Posted on October 19, 2018
Is your massage therapy practice staffed by employees or independent contractors? Are you sure you know the answer to that question? Characterizing staff members as independent contractors is commonplace in the beauty and wellness industry. This business model permits salon and clinic orders to maintain flexibility and save money by adding staff hours in response to customer demand. Additionally, business owners avoid the costs of payroll taxes as well as unemployment and workers’ compensation insurance when a worker is classified as an independent contractor.
However, according to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) , in many instances the characterization of worker as self-employed is incorrect. In this article we’ll discuss why worker classification matters and how to get it right.
Why getting your worker classification right matters
Getting your workers’ classification wrong can be a costly mistake. In Wage and Hour Class Actions Can Cost Employers Millions, Society for Human Resource Management’s Lisa Nagele-Piazza explains that even minor mistakes made by a business owner when classifying and paying workers can result in IRS tax liabilities and the imposition of penalties under the Fair Labor Standards Act. In some circumstances, misclassified employees may be entitled to claim back wages and overtime.
Posted on August 6, 2018
Since we spend most of our time serving the needs of members of the massage therapist profession, we thought it would be fun to take a look at the state of the industry. So we dug through some statistics to see how things are going and learn a little more about you. Below we’ve shared a few of the highlights from what we found. We hope you’ll read it and enjoy finding out a little more about your peers in the profession.
Who are Your Peers?
According to the American Massage Therapy Association Fact Sheet, the average American massage therapist is likely to be a woman who has entered the profession as a second career. Canada’s professionals share similar characteristics. Most reports indicate that men make up less than 20% of the industry’s population. The majority of massage therapists are independent contractors, operating as sole practitioners. The median age for this group of professionals is 46. As business owners, most massage therapists split their time between management and direct client services.
Above all, they are dedicated professionals who earn a living, take care of business, and care about their clients.
Posted on June 13, 2018
In a recent article, we listed several ways to attract more customers to your business. As those tips demonstrated, the key to success in small business advertising is being top of mind and easy to find. Being at the top of search engine’s lists helps, too! That’s what search engine optimization (SEO) is designed to do. But global SEO performance can only do so much. Small businesses seeking customers in their local communities need local SEO to reach their target market.
What is SEO and why should you care?
SEO is the language digital marketers and web developers use to tell search engines such as Google, Microsoft’s Bing, and Yahoo’s Search what your website is about. Search engines are programs that analyze millions of websites to find the answer to an individual web user’s search. So, when a potential customer goes online to search for a qualified therapist and types in a word or phrase, it is the search engine that brings them results. People in the SEO industry refer to this list of results as SERPs, or search engine results pages.
Why do SEO and SERP matter to your business?
Searching is one of the ways new customers find you. According to this article by Rieva Lesonsky, writing for SCORE, your online presence is now as important as word-of-mouth when it comes to winning customers. Your online presence consists of anything that pops up online when a consumer searches your name or the name of your business. The most common places you’re present online are on your website, social media accounts, and online reviews.
Posted on April 16, 2018
The massage therapy profession requires you to be on your feet and active for a large part of your day. When your business is thriving and your clients are booking your time as quickly as it becomes available, it is easy to forget to take a break and enjoy your success. Your business depends on you; you can’t afford to over-stress your mind or body. That’s why it is important for you to take time to take care of yourself.
Taking a Vacation is Good for You and Your Business
One way you can take care of yourself is to take a vacation. While you might not be able to get away often, when you get a chance you should leave your work behind for at least a few days. Why? Because your brain periodically needs a change of pace.
Sure, there are things that you can do throughout your week to temporarily escape from the daily grind. Activities such as walking outdoors, reading a good book, or doing a little shopping can all provide a little stress relief. But these types of short respites offer limited benefits when compared to the refreshment that a longer holiday delivers.
Posted on February 27, 2018
It is no secret that today’s consumer has high expectations when it comes to how and when they can contact a business. In fact, one of the reasons ClinicSense is so popular with massage therapy practitioners is that our online platform allows their customers to book their appointments and make payments online day or night.
Online booking and other cloud-based services are very convenient for your clients, but they won’t solve all of your communication needs. To excel at customer service in the modern marketplace, you need to provide consumers with multichannel access. Providing multiple ways for your clients to contact you raises the level of convenience they experience, enhancing your reputation. When you add contact tracking by making notes in each client's file of their communications with your office you can provide even better service.
Why is multichannel access important?
When a customer has a question or complaint, they don’t want to invest time in learning how to contact your company. Instead, they want to be able to quickly contact you using whatever channel is easiest for them.
Multichannel customer service allows your customers to reach you using the medium of their choice online or off. For example, some clients may wish to contact your office via phone while others may be happy to communicate via email. Other consumers prefer to contact their favorite businesses through social media or live chat options. Your clients may even choose to combine channels, contacting your office via phone to ask a question but choosing to book their next appointment online.
Posted on January 18, 2018
As a business owner, you are always selling. Maybe not in the way you imagine sales to be. You aren’t a used car salesman nor are you likely to be seen on television at 3:00 am extolling the virtues of your massage therapy practice.
But on a daily basis, through everything you do and communicate, you are selling your services to the people in your community. If you think of selling as the act of persuading someone to do what you want, everybody is selling something. You might say that the art of persuasion is part of our very nature.
The Science of Persuasion Applied to Marketing and Sales
Researchers of human behavior and psychology have studied how individuals convince and persuade others for decades. In 1983, Dr. Robert Cialdini first released his book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. In this book and its subsequent releases, Cialdini details six research-based techniques for influencing others to act: commitment and consistency, scarcity, authority, liking, reciprocity, and social proof.
Collectively referred to as “Cialdini’s Six Principles of Influence,” his ideas have since found their way into marketing campaigns all over the world. Can understanding these principles help you improve your marketing efforts? Let’s take a look at each one and find out.
Posted on December 18, 2017
As a professional service provider, you already know how important providing excellent customer service is to the success of your business. But did you know that it costs five times more to obtain a new customer than to retain an existing one? Since a business can’t grow without clients, the marketing and onboarding expenses associated with new client acquisition are an expected cost.
However, by implementing a robust client retention plan, you can reduce your overall costs and still keep your business fully booked. The savings realized from serving existing clients over pursuing new ones can be significant. According to Khalid Saleh, CEO of Invesp, each 5% increase in your customer retention rate has the potential to increase your organization’s profits from 25% to 95%. Those are profits that you can later invest in obtaining new clients and growing your business.
Wondering what the value of each of your loyal clients is? Use the formula provided by Brad Sugars in this Entrepreneur article, How to Calculate the Lifetime Value of a Customer.
Additionally, when your clients are exceptionally pleased with your services, they may become advocates for your business. By providing each of your clients with great customer service you can increase your client’s satisfaction and your profits. Generating this kind of client loyalty and affection only happens, though, if your customer service goes above and beyond expectations.
Posted on November 20, 2017
Have you ever tried to count how many times in a week someone who isn’t a patient asks you for advice on how to manage a minor ache or pain? Do your friends or family members ask you questions about sports injuries or for advice on which office chair will fit them best? As a professional massage therapist, you have knowledge that others value. And your business can benefit when you give this knowledge away free! The secret to gaining benefit from generously sharing information is in how you share.
Being a Thought Leader
Individuals from many professional niches already know this secret. They give away ebooks, present webinars, give live presentations, and write articles all to establish themselves as thought leaders in their industries. What is thought leadership? Michael Brenner of Marketing Insider Group describes thought leadership beautifully, writing that it is content marketing that “taps into the talent, experience, and passion inside your business.”
You have unique experiences and knowledge and the power to inspire others by sharing what you know. The way in which you share your knowledge is through content. This content can take many different forms. Common types of thought leadership content include ebooks, podcasts, videos, and blog posts. No matter what type of content you produce, at its essence thought leadership is you-- sharing your passion and telling others about what you do.
Posted on October 12, 2017
On September 21, 2017 the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario released new Standards for Maintaining Professional Boundaries and Preventing Sexual Abuse. These new standards were put into place to align RMTs with the new Government of Ontario legislation, the Protecting Patients Act, 2017.
The new standards introduced a new requirement: RMTs must obtain written consent for the assessment and treatment of sensitive areas; such as breasts, chest wall muscles, inner thighs, and gluteal muscles. Ultimately, this means more paperwork for RMTs - but today we’re happy to announce that ClinicSense now has full integration of the Consent To Treat Sensitive Areas Form so that you don’t have to worry about the extra paperwork piling up.
Simply open the SOAP note for the appointment, and in the Objective section of the note, you will have the option of opening the Sensitive Area Consent Form. Simply pass your device for the client to sign, and once they are finished, re-enter your password to regain access to your account.
Note: This feature is only available to RMTs in Ontario, Canada.
Try ClinicSense for free for 14-days!
Posted on September 20, 2017
In an interview with Inc., Virgin founder Richard Branson shared his secret to success: putting employees first. Branson says that placing the needs of your employees ahead of those of even shareholders and customers is the key to creating a top performing organization. Why? Because when your staff feels appreciated and part of a team, they are more productive. Your employees are a powerful component of your massage therapy practice’s success.
Happy employees also provide better customer service. In the McKinsey & Company article, The secret to delighting customers: Putting employees first, the authors note that despite many technological advances, customer service still depends largely on personal engagement. When you show your staff that they are valued members of your team, they’ll have the motivation they need to provide the kind of above-and-beyond customer service that will make your business stand out.
To get the best from your employees, begin with creating an organizational culture that values each member’s contribution. Additionally, when your business has a reputation for fostering innovation and personal development, you’ll be positioned to hire and retain highly skilled and dedicated employees.
Posted on August 28, 2017
One of the most challenging aspects of operating your own business is deciding how and when to invest in growth. Of course, some of your marketing effort should be directed at replacing clients lost through normal attrition. This cycle of client loss and acquisition will always require your attention. But client acquisition isn’t the only route to increased revenue. In fact, there are many other methods that you can use to boost your revenue.
One way to quickly scale your practice’s growth and increase revenue is by focusing on your existing clientele. The cost of scheduling additional sessions for an existing client is usually much less than the costs of acquiring a new client. A few simple steps could make a significant impact on your therapy practice’s bottom line.
Take a Look at the Numbers
Daniel Levine, writing for The Data Point, took a look at the business practices of top performing companies and found a link between the success of these top companies and their ability to woo repeat customers. He noted that the top performing companies were quicker out of the gate than their rivals, gaining new customers rapidly in their first few months after their launch.
However, as time progressed the companies that pulled ahead and stayed ahead gained more revenue from return customers than those who fell behind. Levine’s analysis indicates that by year three, the top performing companies are generating 60% of their revenue from return customers!
Posted on July 25, 2017
Your clients come to you for many different reasons. Some just want a soothing massage to help them relax. Other clients are seeking physical therapy for pain relief. Some of your clients may be athletes who include massage as a normal part of their training regimen. Regardless of why they’ve chosen to see you, your patients regard you as an information resource.
You understand the way their body’s muscles and connective tissues work together to keep them moving. You also know the damage that making the wrong moves can do to a person’s musculoskeletal system. There’s a sport for every season and a muscle injury for every sport. Whether your clients are weekend warriors or fitness fanatics, you can provide them with useful tips and advice to help them avoid sport-related injuries.
To help you help your clients stay active and safe, we’ve put together some resources on avoiding sports injuries. Use these resources as inspiration for building your own custom fact sheets, brochures, and articles. Add your personal touch and create content that educates and engages your client base.
Resources for Preparing a Top Notch Sports Safety Fact Sheet for Your Massage Therapy Clients
American Academy of Pediatrics Tip Sheet
The American Academy of Pediatrics regularly researches childhood injuries and illness and provides guidelines for professionals and parents. The AAP’s 2017 Sports Injury Prevention Tip Sheet is available in English or Spanish and lists specific actions children and their parents can take to avoid sports-related injuries. Among the most important tips are to wear properly fitting protective gear, take steps to strengthen muscles and improve flexibility, and remember to stay rested and hydrated.
Posted on June 26, 2017
Is it 3 a.m. and you are still awake and staring at the clock? At some point in our lives, most people experience restless nights, and some suffer from many sleepless nights. Stress and anxiety contribute to sleepless nights, but did you know what you ate or drank today could be keeping you awake? What we consume throughout the day has a lingering effect on our bodies, and often this results in wakefulness and sleep deprivation.
