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August 7th, 2017

Next to how do I get more clients, it’s probably the most asked question of any massage practice owner. How do I get consistent, reliable, repeat clients? Let’s get into the details of what you can do to get your clients to come back over and over again to give you that steady clientele that provides stability and security to your business and your finances which is you know kind of important.  

It’s a lot of work to get a total stranger to come in and get a massage with you. When you do it can feel like an awesome accomplishment, but the work is far from over. Most therapists just look at client acquisition strategy. How to get new blood in the door basically, but a client retention strategy is just as important if not more so. It takes far less money and effort to convince a client to come back then to convince a new client come in, in the first place. Client retention is crucial and should be a large chunk of your marketing strategy, and you should have a marketing strategy by the way. So, what’s the secret? Well, there isn’t some magic formula that will work for everyone in every type of practice and in every location. There is one key idea that is sure to increase your rebooking and build up that steady clientele. It is a solid well-planned and well-executed client experience strategy. Let’s face it, people love to feel special, and it doesn’t have to be some grand luxurious five-star spa experience for them to feel amazing. It’s often not some singular grandiose thing, it is all the small touches that are included in every single interaction that a client has with you and your business. The great Richard Branson said “The key is to set realistic customer expectations and then not to just meet them, but to exceed them preferably in unexpected and helpful ways.” So, that is an amazing quote that kind of speaks to the heart of customer experience as opposed to just customer service. Customer service is important, but customer experience is far more so. 

So, if a client comes in and all they are to you is another check, they will sense that. If you think they don’t, you are fooling yourself. Let me give you an example of a business that turned an entire industry on its head and became a 100-million-dollar company in less than two years. Obviously, not exactly indicative of what you can expect as a massage therapist and as a small business owner, but it is a fantastic example of taking the customer experience seriously at every turn. Enter Casper, who is a mattress company if you’ve not heard of them. They somehow reinvented the mattress, and scared the crap out of the existing leading mattress producers. If you are not familiar with Casper, they basically made a memory foam and latex foam mattress, it’s pretty simple, but it’s not just the product. They went far beyond that and created an experience. They considered every aspect of buying, moving, and trying out mattresses. So, theirs compresses down into a box the size of basically a dorm refrigerator and it is shipped right to your door. So, no sleazy salesman no trying out, laying all over mattresses in a store were only God knows who laid on them. No crazy delivery costs, or awkward fumbling trying to move a mattress upstairs. or around tight corners, anything like that so it’s pretty awesome. Plus, they offer a 100-night guarantee. You get to try it out and ship it back if you don’t like it, that’s pretty fantastic. And, if you notice when they started offering that guarantee several of the big-name mattress companies started doing something very similar as well. Let me just say, this is not sales pitch. I am in no way affiliated with Casper; I just think that their customer experience is a fantastic example to use. o anyway, here’s a blurb from a write up at Inc.com about the company. They said “People usually buy a mattress about every eight to ten years. Most companies don’t care who you are, they’ve made their sale. For us, that’s the start of a long-term relationship. Half of our customers talk to someone in-house. Questions are technical as in, do I need a box-spring? No. Does it work on this type of bed frame? Yes. We use every conversation to learn something about the customer. We know how long you’ve had your bed and if you have kids, or a pet. We keep track of all of that, and then send people anniversary gifts, or dog beds. It’s not about just selling you a bed it’s, how do I make this person or biggest advocate?” The last line of that quote is the kicker, how do I make this person our biggest advocate? You can’t do that just by treating your clients like another paycheck, they have to be thought of in every single moment of the experience. Make it special, just for them, or at least make it seem that way. Casper isn’t just a mattress company, that is not their business model. They are immersing themselves in sleep culture, every little aspect of it. They moved into sheets and pillows, and they research everything extensively to see what people really want. They started making dog beds to make sure that your pooch sleeps well at night too. They even expanded into artificial intelligence when they introduced a chat bot last year called the Insomnobot3000, letting people chat with a bot via text message that’s designed to have detailed conversations about whatever is keeping you up at night. Kind of crazy for a mattress company, but people loved it and they say it makes 3 a.m. a little less lonely and that’s really kind of cool. What I think is even better is they keep track of all of those complaints of what’s keeping people up at night so they can tailor their experience even more. They’ve not just sold a mattress they have taken into account the needs of their customers at every single level. 

