How To Use Email to Build Your Practice Part 1

One of the humblest and simplest tools on the web can also be the most powerful. In the glitter and glitz of putting together a website, SEO and social networking, this powerful device is almost always overlooked.

Is email dead?

bigstock-Corpse-5448632-resizedTake a moment to think about how you use the Internet every day. Which of the following are you most likely to do at the beginning of your day?

  • Casual surfing
  • Online shopping
  • Searching for information
  • Checking out your friends activity on social media
  • Reviewing “bookmarked” sites
  • Picking up your email

If you are like 99% of people on the web, one of the first things you’ll do when you go online is…

…check your mailbox.

They say that email is dead. But how are “they” getting that message out to people? Through email!

What do you need to sign up for a social media account? An email!

Where do you get notifications of activity on social media sites? In your email!

What is the web application that is used by more people than all others? You guessed it: Email!

So when marketing on the Net, doesn’t it make sense to go where people are? In their inboxes.

You want to be accessible in the search engines when people are searching massage services specifically. But the truth is very few people will call you up to book an appointment immediately after seeing your website.

They may be well intentioned. But…

  • Maybe they’re a little nervous about seeing you and want to think about it for a while
  • Maybe it’s after hours and they can’t call you
  • Maybe they have doubts as to whether or not you can help them
  • Maybe they bookmark your site with the idea that they’ll look at it later

Whatever the reason, even the most interested viewers will likely click out of your site, never to return.

What’s a massage girl (or guy) to do?

It should appear obvious…

Get permission to send them an email.

Start sending emails…

Although your website visitors may not go as far as booking an appointment, they may be quite willing to give you their email address. And the difference between those two things is as big as asking them to marry you as opposed to asking them on a date.

Interestingly, you’ll find that anywhere from 5% to 30% of site visitors will give you their email address if you ask in the right way. 

Once they give you permission to send them an email, you can visit them on a regular basis. You can drop into their inbox to:

  • Remind them that you are there for them
  • Educate them as to how you can help them and the people they know
  • Motivate them to take that next step of booking an appointment so that they can benefit from your services

Over time, you’ll find that a certain number of these people will come in to see you. That means that more people benefit from your skills. It also means more money in your bank account.

How much more money?

How about $28.60 for each subscriber every year!

Email subscribers = Money

That’s right. If you start developing an email list you can make $28.60 for every subscriber you have, year after year.

Where did I get that number? I didn’t pull it out of my butt. I got that number from a massage therapist who generously shared actual sales numbers from his practice with me. I’ll share the whole story with you next week, so look out for it.

Where are you going to look for it? 

That’s right! In an email!!

See you next week,

Eric Brown, Grand Massage Poobah

http://www.bodyworkbiz.com

PS If you are not already signed up for the BodyworkBiz Massage Marketing Tips newsletter, sign up here: http://bodyworkbiz.com/newsletter.php

How Often Should You Send a Newsletter?

Everybody has a different opinion when it comes to sending email newsletters to clients. When there’s a lot of conflicting advice, it’s best just to look at the evidence. And in the case of web marketing I usually turn to Dan Zarella, the social media scientist.

He has analyzed over 9.5 billion emails sent through MailChimp. Yes, you heard right… over 9 billion commercial emails. That’s a very large sample to analyze and so the results are pretty accurate.

I won’t go through all the findings, but I’ll look at one of the questions that comes up most often: How often should you send emails to your contact list?

Massage therapists are often concerned that they are being a nuisance by sending too often. If you are a nuisance people will stop clicking links in your emails. So if people are clicking links, you have a good indication that people are enjoying your newsletter and actively paying attention. This is called the clickthrough rate or CTR. The higher the CTR, the better.

If we take a look at clickthroughs in Zarella’s research, we see that the highest clickthrough rates happen for newsletters that are sent once per month. However, after sending two emails a month the frequency has little effect on CTR. So it really makes little difference whether you send once per week or seven times per week. There is no drop off in clickthrough rate.

The bottom line: There seems to be no danger in emailing “too much”…  but on the condition that you have something valuable to share.

email-frequency

Case Study: Facebook Promoted Posts Work

As much as I have a love-hate relationship with Facebook, it can be effective. Two weeks ago I mentioned in a BodyworkBiz blog post that Facebook can no longer be considered a “free” way to promote your business.

I also said that you shouldn’t give up on it because it can provide some of the most effective paid advertising that you can do.

