Why You Need to Communicate Visually

You may have noticed an increasing shift in the level of visual communication as technology allows us to finally communicate in the way we naturally communicate.

The original BodyworkBiz site was built in 1999. That’s dinosaur time in the Internet world given that the first Internet Explorer web browser only came out in 1995.

It’s only in the past five years that high speed internet has enabled us to effectively communicate with images and video. So BodyworkBiz which has been largely text-based to maximize accessibility is getting a major upgrade to reflect the changing times and changing needs of massage therapists. Look out for it in the next month.

People are expecting to be communicated with in more visually engaging ways. How can you incorporate visual communication into your marketing?

Haiku Deck is one of my favorite presentation tools. Check out Seven Keys to Business Success or Become Incredibly Selfish, both which have been done using this free tool.

What Type of Facebook Post Is Best?

When it comes to getting the truth about what works and what doesn’t in social media, I turn to Dan Zarella (http://danzarrella.com). He analyzes huge data sets to get an accurate picture of what’s happening in social marketing.

His latest project involves the geeky analysis of 11.4 million Facebook posts published by over 24,000 of the most liked Facebook pages, dating back to 2010. The aim was to take a historical look at what type of Facebook post gets the most engagement.

The findings are interesting, but not incredibly surprising…

fb_type_likes_months

In short:

  • Image posts have always been the most engaging type of post and so pictures should be considered your “go to” post type.
  • Text posts have been showing a downward trend over time, but are still as popular as posts with video and links.
  • Both video and link posts have been showing an upward trend in engagement over the past year and a half, so be sure to use these occasionally.

When should you post to Facebook for most engagement. Check out this blog post: Best Time for a Facebook Post?

 

 

 

 

Before and After: Sex and the Single Parent

I’ve done well over 100 web development projects with people often calling me to help revamp their websites so that they work to bring them traffic and customers. My latest makeover is for a comedy duo, Melissa Story and Precious Chong at http://sexandthesingleparent.com. Here’s a little glimpse into the thought process behind the changes.

Home Page: Before and After

before and after homeThe original site was developed as a WordPress blog.

Blogs by default show the latest posts on the homepage. But as you can see this doesn’t make for a visually interesting experience and doesn’t give the visitor who has just landed on the site a sense for the scope of the site and doesn’t give them reason to explore.

The new site is still a WordPress blog and still displays the most recent posts, but does it in a visually engaging way with custom images. I’ve set a featured post at the top to showcase their work. The primary goal or my most wanted response when someone lands on this site is to simply have them explore. This invites the visitor to scroll down and engage with the site. Although it’s not visible from this screenshot, each type of post (text, video, podcast) is represented by a symbol to indicate what they’ll find when they click through.

Blog Post: Before and After

before and after postVisually, the content takes a more prominent place with the redesign. And now that the visitor has expressed some interest in the content we want to invite a response from the viewer. If the viewer scrolls down the page, the large header disappears, but the top navigation remains (blue bar).

In the old site there were some social sharing buttons under the content. In the new site, the social sharing buttons are still there, but are more interesting visually. They are also dynamic and are always visible on the page if the visitor scrolls up or down.

Our new goal, once someone has expressed an interest in the content, is to get them to identify themselves so that they can be contacted either through email or social media (whatever they prefer). So once they click on any piece of content, they’ll see prominent green and blue buttons on each page. If you glance at the page quickly you’ll see that your eyes will naturally fall on one of these those two buttons.

The green one under the post says, “Never miss a post. Click for updates.” And the blue one says, “Behind the Scenes”. Both of these are designed to capture email addresses. The thank you pages and future emails will encourage them to connect through other social media channels like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

Melissa and Precious are in the process of building an audience and need a way to reach them, so they can get them coming back to the site again and again and so they can encourage their audience to spread the word by sharing with their friends.

The email signup has some unique functionality and you can check out the site to see how it works.

Blog Post: Navigation

before and after category

In the old site, it was difficult to get any sense for the range of content that was available. It involved a lot of scrolling on the homepage until you reached some obscure navigation at the bottom.

In the new site there are several navigation items that always appear in a blue bar at the top of the screen to take people to the type of content they most enjoy: videos, podcasts or blog posts. And when they are on a category page the posts are nicely arranged for scanning eyes.

2014-07-04_11-50-48As well, every page, except the home page, has a clean navigation bar that opens to the right side of the page. The categories are listed near the top. But there’s also a clean tab system so that visitors can explore the site in a way that they want: By recent posts, popular posts, comments or a tag cloud.

Of course, the site is SEO optimized so that it shows up in Google search results. Google cannot read videos or audio files (podcasts) to understand the content, so besides the hidden SEO that you can’t see (i.e. metatags, authourship markup, etc.), I had the girls write a description for each video and podcast.

