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Massage Today
June, 2005, Vol. 05, Issue 06

Better Than Word-of-Mouth Marketing

By Colleen (Steigerwald) Holloway, LMT

When it comes to marketing your business, or any service-oriented business for that matter, word-of-mouth marketing consistently is believed to be the most effective means of getting referrals.

After all, it's free marketing because zero advertising dollars are needed. And, the rate of return on your investment begins at 100 percent, and can only go up. It's risk-free advertising. Surprisingly, however, if you want a thriving bodywork business, word-of-mouth marketing is really not a good way of attracting new clientele. Now, if your head is shaking with disagreement, let me explain why.

People who have a bad experience with a service will tell between six to 10 people. Bad news travels quickly, and people love to complain and receive sympathy. If you don't believe me, turn on the news and count the number of good and bad stories in one 30-minute segment. The bad stories will always grossly outweigh the good stories.

Conversely, people who have a good experience with a service will tell only one or two people, and often only when it happens to come up in conversation. Therefore, although it's good when it happens, word-of-mouth marketing is really not a reliable means of marketing your business - not if you are serious about building your clientele. Many bodyworkers rely on word-of-mouth marketing solely to build business. If that's your current game plan, you can look forward to a long, slow journey toward a full appointment book.

Now that I've depressed you with bad news, let me share with you the easiest, most highly effective, cost-efficient way to market your business. This marketing strategy will reach a larger, captive audience with a personal testimonial about your business, prompting the audience to pick up the telephone right away. What's even more exciting is that it won't eat up your advertising dollars. It's called a joint marketing venture (JMV).

A JMV is created by partnering with another service-oriented business and endorsing each others' businesses with testimonial letters. This marketing strategy works well because it's a direct referral from a satisfied client to people who know and trust the client. Essentially, it's word-of-mouth marketing with a call to action offer.

Finding a JMV Partner

The optimal people for this joint marketing venture are your current clients who own a service-oriented small business and have an established clientele. Make a list of your clients who are also business owners such as attorneys, accountants, doctors, financial planners, plumbers, restaurant owners, dry cleaner owners, and so forth. Your most satisfied, loyal clients will be at the top of our list. If you are fairly new in the business and just establishing clientele, make a list of your relatives, neighbors and friends who operate their own businesses.

Establishing Your Endorsement Letter

Your endorsement letter needs to be a brief but strong endorsement for your JMV partner. Here are the three essential components:

Paragraph One: Explain the problem you are having. For example, if you are writing an endorsement letter for your chiropractor (JMV partner), begin the letter by stating the problem you've been experiencing such as, "I don't normally sit down and write a letter to all of my clients; however, I have had this ongoing chronic disc problem...I've tried everything...nothing came close to alleviating the pain until I met Dr. Jones."

Paragraph Two: Write a strong testament attributing the chiropractor's care as the solution to your problem such as, "After three years of living with chronic back pain and limited range of motion I can now say I'm pain-free and working on my golf game thanks to Dr. Jones."

Paragraph Three: Add a call to action offer such as, "Dr. Jones is such a terrific chiropractor that when I told him I was going to spread the word about him to all of my clients, he offered to give each of my clients a free initial examination. That's a $60 value! Did I mention that he's also very generous? If you're in need of some pain relief you would benefit from Dr. Jones's magical hands. Call him today at (555) 555-1212, and tell him I sent you."

When your endorsement letter is complete, type it on plain white paper to be copied onto your business stationery.

Implementing Your Joint Marketing Venture

Have your JMV partner write an equally compelling endorsement letter praising you and your business (including a compelling call to action offer), and copy it onto his or her business stationery. The final step is to choose an equal amount of clients to send the letters to - 100? 200? 500?At an investment of $.37 per client, in my opinion, there is no better strategy than a joint marketing venture for marketing your business and gaining clientele. Once your endorsement letter is complete, you can repeat this marketing strategy using your list of JMV partners. Hence, you don't have to keep reinventing the wheel when it comes to creating a marketing plan for your business.


Click here for previous articles by Colleen (Steigerwald) Holloway, LMT.

 

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