resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Transparency is Key at ASA First Annual Meeting
On March 4th and 5th the American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA) held a successful first annual meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
How to Find and Fix TL Nerve Impingements
The thoracolumbar junction (TLJ) and the peripheral sensory nerves that exit from it are frequent, important and rarely recognized sources of lower back, pelvic and hip pain. Let's outline a clear exam protocol for diagnosing the problem.
The IME System: A Current Public Health Risk and Solutions That Are Working
I strongly believe in the independent medical examination (IME) system. There are far too many doctors in every profession who are not following E&M protocols and never claim MMI (maximum medical improvement) has occurred for their patients, which has caused financial stress for many private and public carriers.
Constructing Our Reality: The Primary Channels and Perception, Part 1
My favorite topic of discussion within Chinese medicine is the acupuncture channel systems. First of all, each of us have them. They are part of our bodies; not something external to us. To learn about the acupuncture channels is to learn about ourselves.
Business Lesson #1: Adapt or Else
My wife and I recently enjoyed an excellent meal at a restaurant recommended by some friends. We often have concerns about restaurant recommendations, as many have been disappointing.
The Rest of the Patient Story
I've written previously about allowing a patient to tell you their story – about taking the time to listen and engage all the aspects of their case history, the injury in question, and the related issues.
Energy: For Life and For Death
Energy is a deep topic in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Qi is understood to underlie all of existence, animated or not, and the qi of the living is studied with special attention.
Recording and Appropriate Billing of Timed Physical Medicine Services
There is a common misunderstanding about timed therapy services and although you do have some knowledge of timed service documentation, based on your comment on the 8-minute rule, your understanding is correct, but incomplete.
An Interview with Amanda Shayle
JW: Can you share with us some of your history and how you became an acupuncturist? What did you do prior to becoming an acupuncturist? Where did you go to school?
Asking Patients the Right Questions
When was the last time you asked a patient a question? Maybe 30 seconds ago? But, are you asking the right questions to elicit valuable and useful information? As a healthcare provider, you've likely spent hundreds of hours learning to ask the right questions to gather critical health information from your patients.
NCCAOM Launches New Membership Organization
The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) recently launched a new national membership organization, the NCCAOM Academy of Diplomates.
The Power of Eccentric Exercise: Hamstring Injury Prevention and Rehab
For almost 20 years, I've worked with professional athletes who make a living by running really fast. It goes without saying that hamstring injury (HSI) prevention and rehabilitation is a big part of what they expect from a sports chiropractor.
Filling the Gap: The Role of Alternative Practitioners in a Broken Health Care System
I have been asked many times what got me into alternative medicine. My answer is simple: I want to truly help and make a difference in people's health.
Roots in the Community, Branches Far Beyond
The Jung Tao School of Classical Chinese Medicine (JTS) was founded in 1998 by Sean Christian Marshall in Sugar Grove, North Carolina, a small community near Boone in the state's westernmost mountains.
Musculoskeletal Disorders Take Center Stage
Looking for the latest on the musculoskeletal pain epidemic and the increasing premium placed on preventive strategies including chiropractic? Check out The Impact of Musculoskeletal Disorders on Americans – Opportunities for Action.
Essentials of Assessment: The Squat
The squat is a simple, fast and functional tool to evaluate patient symmetry and function. As simple and easy as it is to implement, it can yield considerable amounts of valuable, clinically relevant information.
The Value of Melatonin in Breast Cancer Prevention and Adjunctive Treatment
Although melatonin (MLT) is best known for its sleep-aid properties and as a natural remedy to prevent jet lag, extensive experimental studies suggest it possesses anticancer activity through several biological mechanisms.
News in Brief
A Moment of Silence for Dr. Stephen Press; New ACA President Elected; F4CP Offers New MemBership Benefit.
Health and Wellness Partnership
Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and The Wellness Center at the LAC + USC Historic General Hospital recently joined forces to extend care to the residents of Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles.
The Art of Listening
One of the most important clinical concepts for me was voiced by the legendary physician William Osler. "Listen to your patient, he/she is telling you the diagnosis." After treating literally thousands of patients, it can become almost second nature to quickly discover clues which reveal the underlying diagnosis.
Building Relationships and Referral Networks with Allopathic Practitioners
Dr. Doug, an orthopedist of 20 years, had heard stories from patients who tried acupuncture. While he was able to address many of their complaints effectively, some appeared to gain additional benefit when their care included TCM.
October, 2008, Vol. 08, Issue 10
The Power of Newsletters
By Jenn Sommermann, LCMT
If you have read any of my previous articles, you know that I am passionate about marketing and that success comes to those who do it efficiently and effectively. Unfortunately, many massage therapists don't feel it is necessary and rely solely on word-of-mouth, only to shut their doors after a year or two of being in business.Most of my articles and marketing tips focus on techniques that are simple and cost-effective. It doesn't have to cost a lot of money and it can be quite enjoyable.
