Could you be a little busier?
Have you ever called someone for a massage and found them to be booked up for 1-2 weeks. That really stinks for you, but it is amazing for them! How did they do that? Are they that good? Do they spend a fortune on advertising? What gives?!
Well… They certainly could be an advertising and marketing genius, but I don’t think that’s what gets you booked up for a week or two. Advertising can help draw in immediate business. People flip through a phone book or look at the Google ads to find someone to help with that pain in their back RIGHT NOW! I don’t think advertising is the answer to get you fully booked; although it does help fill in the gaps or last minute cancellations.
What is it then? Are they that good? Yes. They could be absolutely amazing at massage. This will help generate return clients and good word of mouth advertising. I’ve always been more likely to wait a week or two for a quality referral as opposed to someone I’m calling from an advertisement.
It’s not just technique though. It’s the whole experience. Typically someone that is booked up has amazing skills. They also have an amazing personality and are easy to get along with, talk to and trust. They offer a professional, safe, clean and comfortable environment to do the massages in. They are focused. They have their “target market” in site and are constantly going after their niche. They are probably feeling great about what they are doing, loving their job, having no stress about it, and enjoying the flow around them too.
Going after a niche market can seem counter intuitive to some massage therapists. You say, “Hey! There are 100,000 people in my town and I want to massage all of them. I don’t want to go after a market of 1,000 people that are really into sports massage, energy healing, or whatever specialty you’re interested in. That cuts off 99,000 potential customers!” It doesn’t though. Focusing on a niche market allows you to become an expert on that one thing you offer. You can become a voice in that niche community. You can become known as, The Massage Therapist, for that niche.
Imagine going to every meet up group, every town hall meeting, every event, for everything going on in your town. You simply couldn’t.
Now imagine going to every sports related event in your town, going to meetings with other sports professionals about how to better serve the market, volunteering with lower level sports teams, doing massage at races and events related to sports. That is doable…
And if you do it enough, you become known.
When you become known, you get referrals.
When you get referrals and you are good at what you do, you get repeat business.
When you get a lot of repeat business, scheduling their next session as they leave your office…
You get booked up 2 weeks in advance.
Now, combine your “known” factor with some basic internet advertising like Google AdWords or simply making your website search engine friendly, mix in a little time for things to grow, and out you get a practice with lots of referrals, repeat business, and a few people getting in last minute to fill the gaps or last minute cancellations.
Major companies are realizing this more and more. They have to develop a relationship with their customers, not just compete on who offers the lowest price. People will pay more money for the same item if they feel a connection with the person selling it to them. To convey this to the massage world, people will pay your private practice rate, they will not leave you for a cheaper massage somewhere else, they will refer their friends to you… All because you have developed a relationship with them and you are Known in their unique world, their niche market.
Everything takes time to grow. Some people can start today and with creativity, intelligence, belief and drive they can create their dream practice within 6 months or sooner. Most people will take about a year or more of consistently engaging their niche market to get to the booked up point. Of course, everything is completely variable and dependent upon many different factors. Economics of your practice; your area; your niche market; amount of people in your niche market; location of your niche market.
If you don’t know anything about marketing online, there are several continuing education classes you can take to increase your marketing savvy. Understanding what your niche market is takes insight and experience.