As proof, check this out: I ran what’s called a “Promoted Post” for World Massage Conference for five days…

To sum up the results:

  • Over 100,000 therapists saw the Post
  • 1,458 people Liked the Post
  • 524 people Shared it with their friends without any promotion or incentives!

And this was just for five days!

Moreover, we had a huge audience for the broadcast, maxed out our chat room and of course, lots of massage therapists took advantage of our special pre-launch offer for the 2014 conference.

I’ve been using paid ads on Facebook for years and they do work. I’ll tell you more about using these for your practice in future Marketing Tips newsletters and give you specific how to’s. So keep your eyes on your inbox over the coming weeks.

Do you want to see that presentation?

The “Introduction to Kinesiology Taping” presentation was superb. It’s one of the new video presentations that I shot specifically for World Massage Conference.

Normally, replays of these Encore presentations are only available for paid conference participants, but we decided to make this available for everyone at no cost… but just for the day. It will come off the site on Thursday morning when I get back to my desk to launch the 2014 conference site.

It’s available for 24 hours only, so login now.

Log in here: http://worldmassageconference.com

Use your email and password to log in. Or in the odd event that you do not have a World Massage Conference account you can set up a free account here so you can watch this special presentation.

Once logged in, click the “Broadcast Room” button at the top of the page to watch the “Introduction to Kinesiology Taping” presentation featuring Drew Freedman.

While you’re on the site…

Be sure to sign up for the 2014 conference today. You’ll only see links to purchase once you’re logged in. All the details are inside, but I can assure you now that you’ll never get better value for your massage education. (Watch this video for more details.) You get some of the best education in the world at a price that anyone can afford. It only makes sense to sign up and it’s one of the reasons the World Massage Conference has been the largest event in the history of massage for seven years in a row. Imitators can say they’re the best, but massage therapists like you have clearly shown which event they prefer by making World Massage Conference their yearly destination. So login now to register for 2014.

Enjoy the replay and I’ll see you online at the 2014 conference,

Eric Brown, Grand Massage Poobah
http://www.bodyworkbiz.com

 

Before and After: Educated Heart Website Makeover

Your website represents you and your practice. If your website looks bad, you will be judged accordingly. Visitors will think that your service is  cheap, outdated, disorganized or unprofessional. I know that seems so superficial, but that’s the way it works.  Massage is intangible after all. So people can only judge you by the tangible things that surround you, like your website. 

Recently, I recreated Laura Allen’s Educated Heart website.

The Educated Heart is a fantastic book and in my opinion has one of the best (and most readable) approaches to the topic of ethics. It was originally written by Nina McIntosh, but taken over by Laura Allen when Nina passed away.

Take a look at her original site. At a glance, what are you initial impressions? Is this book a credible book on the topic of ethics? Does it look unique? Is the book engaging and easy to read? How knowledgeable is the author? Does this website inspire confidence that the author knows what she’s talking about? Is it even clear at first glance that the site is promoting a book?

Here’s the “before”…

Educated Heart Website Before 1

Your impression is likely that this book is nothing special. Probably written by a lonely person in their basement. And if you go into the site it gets worse..

Educated Heart Website Before 2

The disorder and lack of attention to detail (even look at the frames around the images) indicates that this is not a professional book that deserves my attention. If the writing or thoughts in the book are half as cluttered as this page, there is no way I’m picking it up.

Laura, of course, inherited this existing site and was very aware of the issues. I love the book that Nina’s written and felt it deserved to be showcased better, so I offered to help Laura recreate the site. Here’s the “after”:

Educated Heart Website After 1

Educated Heart Website After 2

With this makeover, it’s clear that the site is about a book. The professional look of the site immediately changes your perception about the quality of the book and the value of the information it contains. The book in this new site is credible and deserves your attention.

I didn’t take a before shot on mobile, but it was unreadable. Now when anyone accesses the site from a smart phone or tablet, the site detects whatever device they are using and shows a mobile-friendly version of the site that displays beautifully.

I’ve created well over 100 websites for massage therapists, as well as sites for software developers, educators, restaurants, industrial manufacturers, consultants and more.

Would you like me to know some of the elements that go into making an effective massage website – one that works to get more clients through your doors? If so, Like or Share this page. Or if you have specific questions or topic areas you’d like to know more about, post them in the comments section below. If I see that there’s enough interest, I’ll share what I know about making your website work for your massage practice through this blog.

Thanks to Laura Allen for allowing me to share this makeover with you.