Why Does What We Eat Matter?
Eating right and exercising has been encouraged for decades from physicians, fitness gurus, and health experts. Your body will reap the benefits of eating right, but so will your sleep health. According to Dr. Carl Hunt, what we eat does indeed interfere with sleeping patterns, particularly anything with caffeine or nicotine. Sugar is also a sleep deprivation culprit, and too much can cause influxes of insulin and spikes in your blood sugar which gives you an energy rush but will keep you awake as the sugar digests because your body sees it as a stress factor. Food and drinks that have no nutritional value but are instead packed with carbohydrates and sugar contribute to insomnia and wakefulness.
So What If I Don’t Get Enough Sleep?
During our busy lives, sleep can often be the one activity that is pushed aside to make more time for other things. Adults need eight hours of good rest to be able to function properly. Without sleep, we start to break down both physically and mentally. Establishing good sleeping habits or healthy evening habits to help you wind down from the day are important steps to take for better sleep quality. Eating certain foods will also help promote better rest tonight, so consider trying out these yummy foods that can help you ease into sleep.
Posted on June 5, 2017
The internet has opened many doors for businesses both large and small. From global conglomerates to your local mom-and-pop, any store with a website can reach to the far corners of the world offering their goods for sale. The opportunity to grow using digital marketing and technology can help put a small business on the map.
Businesses providing healthcare and other local services have benefitted, too. Owners of massage therapy practices are no exception. With a website and online scheduling, your small business can schedule appointments and provide your clients with information 24 hours a day.
Of course, nothing can replace the personal touch that your local massage therapy business provides. And, despite society’s increased reliance on the internet to contact and communicate with one another, nothing can replace personally building relationships, either. As a member of your local community, your personal presence offers you a great opportunity to grow your massage therapy business.
By making local connections, you can expand your network and your business’s reach. That’s why connection marketing should be an important part of your overall marketing plan.
Posted on May 10, 2017
As a business, we’re often focused on attracting new clients. As a result, we can overlook the clients that we already have. But even with the importance of new clients, there’s a lot of value that we can get from (and offer to) our existing client base. The main idea is to maximize the value of each client:
1. Their network is your network
Every client knows someone who could use a massage. They just don’t know it yet! I’m the perfect example. My massage-loving friend used a gift certificate to introduce me to the magical world of massage many years ago. Since then, I’ve had monthly massages… and each of your clients has a friend that is just like me.
Around Christmas, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day, everybody is scrambling for gift ideas. That’s where you swoop in to save the day by offering a gift certificate for clients to give to their friends and family. But how you implement this campaign is key to how successful it’ll be for your clinic. Psychology says that we don’t consciously notice things until the 7th time we see or hear it - this applies to most ads and commercials, and it applies to your own campaigns as well. So start early! In the weeks leading up to special holidays, have posters in your clinic: “Sharing is caring! Thank your mom with a gift certificate from yours truly.” Then, give them a more direct reminder closer to the holiday/event through an email campaign with a similar message. It’s a win-win situation! You save them from going through the crowded mall, and you get a new client along the way.
Posted on April 17, 2017
Whether your target is a future or existing client, it can be difficult to find ways to stand out from the crowd of massage therapists. The keys to success are simple: provide your client with incentives to choose you, and remove any potential obstacles between your clinic and your client. But how?
1. Register yourself on Google Maps
For most small businesses, this is probably not the first thing that comes to mind… But for a client that’s trying to select a massage therapist from 3-4 options, it’s easy to rule out the one they can’t find on the map! You want to give your clients a smooth, effortless experience - and their experience starts before they step foot in your clinic. Also, by being on the map, you’re not only making yourself easy to find; you’re establishing a more professional and legitimate business.
2. Use a loyalty program
What’s a loyalty program? It’s pure magic. If you’re a Starbucks gold rewards member, you already know why. In short, a loyalty program is a means of rewarding your repeat customers. For example, many cafes use stamp cards - if you collect 9 stamps, your 10th drink is free! The same concept applies to massage therapy. The prize doesn’t have to be a free massage; it can be anything that works for both you and your clients - a 20% discount for every 5 or 10 massages or even 30 minutes of free massage.
Why does this help you? Essentially, the loyalty program gives your clients another reason to come back to you. This is especially beneficial if your performance is subpar - everyone has bad days. Let’s say your client has collected 8 stamps, but the 8th visit wasn’t great. Instead of giving up on you, your client will likely give you a second chance when incentivized by the rewarding 10th visit.
Posted on March 10, 2017
Most massage therapists work for themselves, even if it’s just part time, which has implications for tax season and filing your return. The complexity of your tax return will depend on many things, including how you’ve structured your business: as a sole proprietor, an LLC, or a corporation. In any case, you’ll want to consult with an accountant – it max be an expense of a few hundred dollars, but a good accountant will pay for themselves by minimizing your income tax (not to mention the potential headaches from mistakes and mountains of paperwork).
You can be prepared for your meeting with an accountant by considering our 3 tips for tax season:
1. Keep All Of Your Receipts
This is something you should be doing all year long. Keeping a record of all the receipts for the purchases you make for your business will allow your accountant to help you figure out which items qualify as deductions.
The advantage of deductions (or write-offs) is that they reduce your overall income for tax purposes. For example, if you made $50,000 but report $5,000 in business expenses, you will be taxed on only $45,000 in income. In some cases, you may even drop to a lower tax bracket and therefore the percent of tax you pay is reduced as well.
Keep in mind that some deductions may be deducted at the full amount, while other deductions are partial or predetermined amounts. This is where the advice of an accountant can really be handy. Otherwise, you’ll want to reference government resources.
Posted on February 1, 2017
This is a guest post from Donna Parker L.Ac.
I was just looking for a good protein bar. My sister-in-law gave me one she had in her purse. I loved it. I asked, “Where can I get these?” That’s where it began. I bought a box from her and when it arrived there was a flyer promoting a 5-day sugar cleanse using the bars and shakes made by that company. This piqued my interest as I had a few pounds of baby weight that clung to me like a baby baboon to its mother. Deep down I had to admit I was truly a sugar addict and often ate too many carbs in my state of sleep-deprived fatigue as a new mother and a new entrepreneur. I thought, “Heck, I can do anything for five days!”
I have a business background that helped me see my newly opened acupuncture practice as more than just helping people get healthy. It was a way to do the work that I was so passionate about and support my family. I knew that I had to create several streams of income in order to make it a success. I was already off to a good start as the lease-holder to the multi-treatment room flat in San Francisco. That meant I could rent out the unused space to help pay the rent. It also meant that I would have more responsibility as a “landlord” to my sublease tenants.
Posted on November 21, 2016
Before getting to the answer to that question, what exactly is a Health Savings Account (HSA)? Well, the IRS defines an HSA as: “A health savings account (HSA) is a tax-exempt trust or custodial account you set up with a qualified HSA trustee to pay or reimburse certain medical expenses you incur. You must be an eligible individual to qualify for an HSA.”
In simpler terms, an HSA is like a personal savings account, but the money in them is used to pay for healthcare expenses. Additionally, you are not taxed on the money you deposit into an HSA, with a maximum contribution of $3400 in 2017. To be eligible to open an HSA, you must be enrolled in a high deductible health insurance plan.
Now, what does an HSA mean for a massage therapist? If you have a client who has a Health Savings Account, they can use the funds from that account to pay for a massage, but only if the massage has been recommended by a physician to treat a specific injury. Generally, treatment for stress, anxiety, or mental health, is unfortunately not covered.
Posted on October 18, 2016
This year, ClinicSense is proud to be a partner in the MT Dream Practice Giveaway, brought to you by Biotone and Massage Magazine. The contest is free to enter and prizes include:
- $5,000 Cash
- 5 Years Massage Liability Insurance, online CEUs & MASSAGE Magazine Subscription
- BIOTONE – 1 Year Supply Massage & Spa Products
- Personalized Business Coaching with expert Cherie Sohnen-Moe
- 3B Deluxe Massage Table, sheet sets, Fleece set, cremes, Table carts, Bolsters, anatomy charts, various massage tools, and Kinesiology 3B Tape
- Body Support Systems – bodyCushion
- Learn with James Waslaskis Orthopedic Massage & Center for Pain Management
- Earthlite® – Figure Fit Massage Table, Earthlite® ~ UV Hot towel cabinet, Traveler table cart, Stool and bolster
- ClinicSense One-year subscription to the ClinicSense Pro Plan
Enter Contest Here
Posted on October 3, 2016
A common topic in our Facebook group for licensed massage therapists is “how do I go about raising my prices?” It can certainly be a tricky scenario, as you don’t want to tick off clients, but with the proper preparation, you’ll be just fine.
1. Give advance notice to your existing clients
New prices with new clients is easy, the price is what it is and they didn’t know the price was lower before. For existing clients, you’ll want to give them advance notice. We recommend 2 months. Clients are much more understanding of a price increase if you give notice rather than having it come as a surprise when they are paying for their treatment.
Your best bet is to use email marketing software like Mailchimp, Constant Contact, or you can use the email marketing feature within ClinicSense. Send out an email 2 months before and a second notification/reminder 1 month before. For a personal touch you could even mail your clients a letter notifying them of the price increase.
2. Post your new prices on your website
If you have your price posted on your website or in brochures, make sure you update them. There’s nothing worse for a client than seeing a lower price posted on your website and then they come in to find out the price is more.
Posted on September 26, 2016
While rack cards aren’t going to get you hundreds of new clients, they offer a quick and easy marketing opportunity and they will pay for themselves once they send you 1 or 2 new clients.
What is a rack card? You know when you go to a hotel and you usually see a wall of brochures for local businesses? That’s a rack card. And what’s advertised in the rack card area largely depends on the location of the hotel. If you’re in a tourist area, you’ll often see cards for excursions or adventures. If you’re in a business district, the cards may advertise printing companies or other business services.
The theme of your card is where to get started. If you are in a tourist area, you’ll want to cater your message to tourists. This could be a message about treating yourself to relaxation on your vacation. If you’re in a business area, you may advertise taking some time to de-stress after a long day of meetings, or getting some care for your back after a day on your feet at a conference.
Picking your theme is a crucial first step. Make sure you message speaks to your audience so that they are more likely to be drawn to your card and book an appointment. That moves us into the next part…getting attention for your card!
Posted on September 16, 2016
Yesterday, news came out that Health Canada has told the makers of the pain reliever acetaminophen to provide more obvious label instructions and stronger warnings on the packaging of their products. While acetaminophen is taken safely by most people, it comes with the risk of liver damage, especially with long term use. Liver damage can lead to liver failure and even death.
The new guidelines say that product makers, like Tylenol, must warn people (1) to use the lowest effective dose, (2) not exceed 4 grams for adults in a 24-hour period, (3) use the product for no more than 5 days for pain, or 3 for fever, and (4) avoid mixing with alcohol if drinking 3 or more drinks.
This is just another recommendation to come out that supports that the use of drugs to treat pain can have serious side effects. We previously wrote about the CDC's message to physicians to avoid opiate painkillers. While acetaminophen and opiates do have their place, it's important for consumers to understand the risks and to know when it is appropriate to use these drugs.
This is an opportunity for the massage therapy industry. While there's no need to strike fear into clients, we can take on the role of educators simply by sharing the recommendations of Health Canada and the CDC, and as the news spreads, consumers will naturally look for alternatives to drugs - like massage therapy. And we have the research to support that massage is effective for things like the treatment of lower back pain.
Posted on September 14, 2016
When it comes to pain due to posture, it really comes down to one simple thing: holding one position for too long. And this can really become a problem at work, especially in environments where you are using a computer. Here is an image you can post to your Facebook page to help remind clients that they should be conscious of their workplace ergonomics.
Posted on August 30, 2016
As the commercials say, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” With the kids home for the summer, it can be very difficult for mom or dad to find some time for themselves. And for some, that means it’s been a very stressful summer.
With the kids heading back to school, it’s time for parents to reset, both physically and mentally. This is where opportunity presents itself as a massage therapist and that comes in the form of a back to school special.
Getting started is easy. First come up with your offer – maybe $10 off a treatment, or add 15 minutes to any treatment for free. Choose something that you think will get people excited. Then it’s time to get the word out. Put a notice on your website and your Facebook page and encourage clients to share it.
