What can we learn from Massage Envy to improve our independent massage businesses?

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 of 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, come in and trade for honest feedback.


2. Cost: Massage Envy relies on volume to make their profits. Most of us are limited in the number of massages we can do each day and week. So how can we compete on cost? We can offer a lower cost “New Client Special”. It works because it takes some of the risk out of seeing a new therapist (which we all know can be hit or miss). Massage Envy is really only a couple of dollars cheaper than average one hour massages prices, and their sessions are only 50 minutes. We can educate clients on our websites, marketing materials, and when booking. Once you get your hands on a client, I’m sure they will see you are worth every penny.


3. Consistency: Massage Envy has locations in 42 states, and they are basically all the same. People generally are more comfortable with what they know. Let’s face it, not all massage offices or therapists are for everyone. I remember a massage I had at a resort, in a freezing cold room, behind a pottery studio, no music, terrible massage. At least with a chain I would know there are some standards. How can we make sure our clients are comfortable enough to try us? Photos are great, pictures of your entrance, waiting area, and massage room will help people know what to expect. Keep things clutter free, and very clean. I’ve always said that I may not be able to be the fanciest day spa in town, but I can definitely be the cleanest! Other ideas that can inspire confidence are: your photo on your website, testimonials from clients, and logos from professional organizations.


4. Regular appointments: Massage Envy makes big bucks by getting clients in the door at least once a month. They also reward clients for coming in regularly with a better price. The more regular clients you have the higher and more consistent your income will be. In my business I encourage regular massages by selling pre-paid packages of 10 sessions, and offering “standing” appointments. You could also easily set up your own membership options through PayPal subscriptions. Yes, you might make a little less per session, but you will save on marketing, and earn more by keeping your schedule full.


5. Advertising: People won’t call you if they don’t know about you! The massage envy “For ME” campaign was a $10,000,000 operation, plus the franchises spend up to $40,000,000 per year on local advertising. You have to invest and spend money to make money. When you set your prices and budget your overhead be sure to include enough money for advertising. Massage Envy pays top ad agencies to research and design their campaigns. Google Massage Envy Ads and look at the images, not only will you learn a lot you could get some great ideas. Study advertising and what makes people decide where to go and what to buy.


There is a lot to be learned from successful companies in any industry, so instead of knocking big businesses, study them and see what you can apply to your career.


This is a guest post from Gael Wood. Gael is a Massage Therapist and Esthetician in North Carolina. She has owned and managed for massage businesses in her over 20 years in the industry, including a Therapeutic Massage Center and Day Spa. Now she helps massage therapists with marketing, and business building through her Massage and Spa Success Membership. For more information and a FREE Marketing Toolkit visit http://lmtresources.com/free-massage-business-starter-kit/