So, if you’ve watched any of my videos or read my blogs, you know I don’t just do theory. So, let’s look at some practical ways that you can develop this customer experience strategy and start implementing it today to convince those clients that you are the only therapist that they will ever, ever need. Now, you might be thinking I don’t have any fancy stuff. I’ve got one small room, and a table, and not a lot of money. That’s okay, you don’t have to have salt rooms, saunas, floatation tanks, mud baths, or high-end relaxation rooms in order to create an experience for your clients. All you need to do is look at things from your client’s perspective. It’s kind of a two-step process: step #1 improve the basics, step #2 add some special touches. 

Step #1 Improve the Basics 

Look at every step of the process that a client will go through when dealing with your business. From the first impression on a marketing piece, or website, how you answer the phone, what your lobby looks like, how they’re greeted when they come in, the decorations in your room, how you speak with them. By the way, how you speak with them is more crucial than a lot of people give it credit for. What your table feels like. What the linens feel like. What sounds they hear, is it sometimes obnoxious sounds? What sense of a smell, and what music is played? What kind of massage you provide, of course that’s kind of important. Any products that you sell, and how you sell them. How you check them out, and how you rebook them. Every little step of their experience with you has to be taken into consideration. How things look from your client’s point of view. Sometimes, we are so close to our business that we can’t see things from an outside perspective. If this is true for you, if you really can’t see things objectively and realize where you can improve, find someone blunt and honest to come evaluate for you. Get a friend or family member to walk through your entire space, check out your website, lay on your table and so on and so forth. Sometimes, we feel like things are amazing when really, they’re just kind of so, so. A good friend will give you some insights on what you can do to improve, or have some fresh ideas on what you could do to spice things up. Now, while there’s a gazillion things that we could cover and ideas that are out there. We can’t cover them all in this single video, and I try to keep things simple for you all so here’s just a few tips and ideas to get you started. Before I get into that, really quick, let me note here: please remember it all depends on who your ideal client is. Tailor these things around that. Know who your client is and know them well so that you can build a customer experience around them. So, figure out what they like and they don’t like. Ask for feedback, and adjust accordingly. Of course, you do not need to do everything that a client suggests, you can’t. But, take their feedback and their ideas into consideration. People love to be included in business decisions like that. So, don’t be afraid to ask a few of your more loyal clients what they’d like to see or what they think about some new idea that you had. Alright, onto the tips for improving your current client experience. 

Always have a smile on your face when you’re talking on the phone. People can hear that through the phone and it immediately improves the outcome of any phone call. 

Also, before every client, focus on the outcome that you want for that session. Visualize it, see yourself walking through those steps and the look of elation on their face when they leave. You know, that good old massage drunk expression that they have their hair all jacked up. Okay, those are good things. It will immediately put you into the mindset to be able to focus 100% of your attention on them throughout the massage, and keep your intent for the session at the forefront of your mind which is pretty darn important. 

Keep notes on small things in somebody’s life. Do they have an anniversary coming up, a birthday, their child’s birthday, or spouse’s birthday, or something like that? Are they planning a party? Did they get a promotion at work? Are they getting a new pet? Do they have a doctor’s appointment coming up? Even if it has nothing to do with what you’re helping them with, remembering those things and asking about them the next time they come in means a lot to your client. Even going so far as to do something like sending a birthday card to their child, especially the little kids because they love getting stuff in the mail. Most adults don’t because it’s mostly bills, but kids love it. Or, if you could send flowers when you get the news that they got a promotion that they’ve been working toward. That kind of stuff makes a huge impact. I’ve said it before and I will repeat it over and over again, you are not selling something. These clients aren’t just a customer and it’s thank you, have a nice day. You’re building relationships and you need to treat it as such.  