And because I know some people will ask… I’m sorry to say that I no longer create simple sites for massage therapists, but if you have a bigger web project you need help with, feel free to contact me and we can chat.

Three Things Massage Therapists Can Learn from the First Kiss Video…

I love this video that perfectly captures the awkwardness of a first kiss…

Just to be clear. This video was produced by a clothing company and some of the people in the video are wearing the company’s clothing. It wasn’t meant to be an advertisement in the traditional sense. (A little background check and you’ll find that the company has produced a number of short films.) It wasn’t meant to be a viral video. That just happened as a result of the authentic emotions the video evoked in viewers.

But back to us as massage professionals… How can we apply the success of this video to our marketing efforts? What can we learn from a kissing video?

1. Use emotion

With 47 million views in just four days you know that this is powerful stuff. Why? Because people connected emotionally with the characters in this video. We have to recognize that to connect with people or to be memorable, there has to be an emotional response from your potential client. The simplest way to accomplish this is to focus your attention on outcomes, not processes. You can do this visually or in words. For example, if you are a spa therapist instead of showing gunk all over someone’s face during a facial, show an image of how happy that individual feel afterwards. If you are writing your website copy, don’t talk about massage being the manipulation of the soft tissues of the body. Instead, tell them how good they’ll feel and the things they’ll be able to do after having had massage. It’s been said a million times: Every buying decision is an emotional decision. People use reasoning and logic to justify the purchase only after the decision is already made.

2. Be positive

While there is certainly a lot of fear-based marketing in play (and fear can can play an important role with some products or services), to really impact people you want to make them feel good, not bad. Like this video, you want to focus on possibilities rather than limitations. Unlike “evidenced-based” practitioners who continually draw our attention to all the things that massage can’t do, be a beacon of light and focus on the things that massage can do, especially as you tie those outcomes to emotion (re-read point number 1).

3. Keep it simple

Wren is not a clothing powerhouse. You’ve probably never heard of them. The total budget for this video production was $1,200. The participants were friends of the producer. They volunteered as a favor and weren’t paid. (She’s in the entertainment biz, so yes, some of her friends are actors and musicians). There was no elaborate set up. Just people in front of a blank wall. Bottom line: Great marketing does not have to be complicated or expensive. It just has to resonate with the potential client.

When you see something that affects people in such a powerful way, it’s important that you look for the lessons you can learn before you decide to tear it apart, dis it, and toss it in the trash. Be on the lookout for these little jewels and dig around and find out how you might be able to use the lessons learned in your business.

Facebook Business Page Changes You Should Know About

Facebook announced this week that they will be rolling out changes to Facebook business Pages. Sometimes I wish the Internet would just stop changing for one week. It would be nice not to have to keep redoing the way we do business on a daily basis. :)

These changes probably don’t effect massage therapists too much, but it’s good to be aware of what’s happening.

In short…

1. The double column layout changes to a single column. And a small column to the left will contain the About Us information as well as links to photos and videos.

What that means for you? Not much. You can no longer highlight a Post by spreading it across two columns. Overall, the Timeline will likely be easier to read.

2. The business name and category now appear on the Cover image and the Profile image moves up slightly.

What that means for you? You may have to redo your Cover image to accommodate those encroaching elements.

3. The Custom App boxes (those four little boxes under the Cover image) will be gone. Custom Apps will move under the “More” button in navigation.

What that means for you? This is probably the most significant change if you make use of this functionality. It is relatively easy to draw visitors’ attention to these as they currently exist and with the changes they will disappear from view. This means you’ll definitely need to advertise if you want anyone to view your custom app.

4. Administrative features are more prominent and include the addition of a “Pages to Watch” function that allows you to monitor competitors.

What if means for you? Likely not much.

Here are what the changes will look like with the new Page layout…

Facebook page changes March 2014

You have to pay…

Facebook made it very clear earlier this year that your business Page will almost never show up in users’ News Feeds unless you pay to have it show up. With the removal of the custom apps from the viistor’s view, Facebook continues to push businesses towards paying for anything useful.

Should you give up on Facebook?

The short answer: No.

With a gazillion users (approximately) Facebook can still be beneficial for building your practice. But the old Facebook for business is no more. You have to see Facebook largely as an advertising medium.

There are some alternative ways to use Facebook that are likely more effective if you are a sole practitioner with a private practice. I’ve talked about these somewhat unconventional strategies in the past, but with the recent Page changes these alternatives may be even more attractive. Subscribe the the BodyworkBiz newsletter and I’ll review those approaches with you in the coming months.

