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How to Build a Raving Fanbase for Your Massage Practice

How many of your clients are real, hardcore fans? I mean the kind that are booking an appointment the minute they know you have an opening, the kind that won’t hesitate to pay more, tip more, tell their friends to support you, post all about you on social media….those kinds of fans. While not every client is going to be like that, even just a handful of those clients in your practice can make your marketing efforts way easier, and can be a huge boost to business. Creating this type of following is what can easily allow your business to thrive, even in uncertain times. But how do you cultivate that? Let’s discuss.

In order to build a clientele of raving, hardcore fans, you’re going to need some data. And that comes from identifying your current raving fans.
So take a look at your clients. They aren’t necessarily the one that come the most often, but are the ones who are happy for you when you raise your rates, those who refer clients regularly, the ones who share your stuff all over social media, who leave the most and best reviews, the “that was amazing and worth every penny and more” type.
How do you attract more of this type and how do you turn your regular ol’ clients into them too? Just like anything else, we can’t just throw things around and hope something sticks. Save yourself the time and energy by basing it all on data.
The data we’re talking about includes the wants, habits, and trends of those existing raving fans. So make a list of clients you would classify as raving fans; what do you see are parallels between each of these clients? Do you see commonalities in professions, income levels, personality types, lifestyle choices, or any demographics or psychographic points?
Now, why not do a survey of those clients? It can be completely anonymous and they can fill it out online. You can ask questions about what makes them choose your business, their buying habits for self-care or health and wellness, what makes them leave a review for a business, what makes them share about a business on their personal social media, friends and family buying habits, and so forth. There are lots of questions you can ask and those answers are absolutely invaluable in helping you move forward.

I’ll be honest, a lot of business owners might feel kind of weird about doing this, but how else are you going to know? And really, if these are your diehard fans, they wouldn’t hesitate to take a few minutes to do a survey for you. You’re not asking some crazy invasive questions about their life. This isn’t any different than a lot of shopping surveys that big stores have been putting out for decades. Heck, you could even offer some incentive like a free add-on or a goodie bag of some sort, if you want to.
Because here’s the thing…a lot of business owners are only guessing at their clients’ buying trends and sharing habits. And all that guessing means a lot of wasted time and money testing the waters as you guess over and over again trying to find the secret sauce. But what if your clients just handed you a list of exactly what makes the biggest impact for them? You’d run with it, right? That’s what a simple little survey can do!
So, just like you would create an ideal clients profile, dig deeper and let’s find some commonalities between all these diehard fans you have AND what separates them from all your other clients, so you will know exactly who you’re looking for as you work to build this part of your audience.

Now, research some businesses (local and otherwise) – specifically the kind that would have a similar clientele to yours – and identify their raving fans. Go through their reviews and social media comments and mentions to see who is singing their praises from the rooftops. See if those raving fans align with those you’ve already identified in your own practice; their personalities, interests, income levels, etc. If so, you’re definitely on the right track. Obviously there’s only so much you can gather in public info, but you can make some educated guesses here.

Secondly, you’ll want to see exactly how they’re building up that engagement and praise. What kind of social media presence do they have and what sort of content are they posting that gets things going? How do they use that social proof on their website and in all their marketing? Go to the business and become a customer – what is the experience like? Note all the details, anything that makes an impact, large or small, good or bad.

And thirdly, check out the language, pain points, solutions, and ideas of all those raving fans you identified. You see, it’s not just about seeing that these people engage with video posts more than photo posts, or that they leave more reviews on Google than Facebook; it’s about the solution that business offered and the language they and their fans use concerning the problem and the solution, as well as any ideas for improvement of services and products.
Remember, all this should be done before you ever start actually marketing to them. This is all part of the research you need to do in order to know how to market to them.

Then, improve and dress up your client experience. Consider every little detail and time during their experience with you where you can surprise and wow them over and over again. It’s not just a great massage, but every moment of every interaction, that really makes the client experience phenomenal.

So, a few ideas…
Send a surprise product sample to your best clients. A candle, oil, pain relief gel, or anything else along with a little note of “I got this in and immediately thought it would be perfect for you. Try it out and let me know what you think.” First, they get something for free (who doesn’t like that), secondly, you just made a personal connection by letting them know that they and their needs are always top of mind and you truly care about making them feel great; and thirdly, you’ll hopefully get some more awesome feedback you can utilize.

You could offer something exclusive like a VIP membership just for them at no extra charge. You could have super luxurious linens, special candles or aromatherapy used for their sessions only, free upgrades now and then “just because”, priority booking preferences, and so on.

Remember the little things about them. Keep notes on personal details like when their wedding anniversary is, a kid’s birthday, a special trip coming up, a work event, and things like that, then inquire about it or send a handwritten card in the mail to wish them a happy whatever. Someone who remembers that stuff and makes a point to check in or celebrate with them, that makes it far more personal than just another business they frequent.

Or maybe a little welcome bag for each new client that has a few mints or candies, a hair tie and comb, a little bottle of hand sanitizer, and any other little things that might make their visit better. It’s not much out of pocket, but offers some useful and nice touches right from the get-go. Hair repair stations, a fresh glass of water before and after their session, use hot towels in the session or offer warm towels to wipe down with after the massage, a coffee or tea after their massage for a little pick-me-up…there are a ton of ways to make those raving fans even more excited about your business, and turn more of your favorite clients into raving fans.

You’re more than likely always trying to attract some new clients, right? And if your goal is to specifically attract the kind who will be those raving fans and do a lot of the marketing for you, you can’t just do the same old marketing that you’ve always done. Let’s approach this in a different way and be much more specific in how you connect with this specific sect of your audience.

Savanna Bell LMT

Hey there! I'm a massage therapist, educator, writer, and business pro helping massage therapists around the world build successful businesses. My goal is to give you everything you need to start, run, and grow a profitable massage practice that supports a life you love, all without the headaches I went through learning how to do it myself.

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