Also, make sure that you stay top of mind for them. That means following up with clients. A handwritten thank-you note the day after their massage is a fantastic way to show them that you care and remind them how awesome they feel since they had that massage. It doesn’t have to be anything long and drawn-out, just a simple thank you for coming in, for trusting me with your care, however you want to word it and include your business card. Also, if you haven’t seen a client in a while, reach out with a handwritten note inviting them to book an appointment again. You want to stay top of mind. Now a while is pretty vague, when I say if they haven’t been in a while so let me get specific here. It kind of depends on how often a client was coming in the first place. So, this is how I’ve always done, me personally, I go by a rule of three. I wait to send a reminder of “Hey, I’m still here,” kind of thing until they’ve missed about three of their regular appointments. So, if they were regular, or at least somewhat of a regular client and they were coming in weekly and then just stopped without much of an explanation, I wait maybe three weeks before sending a note. If they were coming in monthly, I wait about three months. If it’s a one-time visit and then you don’t see them again even after sending a thank-you note, I personally usually wait about three months for that. By then, they are definitely in that state of kind of recognizing that their body needs to be taken care of again, so a gentle little nudge to come in is probably going to be much better received than something that they see within a week or two, it doesn’t seem annoying. If you’re trying to contact them weekly, it can it can seem a little annoying from the client standpoint. Now, I know not everyone has the best handwriting or maybe you just don’t want to send a handwritten note, that’s fine. Even though I think those have a much bigger impact calling, or emailing is perfectly acceptable. You just need to stay top of mind okay, for every client that you see. So, the next time that their neck starts hurting, or they’re getting stiff and tired, they think of how much they need a massage from you. So, if you want to email or call that’s perfectly fine, as long as you’re reaching out staying top of mind however you feel comfortable doing that. 

So, these are just a few examples of how you can improve what you’re already doing. I guarantee if you look at each of the steps in your process you will find some small improvements that you can make here and there within your budget. Sometimes it’s just a matter of focusing on your own behavior, your speech habits, conversations, those things are crucial really, really important. Just being more thoughtful thinking about all the little things that can help your client, if it’s raining walk them out to their car with an umbrella, things like that. Those little improvements can make a huge impact on your clients and their overall experience with your company. 

Step #2 Add Some Special Touches 

This is where people can get a little bit overwhelmed and there’s some sticker shock when you start planning out like all of these cool things that you want to add. Here’s the thing, you can add all sorts of little touches that make a big, big statement without breaking the bank. So, for instance get a nice beverage dispenser to fill with water in your lobby, relaxation room, or wherever you want to put it. Chop up some fruit every day to throw in there. Get a couple of really nice, pretty glasses and have those for each client to use before and after their sessions. It looks great, it feels a lot more upscale, it adds a little flair, and it’s much nicer than just the little disposable plastic cups or a disposable water bottle. It will actually save you money in the long run, which is always a plus. You’re not having to constantly buy those disposable cups or bottles of water. If you’d like to send them home with a bottle of water, I know a lot of people do, that’s fine but either get a nicer water like Fiji or something, I know for the most part water is water, but it’s not just about the water itself it’s about how it appears it is a bit more expensive, but include that cost the next time that you increase your prices if you need to. Or you can also order bottles of water that have your logo and information on them which is always a nice touch, and they’re carrying your brand around with them for a bit which is definitely a big plus in my book. You can also spend a little up front and buy a Keurig or some other single cup coffee brewer and get a variety of little pods for both coffee and tea. Set that in your Lobby or your relaxation room wherever you have it so that clients can have a little pick me up after their session.  

Now alongside that infused water, coffee, or whatever you want to have out there keeps little snacks like granola bars, candies, chocolate, fresh fruit, whatever you’re comfortable with depending on your clientele and how often you want to replenish this and how much you want to spend that sort of stuff. 

One thing I also like doing is having a goodie bag for new clients. Include some of your own marketing materials, your business card, brochure or rack card. Also include some things that they can actually use maybe like a nice reusable water bottle stainless steel one with your logo very nice, little pricey, but very nice especially if you think they could be a loyal client. Add in a couple of pens with your info on them, some Biofreeze, or tiger balm, or some kind of sample pack like that. You could include lotion, a small hand or foot scrub, candies, anything like that. If you sell any retail including little sample packs of some of your products it’s a great way to introduce them to your retail products but also to give them something special and make them feel a little bit more special.  

One thing I always recommend is to start looking around if you’ve got the extra money to spend. Take a few days and go to the spa and pamper yourself. Take note of every step of the process while you’re there. What did you love about it? What little touches did they do that made things feel really special to you? Whether it’s something small, but nice to even the stuff that’s just too extravagant for your budget, jot it all down. Try to implement some of those small things in your own way. If you can’t afford to go out on a few spa days check everybody’s websites, they usually describe their experience in detail there and all that stuff that seems way out of your price range to offer, you can modify it to fit your budget. So, for instance maybe they have a ridiculously beautiful relaxation room which is really big in some of your nicer spas, and you just have your one little treatment room. You can’t just suddenly pop up a new room to do that. However, you could you spice things up in your treatment room to make it look even nicer. Then you can maybe get a new lounge chair, or bring in that water or coffee to make it a treatment and relaxation room in one. You can give each client maybe 15 or 30 minutes after their session just to relax. It doesn’t always have to be an add-on as in an actual treatment, we think of add-ons as a scrub or hot stones or whatever like it’s an actual treatment. It doesn’t have to be that way. It can be something that you simply set up and they enjoy themselves. It’s those little touches that make a very big impact. The more you do those, the higher you can raise your prices by the way.  

