presentations have gone sour because people haven't allowed enough time for their advertising to reach the public. Thousands of dollars are wasted every day because event strategies are improperly planned. Find out how much time the media needs for your ad to be placed. Give yourself at least a month to send out invitations; notify the press; create your ad; distribute fliers; and make follow-up phone calls. Write an Article to Boost Your Ad In addition to placing an ad, write an accompanying article. It doubles your exposure and adds credibility to your work.
  • Make sure your article is entertaining, interesting or newsworthy (hopefully, all three), and that it complements your ad. Editors love human-interest articles. News people are extremely busy: They read hundreds of articles a day. Be sure your article stands out and grabs their attention.
  • Target your article. It is important you target the appropriate news department, or your article will, probably, end up in the wastebasket. If you are a massage therapist who performs sports massage, speak to the sports editor. If you want to be quoted as an authority in stress management in the workplace, contact the business editor. If you are seeking coverage on your ability to perform and teach infant massage, contact the lifestyle or features editor. If you take the time to research the material, and your article is crisp, informative and interesting, the media will see the value of your information and will feel compelled to inform the public.

Become the great yogi: See your body as dust, and remain detached; but also see it as a divine temple. Recognize that advertising can be a wasted effort if not approached with forethought, wisdom and timing. Know that advertising can be a powerful tool to draw people to your practice and catapult you to success.

 

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