It’s difficult to convey the site’s functionality with these screenshots and you can get a better sense for how it all works by visiting the site:

http://www.sexandthesingleparent.com

Takeaways

  • Your website and your email list should be key elements in your marketing strategy. It’s vitally important to get it right. Make an investment in these two areas.
  • Make your site look good. It gives you instant credibility.
  • Have a clear objective for your site. Decide what your most wanted response is on every page and structure the page to make that happen.
  • Capture contact information. Work at getting emails and getting visitors signed up to any social media channels you use. You want to build an audience so you can drive people back to your site on demand and not wait around passively hoping someone finds it.
  • Make use of video. The web is becoming increasingly visual. People expect a multimedia experience, so make sure they get it.
  • Make it easy for the visitor to find the information they are looking for. Pay particular attention to the way someone navigates around the site. We live in a society of instant gratification. If they don’t get what they want right now they will leave. Wasting ten seconds of a visitors life is the eighth deadly sin.

I seldom do small web projects like this one, but if you have a large project or an interesting challenge you need help with feel free to drop me a note.

Did you like this before and after post? If so, check out my makeover of Laura Allen’s Educated Hearts website.

Facebook Page Changes Happen June 17th

Facebook is rolling out changes to Facebook Pages. The layout of your business page will change automatically on June 17th. If you log in now you should be able to preview the new layout and make any changes you want to make before the update happens.

See the image below for the most significant changes or click the image to view these changes on the BodyworkBiz Page…

New Changes to Facebook Page

Also see this post for more info: http://eric.bodyworkbiz.com/2014/03/facebook-business-page-changes-you-should-know-about/

 

Using Email Newsletters to Grow Your Massage Practice Part 3

bigstock-E-mail-Concept-43286056If you haven’t read them already, check out Part 1 where we discuss the relevance of email in a social media world and Part 2 where you’ll see how one therapist makes $28.60 from every subscriber on his list every year. Now, let’s move along in our exploration of how to use email to build your massage practice…

You must keep in contact with your clients!

People have other things on their minds besides you. Yes, I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s true.

If you don’t remind your clients of the benefits of massage and the unique advantages, solutions and results that you offer, they’ll forget. As a result, they won’t benefit from your work.

In other BodyworkBiz courses, I discuss a whole variety of strategies for keeping in touch with clients through good ol’ fashioned postal mail (a.k.a. snail mail). In particular, I’m a big fan of client education newsletters, like the BodyworkBiz First Hand News newsletters.

A client education newsletter will help you:

  • Educate your clients about the scope of your practice
  • Increase usage of massage by existing clients
  • Keep you at the top of your client’s mind
  • Improve client retention
  • Boost referrals from existing clients
  • Establish your expertise and reinforce your professionalism
  • Educate key referral sources such as chiropractors, doctors and physical therapists
  • Provide handouts with exercises, stretches and other great self-care advice
  • Promote your practice at seminars, workshops, shows and networking events

A great alternative to traditional newsletters is email newsletters! Also referred to as ezines.

Compared to printed client education newsletters, ezines cost almost nothing to produce and can be sent much more frequently. You’ll always stay at the top of your client’s mind and will be the first one they think of when it’s time for a massage.

In fact, you can get clients to book appointments on demand. Check out how you can get Instant Appointments.

Date, Don’t Marry…

The other thing an ezine will do for you is help turn website visitors into paying clients. You may be able to get thousands of visitors on your site each year, but most of those will never book an appointment immediately after visiting your site.

Why?

Because booking an appointment with you, taking time away from the things they love, going into your office and getting naked, and paying you lots of money is a big commitment.

They don’t even know you yet. You’re just just bits and bytes in a browser window.

Most visitors will have to get to know you before they make  a commitment.

How can they get to know you?

Through a newsletter.

It’s the online business equivalent to dating. And most clients will want to date a bit before they get serious and make a commitment to you.

Whereas few clients will book an appointment when visiting your site, a significant number – anywhere from 5% to 30% of your visitors will subscribe to your newsletter with the proper encouragement.

It’s a low risk action. They have nothing to lose. In fact, instead of having to give you money, they are getting something for free.

You’re getting them to identify themselves as people who are interested in what you’re offering. Now you have a chance to hang out with them on a regular basis, to tell them how they can benefit by seeing you, to explain the unique advantages and benefits of seeing you specifically and to answer their most frequently asked questions. With repeated contacts like this, they begin to feel more trusting and they begin to appreciate your expertise as a massage professional.

Keep dating like like this and before long they’ll be ready to move the relationship to the next level.

If you make a special offer, it provides added incentive for them to step away from their computer screen, walk over to the phone and call you now, before the offer expires. Your ezine becomes a conversion machine, converting casual surfers into regular clients.

By now, you should be excited – very excited – to get started in creating an ezine and getting subscribers. If not, then check your pulse. You may be dead.