I Can’t Put an Expiry Date on My Gift Certificates

Massage Gift Certificates and Gift CardsOne of my favorite ways to build a practice is through gift certificates. Gift certificates are referrals… that are paid! It was the number one way I’ve used to bring new clients through the door.

If you want some fantastic ideas for selling gift certificates through the holiday season (or anytime really), you can read a recent article I wrote for Massage & Bodywork Magazine here:

My $18,000 Mistake: How I Learned to Love Gift Certificates

Every time I write about gift certificates I invariably get a number of emails from therapists who inform me that I should have told my readers that you can’t put an expiry date on them. What I normally say is be aware of regulations around the sale of gift certificates because regulations are not consistent from country to country or State to State.

In some places an expiry date is okay and some places not. And then there are all sort of other rules that exist in various places around the sale of gift certificates.

I don’t have the time to outline the current laws for all 50 states in the USA or the 13 provinces and territories in Canada, but my friend Laura Allen has written an excellent article on the topic a couple of years ago and I’ll defer to her expertise:

Gift Certificates and Gift Cards By Laura Allen

For more specific details, here is a table showing regulations by state for the USA for gift certificates and gift cards. Use as a reference to determine the statutes around gift certificate expiration in your jurisdiction:

Massage Gift Certificate Laws by State

And if this information is helpful to you, please share this post on one of your social media sites. I’m sure others will find it helpful too. Just use one of the buttons on the right hand side of this page.

As well, if you are looking for some great looking gift certificates to have on hand for customers this Christmas, check out what’s available at BodyworkBiz:

http://bodyworkbiz.com/giftcerts.php

massage-gift-certificates

Click here for details or to order now

Note: Because we’re getting very close to the holiday season, for fastest delivery I’d suggest that you go with the default template instead of using custom printing. We will likely be able to get them to your doorstep in a week, but at this busy holiday time we can’t guarantee delivery times.

How To Do a Client Profile – Part 1

“If you want people to find you interesting, be interested in them.”

I don’t remember where I heard that quote (or something like it). Maybe I’m just making it up (probably not). But in any case, nothing could be more true.

There’s nothing that people like more than themselves. And the more focus and attention you place on someone, the more they are going to love you.

And I don’t mean just buttering someone up for the sake of getting what you want. I really mean being seriously interested in other people and acknowledging them. When you do that sincerely, the side effects of this are incredible. Those people will love you and they will sing your praises to others.

So why not give people the acknowledgement they deserve and showcase them.

I ran Massage Therapy Radio for years with my friends for no other reason than being interested in the leaders and educators in our profession. More recently, after some conversations with Scott Dartnall about the really incredible people we’ve met through our work, I set up the Ryan Hoyme aka Massage Nerd Fan Club page on my blog. It took me a half a day and I paid a designer to create some images for me, but I loved doing it.

Massage Nerd Fan Club

I love the nerd. He’s super interesting and one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.

Then co-incidentally this came into my inbox this morning…

massage book profile

A great little therapist profile from Massage Book. They are acknowledging their customers.

I’ve also recognize Fans on my Facebook Page…

Fan-acknowledgement

I even bought a boatload of trophies to give away to someone else’s blogging challenge….

bad-ass-blogging-trophy

Is this self serving?

I guess it depends how cynical you are.

Some cynics have accused me of showboating and being opportunistic. It’s easy to be a critic when your not busy carrying armfuls of trophies to the post office. But in all honesty, there are better ways I can spend my time and money if I’m doing it strictly as a marketing ploy. I’m doing it because it’s fun and I derive a great deal of pleasure from it. Look at Ele Sue Dukes with her “bad ass blogging trophy”. Look how happy she is! I think I made her day and it makes me smile.

I think you should be interested in people and acknowledge them because you really are genuinely interested, but like I’ve stated, there are side effects to this. And you’re not dirty or evil if you acknowledge that at least a little of the love you put out in the world may come back to you.

But this is a marketing blog, so the question is how does this apply to your massage practice?

Stay tuned for Part 2 and I’ll give you the scoop….

You Only Need 139 True Fans

139 fansHere’s an interesting thought…

If you get only three new clients per week, your income would be over $50,000 per year!

I find that therapists, who don’t know a lot about marketing, get overwhelmed by the prospect of growing their practices. There are so many options, so much to do, and so much work involved that they just want to lie down and have a nap.