Now, this does not mean that you can only create an experience if you are in a spa setting. A lot of doctor’s offices, and physical therapy clinics, and even dentist are placing emphasis on a relaxing environment even though obviously they’re doing very clinical work. So, think about what small moments you would have during a session to make things more relaxing. Even if you’re at a chiropractor’s office, and you only get 15 minutes with a client to give a quick neck and shoulder massage. Imagine how nice it would feel for that 15 minutes to have a hot pack on their feet or their hands. Maybe you put that single-serve coffee maker in your Lobby for a little pick-me-up while they check out and you’re setting up their next appointment. Think outside the box and it doesn’t just have to do with relaxation either. What can you do to show how much you care? What extra step can you take toward making sure they know you’re thinking of them and their well-being?  

Now, I’ve had clients who have received massage all over the world at a variety of locations. While most, of course, mentioned how good or bad the massage was, they almost always comment more so on the experience. One client spoke of how a spa had hot spring water pumped into their showers in treatment rooms to rinse off after spa services. Another one raved about how much they loved the relaxation room at one spa, but most compliment the small things. One hardly mentioned how good the massage was, but loved that she was handed a latte to perk her up after session. Another client talked about how they opened the windows in the treatment room to let the desert air in, which she loved. Another said that she took design inspiration from a treatment room and redecorated her bedroom so that she could always feel that peaceful, that’s a really big compliment. If all you’re selling is massage, you’re a commodity. If you’re selling an experience, you create clients who are not only loyal, but will be your biggest advocate, and your best advertisement. So, what do you think of these tips? What improvements can you start implementing this week? Tell me your step-by-step process. 

What Should You Post to Facebook? 

It’s a common question across all industries and massage therapy is no different, what do I post on Facebook? There is no black and white answer for that. There are countless subjects that you can cover in a post, and several different ways to post them, so what’s best? Today, I want to talk to you about the different types of posts that you can put on Facebook and how each one is ranked in relation to the others. Should you be posting just text, links, or images, or video? What about live videos? Before we break it down though, I want to get into explaining the difference between reach and engagement on Facebook because these are very important components to take into consideration. 

Many of you probably already know some of this, but there are plenty out there who don’t. So, if you do give me just a second to explain. Reach is simply the number of people who your post is put in front of specifically organic reach is defined by Facebook as how many people you can reach for free on Facebook by posting to your page. So, as they’re scrolling through their newsfeed on their phone or their computer your post will be included in that newsfeed, it’s reached them. Now, only a fraction of the people who like your page will actually be reached, and therefore see what you post. You may have a thousand fans, but check each one of your posts and you’ll see that they’re only reaching a fraction of your audience. In past couple of years, Facebook has made some drastic changes to their algorithms which has dropped organic reach for business pages really, really low. Some estimate as low as only 5 to 7 percent that means that only 5 to 7 percent of your audience will see any of your posts. But, don’t worry, in my opinion, I think that figure is quite a bit skewed and probably really doesn’t apply your massage practice because that number is based on pages with very, very large followings. So, think about how many pages you like for companies that don’t really care what they post, you just want to like the page because you like the company, plain and simple. For instance, there are over 27 million people on Facebook who like Amazon’s page. Do you really think all those people want to see what Amazon posts? No, but you’re a small business that focuses relationships, not just customers so you are what is different. You can take that five to seven percent figure and throw it to the wayside because it probably doesn’t apply to you. But it is important to note, so that if you see that figure floating around you don’t freak out and throw your hands up and say that Facebook is useless. That brings us to engagement.  