One of the most overlooked marketing techniques is a newsletter. Why everyone doesn't produce one is beyond me. It is one of the single best ways to inform clients, keep you in their minds and get the phone ringing. Read on and find out how simple it is. By the end of the article, you should be jumping at the opportunity to produce one.
There are two types of newsletters: print and e-mail. Many years ago, the former was the only option and it was more costly. It not only involved production, but also printing, labeling and postage. Although this is still used successfully, you can choose the more cost-effective route of e-mail. At the very least, you should be gathering contact information on your clients including their e-mail addresses. Even if you are not ready to start an e-mail newsletter, you want to have the addresses for when you are ready. Not only should you collect your current clients' e-mail addresses, but those of potential clients as well. When you are at events, whether socially, providing chair massage or networking, ask people for their contact information. Before you know it, you'll have a substantial database of e-mail addresses. I like to keep mine organized on an Excel spreadsheet.
At this point, many of you are probably saying, "I have no time to write a newsletter" and your point is well-taken. In fact, the industry has recognized these time limitations and done much of the work for you. There are several companies that offer massage-specific newsletters for sale. Google "massage newsletters" and you will find them. You can purchase a template for hard copy or e-mail. Some are generic in nature, but others can be personalized for your business, often with a personal message from you. These companies offer a list of topics from which to choose, ranging from the benefit of water to gardening injuries. Choose the topic that fits the season and/or your clientele. When you purchase the hard-copy template, you are responsible for the printing, labeling and postage. Many massage therapists still use this method but keep in mind, it is more time-consuming and more expensive than the e-mail variety.
The e-mail template is similar in that you chose the topic and can often customize. Your task is then to distribute the newsletter to your database. Unfortunately, with so much spam in people's e-mails, Internet service providers (ISPs) are very strict about sending bulk e-mail. The goal is to get the newsletter into the mailbox of your prospective client. If it goes into a spam folder, it is a waste of your time and effort.
To remedy this, many companies will do bulk mailing for you. In fact, you have probably received an e-mail from one of these services and perhaps didn't even know it. Some of these services charge for the quantity of e-mails you send and for the frequency of use of the service: The more you use it, the less you pay per e-mail. If you regularly send newsletters to your clients and e-mail them with weekly specials or appointment openings, this service is a must and very cost-effective. Of course, you can send each newsletter individually. However, assuming you have at least 100 e-mail addresses, this can be time-consuming. Some ISPs will grant special permission to send bulk e-mails but it takes some effort to contact the company and request this special status.
Remember that any monies spent for a newsletter counts as a business deduction. Keep track of the printing, labeling and postage or the ISP and of course, the cost of the template and mark it as a promotion or marketing expense.
Last but not least, you can create a newsletter yourself. Many people fear doing so because they think it has to be an elaborate tri-fold with lots of color and photos. And then there is the issue of content. Who will write these professional, educational columns? It doesn't have to be that hard. In fact, it doesn't have to be hard at all. The only purpose of a newsletter is to keep your business fresh in your prospective clients' minds. This can be done through a simple e-mail.
My monthly newsletter consists of four paragraphs and one graphic. I have contacted my ISP and asked for permission to send bulk e-mail. Once a month, I e-mail about 300 people with a friendly e-mail. The graphic is on the top of the e-mail, corresponding to the season or the holiday. The first paragraph is about me and my practice. I always like to share a little bit about myself in the beginning. My clients genuinely care about me and want to hear about some little tidbit of my life. The second paragraph consists of the "special" of the month. For example, in the month of May, I offer a Mom's Day Special package, and this is the place I let my clients know about it. The third paragraph is a perfect place to either add something about massage or some other interesting tidbit. One month I added a recipe for BBQ pizza. One month I wrote something about the benefit of nylon vs. cotton socks for exercise. Of course, feel free to write something about massage, its benefits or any other health-related article.
Whatever it is, write from the heart. Your clients will appreciate your effort and since they already know and like you, they will enjoy whatever you have to say. The last section of my monthly newsletter never changes; the frequently asked questions or FAQs. Where do I travel? What do I charge? What modalities do I use? Do I accept tips? Is there a cancellation policy? What can I expect from my massage? I cut and paste them into the new e-mail each month. And that's it! Pretty simple and wildly effective.
Keeping in touch with your clients via a newsletter is one of the best ways to boost business. It never ceases to amaze me how the day newsletters are received, my e-mail inbox gets fuller, faster and my phone rings more. What do you have to lose? You have so much to gain.
Click here for previous articles by Jenn Sommermann, LCMT.
Join the conversation
Comments are encouraged, but you must follow our User Agreementcomments powered by Disqus
Keep it civil and stay on topic. No profanity, vulgar, racist or hateful comments or personal attacks. Anyone who chooses to exercise poor judgement will be blocked. By posting your comment, you agree to allow MPA Media the right to republish your name and comment in additional MPA Media publications without any notification or payment.