We’d even recommend printing out a few postcards to hand out to parents in the neighborhood. You can also hand them out during the last week of summer camps and on the first day of school. Just remember to get the messaging right – focus your special around “me time” for parents (we all know how important self-care is).
Posted on July 27, 2016
Stress is something everyone has experienced at some point in their life, some more than others. Unfortunately, it has become so prevalent in our society, most people view it has a normal part of their everyday life. There are a variety of reasons that can contribute to feeling of stress, such as family life, finances, work, and the list goes on. According to new study results by Statistics Canada, last year about 27 per cent of working adults described their lives on most days to be “quite a bit” or “extremely” stressful. Long-term exposure to stress can lead to several health problems.
How Does the Body Respond to Stress?
Stress is triggered by either a physical threat or an emotional disturbance, which produces a physical response in the body. When your body senses a perceived threat (physical, or emotional), its defenses kick in as a means to protect itself. This is known as the “fight, or flight” response. The physical changes that occur as a result of this response are produced by the hormones cortisol and epinephrine, which are released by the nervous system. These hormones prepare the body for action by increasing the body’s heart rate and blood pressure, quicken breathing, and tighten muscles. These changes provide increased strength, reaction time, and enhance your focus to prepare the body to either fight or flight. This response to stress is important as it can help you survive emergency situations like fighting off an attacker. Unfortunately the body cannot distinguish between a physical threat and emotional upset.
Posted on July 7, 2016
There has been a very popular scam going around the last few months. If you haven't heard of it before, let this be a heads up, if you have, you know where this is going... The scam usually involves someone paying you for several treatments upfront (usually they say it's for their employees) - the amount is in the thousands, so it's tempting. The scam is that they overpay you by a few hundred dollars because they want you to send money to another service provider who does not take credit card - usually a driver, as is the case in our conversation below. BUT they then cancel the payment they made to you... and you're out a few hundred dollars.
Click Read More below to see the full text message conversation
Posted on June 21, 2016
Researchers Tiffany Field, David Lasko, Peter Mundy, Tanja Henteleff, Susan Kabat, Susan Talpins, and Monica Dowling conducted a study on 22 preschool children with autism. They investigated the effects of touch therapy on problems commonly associated with autism, such as inattentiveness, touch aversion, and withdrawal. They found that orienting to irrelevant sounds and stereotypic behaviors decreased in both the touch therapy and the touch control group; however, orienting decreased more in the touch therapy group.
While such a small study is certainly not enough to draw any conclusions, it is an area that others have spend time researching. Tina Allen (of LiddleKidz.ca and internationally respected educator, lecturer, author and expert in the field of infant and pediatric massage therapy) writes "Research has demonstrated that this type of intervention (massage) may promote more on-task and social relatedness behavior during play, they show less erratic behavior, and are more attentive after receiving massage therapy. This safe, nurturing touch, along with regular sensory integration, is beneficial in reducing inattentiveness, touch aversion and withdrawal."
Posted on June 10, 2016
My name is Meg Runyan. I'm a recent graduate of the Costa Rica School of Massage Therapy and am pursing my massage therapy license in IL. I'm excited for my new career of of helping people find relief from pain and reconnection with their bodies and I invite you to join me. Over the next several months I will be documenting my journey on the ClinicSense blog.
"What do you do?" How many times have I had that conversation in the last four months? Countless times. But it’s an important one. It’s how we network and get the word out about our services. And it’s up to us to not let it be a boring conversation.
A conversation about our career can be dynamic and interesting. It doesn’t have to be a mere statement of fact. These last few months I have been working on different ways to discuss my passion for massage therapy and how to introduce myself to potential clients. I don’t want to be caught flat footed and tongue-tied when someone asks me, “What do you do?”
A part of me still cringes at this idea of having a practiced speech. I don’t want to sound like someone talking from a script and who can’t deviate from her talking points. We want to strike a balance between fumbling for the right words and having an automated answer. The good news is there is a lot of room for creativity between the two. Yes, there is some preparation and good old speech practice involved in the process, but not to worry, it can be fun and it will make networking much more enjoyable.
Posted on June 1, 2016
The singer/songwriter/musician/DJ, Moby, has released 4 hours of "really really quiet music to listen to when i do yoga or sleep or meditate or panic" and has decided to give it away for free. You can download it or stream it from music apps like Spotify, Soundcloud, or Apple Music. This should make for a great addition to your massage playlist
You can download for free here...
Or stream it here
Posted on May 30, 2016
Cross-selling is a sales technique where the seller tries to sell additional products or services to the client. A classic example is going to buy a hamburger and the cashier asks, “Would you like fries with that?” She is maximizing the revenue from that one customer by offering an additional product that pairs nicely with the requested product. Since there are only so many hours in the day, and since your hands can only take so much work, cross-selling is a way to ensure long term success.
So how can you cross-sell? Well, one way involves selling an additional service. For example, if the client has booked an appointment for treatment on pain in their lower back, you can cross-sell by offering an additional
15 minutes of work on their feet. This is especially great if you don’t have an appointment booked after the client’s treatment – you earn an extra $15 or so with almost no added cost.
Another option is selling retail products. As the client is checking out, you can offer them lotions, oils, or other products that are relevant to massage and self-care. You’ll of course want any items that you are pitching to be complimentary to their treatment. “Sales” is often considered a 4-letter word among massage therapists – so keep in mind that you aren’t doing high-pressure sales, you are simply offering options to enhance the client’s care – a quality of a great massage therapist.
Posted on May 25, 2016
In 2002, Christopher Quinn (DC), Clint Chandler (BS) and Albert Moraska (PhD) studied chronic tension headache sufferers.
First, they measured participants’ headaches (frequency, duration, and intensity) over a 4-week period without massage treatment. Then, they recorded the same measures again over 4-weeks, but this time the participants received a 30-minute massage treatment twice per week that was focused on the neck and shoulder muscles.
The study shows, compared to baseline results, headache frequency was significantly reduced within the first week of receiving massage therapy treatment and this reduction continued for the remainder of the 4-week treatment period. Additionally, the duration of headaches tended to decrease during the massage treatment period. The intensity of the headaches remained unchanged.
The results of this study suggest that massage therapy can be effective in reducing the number of headaches per in chronic tension headache sufferers.
Source: National Center for Biotechnology Information
Posted on May 4, 2016
Mother's Day is quickly approaching - remind your client's to purchase a gift certificate from you! Please feel free to share this image on your Facebook page!
Posted on April 25, 2016
There are certain days in the year that are kind of like a Black Friday for massage therapists. What I mean by this, is that if you can maximize your sales on these key dates, it can make a big difference in your income for the year – just like how Black Friday is the day where stores go “into the black” to make profit for the year.
With Mother’s Day around the corner (May 8), it’s time to develop a promotion strategy to maximize your sales (and to make plenty of mothers in your neighbourhood happy). Here are three tactics you can use to boost your sales:
Buy A Gift Certificate For Mom Deal
This is the most obvious promotion idea and it’s very easy to execute. Simply send out an email a few weeks in advance of Mother’s Day and remind your clients that they can buy the gift of massage for their wife or mother. You really want them to visualize the gift, so in your email include images of relaxation and remind them that the gift of massage is an escape from life’s stresses – something their loved ones would appreciate and deserve.
It’s important that you make it very easy for them to buy a gift certificate from you. For those using software like ClinicSense or Gift Card Cafe, you can direct clients to your online sales – the easiest and most convenient option for them. But also let them know that they can call you or even visit your office to buy. You can even provide additional incentives – such as buy $100 in gift certificates and get a free $20 gift certificate for yourself too. Now the gift giver has a reason to book with you too!
Posted on April 14, 2016
We've created this "sharable" for you to help spread the word on the many benefits of massage therapy. It's important that we work together to educate the public!
Source: Mayo Clinic
Posted on March 31, 2016
When a potential new client is considering booking an appointment with you, one of the first things they are going to do is look you up on Yelp and check out your reviews. If you don’t have any reviews, or you don’t have overwhelmingly positive reviews, that client is going to book elsewhere.
Now, getting positive reviews is all up to you. Were you on time? Were you friendly? Do you work in a professional environment? Did they leave their treatment feeling good? Every interaction you have with your client is an opportunity to make a positive impression. So before you implement tactics to get more online reviews, make sure you have nailed the customer experience part first. Then, use the following tips to ensure you have a great presence on review sites:
1. Don’t: Post fake reviews
Not only can this get you into trouble with Yelp, but fake reviews are usually pretty easy to spot and leave a bad taste in the mouths of your potential clients. It makes it seem like you have something to hide, and no one is attracted to dishonesty.
2. Don’t: Provide an incentive for a positive review
It’s not uncommon for businesses to offer a discount to clients if they leave a review. However, this is against Yelp’s terms and they have become pretty good at detecting which reviews have been solicited and hiding them. Yelp wants clients to have the chance to provide honest, unsolicited reviews – the true measure of how good a business really is.
Posted on March 22, 2016
Let’s face it many independent massage therapists are not big Massage Envy fans. For some they represent low wages, competition, and the cheapening of our entire industry. Massage Envy annual revenues are around $600,000,000.00 dollars per year. Most of us could live quite comfortably on a small fraction of that amount. Most of their business comes from massage memberships and with that kind on revenue I would argue that they are doing something right and filling a need in our world.
So, let’s look at what we can learn from Massage Envy, and apply it to increase our revenues:
1. Convenience: They have great locations, lots of therapists, and extended business hours. If you want a massage you can usually get one at Massage Envy. With an independent therapist you might end up playing phone tag, not getting a call back, limited availability, and then you have to find them too. Obviously we can’t offer our clients everything that a franchise can but we can do our best to make seeing us as convenient as possible. Online appointment booking (have this on your voicemail), reception services, regular business hours they can count on, fast/easy debit card processing, and professional signage and parking, will all go a long way. There may be things about your business that are inconvenient that you don’t see or realize. Have a few people book appointments and come in in trade for honest feedback.
Posted on March 17, 2016
In this article, USA Today reports that the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention has introduced it's first ever formal guidelines for dispensing opiate painkillers - and it has one clear message - do not prescribe addictive drugs like Vicodin and OxyCotin to patients with chronic pain.
It has been found that the risks of these drugs outweigh the benefits for most people and that these guidelines are in place to curb the nation's deadly prescription painkiller epidemic. About 40 Americans die each day from overdosing on prescription painkillers and 1.9 million people abuse or are dependent on prescription opiates, according to the CDC.
"For the first time, the federal government is communicating clearly that the widespread practice of treating common pain conditions with long-term opioids is inappropriate," said Andrew Kolodny, Executive Director of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing,. "The CDC is making it perfectly clear that medical practice needs to change because we’re harming pain patients and fueling a public health crisis."
What does this mean for massage therapists, chiropractors, and physical therapists?
Now is the time to educate! Share this news to your Facebook walls - make it a conversation topic among your friends, families, and clients. Our society is overmedicated and this is now formally recognized by the CDC. Instead, clients should avoid drugs and seek out complementary and alternative medicine and physical therapies to help with the management of pain.
Posted on March 16, 2016
My name is Meg Runyan. I'm a recent graduate of the Costa Rica School of Massage Therapy and am pursing my massage therapy license in IL. I'm excited for my new career of of helping people find relief from pain and reconnection with their bodies and I invite you to join me. Over the next several months I will be documenting my journey on the ClinicSense blog.
As a new massage therapist I am looking to build my reputation and also learn from others. It hasn’t been long but I already miss massage therapy school. I miss being surrounded by students and instructors, having a community and being able to “talk shop”. I loved the exchange of ideas and information. Now that I have graduated and am out on my own I am working to build my own community of professional bodyworkers. As part of that endeavour, I joined AMTA, American Massage Therapy Association.
Joining a professional association has helped me feel connected to the world of massage therapy. I have mostly used my AMTA membership to view webinars, online classes and publications, post my resume, and look for jobs. So far there hasn’t been any personal contact with fellow members, but I know that will change soon. I feel that my AMTA membership has connected me to the wider world of Massage Therapy. I get to hear about different people’s approaches to massage therapy, learn about various modalities, discover research, and gain advice from others.
Posted on March 9, 2016
In this Washington Post article, Paul Schwartzman writes that massage therapists are reporting "Trump anxiety" among clients. It certainly makes sense to us - Trump is stressing out a lot of people - and with numerous studies showing stress relief as a main benefit to massage, people are going to the right places to ease that anxiety. So while we'll spend the next few months debating whether Trump's policies are good for the American economy or not, we at least know that he's great for the massage industry!