But when you break things down, you’ll find it’s not that difficult to have a successful practice. All you need is to do is develop 139 true fans this year to cross that $50k sales mark. That’s only 2.76 new fans per week (and that’s taking into consideration time for your vacation each year).

By true fan I mean someone who will come to see you at least every two months and pay you $60 per visit. That’s not asking for much. That’s not a fanatical fan by any means, just a true loyal fan that loves your work enough to come in on a somewhat regular schedule (if you consider a massage every two months regular). Of course, in developing diehard fans who will supply you with a comfortable living, you’ll also be attracting and surrounding yourself with lesser fans who will get massage from you on an occasional basis.

So can you do that? Can you get three new clients a week?

For sure you’d have time. At the $50,000 sales mark you’re doing less than 17 hours of massage per week, so you have at least 20 hour per week to both engage with potential fans through your various marketing efforts and to turn them into true fans by building your relationship with them. So lack of time is not an issue.

Is money holding you back? There are lots of ways to attract new clients that require no money outlay whatsoever. These strategies may take some time to implement, but we’ve already established that you have 20 hours of free time for this kind of thing.

If you are not getting your three new clients a week, what’s standing in your way?

It’s not time. It’s not money. So it’s got to be know how. You need to learn some simple, effective, low or no-cost ways of creating and nurturing fans.

At BodyworkBiz, I’ve provided thousands of massage therapists and bodyworkers just like you the tools you need to bring in clients and develop a successful business. And as a result, therapists who have been barely surviving are now thriving. Check out this recent case study on my blog.

I want to invite you to check out two programs available on the BodyworkBiz site and use the coupon code “FANS” to get 20% off either of them (or both if you like). Just enter FANS in the coupon code box when you check out.

60 Clients in 60 Days: If you need a quick infusion of clients into your business, then try this program. This course outlines one technique that is guaranteed to work. (And if it doesn’t, I’ll refund everything you’ve paid.) It couldn’t get any simpler. All you have to do is follow the exact steps I outline for you week by week. See what others have to say and get complete info here:

http://bodyworkbiz.com/60days.php

Fill Your Practice 101 is a e-course that gives a long term strategic approach to building a thriving business. It contains dozens of simple techniques for getting new clients, getting clients to visit more often and getting clients to spend more on each visit. Get all the details here:

http://bodyworkbiz.com/fill.php

Massage is soul-satisfying work and I know you can make more than a comfortable living doing the work you love.

Enter FANS in the coupon code box when you check out to get 20% off when you order one or both of these programs. This offer will expire on November 18th. Take advantage of this offer now and start finding your 139 true fans.

 Picture courtesy of tanakamusic.com

Will Facebook Hashtags Help Your Massage Business?

This might be a little obscure information for most massage therapists, but some of the big news on Facebook earlier this summer was the introduction of hashtags for Facebook  posts.

If you are a big Twitter user you know what hashtags are. The are a keyword that is proceeded by a number or pound sign, ex. #spa, #massagetherapy, #whatever. On Twitter they look like this…

hashtags

Using a hashtag is kind of like using the index in a book. You look up the word in the index and it gives you references to all the places its used in the book.

When you click on a hashtag or use it in the search box in Twitter and now Facebook, you get a list of posts that have used that tag.

hashtag results

Companies were very excited about Facebook introducing the feature because it would allow users to find their posts in a completely new way.

How much of an impact have the tags had in Facebook and should you start using them consistently?

The short answer: No.

Rather than helping engagement with Facebook users, a recent study strongly indicates that it does exactly the opposite. Using hashtags on Facebook actually harms your business more than it helps.

Hashtags-not-working-on-Facebook

Using hashtags in Twitter is another story. It does significantly increase the number of retweets. However the bigger question when it comes to Twitter is does Twitter help you get more massage clients. I haven’t had anyone give me any proof of this, so until I see even a handful of therapists showing me some evidence to the contrary I’d have to say that Twitter is not a useful client generation tool.

The hashtag findings are just another example of something I point out all the time. Oftentimes what the things we think work, really don’t. Many massage business experts are well meaning, but they often teach what they think works and not what actually works in the real world.

I am a big proponent of testing and tracking. You’ll see this reflected in the courses I offer all the time. I don’t like testing and analytics, but the numbers don’t lie. So I share the results of my tests as well as those of other therapists who are kind enough to share with me, so you can spend your time doing more fun things, like massage. I’ll take some time to share some examples of counter intuitive marketing advice throughout this month. If you are not subscribed to this blog or the massage marketing tips newsletter, sign up now for notifications.