Engagement refers to the number of people who interact with your post in some way whether liking it, sharing it, commenting on it, tagging people in the comments, reacting with that love, the wow, sad, or angry faces. All that stuff, all that’s considered engagement. If you have a long post and they click the see more link to load the full text that’s, engagement too. If you upload a link and they click that, engagement. It basically shows Facebook that they’re interested in what you’re posting and therefore Facebook is more likely to put that type of post from that same page in front of them again. Back to that example of Amazon with 27 million likes. Their recent posts are only getting about 200 to 300 people engaged, at least from what you can see from the outside. So, again that five to seven percent reach and subsequent lower engagement I think is a really skewed. Plus, you’re a small business. People interact with small businesses far more than large corporations, especially on a positive note simply because again you don’t just have customers you are building relationships. Facebook’s latest algorithm changes have placed even more emphasis on engagement. In fact, the sooner your posts get engagement, the more Facebook pushes them to your audience. So, in the first few hours after you post anything the type of engagement that you get will set the course for success of that post. But now we’re going down a rabbit hole here. So, let’s get back to the main idea for today. 

Let’s break these post types down for you, and I’m going to be using some of my own statistics from my own business page to give you a little bit more of a tangible understanding of the difference in effectiveness of each. Because it applies across industries, and across page types.  

A text only post is extremely ineffective. It gets the least amount of reach of any post type. People don’t really read on social media. They skim, they glance, they peruse while waiting in line or hanging out on the couch after a long day. Now, obviously this doesn’t apply to every single person out there, but because the majority of people won’t stop and read the text on a post that doesn’t grab their attention because there’s so many things going through on their Facebook newsfeed Facebook doesn’t look you too kindly on it. Meaning, they don’t get put in front of many of your people just a handful. So, on my page a text only post will reach about 10 percent of my audience. 

Images do far better on the other hand. We are visual creatures and our brains want to use the least amount of energy possible for any task, meaning we may zone out on text while scrolling through, but we will definitely stop when an image grabs our attention. It can’t be just any image though, it has to make us stop and want to investigate further. But, generally speaking images are seen in a much, much better light by Facebook. So, they’re put in front of a higher percentage of your audience, your reach is higher, and your engagement will be higher. For instance, images on my page can have a reach of anywhere from 20 to 60 percent of my audience.  

Next comes videos, Facebook loves videos, kind of like this one. Videos get more engagement, and Facebook’s whole purpose is to build and foster community between people. Videos do just that. So, if you’re not already, you really should start adding videos into your post mix now, live video is even better. Some other social media platforms may have beat Facebook to the game of live video but it sure packed a punch once they launched it. Because of the reach that it gets over everything else it really is the best things you can do for your page. If you don’t like being in front of a camera that is fine, turn it around and shoot a short video of one of your therapists getting a massage, or a tour of your facility, or get on there and talk about a new product line that you’re introducing, or CE class that you just took. Whatever it is, figure out how to post a video. It builds authenticity, which helps your brand anyway and make it about something that is enticing. It’s going to encourage people to share it with their friends which will get so much more reach and your engagement is guaranteed to be higher. So, from my page video can get me anywhere from 50% to 500% of my audience. Yes, that means five times the number of people in my audience actually saw my videos in their feed simply because it has to be something people want to share. Okay, that goes across all industries and all video types. One quick note on this whole video thing, do not share your YouTube links and call that a video post, doesn’t work. It needs to be an original video that you uploaded directly on Facebook, yes even if you upload another on YouTube you need to upload it separately to Facebook. Here’s the thing, YouTube is Facebook’s competition. Why the heck would they want to send you or anyone else over there? So, sharing those YouTube links is not going to get much reach at all. Instead, if it’s someone else’s video and you can’t upload an original, post a picture graphic, video that you shoot, or a screenshot of the video that you’re linking to all as an image and then just put the link in the text of the post. The same goes with any other links that you want to share that would send people away from Facebook. So, whether a news article, a blog post, whatever post a photo or video and then put the link in the text of the post, make sense? If you forget this, don’t worry, but just understand that your reach and engagement will most likely be less than if you do an image or video with a link in the text. 

You have to know what type of posts to do, and share awesome content. You can’t just post random crap all day every day and hope something sticks. Be sure to check out my other video on why you don’t need to post as often as you think. If you think it doesn’t really matter, and you’ll just post whatever you want and screw these insights, that’s cool. Take what you will, just like anything else I ever say in any of these videos. Like I said a minute ago, only a fraction of your audience will ever see your post. You can counter this by being more effective with each post and that ties directly to knowing how they view each type.  

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