We had the chance to speak with some of our own customers who have have also noticed an increase in the number of people reporting political anxiety at the hands of the billionaire. And it was unanimous - whether you love him or you hate him, this is a good opportunity to reiterate to the public that massage is great for stress relief.
To spread the word we created this fun "sharable" to post to your Facebook wall for your customers to see and comment on.
Simply click to share >>>
Posted on March 7, 2016
Although massage therapy is a profession that keeps you constantly busy with appointments, it's important to take time every week to focus on strategies to grow your business. This can range from continuing education courses, to taking an hour each week to call clients you haven't seen in a while, to expanding your online presence with a weekly blog post.
The last of these three business-growing strategies, blogging, is often overlooked as an opportunity to gain more clients. Perhaps it is the time commitment aspect, or maybe the importance of blogging is not clear as a marketing tactic. To help clarify the value of blogs for growing your business, listed below are three key reasons to consider starting a blog.
#1: Establish Yourself As An Expert
Blogging can help you establish yourself as an expert. When a potential new client searches for a massage therapist on Google, they are likely to get a few pages of results. Without prior knowledge of your business or a recommendation from a friend, it's difficult to stand out from the crowd and establish trust with the prospective client. Therefore, it's important to provide them with as much information as you can to attract their business. A professional website that lists your services, staff and location is a great start, but it doesn't really answer the question "why should I choose you?"
This is where a blog can add a lot of value. By keeping an up-to-date blog with healthcare tips, explanations of modalities in terms that clients can understand, and additional content, you can establish yourself as an expert in the field and start to win over the trust of the potential new client. Just like any other business, when it comes to choosing a service provider, you're going to choose the one that has demonstrated sufficient knowledge.
Posted on February 24, 2016
One of the easiest ways to attract new customers is by asking your existing clients to spread the word about your business. People trust the opinion of their friends and family, so when your clinic is recommended to them, they are more likely to book an appointment with you.
Think about the growth potential of a really great referral program for a moment: If each of your existing clients has just one of their friends/family/colleagues book an appointment with you, your business has doubled! Leveraging that network is very powerful, and the great thing is, referrals require no upfront investment.
So let’s talk about the structure of a great referral program, keeping in mind there are two people involved in the referral: (1) your existing client and (2) the potential new client.
Tip 1: Give your existing client an incentive to refer a friend.
Research has indicated that when compared to offering no incentive, offering an incentive increases the likelihood of a referral. This is especially true when someone is considering referring an acquaintance rather than a really close friend (for example: a work colleague).
Since you want to get as many referrals as possible, you want to make sure people have an incentive to refer their co-workers, sports teams, old high school friends, etc. – not just their close friends.
A common incentive that several clinics have had success with is offering a gift certificate in exchange for a referral. The reward is only given to your existing client when they refer a new client and when that new client books an appointment with you. The recommended gift certificate value is $15 - $25. Anything less may be viewed as insignificant, and anything more may be giving away too much.
Posted on February 19, 2016
As I wait for my massage therapy license I’ve decided to spend some serious time working on my goals. It’s a struggle for me. It feels like pulling teeth. But I know it’s important. Goals help us find direction, inspiration, and organize our actions. But how often do I write my goals down or make a plan to achieve them? Rarely, but now that I have time, I am going to do the teeth-pulling work of setting goals and making a plan.
Goals tend to live in that nebulous world of ideas and dreams, fun to think about but hard to nail down. I hate writing ideas down. It makes them so concrete. Setting goals and planning can be boring or at worst intimidating. How do I take an inspirational idea and turn it into a plan without killing it? What if I find out my goal is impossible?
And to all that, I say, “So what?” So what if setting goals is a struggle? It’s worth the struggle! There is some sort of magic in writing something down. It becomes more real. Making a plan helps organize my efforts and actually gives me more confidence in my goals. I start to see my goals as more than inspiring ideas, but as future realities. And that is empowering!
So I have been spending time brainstorming, writing ideas down, and asking myself what I really want out of life. First, I write down my values, those ideas that are important to me. Then I write down different goals that I have, things I want to do, places I want to go, things I want to have. Next, I compare them to see if my goals reflect my values. If they don’t I’ll set those goals aside for now.
Posted on February 16, 2016
There are certain times throughout the year that you can use to help boost business. For example, with Valentine’s Day just passed, hopefully you got a big boost in gift certificate sales by promoting the gift of relaxation for your significant other. You likely also see an increase in sales on Mother’s Day, Christmas, Father’s Day, and more. Today I want to talk about how to use clients’ birthdays as a way to gain more business.
The first advantage to paying attention to your clients’ birthdays is customer service. The little touches like an email on your client’s birthday is what brings your customer service from good to great. And people talk about great customer service! So start keeping personal notes about your clients – and you can go beyond their birthday by noting important dates like anniversaries, or even just by asking specific questions when you greet the client – like: “Last time we were talking about your son’s upcoming championship soccer game, how did they do?”
When talking specifically about birthdays, the next thing we want to do is think beyond customer service and start to think about how we can use the opportunity to attract the client back into your office. This can be done with a simple birthday promotion. For example, when you send an email to wish the client a happy birthday, why not include a message about how they deserve some relaxation on their birthday, and then attach a small gift like $10 off of their next service.
Posted on February 5, 2016
Hi there! My name is Meg Runyan. I'm a recent graduate of the Costa Rica School of Massage Therapy and am pursing my massage therapy license in IL. I'm trained in western massage techniques, deep tissue work, Reiki, Lomi Lomi, and Thai massage - I also have a Bachelor of Science in biology. I'm excited for my new career of of helping people find relief from pain and reconnection with their bodies and I invite you to join me. Over the next several months I will be documenting my journey on the ClinicSense blog. I hope that my this will offer the opportunity to other new grads to learn from me by writing about what I think I did right (and what I think I did wrong).
Graduated from massage therapy school. Check. MBLEx taken (and passed!). Check. Sent in application and paperwork to the state. Check. Now what?
Perhaps you are in the same place as me. You have dutifully filled out all the paperwork to start your new career as a massage therapist. But now we have to wait for the state to approve our application. Or maybe you are a different kind of holding pattern. We have all had this experience of waiting, of being in limbo.
I can feel pretty helpless when I am limbo. It feels like there is nothing I can do. I am stuck waiting. It can be a frustrating, worrisome, aggravating, uncomfortable, and an in between place. I have finished school, but I can’t start on my new career just yet. As of this writing, I am one month into an estimated three month wait for my license. That’s a lot of time. What do I do with all this time?
Posted on February 3, 2016
Return On Investment is commonly referred to as ROI. Understanding ROI is critical for growing and maintaining a successful massage business. In a nutshell, ROI means, if I spend $1 on my business, will I get more or less than $1 in return? The best way to explain this is through an example.
Let’s imagine that you bought an advertisement on Facebook for $100. Ten people that saw the advertisement booked an appointment with you. And you charged $50 for each appointment.
So you spent $100, but it lead to $500 in revenue. Provided that your cost to treat these clients (i.e. cost of lotions, towels, etc.) did not exceed $400, you made a positive Return On Investment.
But it doesn’t actually end there. That is only your Return On Investment after each client booked one appointment. If you impressed them, and followed up properly, then each of those clients will book several appointments with you over the course of their lifetime. Let’s imagine that on average each new client books a total of ten appointments with you over the course of their lifetime.
Posted on January 29, 2016
Greetings! My name is Jack. Over the next few months, on the ClinicSense blog, I’m going to be sharing with you all of the successes and bumps in the road on the way to changing my job and career path from working at a spa to starting my own business as a sole practitioner. Together, we’re jumping in with both feet, so let’s get going.
For a little over a year, I have had the good fortune to work for an active and well-managed spa. I have completed well over 1000 massage sessions with a close to even split of 60 and 90 minutes each. In that time I have been able to take full advantage of the stellar massage program where I was educated and trained by top-notch instructors that encouraged me to be an inquisitive, creative and thoughtful therapist. My instructors were life long learners their passion for massage therapy and pension for excellence rubbed off on me. I’ve continued to learn new modalities and have been absorbing all approaches to manual therapy that integrate safely within our scope of practice.
I have recently come to realize that it is time for me to transition into my own practice even though I currently only have 6 private clients (have table, will travel) that I have cultivated outside of the spa culture that I have been working in. I’m not afraid of this challenge, but even though there was a great section, in massage school, on starting one’s own business, I don’t have the same passion for business as I do for therapy and have been finding it difficult to get started with the nuts and bolts of a business plan.
Posted on January 26, 2016
This post originally appears in Massage Today.
It's noon on a Wednesday when your phone rings - your two o'clock can't make it and they have to cancel. That time slot is going to be incredibly difficult to fill, meaning you are going to have to take a loss.
The same thing happens next month, when th
is same client calls in to cancel last minute. You are frustrated and the lost revenue is starting to pile up. It might be time to fire that client. But before you go to those lengths, consider all of the following steps to reduce your last minute cancellations and no-shows.
Develop a Cancellation Policy
The first step toward reducing those last minute cancellations and missed appointments is to develop a cancellation policy. A fairly common practice is a 24-hour cancellation policy. This gives you an adequate amount of time to try and fill that now empty time slot, while ensuring some compensation if you are not given fair warning.
Some clinics will charge the full amount, others 50% of the amount, or even a flat rate fee for a cancelled or missed appointment. Choose the option that will make you feel fairly compensated for the lost time.
Lastly, when developing your cancellation policy, keep a friendly tone and remind the client why the policy is in place. Here is an example of well-written cancellation policy: Please be aware of my 24-hour cancellation policy. Because it is very difficult to fill a cancelled appointment without sufficient warning, appointments cancelled without 24 hours notice and missed appointments will be charged a fee of $50.
Posted on January 18, 2016
Here’s an idea for your clinic that may be the easiest marketing tactic to implement that we’ve ever written about.
Customers may book a treatment with you for several reasons – but one of the most common reasons is pain. And as part of your assessment, it’s important to find out the source of this pain. Which leads us to a simple question that has tons of marketing power:
Is this work-related pain?
Sure, it’s a basic question, one that you’ve probably asked hundreds of times. But what is often overlooked is the opportunity that comes with work-related pain. Consider that this person may work with a few to a few hundred other people that do the same job – whether that’s spending 8 hours a day on a computer, or lifting heavy materials. If they are experiencing pain from their job – I guarantee that their co-workers are too.
So someone with pain has come to see you, your treatment made them feel better, and they know other people with the same pain. Now if that’s not opportunity, I’m not sure what is! Once you know the pain is work related, put your marketing hat on – let this client know that you are accepting new clients and you’d be happy to treat their co-workers if they are experiencing the same pain. Give them business cards or brochures to hand out. Even build in a referral incentive – offer them 15 minutes free for every client they refer – or find out if they work for a large company and set up a formal deal to employees of this company.
So make sure this one question is asked every time - there is lots of hidden potential out there, you just have to find it!
Posted on January 12, 2016
Your website has a huge impact on how potential customers perceive your business. Many of your customers are going to find you by searching for local massage therapists online, which means your website is going act as a first impression. If your website is unprofessional, it's going to make you look unprofessional. The following are a few tips for creating a professional website for your massage therapy business:
Use your own domain
Having your own domain name is the first step for a professional website. You'll likely want to choose a ".com" rather than a ".co" or ".net" since ".com" tends to be easier to remember. You'll also want to keep your domain name as short as possible. For example, a business named ABC Massage Clinic should first try for ABCmassage.com. If that domain is taken, only then try ABCmassageclinic.com. A domain name is usually around $10/year and well worth the investment.
Upgrade Your Email Address
When you buy your domain name, find a provider that includes an email address. This way you can be reached at email@example.com rather than firstname.lastname@example.org. Using your own domain is not only more professional, it is more memorable.
Create a professional website layout
There are several factors that ensure your website looks professional. These include the following:
Logo - Make sure the logo of your massage therapy business is visible on every page of your website to help strengthen your brand's identity. It's worth working with a graphic designer to create a professional and stand-out logo that will not only be used on your website, but also on your business cards, flyers, etc.
