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Massage Today
August, 2011, Vol. 11, Issue 08

Elements of a Professional Business Website

By Michael Reynolds, CMT

Today's consumer relies heavily on the Internet to engage in research and to find service providers. When people are looking for products and services, they frequently turn to Google, Facebook, and online directories for information.

For this reason, it is critically important for every business to have a professional website in order to provide a place for these consumers to land and continue their research.

As a massage practitioner, having a professional website can be one of the best investments you can make if it is used correctly. Whether your website is owned by you as a solo practitioner or by the spa or health care establishment where you are employed, your website can work as a 24/7 sales and marketing tool that can help grow your business.

Your business website should be considered an information hub for your massage business. With a well-designed website, you can rely less on brochures and other promotional items, and drive people to your website instead. A business website gives you a place to store all the information about your business and can be managed in real-time so your business information stays up to date.

business - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Specific elements of a professional website can make the difference between a boring website and a vibrant online presence that inspires trust. Many studies have been done on this topic, including one from Stanford University. In these studies, we find out that there are a number of design factors that influence how your website visitors perceive your business.

  • First, it's important to demonstrate "real-world" aspects of your business. Be sure to list your physical address and phone number in a prominent location. Your website needs to reflect the legitimacy of your business, and prominent display of these basic business "trust markers" help set the right tone.

  • Simplicity is the key for a website that promotes a massage business. Consumers looking for your services are on a clear mission: find a practitioner, learn about that practitioner, make a decision and book an appointment. Make sure nothing on your website gets in the way of this process.

  • Your business website should contain markers of expertise. Use this opportunity to display credentials and examples of your expertise. Consider including testimonials and case studies to help persuade website visitors that you are an expert.

  • Markers of trustworthiness also play a big part in whether someone decides to work with you after visiting your website. The Stanford study referenced above found that visitors responded more positively to websites that presented content in a transparent and unbiased fashion. By contrast, websites that crossed the line into being too promotional resulted in decreased levels of trust in visitors. Be honest and factual when presenting your online image. Avoid over-promoting or over-advertising. Too much advertising damages credibility.

  • Consider including a blog and email newsletter in your website. A blog is a great way to demonstrate your expertise and help people feel more connected to you by providing wellness tips and advice. You can then re-use that blog as your email newsletter, which can get people into your permission funnel. You then start to build an audience of people who are more likely to become clients as time goes on.

  • Pay attention to design details. Even small glitches like a broken link or misspelled word can damage credibility. Additionally, avoid outdated, amateur design. A professional design goes a long way toward legitimizing your organization and can make the difference between a transaction and a lost customer.

  • One website element that is critically important for most massage therapy businesses is online scheduling. If you are still playing phone tag with your clients to schedule an appointment, you are leaving money on the table. Use a service like Schedulicity or Genbook to allow prospective clients to easily book an appointment with you 24/7. This is great for clients who have standard day jobs because it helps them quickly and easily schedule a massage appointment during the day. Many people work in an open cubicle environment with very little privacy and are not comfortable calling you to schedule a massage or may be too busy to play phone tag during the day. They will be more likely to contact you if they can go online and schedule with a few clicks.

A well-designed website is not enough by itself. You must also promote it and utilize it to provide value to your clients and prospects. Blogging can bring more traffic from search engines when done strategically and consistently. Your email newsletter should always provide a call to action back to your website for online scheduling. Your content can also be shared on a regular basis on social networks. Also, consider running Google AdWords or Facebook Ads to target prospective clients in your area and bring them to your website.

Your website is a powerful tool for marketing and sales when maintained and used creatively. Be sure it is well-designed and useful to your clients and prospects so it can help you grow your business.


Michael Reynolds is president/CEO of SpinWeb, a professional website design, development and online marketing firm. He has worked in marketing and technology since 1996 and serves on a number of non-profit and networking organization boards. Michael regularly publishes articles, blogs, and e-books that teach his readers how to do business and communicate using digital tools. He also speaks at industry events around the country, including the Web 2.0 Expo, CMS Expo and Blog Indiana. Michael is a certified massage therapist in Indiana and has worked professionally in spas and clinics, as well as served on state and national AMTA committees and boards. He may be contacted via his speaking site at www.michaelreynolds.com or via SpinWeb's website at www.spinweb.net.

 

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