Massage therapists know that it can be difficult to grow the business, especially at certain times of year both you and your customers are pushed for time for various reasons. Christmas is certainly one of those times, as your time is stretched with other duties and social engagements can take their toll on your vitality as well as your pocket! Customers may also be reigning in their spending for obvious reasons, and pampering themselves drops down the list of priorities; this often continues right through January and sometimes into February while the average person is laying low, recovering from overspending, overindulging and trying to overcome the January blues!
The latter could just provide you with a foot in the door, but let’s not clutch at straws. Realistically, how can a massage therapist bring in more customers over a quiet period?
Give your customers package options and loyalty cards
First things first, securing your massage clients’ loyalty and making them feel they’re getting a bargain is an obvious tactic. If they’re used to paying a certain amount for your services, giving them something extra or more for their money will tempt them back a lot more quickly. They are happy with a discount or free additional treatment, and your money keeps rolling in. Sure, you might have to work a little bit harder for it over the period but that’s better than losing business. Loyalty programs work a treat as well, provided that the reward is not too far off in the distance. It’s a tried and tested method and if your customers love your massage treatments – which they clearly do – they’ll see no reason at all not to sign up. You could even offer ‘two stamps for the price of one’ on your loyalty card over the Christmas period to bring their freebie forward a little. This is also a potential draw for new customers too. There will always be those that want to pamper themselves any time of year – perhaps especially at Christmas – so offer some Christmas packages and an introduce a friend scheme at the same time and you may find yourself with more business than you can handle!
Get an online booking system
Taking calls can be time consuming, and you can find that you miss many opportunities if you’re not picking up while carrying out massages on other customers. Why not get yourself an online appointment service. Customers will always be happy to have the option; it’s convenient and there’s no need for to-ing and fro-ing, waiting for callbacks. It will also make you more easily accessible online, giving you a professional edge.
Get in with the corporations
Christmas would be a good time to start getting in touch with local corporate businesses and offering them packages for their employees – it may just be the Christmas gift the employer hadn’t thought of yet, and it could lead to ongoing business too. It makes sense to contact the HR department first and explain what you’re doing and what the benefits of your services are.
Properly utilize social media
Connecting with your customers on the internet is important in this day and age. If you’re familiar with your customers they won’t mind you asking them a few questions about their favourite websites and social media channels. Setting up business pages is a good idea, and Facebook is a brilliant promotional tool these days. You can offer discounts on future treatments for liking and sharing your page, or writing a testimonial for you. Sharing educational material relating to the massage industry and your clients’ health and wellbeing will keep them coming back to you, and you can keep them updated about all things relevant to your business this way. The page should be updated regularly or you will drop out of people’s awareness pretty quickly!
Online marketing and blogging
Another way to keep in touch with your customers is via email and phone. When they fill out their consultation forms, make sure there is a box that they can tick to say it’s ok for you to contact them regarding promotions and new services etc. Most will be happy for you to do so, so if they’ve given you the go ahead then sending out text messages is a great way to make sure that your message lands where it needs to. You can offer discounts for last minute appointments that way to fill up your calendar. This way the client feels that you were thinking of them personally and that the deal is exclusive to them – and perhaps that is the case! If you have a website and you are able to write blogs about your products and services, this is a great way to get more traffic to your site. If writing isn’t your thing, you can always share others’ articles about the massage industry and the health benefits it gives. You’re not limited to this either – anything remotely interesting and relevant is good! With this in mind, we hope you have a prosperous festive season as a massage therapist!
We hope you have all been enjoying our "Ask The Muscle Whisperer" series. This month we asked the UK massage industry's top thought leaders to share key tips for massage therapists to help their massage therapy businesses navigate the changes in our industry brought about by Covid-19 and come back stronger in 2021!
Massage tables comes in many different shapes and size. It can be confusing for you, the customer, to choose the right one but we are here to help!
A lot of customers call us up after they have bought the wrong size massage table elsewhere and we would like to help you avoid this mistake. It normally goes something like this; they like the look of a picture of a massage table on a website, they like the low price and then they check the carrying weight is ok. If the carrying weight fits their needs they click add to cart and the new massage table turns up at their doorstep in a few days. They unfortunately assume all massage tables are pretty much the same width and size.
The standard size of a massage table is 28 inches wide (71cms) and 73 inches (185cms) long. One of the reasons many "lightweight" budget massage tables are so cheap is because
Make sure the massage table is the right size for you and your clients as the narrow massage tables at 61cms can be very uncomfortable for anyone who isn't petite and many clients cannot relax with their shoulders and arms unsupported.