Contact info - Your contact information should be very easy to find. This includes your email address, your business phone number, the physical location of your business, and links to your business' social media profiles. The last thing you want is for potential customers to leave your website because they couldn't find a way to contact you! If you use online appointment scheduling, you should include your "Book Appointment" button on every page.
Posted on December 30, 2015
Much of the focus in marketing today is on establishing your brand. It's all about creating an identity that sets you apart from the competition. A strong brand for your business lets potential clients know what they can expect from you, encouraging them to seek out your services.
Part of your brand should be advanced expertise in your field, which creates a sense of authority and reliability. There are a number of effective channels you can use to boost your visibility and position yourself as the local expert.
Start a YouTube channel
Did you know that YouTube is the Internet's second-largest search engine? It's the third most-visited site on the Web, processing more than 3 billion searches per month. It's not difficult to produce and post videos featuring demonstrations and helpful tips. And each video only needs to be around 2 minutes long, so in less than 30 minutes you can plan, shoot, and upload a video. As you create more content, and share them across social media, you will get more views and build a reputation as an expert.
The explosion of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media sites provides a golden opportunity to get your name and message out to potential clients. You don't even have to produce all the content yourself. Share links to newsworthy and thought-provoking sites and encourage interactivity by posting questions for discussion. Potential clients will see that you are engage with your career, and that is very attractive when looking for a new healthcare provider.
Posted on December 15, 2015
It's that time of the year - when most people with insurance coverage have to use their benefits or else they lose them, resetting on January first. At a time of the year when many people's minds are occupied by the holidays and shopping, it can be tough to remember to book those last appointments of the year to take full advantage of insurance.
But all hope is not lost, sometimes all it takes is a little intervention. Part of your marketing plan should include an email to all of your clients - something that if you haven't already done, you should be doing right now! We want to remind them that they may have benefits left for the year, and that you have availability in your schedule. Promote the need for relaxation during the holiday season. It can be a time filled with a lot of stress for some people and taking some time to treat yourself can do wonders for how you feel.
Depending on your state or province, this could mean a nice boost in business to end the year.
Posted on December 7, 2015
As a massage therapist, you go to school and work hard to perfect your craft. Then, you market your services to grow your business. And finally, you get a good client base going and you’re on a path to a successful career.
Once you’re on that path, it’s important to remember that your marketing efforts should not stop. The key to long-term success is having your existing clients rebooking regularly. But what do you do when that doesn’t seem to be happening? You should have specific marketing tactics in place to regain their business.
Take a look at these seven ways to get clients interested in rebooking regularly:
Before clients ever have a chance to drop out of care, there’s something you can do to help ensure they schedule regular massages: educate. Spend some extra energy with first-time clients discussing the health benefits of massage therapy and why it’s crucial to see a massage therapist more than once or twice a year. With understanding comes action.
You want to assert yourself as the expert. If you are treating a client, and in your professional opinion they would benefit from a weekly or monthly visit, then tell them. Document a treatment plan, and explain why a regular visit will benefit them. Clients will respect your professionalism, and will listen to your advice.
Posted on November 30, 2015
As a massage therapist, you probably have no shortage of topics to write about on your business blog. But if you're looking for a sure-fire way to invigorate your blog – and reap other tangible benefits at the same time – consider asking for guest bloggers, or guest contributors.
Naturally, you should seek out contributors who have something worthwhile to say that can inform, educate, entertain, or otherwise enrich the lives of your clients – as well as those who pose no competitive threat to your business. You can make the most of your search by simultaneously looking for opportunities to be a guest blogger yourself.
The top five benefits of guest blogging almost always cut both ways – and are usually recursive in nature.
- Guest blogging opens the door to linking and greater Internet traffic since the “host” should provide a link in the blog that shepherds readers directly to the writer's website. As long as the links are minimal and of high quality, Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines will take notice – and reward you with an elevated status.
Posted on November 12, 2015
So you've decided to start your own massage therapy business. Great! The first place you should start? Your business name. Don't underestimate how important the name you choose for your business is going to be. It's what your business is going to be identified by for the entirety of its existence. Coming up with a good name is a lot easier said than done. The following are a few tips to help guide you:
Think about what you're trying to get across - What is the focus of your massage therapy business? Is it health? Is it relief from pain? Is it comfort? Consider your main goals as a business and pick a name that makes it clear what you do - and is catchy/stands out.
Think like your potential customers - Get in the minds of your customers. Think about what they would consider to be an attractive business name. And very importantly, bounce some name ideas off as many people as you can. Getting this feedback is an important step.
Posted on November 4, 2015
This article, authored by ClinicSense Co-Founder, Daniel Ruscigno, was originally published in Massage Today.
Cause marketing is truly one of the best ways that you can promote your services as a massage professional. Cause marketing refers to a type of marketing where a business partners with a non-profit organization to help bring awareness to a charitable cause.
The cooperative effort is mutually beneficial because it helps increase the reach and awareness of the cause for the non-profit, and for the partnering business it's a way to show customers that they stand for a cause and want to make the world a better place. This improves public relations, and servers as a platform to tell hundreds potential new clients all about the business. There are plenty of different ways to get involved with a cause, but for massage therapists, we have found the following method can have a big impact.
First, pick the charity you'd like to support. You'll want to pick one that's close to your heart – a genuine interest in your cause is important for sincerity and because you'll really feel great about the work you're doing. In this example, you'll want to choose a charity that hosts a "walk to end," "run to end," or "bike to end" type of fundraiser.
Next, you will get in touch with the event organizers and propose that you set up an area for chair massage at the finish line. In these active types of fundraisers, you'll find plenty of people that are in need of a quick treatment to get them feeling good again after their event. Include a brief overview of the benefits of massage to participants as part of your proposal.
Posted on October 26, 2015
There are a number of ways to drum up interest in your massage therapy business as well as to simply gain exposure for it. One of the most effective ways to do both of these things is by holding a fish bowl contest. People love contests since it gives them a chance to win something - and they’ll often enter even if they are unfamiliar with the company holding the contest.
A fishbowl contest is a particularly easy contest to run and an easy contest to enter, which means the odds are good that you’ll get plenty of entries. The following are some helpful tips for running a fishbowl contest:
Setting up the Contest
The first thing you’ll want to do is strike up a conversation with some of the local businesses in your area. Try finding businesses that might be more relevant to your massage therapy practices. For example, a yoga studio or a health foods store. Speak with the owners and ask them if you can leave a fishbowl by their cash register with a description of your contest. You can offer to advertise their businesses at your massage therapy business in return. In fact, the added benefit of holding a contest like this is that it forces you to network with other local businesses.
Posted on October 19, 2015
For massage therapists running their own business, there are dozens of things to take care of beyond the care of your clients. For example, market & sales, accounting, and making sure that your business is properly insured in the case of an accident.
Liability insurance defends you from a lawsuit stemming from your negligence as a RMT. Both your actions OR your inactions can find you in legal hot water.
One type of policy is Commercial General Liability. This is the slip and fall part of your insurance and covers accidents that happen outside your control, like: people slipping on the front sidewalk, a table breaking, or the client fainting and hurting themselves.
The other type of liability insurance you have is Professional Liability. This stems from a lawsuit due to bodily injury from a treatment. The most common thought that comes to mind is you hurting someone during massage but almost always it’s your non-actions or the actions of others that find you in legal hot water. Whether it is by the failure to perform a certain treatment or not asking the right a questions before the treatment begins. Also you can find yourself treating a client who has been mistreated by another practitioner. What if your client has just received a dangerous chiropractic adjustment then finds themselves on your table? You both may be drawn into a lawsuit if something were to happen. Professional liability defends against these types of situation.
Posted on October 15, 2015
Running a massage therapy practice is difficult. Not only do you have to interact with your clients and stay up to date on new techniques and trends in the industry, you also have to deal with business issues.
Bills need to be paid, invoices sent out, appointments need to be booked and verified. At times it may be overwhelming. It’s at this point where you may consider bringing in some help. You can hire a person to come in and deal with the everyday issues of running a business, you can hire a virtual assistant, or you can find clinic management software to automate some of your administrative tasks.
What Is A Virtual Assistant?
A Virtual Assistant (VA) is a self-employed person who can assist you in administrative, technical or creative tasks for your business. They work remotely, usually at home, from any spot in the world.
Many of these VAs are highly qualified and often have college degrees in their field of expertise. Finding a qualified candidate is as easy as conducting an internet search.
Posted on October 6, 2015
Massage therapy may be great for relieving muscle pain in your patients, but it can take its toll on your hands and back. Massage therapists that have been performing massages for a long time often end up suffering from pain caused by providing massage therapy. There's a lot of bending over and use of pressure that's required, which can result in joint, back, and muscle pain. These issues can shorten the length of your massage therapy career, so how can you prevent them?
Use proper form - When providing a massage, you need to put your whole body into it. A common mistake is to put your weight into your shoulders, fingers and wrists. By forcing too much pressure into these areas, you can end up developing carpel tunnel syndrome. You need to use the weight of your body in order to use proper form.
Don't overwork - If you're just starting out, then you're probably trying to get as much work as possible. However, you need to set limits. Of course you want your business to be successful. However, giving too many massages will lead to burn out. Not only are you putting wear and tear on your own body, the more you work while tired and lacking in energy, the more at risk you are at using bad form, which can lead to injuries.
Posted on September 30, 2015
Branding is incredibly important when it comes to marketing your massage therapy business. In order to gain exposure and build awareness of your business, you need to create a recognizable logo. Just think of some of the most famous logos in the world, from the Nike swoosh to the McDonald's golden arch M. Everyone knows exactly who those logos belong to. The following are a few things that you need to keep in mind when creating your company's logo:
- The logo should be unique - One mistake that small business owners often make is using a logo they like as a starting point and then not making it different enough. Your logo should be unique so that it isn't mistaken for someone else's - especially other businesses or competitors in your area.
- The logo should be scalable - This means that your logo should look good whether it's small or big. For example, it should look good on your business card as well as on a billboard. People often forget how small a logo is when it's fit onto a business card or promotional items like pens. If you have too much detail in your logo, it won't look good at small sizes.
Posted on September 21, 2015
Two major reasons that people go to parties are to talk about themselves and to hear stories from other people. When you meet a new person at a party, the talk inevitably seems to lead to the same question: “What do you do for a living?”
The typical answer “I'm a massage therapist” or "I'm a chiropractor" can put a quick end to the conversation. Not for lack of interest, but the answer just doesn't lend itself to a more in depth discussion.You have witnessed the healing touch that massage can bring to a tired, broken body. Rather than simply answering the question, if you could express what you do without using a job title it could open the door for conversation.
Next time you are at an event, try answering with something like “I relieve people’s pain.” An answer like this can draw immediate interest. Immediately your counterpart will want to know how, and now you're off to a more in depth and interesting conversation about your career. This will allow you to really show your expertise as you explain the modalities that you use to relive pain areas.
Posted on September 14, 2015
Cardinal business rule #1: always have business cards on hand. You never know when you'll run into a potential long-term customers. But, sometimes it can be fun to think about unique alternatives or promotion items that will help your business stand out. Think beyond the business card, and people will talk about you!
We've put together a few ideas for you to consider:
Handheld stress relievers, or stress balls, are available in hundreds of designs, and can be custom printed with your business name and contact information. This promo item stands out to us because of the direct relation to massage therapy - stress relief!
Magnetic Business Cards
Business cards often end up in a junk drawer, the bottom of a purse, or in the garbage. Magnets, on the other hand, almost always end up on the refrigerator door - a place your clients visit daily - and serve as a constant reminder that your therapeutic touch is a click or phone call away.
Business Cards for Bookworms
Like magnets, bookmarks can serve as a daily reminder to your clients that you are open for business. Each time your client opens their book, there's your business name and contact info. And you can get creative with the other side - like a nice photo, an inspiring quote, or interesting facts about massage.
Posted on September 8, 2015
Microsoft's Bing Places is often overlooked but is one of the top three free Internet business listing services. Bing Places is free marketing which you should take full advantage. By listing your business with Bing Places, customers may find you on Bing Maps and Bing SERPs (search engine results pages).
You don't need a website to list your business online with Bing, nor do you need advanced Internet skills. So, set aside 10 to 15 minutes and get your business online! Here's how:
- The first step to list your business is to go to BingPlaces.com.
- Click "Get Started".
- It's possible that your business is already listed on Bing. To find out, enter your business' name and location or phone number and click "search".
