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Massage Today
July, 2014, Vol. 14, Issue 07

Grow Your Massage Practice with Online Advertising

By Daniel Ruscigno

When it comes to growing your business, trust and referral-based marketing is ultimately going to be the deciding factor in your massage clinic's success. Providing world-class treatment that inspires your clients to tell their friends and family should be your primary marketing strategy.

But, in order to get the ball rolling on word-of-mouth marketing, online advertising is a great, relatively low-cost option to get new customers in your door.


When a potential client is seeking a massage therapist, their likely first stop is going to be Google, where they will search for an MT. While preference is to organically rank at the top of the first page of search results, there are only going to be a handful of people that can occupy those positions (those that have dedicated resources to a long-term SEO strategy). The alternative way to have your clinic listed on the first page is via Google AdWords - the top 3 listings in the search results and often also along the right side of the page.

What's great about Google AdWords is that you can target people in your area that are specifically looking for a massage therapist. When setting up your campaign, the location targeting is simple: enter your office address and set a 10 to 20 mile radius to advertise to. Your next steps are to create the copy for your ad and to choose the keywords you would like to target. For example, you may want your ad to show when someone searches for: massage therapist, massage therapy, hot stone massage and deep tissue massage.

online advertising - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Once your advertisement is ready, it will display in the Google search results and you will only pay when someone clicks on your advertisement. You will get the most out of your Google AdWords campaign if you have an up-to-date and trustworthy looking website that the potential client will feel comfortable enough with to pick up the phone or book their appointment online.


The other online advertising giant is Facebook. While setting up a Facebook ad is somewhat similar to Google AdWords, there are two big differences. First, your ad will include an image. The image is going to be the focal point of your ad so you want to avoid using low quality or stock photography images. This is your chance to be creative and get peoples' attention. The second major difference is how you target your ads. Rather than targeting based on keywords, you target based on elements of peoples' Facebook profile. For example: age, gender, location, marital status, education and even interests.

Like Google AdWords, you will only pay when someone clicks on your advertisement. Since so many people use Facebook (and the Internet in general) from their phones, you may want to consider a responsive website, a website that changes layout based on the screen size, so that those who click on your ad from their phone can easily navigate your site.


A third, and perhaps controversial, online advertising opportunity for massage therapists are group-buying websites like Groupon. This opportunity is controversial because it tends to attract people that are only seeking the best deal (and tend not to be long-term clients), you have to deeply discount your services (usually 40-50%), is not legal in some states, and most importantly, can end up costing you money.

With the warning out of the way, there are some massage therapists that have done very well with group-buying websites. To be successful, there are a few things you want to consider. First, what is your break-even price and how many deal-buying customers do you have to convert into regular clients to make the deal worthwhile. Second, set a limit for how many deals can be sold and consider conditions on the offer like "new clients only." Third, remember that the goal is to get regular clients, so make sure you provide your best service to every customer so that not only do they come back, but they tell their friends about you – kick-starting that ever important word-of mouth marketing strategy.


With new customers coming to your door via online advertising, there is a final online technique to discuss: email newsletters. This is more of a retention and referral-based strategy and involves sending monthly email newsletters to your existing customers. To start your email newsletter campaign, you must obtain permission from your clients to send them emails. You can do this by asking them to fill out a simple form (email address and a box to check to consent will suffice) in your office. When you are asking for their consent, be sure to tell them why they should subscribe to your newsletter.

The newsletter is a way to show your expertise and you want it to primarily be informational. Writing articles that your clients would find useful, such as "3-Minute At Work Stretching Routine," will keep them interested in receiving your emails, while also keeping you at top of their mind when it comes time to book their next massage. Once you've established trust via your email newsletters, you can then use that avenue to advertise any clinic promotions you are offering.

With only a few hours of work, these online advertising options are great ways to attract new clients to your clinic and help grow your business. If you are providing a service that's worth talking about, each new client that finds you online could potentially attract several more through word-of-mouth.

Daniel Ruscigno is the co-founder of ClinicSense (previously PatientCal). ClinicSense offers practice management software that helps with scheduling, soap notes, billing, electronic insurance claims and more. For more information, visit


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