The 3 Biggest Mistakes Bodyworkers Are Making in Their Marketing

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Have you ever done something to market your massage or bodywork business that you were super excited about, but then it fell flat — you didn’t get new clients, increase your earnings, or whatever you were hoping to accomplish with the marketing?

And if you’re like I used to be (and sometimes still am, truth be told) you blame yourself. It had to be something you did or didn’t do that caused things to flop. You get discouraged, bummed out, and want to call it quits. After all, it’s much easier to slink away and hide behind your phone than to try to figure out what the heck went wrong. Bleh.

Fear not! Today, I’m going to share the 3 biggest mistakes that massage and bodywork therapists make in their marketing, so that you can pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start again, knowing that you’ve got some support to help you reach your goals.

Here we go!

  1. Focusing on benefits, rather than results.

    This mistake is everywhere! Every time you run across a bodyworker’s website, or pick up a brochure or rack card, you see it. Something along the lines of, “Benefits of XYZ modality: increased endorphins, softened fascia, peace of mind.”

    While all these things may indeed be true, they don’t illustrate the results your clients will get from working with you.

    When I created my first rack card, I had a list of the benefits of CST. Even worse, I talked with everyone I could about those benefits — you should’ve seen people’s eyes glaze over when I got into the meningeal layers of the CranioSacral system! Snoozer!

    So instead, I began to share stories with people. Stories like a client I had whose kid told her that she was much nicer after she “got her head rubbed.” Or the Iraq vet’s wife who thanked CST for bringing her husband back to her and her son.

    These stories are RESULTS. And people can relate to results. So, in your marketing, focus on the results that people can receive (have a better relationship with your children) rather than the benefits of a modality (softened fascia). Your ideal clients will see themselves in your marketing materials and know that you can be of service to them.

  2. Not understanding conversion rates.

    “Conversion rate” is a business term that simply tells you how effective a marketing strategy is. If you give 10 people your business card at a networking meeting, and one of them calls you for an appointment, that’s a 10% conversion rate. One out of ten people “converted” and took you up on your offer.

    The big mistake that we bodyworkers make is that we don’t know what the conversion rates are for common marketing strategies, so we either waste our time and money on the wrong stuff, or we beat ourselves up because we think we should be doing better.

    The very first thing I ever did to market my new practice was to put flyers in the newspaper holders in the neighborhoods around my house. My office is built onto our home, so I thought it would make sense to let the people who lived nearby know about it. I spent about $125 to have 1500 flyers printed, and then my husband and I got up a couple of mornings at 4am to deliver them to the newspaper holders on the mailboxes around our neighborhood.

    I had a coupon for $10 off on the flyer, and I had an expiration date, so at least I did that right, but I was crushed when I didn’t hear from anyone for weeks. On the day before the expiration date, I got calls from two different people to set up appointments. And that was it! 1500 flyers and I got exactly two clients from it. I was so discouraged, I almost called it quits then and there.

    I didn’t realize two important things: first, 2 people out of 1500 is actually BETTER than the average conversion rate for flyers! Who knew?! And second, those two clients became regulars who came in for years of services from me, AND they each referred friends and family to come in for sessions.

    So, while I thought that strategy had bombed, it actually did better than I should have expected it to. The problem was that my expectations were completely unrealistic. I thought I’d get 30 or 40 inquiries — totally off the rails for flyering.

    Wondering about your own conversion rates?

    Here are some ballpark figures for common strategies that bodyworkers use in their marketing:

    —Flyers: (or business cards on bulletin boards): 1% response, .01% become a client. So, for every 1000 flyers you post, you can hope for 10 inquiries and 1 client.

    —FB Ads: 9% become leads (or “like” your page) and 1-2% become clients.

    —Freebies or samples of your work: 30-50% will take you up on your offer of a freebie, and 10% will become clients. So, for every 10 freebies you give out, 3-5 people may take you up on the offer, and of those 3-5 people who come in to try your service, 1 will become a client.

    —Conversations: When someone contacts you for information, and you speak with them about your services, 25-50% of them will come in for a session.

    —Referrals: A whopping 50-75% of referrals will become clients. When someone else recommends you to a friend, there is a really good chance they will come in for a session. That’s why you want to do such terrific work that your clients do most of the marketing for you!

    You can see from the numbers here that you might not be a bomb in your marketing, after all. You might just be focusing on the wrong tactics. Conversion rates give you a sense of what to expect.

  3. Not giving strategies enough time.

    Finally, you may not be giving your marketing enough time to begin converting. This was a HUGE mistake I was making! I would do something like the flyering and expect immediate results. Wrong. The standard time that marketing pros tell you to wait to see if a strategy is going to work is 3-6 months, if not longer. 3-6 months!

    I’m a triple Virgo, so I like to see concrete results, and I’d like to see them NOW, please — thankyouverymuch! Turns out it doesn’t work that way.

    For example, a prospective client has to “land on” or see your ad 11 times before it even registers in her mind. So if you’re running an ad in a weekly local magazine, it needs to run for about 3 months before it even begins to make an impression on people.

    When I was starting out, I was constantly trying to do ALL.THE.THINGS, rather than picking a strategy and sticking with it to see what results I would get. If you’re trying something new in your marketing, I recommend sticking with it for at least 3 months to see whether it is actually producing results for you. Hang in there, and check the conversion rates — you may be doing better than you think.

There you have it! 3 giant marketing mistakes that are easily fixable. If you’d like to dive even deeper, I encourage you to join us for a FREE training I’m teaching in September — How to Grow Your Bodywork Business without Constantly Hustling for New Clients. It takes place on Tuesday, September 10 and Wednesday, September 11 — you can find out more and register here!

I’d love to see you there so that you can get the support you need to start hitting your business goals so you can serve more people AND make a great living doing it. See you there!