So how do you do it? Over the remaining emails in this series I’ll give you practical tips for setting this all up, getting subscribers, writing content and maximizing your results. I’ll even introduce you to some great email services that you can use for free (like the one you are getting this BodyworkBiz email through). Keep you eye on your inbox for those emails.

And if you want to be absolutely sure you don’t miss these, then here’s some other ways you can get notifications for these “lessons”:

Like the BodyworkBiz Facebook Page: This is all official stuff with notifications of new blog posts and occasional updates.

Join the BodyworkBiz Facebook discussion group: After joining this Group, click the notifications button on the top right and choose “All Posts” so you get these notifications in your News Feed. This is a tightly moderated spam free group with a focus on growing your practice.

Follow me on Twitter: I Tweet lots of stuff that I don’t always share in other places, both personal and professional.

Be my Friend: If you want to connect more personally you can become my Friend on Facebook. I need to know you are a fellow massage colleague before I’ll accept the request though, so if it’s not obvious from your Profile, send me a message. And as an alternative you can follow me personally by clicking the “Follow” button on my personal Profile or by using the button here…

LinkedIn: I’ll post notifications of blog posts and BodyworkBiz newsletters on LinkedIn as well.

How To Grow Your Massage Practice with Email Part 2

bigstock_Laptop-mail_6432859

Last week in talking about the importance of email I said that you could make $28.60 per subscriber year after year! See the blog post here to review.

I was talking to a massage therapist who generous enough to share some information with me. We worked through the numbers together and that’s how much we calculated he made from each person on the email list – $28.60! At least, that’s the direct benefit. The actual value may be much higher. Let’s look at where those numbers comes from…

This therapist has a clinic with multiple therapists. Collecting emails is an important function of the clinic website. On the top of each page is a request for their email. There is a line that simply says, “For online discounts, join our mailing list.” Then there is a little box where people can place their email address.

There are now about 1500 people on the email list. Each week they get a coupon.

I signed up and the coupon that I got yesterday offered $10 off a massage of one hour or longer on certain days and times – these are the slow times in the clinic when therapists would otherwise be waiting around for clients.

Amazingly, 15 to 20 coupons are redeemed each week. Now if I’m conservative and assume that only 15 are redeemed and then do some calculations based on current fees, I estimate that the revenue from people that redeem coupons adds about $42,900 to yearly sales. Given that there are about 1500 subscribers to the list, that means $28.60 in sales per subscriber.

Yes, it’s true that the clinic loses $10 for each of these treatments, but they more than make up for that in pure volume. (Think McDonald’s “would you like fries with that” Value Meals: The package of items is cheaper than if they were sold individually, but the increased volume of sales for McDonald’s increases dramatically.)

But that’s not all…

That’s the direct benefit, but there’s more to the story…

This particular approach moves people from the busy times of the week to the slower times. This helps ensure that the sales aren’t lost simply because the favorite treatment times are all filled up and ensures a steady client flow throughout the entire day, including what are typically slow times.

These people may not have otherwise come in and they are likely to book additional appointments at full fee, buy gift certificates or refer people they know. All of this means more sales.

And the benefit doesn’t stop there. The email is a reminder to the other 1480 on the list who don’t use the coupon. Many of these people may come in at other times of the week as a result of the reminder, even if they never open the email. Simply looking at the subject header jogs their memory and reminds them that it’s time to come in. Seeing your name may even prompt them to refer others.

Are you starting to see the value?

What does this all mean for you?

Let’s translate these results to a more modest practice so that you can see the possible benefit for yourself. We’ll assume that you have a humble list of only 100 subscribers. At $28.60 per subscriber, that means an additional $2,860 in sales for you each year. You could probably take a nice little vacation with that money, couldn’t you?

However, the average full time massage therapist typically has about 200 to 300 active client files. Get those people on your email list and you could be looking at $5,000 to $7,500 in additional sales over the year.

“An average therapists working full time could expect to increase sales by over $5,000 per year by using email effectively.”

Let’s also look at this marketing tool from a Return On Investment (ROI) perspective for a small list of 100 subscribers. (If you’ve taken any BodyworkBiz course, you know by now that ROI is always the key criteria in determining any marketing we do. You are measuring your ROI for your various marketing efforts, aren’t you?)

At a maximum cost of $25 per month for an email service (and with a small list like this, it can really be done at no cost) you’re making $9.53 for every dollar you spend on email marketing. That’s a ROI of almost 1,000%. Try to get that kind of return on the stock market!

My message to you: Don’t underestimate the power of the humble little email.

I’ll be back next week to continue this series and to give you some specific how to’s and recommendations for creating an email list and getting subscribers. And I’ll point you to some great email services that are absolutely free! Stay tuned and keep your eye on your inbox for an email from “Eric Brown, BodyworkBiz”

And if you are not subscribed to the BodyworkBiz Marketing Tips Newsletter, make sure to sign up now at http://bodyworkbiz.com/newsletter.php

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