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Massage Today
February, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 02

Target Your Marketing for Success

By Diana Moore

When asked what clients they want to work with, many massage therapists answer, "Everybody." When you try to market to everybody, that's called "blanket" marketing. Blanket marketing is an approach you might already use as part of your marketing strategy.

You're trying to get anyone and everyone's attention when you pay for coupons or ads in the yellow pages, or post flyers on grocery store bulletin boards. This might work for you at times, such as when you're just starting out, or during busy times for gift certificate sales like Christmas or Valentine's Day. Blanket marketing strategies are often the first steps people think of when beginning to market their practices. Keep in mind, however, they might cost more than they give you in return.

What is Target Marketing

"Targeted" marketing has the advantage of efficiency in money, time and effort. But this means you won't be working with "everybody." You won't reach everybody because everybody doesn't care and won't take the time to listen. Trying to market to everybody is a waste of your time and money. As a bodyworker, you have a set of skills that is unique to you. You have a type of client you prefer, and that's who you should target with your marketing.

Three Minute Exercise

Think about what kind of clients you are drawn to working with. Describe your favorite client or two. Then think about what condition or conditions you enjoy working with. Write down your answers. These are clues to the kind of people who are a natural fit for your skills and who will benefit the most from your gifts. Use this information to target your marketing. Spend your time and money on promotional materials that speak directly to those you most want to serve, whether they are seniors, busy parents, executives or people with certain conditions. Apply target marketing by sending a specific message to people who you know want to hear it.

Regular Clients

Why should you spend money and effort on clients, a group of people who already know who you are? Because it encourages them to come in a little more often. It makes new clients feel welcome and valued (which will hopefully encourage them to visit regularly). And targeting your clients reminds them you are still available and interested in being part of their healthy life.

Your existing clients are a group whose interests and concerns you already recognize. Target them with messages that speak to them that language. Target all your clients with specials or beneficial services you offer. Target specific groups, say people with fibromyalgia, with a message about how you can help them maintain their mobility, for example. Target other groups, such as working parents, with a message that the whole family will be healthier if Mom and Dad better manage their stress.

New Clients

To reach a specific type of new client, go where he or she would go. Are you an active person who likes to be around other sports and fitness enthusiasts? You can draw those folks into your practice. Contact running stores and gyms. See what kind of sports events you can get involved in. Does a nearby running store or cycling club mail a newsletter to people on their mailing lists? Ask if you can buy an ad or write an article in it.

Love to be with seniors? It's the same idea. Call or, even better, go to the senior center. See what it would take to offer one brief, low-cost massage once a month. Put up flyers at the senior center, library, health food store or other places health-conscious seniors go (always ask permission). If you would love to offer massage to people in long-term care, go out to health fairs to give chair massage. Showcase your skills while meeting health care providers and decision-makers.

Are you drawn to the field of pregnancy and childbirth? Ask if you can post flyers at a gym that caters to women. Or find out who teaches birthing or pregnancy yoga classes and ask if you can offer a lesson on self-massage. Think of classes and presentations as opportunities to have a conversation on how your work makes lives better and to encourage folks you meet to take the next healthy step.

It's pretty straight-forward. Once you decide what groups you want to target, brainstorm ways to reach them. Examine the potential costs of time and money for those ideas, and choose to implement one or more of them. Start with something small at first and do a test run.

Evaluate your results. Number one, keep track of the response you get from your outreach efforts. Are you gaining new clients? Are you enjoying their visits? Two, ask yourself how it felt to be at places you distributed flyers and brochures. Did it feel good to be at that long-term care facility, gym or hospital birthing class? If you are happy with both your experience and the results, you've got a focus for your practice plus a direction for targeting your marketing efforts.

Diana Moore has worked in marketing for more than 10 years. Currently, she works as a writer and editor for Natural Touch Marketing for the Healing Arts. Before her career in marketing she practiced massage therapy for 14 years, many of them as a hospital-based massage therapist in Olympia, Wash. Diana also teaches yoga to people with heart disease and other chronic conditions. Reach her at .


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