- If your business doesn't appear in the list, click "Create new business". You will be prompted to enter an email, such as your Microsoft account (i.e. Hotmail or Outlook) if you have one. Or, you may create a new Microsoft account.
- Once you've logged in or created a new account, you'll enter your business name and address and click "Next".
Posted on August 31, 2015
With more than 10,000 people reaching 65 years of age each day in America, the senior market segment provides fantastic opportunity to grow your new or established massage therapy company. One quick way to catch the eye of the senior market is by offering senior discounts. Consider the following tips to boost your company's ROI of marketing efforts by maximizing discount offers and enjoy the rewards of working with your new senior clientele.
Making Your Mark
The first impression your company makes with senior clientele may be marketing materials, such as brochures, coupons, mailers and business cards. Use easy-to-read fonts and large print on all marketing materials to better convey your company's message. Additionally, use phrases targeted to seniors, such as "increased flexibility" and "improved balance".
Pinpointing Your Senior Market Segment
Before you can offer massage discounts and specials, you must find your customers. Fortunately, locating your senior market segment can be as simple as searching the Internet. Search for assisted living homes, retirement homes, senior apartment communities and local community centres. You're also going to need to know activity schedules at these facilities to tailor your discounts. Check their websites for schedules to maximize your time.
Posted on August 24, 2015
In today's online world, many people incorrectly believe that social media marketing and search engine marketing are the most important areas of any marketing plan. For a local healthcare clinic, your potential clients live and work mostly in your area - so while online marketing tactics are important, a little bit of hard work offline can have a faster and bigger impact on your business.
Why Old School Offline Marketing Works
After quality of care, the biggest factor when choosing a healthcare provider is location. So your most likely clients are the people in your neighborhood - and that's where some of your marketing efforts should be focused.
With a small investment of 500 to 1,000+ postcards or door hangers, and one afternoon, you can personally drop off your business information to the homes in your area. With even just a 2% response rate, you can find 20 new long-term clients using this marketing tactic.
Posted on August 17, 2015
“Can I have your card?”
When a potential client asks for your business card, are you going to give her a professional-looking business card, or only hand over the old excuse about just giving out your last one? While much of today’s marketing is done online, having a business card to give to prospects is essential in creating a professional image and helping to build trust for you and your company.
The good news is that even high-quality business cards are inexpensive to print, and easy to design — if you know where to begin. Learn more about the essentials elements of professional business card design, and watch your client list grow.
All business cards are not the same, but the good ones share similar characteristics.
Good business cards are:
- Made from high-quality stock: Cards printed on flimsy, cheap stock does not portray a professional, confident business. Try to use at least 12pt or heavier card stock.
- A reflection of the business: Potential clients should be able to easily recognize what your company provides with a quick glance. Your company’s logo, and complementing colors are usually enough - there is no need to distract attention with additional images.
Posted on August 10, 2015
Getting the word out about your clinic is a key to success. Effective advertising can be difficult however, as flyers, print ads, and local commercials are often ignored. If you’re looking for an innovative way to advertise your business consider getting a car wrap.
What Is A Car Wrap?
A car wrap is a decal made out of vinyl that you wrap around the exterior of your automobile. It allows you to turn your car into a mobile advertisement for your clinic. These wraps are easily removed, perfectly safe to use on your car, and can last several years. They can cover the entire vehicle or just part of it. In general, partial wraps cover the back and fender while full wraps cover the entire car minus the roof.
Car Wraps Are Effective
In terms of return on investment, car wraps can be very effective. They are generally less expensive than billboards, print ads, radio, and local television commercials, yet also get noticed in traffic as people drive by. A billboard can be easily ignored but not the car in front of you!
Posted on July 30, 2015
One of the best ways to promote your massage therapy business is to interact with your customers. Social media is a great way to promote your business, and it is successful because of the interaction it creates between the customers and the business. How great would it be if you could throw a contest that gets people to interact with you on social media as well as getting them to lay down on your massage table? Here is a contest idea that will bring you new clients, and increase your visibility on Facebook.
Friends love to share experiences with one another, especially great ones. Nowhere is this more prevalent than on Facebook. People are constantly sharing the awesome restaurants they dined in, or the amazing new hairstyle they got at their favorite salon. Wouldn't it be great if your clients were sharing how much they loved getting a massage from you? Your client's friends are an awesome source for new clients; here is how to get them on your table.
Posted on July 13, 2015
When you’re running your own business, it’s important that you take every opportunity you can to promote your business. Email newsletters, Google ads, direct mail offers, etc. are common ways to advertise your practice, but there are also many subtle tactics to use that can really add up to something significant.
One subtle way to spread brand awareness is through your email signature. Whether it’s a personal email or a business email, use this area to share information about your business. So what specifically can you promote? Since the ultimate goal is to book more appointments, you can get straight to the point by letting people know how they can schedule with you:
This will serve as a constant reminder to friends, family, and work colleagues that you are available to book an appointment with. The signature is subtle, not “salesy”, and every once in a while the timing will work out just perfectly where you’ll email someone who’s in need of your care, or perhaps they know someone that could and will refer them to you.
Posted on July 3, 2015
This article was originally published in Massage Today.
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet. You can think of it like a virtual bulletin board, where you can post your favorite things to come back to later and to share with other people.
The first time you explore Pinterest, you'll notice it's full of pictures of food, clothing and home decor. The opportunity to market your business here may not be immediately obvious. But as you create interesting "boards," other people will start to follow you and even "re-pin" items from your Pinterest account. With the following tips you can take advantage of Pinterest to expand the reach of your brand and engage with potential new customers.
Create a Pinterest account for your clinic. When you create your account, include your clinic's name and website on your profile. You can then connect your Twitter and Facebook profiles for increased visibility. This way, with every pin your brand name will be shared and over time, people will start to remember you.
When you sign up, select the option to sign up as a business and go through the process of verifying that you are the owner of your website. This way people know that you are who you say you are and you build trust.
Posted on June 11, 2015
Today, Facebook has launched a new feature to their advertisements called “local awareness”. Since we see it as a good opportunity for healthcare clinics, we decided to replace today’s scheduled blog post with an introduction to this feature so that you can be among the first to take advantage.
Previously, advertisements on Facebook would feature an image, some text, and a link to your website. The goal was to attract their attention with the ad, send the potential client to your website, and then from your website encourage them to book an appointment.
Today’s announcement – the addition of a “Call Now” button to your Facebook ads - allows potential new clients to call you directly from Facebook. This makes it even easier for them to book an appointment with you!
Posted on June 4, 2015
A couple of weeks ago we wrote about how often you should send an email newsletter…but perhaps we were getting a little bit ahead of ourselves. Before you worry about email frequency, you have to get subscribers to your e-newsletter! So we thought we’d share a few tips:
Tip 1: Make it super easy to subscribe
The fewer barriers you have to signing up for your e-newsletter, the easier it is, and the more likely people are to subscribe. The great thing about a healthcare related business is that you get to interact with people all day, so you have an opportunity to gain new subscribers in person and online.
For the in-person signups, add an email sign-up form to the area where you take payment. A simple form with fields for name and email address is all you need. It will only take a minute for your client to fill in that information.
Posted on May 21, 2015
In today’s marketing world we tend to focus on online: Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yelp, email, and more. But it’s important not to forget that old school marketing tactics can still have a big impact on your business.
Take direct mail for instance, a response rate of 1-2% would be considered a good response for unsolicited messages. Meanwhile, only 0.01% would be considered a good response rate for unsolicited email. So here are a few reasons to consider including good old snail mail in your marketing strategy:
1. Precise Targeting
When searching for new customers in your neighborhood, there is no better targeting option than direct mail. You can have your postcard delivered to every door within 1 mile of your business. And since location is a huge factor in determining if someone will be a regular client, this is a big deal.
You can even work with marketing companies who have lists of people in your neighborhood to be even more precise with your targeting – like choosing males over the age of 30 with annual income of $70,000+ (and plenty of disposable income).
Posted on May 13, 2015
The problem with sending too often is that you can wear out your clients. They see constant emails from you and if they are not getting value from those emails they delete them or unsubscribe from your list.
The problem with not sending often enough is that you are leaving opportunities to engage with your clients on the table. The goal of an email newsletter is to share valuable information with your clients, so that your brand is constantly exposed to them and serves as a regular reminder that they can book an appointment with you.
So the hard question is: how often should you send? And unfortunately, there are so many variables at play that there is no right answer. Variables like how people opted in to your list, the quality of your email content, the relationship between you and your clients, etc. The good news is there are some tips and tools to help you find the frequency that’s right for your business.
Posted on April 30, 2015
Have you taken the time to calculate how much a client is really worth to you? This is a critical step before executing your marketing plan.
The reason you need to know how much a customer is worth is because it helps set a limit on how much time or effort you should be willing to put into attracting new clients. For example, if an average customer is worth $100 to you, it would be silly to use a tactic that would require hundreds of dollars (or hundreds of hours of your time) to attract a new client. You’d be losing money!
And that’s why it’s important to calculate a customer’s worth, formally known as Customer Lifetime Value. Use the following questions to help you calculate your Customer Lifetime Value. It’s important to remember that we are not thinking about one specific client, but rather the average across of all of your clients.
Posted on April 16, 2015
Most people are familiar with curb appeal from watching their favorite home improvement channel. In that context, curb appeal is how good the house looks when viewed from the street, and is a contributing factor when selling a home. For example, people will put a fresh coat of paint on the house, fix up the front door, or clean up the landscaping to make the home more attractive to potential buyers.
Curb appeal also applies to business. The attractiveness of your business from the street projects an image to potential customers, and they may decide whether they will walk-in or not based on that alone. With the following tips, you can make sure that you have great curb appeal that will draw the attention of foot and car traffic that passes by every day.
1. Keep It Clean
Cleanliness is king when it comes to curb appeal and is your first impression for passers-by. It’s hard to trust that a person keeps the inside of their business clean if the outside is a mess. Make sure that the outside of your business is free of clutter, the windows are cleaned regularly, all light bulbs are working, weeds are picked from the garden, and the building façade is clean and given a fresh coat of paint when necessary.
Posted on April 9, 2015
A couple of weeks ago we posted about a unique idea to partner with a florist as a way to promote gift certificate sales. The general idea was when someone is going to buy flowers for a birthday, Valentine’s Day, an anniversary, etc. the florist could promote the sale of your gift certificate as an add-on to their gift.
That got us thinking about other partnership ideas that could potentially help attract new clients to your business, and one of the interesting ideas that came up was a partnership with real estate agents.
The fun thing about partnerships is that it leaves you room to be really creative. We thought of two different approaches to a real estate partnership. The first is selling a batch of gift certificates directly to the real estate agent. A successful real estate agent knows that, like any business, incredible customer service and word of mouth is key.
Posted on April 2, 2015
A common theme on the ClinicSense blog is the importance of developing a base of long-term clients to ensure the success of your business. While keeping a stream of new clients coming in the door is important, having your existing clients rebooking often is what will truly keep your appointment book full. This is because of the high effort and cost it takes to attract a new client versus asking an existing client if they’d like to book another appointment.
We’ve found that sometimes practitioners can be shy to ask the client if they would be like to rebook because they don’t want to come off as “sales-y”. While we’d certainly encourage asking for a rebooking every time, one easy way to get your feet wet with rebookings is to offer treatment packages.
A treatment package is simple. The client pays up front for 5 or maybe 10 treatments in exchange for a volume discount (often 10-25%). The advantage of a treatment package is that your pitch is not very “sales-y” and there is a very clear benefit for the client. Here is a potential script you can use:
Posted on March 27, 2015
Social media has proven to be a great outlet for connecting with clients. It allows you to stay engaged with your clients between appointments, and by staying in touch, clients remember to book more often and even refer more friends.
The first step for a successful business page on Facebook is attracting your initial followers. Generally, the first people you go to will be friends and family. They are pretty quick to show their support and depending on your network you could be at 20 to over 100 likes within your first few days. The great thing about family and friends is that they are likely to share your Facebook posts to help you get off the ground, which expands your reach and attracts new likes for your page.
After the initial family and friends likes, clinics often hit a bit of a plateau. So it’s important to also let your clients know that they can follow you on Facebook. To do this, you can include a “Find us on Facebook” note on your business cards, mention your page in your email signature and in the footer on your invoices, and simply by letting your clients know after their treatment.
