Posted on April 23, 2021
It may seem like big corporations are taking over the massage therapy marketplace, but you have something no franchised massage businesses can replicate. Beat the competition by demonstrating your professional knowledge and experience.
Whenever independent businesses in a particular industry are profitable, it is only a matter of time before a large corporation decides it wants in. Then, they begin building multiple corporate-owned or franchised locations, all using the same business model, style and branding. The massage industry is one of the latest businesses to face this corporate invasion, with Massage Envy leading the pack.
Using a franchise model, Massage Envy has expanded rapidly. There are now more than 1,150 Massage Envy locations in the US. Franchise owners benefit from Massage Envy’s business guidance, advertising support and highly-recognizable brand name.
How can you compete with all that?
By being what Massage Envy isn’t.
Economy vs. experience
Every business model has weaknesses. Each business has to make trade-offs. Massage Envy’s business model depends on expanded operating hours and low prices. This makes services convenient and affordable for customers but at a cost.
To keep costs down, Massage Envy franchises pay their massage therapists relatively low wages. Sessions are also booked back-to-back to maximize the billable hours for each provider. Massage therapists may only have 5 to 10 minutes between sessions and may work shifts that end as late as 10 PM.
Massage Envy and other large multi-location massage businesses are a popular first stop for recent graduates who need hands-on experience--which isn’t a bad thing. Corporate massage businesses frequently recruit at schools, creating job opportunities in the industry. However, keeping prices low by only employing junior therapists results in skills gaps.
Because Massage Envy offers low wages, long hours and limited benefits, senior staffers are unlikely to stay with Massage Envy. After gaining some experience, they move on to employers offering better wages and work schedules or they open their own business.
The tightly packed schedules and high turn-over rates at Massage Envy and other fast-paced retail massage businesses also limits junior therapists’ opportunities to learn from their more experienced peers.
This is Massage Envy’s weakness. Even the best school’s training and instruction can’t replace real-life experience.
Your expertise is your competitive edge
We’ve been pretty blunt about the benefits of experience in this article. But don’t get the idea that you need to trash talk new therapists or go negative to win clients. After all, everyone has to start somewhere.
You don’t have to say a word about anyone else’s skills and expertise. Your knowledge and experience enables you to provide superior service and deliver a customer experience that does the talking for you.
However, you can use your experience as a marketing tool by taking advantage of opportunities to highlight it.
Emphasize your knowledge and expertise using strategies such as the following:
- Add bios for yourself and your staff members on your website. Include details about your years of experience and any special training or certifications you have.
- Create marketing materials or run an ad campaign that discusses your training and expertise.
- Make sure that your website and marketing materials indicate all the specific treatments or therapies you are licensed to offer.
- Add informational content to your website that explains the various types of massage and other treatments that different professionals may offer and the benefits of each.
- Serve as a presenter at local wellness or similar events, sharing your knowledge about massage therapy.
- Write articles for your local paper or a community group newsletter about issues related to massage therapy and its impact on people’s health and well-being.
- Share tips and advice gleaned from your experience and knowledge on social media or through an email newsletter.
Don’t let corporate competitors steal your spotlight
No matter how many businesses come to town, each one has something unique to offer. You can set your massage therapy business apart from the competition and win clients with a strategy that emphasizes your differences. Discover more tips to do just that in our free ebook, The Ultimate Guide to Beating Massage Envy. Download your copy today!