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.
What is Connection Marketing?
You may not be familiar with the phrase, but you probably engage in connection marketing regularly. Dan Slagen, CMO of Alignable, introduced the term connection marketing in 2016 to describe those marketing efforts that rely on our making human connections. In his article, Connection Marketing: See How Networking is Changing, he explains that this type of promotion includes not only networking, but also word of mouth and referrals.
Connection marketing is all about applying a personal touch to marketing. Here’s a closer look at connection marketing and how it can work for you.
Networking: Make valuable connections by providing value to your network
Most business owners have engaged in some type of networking to further their business goals. Yet, networking still gets a bad rap. Some events can seem like nothing more than a way to collect handshakes and business cards. But you can get more out of networking by strategically managing your networking efforts.
Your local community is filled with businesses that can benefit from your knowledge and the services you offer. Effective networking is just a matter of making yourself available to those individuals and providing them with value. In his article on the topic of effective networking, BostonSpeaks’ Kit Pang advises using the TAG system: build strong connections with members of your community by being thoughtful, authentic, and generous. What can you offer to the individuals you meet that can solve a problem or make their live easier?
The local Chamber of Commerce may be sponsoring a health fair where you can set up a booth. Physicians and hospital administrators may be looking for a reliable partner to refer business for them. Other businesses might need advice on how to incorporate ergonomics or massage therapy into their workplace wellness program. Maybe a local senior center administrator is looking for someone to present a relaxation seminar.
Being generous with your time and knowledge helps you build strong relationships in your community and keeps you top of mind.
Word of Mouth: Provide customer service that is worth talking about to earn buzz and referrals
Gaining attention through word of mouth marketing and referrals is a great way to build your local customer base. Whenever a client talks about the benefits of your services to a friend or posts a review online, your business wins. When it comes to choosing a service provider, most of us tend to trust our friends’ advice over that of a paid promotion. In fact, a 2016 survey conducted by Edelman found that many of us trust information provided by peers as much or more than that of experts or traditional media.
To generate the kind of buzz that encourages your clients to talk about your business to their friends requires providing an excellent customer experience every time. When your clients recommend you, they are lending you their reputation. When you perform above and beyond what is expected, you look good and so does the person who recommended you.
Are you taking advantage of your local opportunities to connect and build relationships?
As a local service provider, you are in a unique position to make connections in your community. Your clients can’t receive massage therapy online. The people in your neighborhood look to you and your local competitors to provide them with the healthcare treatment that they need. By being an active part of your community, you let potential clients get to know and trust you. When you impress the members of your community with your professionalism and skill, they become your best advocates.
You have something special to offer your community! So keep sharing, keep caring, and keep growing.