Posted on March 17, 2015
One of the great things about massage is that people love to give it as a gift. For birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, you name it – the gift of massage is a great way to show people that you appreciate them.
One way to sell more gift certificates is to align yourself with other businesses that also have seasonal increases in sales from gifts. The first thing that comes to mind for me is florists. Imagine someone going to pick up flowers around Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day and seeing a sign on the counter “Add the gift of massage for $50” – what a great compliment that would be to their gift!
To get started, it’s as simple as getting in touch with local florists and proposing the idea to them. Generally, they will be looking for something in return – either the same type of promotion of their business to you clients, or perhaps a commission on sales.
Posted on March 3, 2015
People tend to take pride in having a beautiful, modern website, but it’s important to not lose sight of your website’s ultimate goal – getting new clients and booking more appointments. With that in mind, the one thing you can do right now that only takes minutes is check your website to make sure you have a clear call to action.
What is a call to action? A call to action is an obvious graphic, text, or link that provides your website visitor with the next step. It only take a couple minutes of surfing the internet before you cross examples of this – subscribe now, download now, sign up now, etc.
A call to action is important because you can’t leave it up to your website visitor to figure out what to do next. In a world of short attention spans and quick gratification, you need to make it clear what the next step is. In the context of healthcare, the obvious call to actions may be: “Book An Appointment Online” or “Call Us To Book Your Appointment”. You can even link your call to action to a sale or promotion: “Call To Book Your Appointment – 20% Off Until March 30”.
Posted on February 24, 2015
While the Northeast is still getting hammered with snow and subzero temperatures, it’s not too early to think about and prepare for beautiful Spring weather.
Often, the first people to take advantage of early Spring days are golfers. And even though we’re still in the middle of winter, you can be certain that they are preparing for the upcoming golf season. Not only perfecting their swing, but they have already started planning several golf tournaments for the year.
And this is where there is a great opportunity to market your clinic: at golf tournaments. This is a good opportunity because it is a targeted opportunity. Golf tournaments often attract:
- Local golfers
- Active people
- People with higher incomes
People with these three attributes are great candidates for long-term clients. And golf tournaments are often looking for sponsors and activities to compliment the actual golfing.
Posted on February 10, 2015
Upselling is a way to maximize your revenue on a per appointment basis. As a massage therapist, you can only handle so many appointments in a day, so it’s important you’re getting the most out of each appointment.
Upselling is a sales technique where the seller encourages the customer to purchase more expensive items. The classic example is the fast food upsell of “would you like to supersize your order”? The fast food restaurant is increasing their profit simply by offering you more. So how can this concept be used in massage therapy?
To start, keep a close eye on your schedule. If you have an extra 15 or 30 minutes available after your current appointment, let the customer know that they can add on additional minutes for a small fee. It doesn’t take an aggressive sales approach, just a simple: “Mary, I have some additional time in my schedule today. If you’d like to add an additional 15 minutes to your appointment, just let me know. The additional time would be an extra $10.”
You can also try to upsell when the client is calling in to book their appointment. After finding a time that works for them, again, a simple: “Mary, I can fit you in for a 60-minute treatment at 10am. It looks like I actually have an additional 15 minutes available then. Would you like to come in for a bit longer this time? You can extend the treatment for $10. ”
Posted on February 3, 2015
Community partnerships are a bit different from community involvement in that with these suggestions, you are partnering with other businesses in your neighborhood. This idea is called cross-promotion and involves identifying other businesses in your area that are not competitors, but have a similar client base.
There are three types of businesses in almost every community that you can partner with. The first is gym/yoga/exercise facilities. The reason these are good businesses to partner with is because their clients are health conscious, and really care about the state of their body. Many of a gym’s clients are great candidates as potential customers for assistance with performance and recovery.
While a partnership can take many forms, a common strategy is to offer a special promotion to the members of the gym. This promotion can be advertised in their newsletter, emails, or by placing brochures or posters in the locker rooms. In exchange, you will do the same for the gym – promote their business to your customers. It’s a win-win scenario. Remember to keep your audience in mind. Your promotional materials for a gym should focus on better performance and faster recovery.
The second type of business to partner with, salons, is also based on the premise of having clients who are similar to your client base and are likely to book a massage. Salons often offer a variety of services and are in the business of pampering; their clients like to treat themselves. And a client who likes to treat herself to a manicure or pedicure every month, may also be interested in a monthly massage. With salons, you’ll want to focus the message in your promotional materials on what’s important to these potential clients – relaxation and indulgence.
Posted on January 28, 2015
Loyalty programs are used by many different types of businesses to increase the frequency an existing customer makes a purchase. I’m sure you have a few loyalty cards in your wallet right now – from your grocery store, coffee shop, favorite clothing store, or even from an airline. In this blog post, I want to discuss why loyalty cards work, how you can set up a loyalty program for your clinic to maximize the sales from your existing customers, and one secret for increasing customer loyalty by over 80%.
Loyalty programs work because it gives the customer a goal to work towards and in the context of healthcare, an incentive to book more appointments. As the customer gets closer to the goal, they can feel a sense of excitement from “winning” your incentive and become even more likely to continue to book more appointments on a more regular basis. Additionally, clients can experience what is called the “sunk cost fallacy”. In a nutshell, this means that once the customer has accumulated points towards reaching the goal they feel an obligation to reach it because they have already invested their time and money into gaining their initial points in your loyalty program.
Posted on January 21, 2015
A great way to get involved in your community is by sponsoring local recreational sports teams. Don’t think of the minor or major league ball team with this one; think more along the lines of “beer league”.
The reason that sponsoring a team is a great opportunity for you is two fold. (1) It’s a good way to expose your brand to a few hundred people that are highly targeted – local and active! (2) Throughout the course of the season, several players are going to injure themselves. And with your sponsorship, you will be the first to come to mind when the player is thinking of pain relief.
A sponsorship can usually work in a couple ways. Option one is to have your name printed on the team’s jersey and in exchange you would offer the team a discount on treatments. A second strategy, that I am particularly fond of, is providing the team with some cash upfront (that they can use for equipment, jerseys, etc.). Usually this is around $200. In exchange for the sponsorship, you will ask the team to hand out a promotional offer to each of the teams they are playing. Picture a package of simple business cards or gift certificates for each team, specifically mentioning the promotion you are offering to players in that league and specifically mentioning that you can treat their injuries.
Posted on January 14, 2015
Our blog talks a lot about marketing, advertising, and clinic-growing techniques, but it’s important to pause every once in a while to focus on the one thing that must be mastered before any of these techniques will be useful: customer satisfaction.
To get multiple rebookings and referrals, you must have a happy customer. This involves not only great treatment, but also great customer service from start to finish. Was your website easy to navigate? Are you easy to get a hold of to book an appointment? Is your waiting area a peaceful environment? These are all factors in a customer’s satisfaction and areas where there is potential room for improvement.
While it’s a great practice to ask your clients if they were happy with the treatment and if they are likely to recommend you to a friend, sometimes it’s hard to get honest feedback this way. Instead, think about integrating anonymous customer satisfaction surveys into your follow-ups. There are simple and free tools, like Survey Monkey, that allow you to create an online survey to gather feedback from your clients.
Posted on January 6, 2015
There are so many great reasons to get involved in your local community. You get to meet new people, become friends with your neighbours, support community events, and even promote your business. While each neighbourhood may have unique opportunities to get involved, there are three ways that I’d like to share that almost everyone can take advantage of.
Especially throughout the warmer months of the year, communities often host street festivals where they invite everyone in the neighbourhood to come out for a good time. These events usually feature local restaurants, performers, artists, and retail stores. After a couple hours on their feet, many people would love a 10-minute break, and this is where an opportunity presents itself.
These street festivals are a perfect way for you to get your name out there. You can often pay a nominal fee to set up an area for chair massage. With a simple banner advertising your business name and your great offer of $10 for a 10-minute chair massage, you can get a lot of attention. Not only will you make a bit of money from your treatments throughout the day, but your business name will be exposed to hundreds of people that may not normally pass by your clinic.
And here’s how you can really leverage the attention you’ll receive at the event: for each new client that you treat at the festival, let them know that their massage was essentially free, because you are going to give them a $10 gift card to use towards a 60-minute session if they book an appointment with you within the next two weeks. The offer is a great way to turn an impulse purchase of a 10-minute massage into a potential long-term client.
So take the time this winter to look into community events that are coming up in the Spring and Summer and reach out to the event organizers. You can often lock in an early bird rate when you plan in advance.
Posted on December 31, 2014
Now that the holiday season has passed, it’s a good time to look back and see how well you did with selling gift certificates. The time before Christmas is prime gift-certificate selling time because massage is a gift anyone can appreciate, and is often a great choice for that person that’s tough to buy for.
This article will focus on what makes a great gift certificate and suggest some great ways to promote gift certificate sales.
Gift Certificate Design
There are plenty of options online to find a template for your gift certificate, or you can get creative and design your own. In either case, choose a design that is easy to read, and uses colors and imagery that reflect the calming, relaxing nature of your clinic.
In terms of gift certificate content, you’ll include the basics such as: recipient name, amount, gift certificate number, and a place for your signature. But make sure you don’t forget to include your address, website, and phone number so the recipient knows how to book an appointment and where to find you!
Posted on December 23, 2014
As we’ve discussed in previous blog posts, providing an incentive/offer for a first time customer is a proven method of getting them in the door. Then it’s up to you to make sure they have a great experience and re-book (at full price).
Facebook ads are a great way to spread the word about your offer, particularly because of the targeting options. You can target based on age, location, gender, education, and even interests. This blog post is designed as a “how to” guide for targeting, designing, and getting the most out of your Facebook offer.
Step 1 – Create Facebook Advertising Account
Login to https://www.facebook.com/advertising to create your advertising account.
Step 2 – Create Ad
Click on the green “Create Ad” button in the top right corner.
Step 3 – Choose Objective
Select “Get people to claim your offer”.
Step 4 – Create Offer
There are three main components to your offer: a title, a description, and an image. All three are super important for getting the attention of your potential new client.
Posted on December 16, 2014
While we promote proper planning in a marketing strategy, sometimes there is an element of throwing shit against the wall and seeing what sticks. Well, perhaps we can be a little more polite – marketing involves some experimentation to see what works for your business – the stuff that sticks is where the money is.
Now, take a moment to channel your Grade 8 self and think about experiments – you had your question, hypothesis, experiment, observation, analysis, and conclusion. If you didn’t observe and analyze the experiment, how did you know if the experiment worked?
The same applies to your marketing strategy. Did you get new customers from that advertisement you bought? Did sponsoring that local event lead to new clients? Are you getting new customers from your referral program? In order to know if these tactics, or experiments, are actually working you must measure your results.
Posted on December 9, 2014
If you’re able to attract new customers, you’re going to have a good business. But if you’re able to attract new customers, and get them to re-book often, you’re going to have a great business. It’s often said that it’s much cheaper to retain an existing customer than attract a new one, so let’s talk about how to get the most out of your current customers.
1. Don’t let them leave without booking another appointment
This advice is probably not new to you, but here’s what might be new. Don’t ask the client “when would you like to come in next”? Let’s remember that you just completed an assessment and should have a treatment plan in mind. Instead, you’ll want to say “After today’s assessment I have developed a treatment plan for you to help with . I’d recommend coming back once every 2 weeks for an additional 3 treatments (or whatever your plan is). Does Dec 14th work for you?”
Remember, you are their healthcare provider, an expert that knows the best course of action to alleviate their pain. Don’t shy away from that role. Be confident in your treatment plan. And if they still decide not to book another appointment on the spot…
Posted on November 26, 2014
After creating a website for your clinic, you’ll quickly learn that building it was the easy part, now it’s time to drive traffic to the website in order to grow your practice.
There are two types of traffic that can come to your website: organic traffic and paid traffic. Organic traffic is people that visit your website naturally – maybe they heard about you from a friend, did a Google search, or clicked a link from Facebook or Twitter. Paid traffic is people that come to your website through paid advertisements.
While organic traffic is preferable, it can have other costs associated with it (like the time it takes to search engine optimize your website), and is generally a longer-term strategy. The benefit of paid traffic is that it is immediate and when done right can produce a positive return on your investment.
