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Massage Today
November, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 11

Following the Marketing Recipe for Success

By Stephanie Beck

Every since I was nine years old, I have enjoyed cooking and I have learned that you find lots of various types of cooks out there. Some feel that a recipe is merely a "suggestion" and they know enough to make substitutions and are able to make it come together and work successfully most of the time.

Then you have the cooks who adhere strictly to the letter and will not deviate and who 99.9% of the time have success. Other types of cooks are innovators or creators that automatically understand what their desired results are and know the perfect combinations of ingredients to make the perfect dish by making up their own recipe. These creative geniuses, in my opinion, are few and far between.

Nonetheless, I think all business entrepreneurs have a certain level of creative genius when it comes to developing a great marketing recipe. A large percentage of massage therapists are self-employed and must have skills of a business entrepreneur in order to keep the business delivering appetizing services to acquire more customers. Whether you are a novice or a genius in the kitchen, you need to have a certain balance of ingredients to make a dish successful. I find marketing is similar to cooking. You can deviate from a recipe and add in some of your own ideas, however you still need to have a good balance of key ingredients to achieve your desired results.

Marketing recipe - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Whether you are an independent massage business of ONE or you manage a large 20-room massage clinic, you still need to find the perfect marketing recipe that cooks up the right amount of delicious results. For example, every good cook has a plan of what they want to achieve before they start. In business, planning is the key to getting started. You see five customers every week; you want five more every week. So, you need to determine if you can simply double your current marketing recipe to achieve the result, or decide if you need to try something different. Maybe the current marketing recipe you are using isn't producing a packed dinner crowd like it did before, or your current recipe is very labor intensive and you want to know how to do some quick cooking to achieve your new goal. The plan doesn't have to be an elaborate French dish, especially if comfort-food is what you are more comfortable serving.

You might have business plan for your massage practice, however you see the plan as merely a "suggestion," allowing substitutions and deviations as long as the ultimate desire is achieved. Keep in mind, not all deviations are 100% successful 100% of the time, but you like the flexibility and adding in the "spice of life" from time to time so your business recipe can be as simple or complex as you like depending on what fits your lifestyle. You might find that you fit into one of the common types of massage business owners when it comes to business planning.

Type A Massage Business Owner

You might be the Type A massage business owner if you are a cook who creates the ultimate massage business recipe, has detailed outlines in a three-ring binder with lots of colored tabs, graphs and you follow it strictly to the letter. You do not allow for deviations or substitutions in your recipe. If the recipe calls for nutmeg and all you have are cinnamon and ginger, you won't deviate but you will go out and get nutmeg. Your plans are followed through completely and will most likely be successful 99.9% of the time.

Type B Massage Business Owner

Maybe you are the Type B massage business owner who knows what they want to achieve and has a rough sketch of how to achieve it. You are one of those unique individuals who have a complete understanding of what ingredients you need to bring together to achieve the desired results. You are well versed with all types of spices to add in or avoid so you create the perfect dish. Depending on your level of skill and understanding, your success rates can vary. However, due to your level of experience and knowledge, you can almost create a masterpiece 100% of the time simply by knowing what extra ingredients to add to your dish to make it successful in the end. With the understanding that it might not be "exactly" what you intended when you first started, you are still pleased with the end result.

delicious results - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark You can find very few creative geniuses in the kitchen and I am not recommending this type of planning for any massage practice. One thing is certain; they all require some degree of planning. Whether it is a single page outline, a three-ring binder with graphs, or three words written on a white board, be sure you have set a desired out come and listed out the necessary steps to achieve the goal.

Whether you are the Type A or Type B marketing chef, you must realize not all ingredients fit your customer's palate. Let's face it, haven't we all cut a recipe from a magazine thinking it looked and sounded really good, but the results were not as fascinating when you tried it? That's when you have to make some decisions; did the recipe just need a little bit of adjusting for your customer's taste or was it the wrong recipe all together? This is where you need to be a little flexible and understand what you need to change. Too many times, I have heard from massage therapists that "blogging is a waste of time" or "social media doesn't work" or "why do I need a website, I am just one person." In the same breath, the therapists will also make reference to how broke they are and the fact that they need more customers. So, what are you going to change? If the "word of mouth recipe" is leaving you broke and hungry, I say it is time find a new recipe!

Find something you are comfortable using that leaves you what I call "Thanksgiving Day Full" (you know when you over eat until you can't eat no more!). Word of advice, keep it simple to start. Blogging, social media and websites are great ingredient choices and sometimes, if business owners try to add too many extra ingredients into a recipe, they might end up with burnt offerings to the marketing gods. Don't try to cook too many recipes at once. If you want to try blogging, than get the best blogging ingredients from someone that is a successful blogger. If you want advice on a good recipe using blogging, talk to any of the contributors of the Women In Business Blog (WIBB) on the Massage Today website. If social media didn't work, what kind of social media ingredients were you using? Adding social media to a marketing recipe is successful for more than 80% of the businesses using it, so perhaps you just need a new recipe or you need to make some ingredient substitutions in your current one. My blog and several others on WIBB offer very detailed ideas and guidelines for your social media success.

Why do you need a website? Well, let's say I'm throwing a dinner party and I invite 1000 guests and I fix enough food to accommodate them but on the invitations I only state that I'm in San Diego, Calif., and I will be serving from 6pm to 8pm so please come by. Do you think I have provided enough directions so that people will be able to find my house? When you have a website that is built with the right recipe, you are providing the right directions and information so your guests will show up for your dinner party. Before you quit cooking or before you start, even if you have previously created burnt offerings to the cooking gods, be sure you select a successful recipe.

Putting It All Together

Once you have selected your recipe you need to make sure you select the right ingredients to make it happen. Depending on your desired outcome, you may need specific ingredients. For example, in baking you will need both wet and dry ingredients, binding agents and some type of leavening agent to make it successful. The same is true for most marketing campaigns. You will need a combination of offline advertising and website; the social media component can be used as binding, and you can spice it up with the right amount of keywords, as well as adding in some nice search engine optimization leavening to raise your results. Now you should be serving up a tasty dish.

Understanding what your guests prefer and desire when searching to satisfy their tastes can make an impact on how well they like the dish. Just as in cooking, with marketing you have a variety of spices to add into your marketing dish. You need to understand what your IDEAL guests' tastes are and where you need to find them. Some cooks prefer to keep it simple and only have a limited amount of spice focusing on the basic food flavors. This can produce delicious results. Others like to offer variety and want bold flavors to accent and really make an impression on their guests. The same is true in marketing recipes; you can have success keeping it simple utilizing smaller ads, one or two direct mail pieces, a website and one social media site to achieve your desired result. Or you can be bold, spicy or sweet and savory, and go for a WOW factor with several ads, multiple mailings, and utilizing a variety of social media sites for more dramatic and quicker results.

Your marketing choices must understand your ideal customers' needs and what they like to "dine on" while they are spending time reading your ad, visiting your website or connecting with you on social media. Make sure you provide them with information and answers they are "hungry for." Like any great cook, you want to make sure all your guests have a great time so they will tell others and become fans, friends, subscribers and customers. Not all recipes are the same, but they all take planning, advertising/inviting and social contact/connections in order to achieve delicious dishes that leave a lasting and flavorful taste in your customers' mouths.

Click here for previous articles by Stephanie Beck.


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