Posted on November 11, 2014
There are 3 essential components of a great waiting room: they are comfortable, they are informational, and they keep the client entertained. Here are some tips to make the most of your waiting room:
Keep It Comfortable
If a client does not feel at ease in your waiting room it will be hard for them to get into the proper mental mind-set for a treatment – you don’t want them feeling tense. So make it comfortable and decorate accordingly.
- Paint the walls a neutral, calming colour.
- Keep the air fresh with plants. They also add life and colour to the room.
- Keep the walls lively with interesting artwork.
- A fish tank or waterfalls are quite soothing for many people.
Keep It Informational
The client’s time in your waiting room is one of the few times you have the opportunity to educate them. Take advantage by doing the following:
Posted on October 28, 2014
While here at ClinicSense we encourage clinics to use their website and email as the main form of communication with their clients, we also know a thing or two about offline marketing techniques.
Today we’ll discuss client acquisition post cards. Specifically, we’ll talk about basic strategy and what to do to stand out from the crowd.
Direct mail strategy comes down to four main parts: (1) location, (2) timing, (3) a good offer, and (4) measurement.
Location: You typically want to send your postcards to houses within a certain radius of your business. If you’re in a densely populated city, this might be only half of a mile, in more rural areas, perhaps several miles. The area you select will also depend on your budget. On average you want to allocate about $0.75 per house, so a budget of $1000 will reach around 1,300 homes.
Timing: If you are usually booked solid in December, it doesn’t make sense to send out a direct mail piece that month. Find a time when you are traditionally slow and send your postcards to help boost business.
The offer: Direct mail often works best when you have a special offer. For example, ask the potential client to redeem the coupon for $10 off their first treatment. You really want to make the offer something valuable – while you may be discounting your first treatment, if that client books additional appointments you will get a great return on your investment.
Posted on October 14, 2014
1) Not Tweeting Often Enough
Did you know that the majority of Twitter users post less than 1 update per day? It’s hard to gather a following when you have nothing to say. Also, think about how it comes off to your existing clients… has a bit of a lazy feel to it doesn’t it? You are an expert in your field, don’t be afraid to tweet or be a little bit controversial at times… people pay attention to that!
2) Tweeting Too Much
It can be quite annoying for your clients to log in to twitter and see their timeline dominated by your tweets. For your practice, 3-5 tweets per day is a good tweeting goal to have. You’ll be posting often enough to show up in the clients’ timeline a few times a day, but not be overwhelming.
3) Only Tweeting About Yourself
The tendency for new Twitter users is to tweet about themselves and promotions offered by their clinic. While these tweets do have their place, you want to avoid all of your tweets being about you. Limit self-promotion to only a couple of times a week. Instead, monitor what your clients and people in the industry are talking about and answer their questions and offer your expert commentary. It’s also really helpful to share health tips like stretching exercises for the time between appointments.
Posted on September 30, 2014
Short answer: no.
While social media is the new way to share information about and to promote your clinic, it is important to draw the line somewhere when it comes to that personal connection… and we think that line is drawn at the “Facebook friend” stage.
The main issues we see are maintaining your reputation and maintaining confidentiality. We all like to do silly things once in a while, and those times are often fun to post to Facebook for our family and close friends to enjoy. However, if you are “friends” with a client, these moments can risk your reputation.
Furthermore, we are often prone to making remarks about our political or religious views, which are no doubt touchy subjects that can lead to disagreements that hurt relationships.
Accepting a client’s “friend” request may seem like the polite thing to do, but it can put your professional reputation at risk and should be avoided. The good news is that there is an alternative; you can create a Facebook Page for your practice to interact with your patients. In fact, we highly encourage it!
Posted on September 18, 2014
We’ve spent a lot of time looking at clinic websites, and over the years we’ve noticed there is a trend of mistakes that many clinics make on their website. It’s important to remember that your website is often the first point of contact you have with a customer, so making sure it’s up to date (in terms of both content and design) is important to make a great first impression.
So, in an effort to help you improve your website, we’ve listed the top 7 things to avoid.
1) Too much information
Make the essentials of your website easy to navigate to and properly organized. Most clients are going to want to see your office hours, location, contact information, a brief description of the services you offer, and a little note on each staff member.
Make those sections the core of your website, and leave the detailed treatment related information for your blog, allowing patients to easily browse headlines to decide what they are interested in reading.
Posted on September 4, 2014
Once you’ve created a website for your practice, the best way to stay engaged with your patients and to drive more traffic is to create a blog. Your blog will be your platform to share information and your opinion with your clients and fellow healthcare practitioners.
How often to blog
The golden rule of blogging is to keep your blog up-to-date with new content. Many healthcare practitioners feel that they don’t have enough time to maintain a blog, but the truth is you do. You’ll want to post to your blog at least once every couple of weeks, which should only take 1-2 hours, and doesn’t necessarily have to be done in one sitting. For instance, I just finished dinner and am writing this post at 7:30pm with the TV on in the background… It’s simple to make more efficient use of your time.
What to write about
This is simple. You are a massage therapist, a chiropractor, physical therapist, etc., making you an expert in your field. So write about what you know best! And remember, blogging is not school; you only need to write a few hundred words and you want to keep it casual (especially since most medical terms will go over your patients’ heads). Clients love to read about health advice from their practitioners – so write about what they can do to keep healthy – stretches, recipes, etc. are a great place to start. Remember, you are helping improve people’s lives by teaching them something new, something you know lots about, so be proud of your posts!
Posted on August 21, 2014
A nice addition to any website is a video. The internet seems to have diminished most people’s attention span, so a video is helpful for breaking up a page full of text.
While it may seem complicated to some, webcams and phones make recording video easier than ever and a minute or two of video can go a long way. Your patients are not expecting professional quality, so a video of you sitting at your desk, sharing relevant information is all it takes.
Getting the video on your website is just as easy. Simply upload it to YouTube and they will give you the code needed to put it on your website. It’s really just a matter of copying and pasting.
So, now knowing that the process is pretty straightforward, here are the 7 reasons to have a video on your practice website:
Posted on July 29, 2014
With LinkedIn’s professional reputation, its adoption rate among healthcare practitioners has been increasing. A quick search shows that there is now well over two million people in the healthcare industry on LinkedIn.
While social networks like Twitter and Facebook are great for engaging with patients and attracting new business, the benefits of LinkedIn revolve more around professional development.
LinkedIn is the place to post your CV online. Even if you’re happy with your current situation or are self-employed with no plans to apply for a new position, it’s important to have a LinkedIn profile for networking reasons. When you meet someone new (perhaps at an industry convention) they will go back to the office and Google your name to learn a little more about you. If you have a LinkedIn profile, it will likely be the first result in Google, giving your new acquaintance a quick, professional glimpse into your career and credentials. However, if you’re nowhere to be found, you may miss out on a potential business opportunity.
Posted on July 16, 2014
Being in the business we’re in, we get a chance to talk to a lot of healthcare providers. The topic of conversation is usually what they are doing to optimize their practice. We talk about things like what marketing techniques they are using, whether offline or online, and how they are utilizing their website to better their business. The topic I’d like to discuss today is client retention, and the surprising fact that only a small percentage of practitioners are putting effort into this.
To be fair, the people we talk to are busy people. They want to maximize their time in appointments since that’s the way they make money. But client retention is super important for the long run. You want to build your practice to the point where a return visit is a no-brainer for your client because they have made it part of their regular routine.
Obviously, the number one factor in client retention is providing a great service. This means both a great customer service with a friendly greeting and comfortable environment, and a great treatment that leaves them feeling much better than when then walked in your door. Focus your energy on this first, and once you have it down, here are a couple tips to encourage repeat appointments.
Posted on July 7, 2014
It’s no secret that the way we communicate has changed. When you walk down the street you’re more at risk of getting run into by someone with their head down texting on their phone than being hit by a car. Marketers have long taken notice and have shifted their communication strategies to email and text messaging to take advantage of where the customers’ eyes are.
For some reason, the healthcare industry is far behind. Perhaps it’s because practices don’t typically have a marketing person on staff. And because, as a practitioner, you have so many important things to focus on, marketing becomes an afterthought. For that reason, I’d like to talk about how easy email marketing is, and why you should incorporate it into your marketing strategy.
1) It’s Effective
Everyone has email, they get to check it at their own convenience, and it’s highly likely that a patient will open up an email from their healthcare provider.
Furthermore, you now have a new way to develop a relationship with your client. Without email marketing your patient only communicates with you during an appointment, plus the occasional reminder phone call from your receptionist. Just like how a friendship grows stronger with regular communication, with email marketing you can send your patients something on a monthly or even weekly basis, strengthening your relationship with them.
Posted on June 18, 2014
1. Connect With Your Patients
This is the main reason why your practice should be using Twitter. People may visit your website every once in a while, maybe to get some information about your clinic or to read your blog. While this is a good opportunity to connect, if you really want to get involved with your patients online, you have to go to where they hang out online– and many Twitter users login every day!
As they browse their Twitter feed, you want them to see interesting content shared by you – like your blog posts, links to interesting articles, and health tips for them to put into action throughout the day.
2. Gather Feedback
When you connect with your patients, you can ask for feedback to help improve practice procedures. People take pride in their opinions. If they feel that they have contributed something to help your practice, they’ll feel more attached to it.
Posted on May 21, 2014
This article, authored by ClinicSense Co-Founder, Daniel Ruscigno, was originally published in Massage Today.
In a world that is becoming increasingly dominated by connected devices, when we think of marketing, we often think of online and social media marketing. A lot of attention is given to Facebook and Twitter, as well as CPC advertising.
While those channels often provide great results, it's important to take some time to remember that the offline world offers plenty of marketing opportunities to help grow your business.
While marketing occurs at various points throughout the customer life cycle, we will primarily focus on marketing strategies to obtain new clients. The key to growing any business is getting your name out there and while it will happen organically through word of mouth (if you provide a service worth talking about), there are quite a few things you can do to get the ball rolling.
Posted on May 7, 2014
You simply cannot ignore the fact that Facebook is THE most powerful social network site in existence. Below are some tips on how to market your clinic and keep your clients interested in your content.
Tip # 1 - Offer first time visitors an incentive
Patients need a reason to like your page. Usually this means great content, but you can also offer incentives (such as coupons) in return for liking you Facebook Page.Check out Static HTML and the “like-gate” for a relatively easy way to do this. (You’ll want someone with some basic programming skills to help).
Tip # 2 -Write about what you know
Focus on your industry. People will be following you because they know you’re an expert in your field. Keep your content based on your profession - write about current events, share a video, ask them to post a question, or repost an interesting article. Remember to be careful about privacy and confidentiality by avoiding personal comments on treatments/diagnoses.
Posted on April 21, 2014
The level of effort you put into your website can vary, but as with anything, those willing to put in the most effort will come out on top.
Having a website in 2014 is crucial to growing your client base and maintaining a connection with them. It’s no secret that the days of flipping through the phone book to find a healthcare practitioner are over. Today, people opt for convenience and turn to Google, Yelp, Facebook, or Twitter when searching for a local healthcare provider, and unfortunately, if you’re not in the search results, you’ll struggle to grow your practice.
On top of that, people are also more willing to make a recommendation when online. It’s much easier to send out a Tweet or post to Facebook that they were impressed with your service than to call a friend. However, if they can’t include a link to your website for their friends to see, then the recommendation gets lost in the stream of information.
Posted on April 14, 2014
Growing your business is an essential element to establishing a long lasting and fruitful clinic. Of course, to do this, many clinics end up spending a good deal of money on advertising. While advertising does have its place, as a startup it can prove rather difficult to pay for advertising, as this is just going to end up costing you all sorts of money that you might not have. However, there are two simple strategies you can utilize in order to book more patients. These are easy to follow, free and don't take much time. By asking for referrals and reviews, you keep your patients connected and can create more of a family atmosphere as you grow your practice.
Word of mouth is a great method for advertising. The more individuals you have coming in and spreading the word about your business the more people are likely to make appointments. Most people are going to listen to their friends and family for reviews over perfect strangers. That is why a referral process can prove lucrative for your practice.
Posted on April 10, 2014
Where is the first place you go when you need to know anything? Let me guess… Google! Potential clients are no different. When they want to find a healthcare practitioner they are going to go to Google.
You may have noticed that when you are searching for a local business the results on Google Maps are usually listed first. You want to make sure that your business is on Google Maps so that you’re there when they are looking for you.
Bonus: It’s free!... Click "Read More" to learn how to list your clinic in Google Places.