Almost all therapists choose the standard 28 inch wide massage table. All our massage tables are the same length so it is only the width and shape our customers need to decide on.
Your massage table should be wide enough to cater for the wide variety of shapes and sizes of your clients. It needs to be wide enough to comfortably accommodate your treatment style, while being narrow enough to ensure you don’t have to strain your own back during treatments.
Each therapist's postural training and ability is different, so only you will know what massage table width you can handle. We have spoken to therapists who are five feet tall and get the wider 30 inch massage tables, and we speak to six foot therapists who have back problems and go for a 25 inch wide massage table. Everyone is different.
Generally speaking, if you are of smaller stature, you may do better with one of the narrower 25-inch massage tables. If you're quite tall, or are particularly keen to offer your clients a very spacious experience, a 30-inch massage table might be more suitable.
If you are in doubt, see if you can go into your local training college and see whether the massage tables there suit you. However, there is another way to get a feel for what will work of you don’t have access to a couch when you are deciding:
Cut out a piece of cardboard to the dimensions of both sizes you are deciding between. Put it on top of the kitchen table and lean over it. Visualise a client lying there, and see which width will suit you and your client best.
Make sure you can get close enough to the table that you can pivot at the waist and have your shoulders squared to the clients hips, with your hands parallel to the clients' spine. Working in this position will ensure an injury-free career, so it's an important factor in your decision.
The most popular massage table widths are 28 and 30 inches. We sell 25-inch massage tables but you should really only choose this width if you are shorter in height and having a wider massage table might put your own back at risk over the course of your career.
You can also choose the 25-inch if you want to have the lightest massage table possible. By reducing the width of the massage table, the weight is also reduced. Now, this can mean a trade-off of some client comfort, but this trade is often worthwhile if you are a fully mobile therapist and use public transport frequently, where saving a kilogram or two will make a difference to you over time.
Nowadays, almost all portable massage tables come with height adjustable legs. Whichever massage table you choose should come with a large height range to accommodate you, and to cater for a broad range of therapies.
A common height range of massage tables is between 60 to 80cm, and this height range should cater for everyone. To check which height you need your massage table to be at follow this rule of thumb:
1. Stand up straight with your hands by your sides. Clench your fists.
2. Measure the distance between the floor and your knuckles
3. This distance should equal the height of your massage table.
4. Add a few inches in height to allow for the body of the patient on the massage table.
The height of a massage table is usually only adjusted when different therapists are using the same massage table, or if you have a client that is outside the average size you normally treat. So for example, if someone with a lot of body depth comes for a treatment after an average size person, you may need to adjust the height a notch or two.
You should be able to adjust the height of a massage table in just 2-3 minutes. Even though you mightn't adjust the height very often, the faster the better when you do have to!
There are 2 types of height adjustment mechanisms found on modern massage tables.
1) Twisting knobs (found only on wooden massage tables):
If you are working with a wooden massage table, it is better to have two knobs on each of the four legs for greater strength and reliability. When buying online, make sure to check how many knobs are on the legs. Cheap massage tables often only have one knob, and when you raise the legs to the highest heights they are less stable and have been known to snap.
2) Telescopic push-buttons (found only on aluminium massage tables):
The mechanism to adjust the height of an aluminium massage table is much the same as the push-button method on aluminium crutches. It only takes a few seconds to adjust each leg, and the mechanism is very reliable. Check out the video to see how it’s done.
The following are the different shapes of massage tables on the market.
1. Rectangle shaped with square corners
This is the traditional shape of a massage table and the one you are probably familiar with seeing. Our Combi-lite 3 in 1 and Affinity Portaflex are shaped like this.
2. Rectangle shaped with rounded corners
Same as no 1 above in every way except the corners are rounded. Does not affect function in any way, just a different design/look.
3. Hour glass shaped with gradual gradient
A fabulous massage table innovation in recent years, which solves a lot of the problems around choosing the correct width is the hourglass shaped massage table.
This style of massage table is wider at the ends, and tapers somewhat at the middle. This provide a spacious and comfortable experience for your client (as the shoulder and feet area are 30 inches wide) without compromising your own posture and health, as the middle of the couch where you lean over is a much narrower 26 inches wide.Having recently upgraded to one of these hourglass massage tables myself, I can vouch that my working days are much more comfortable, and many of my clients have commented on the extra comfort from the wider shoulder area.
The name says it all! There are no corners on the massage table. Therapists normally choose this for one of two reasons. They simply like the look of this massage table and it is aesthetically more pleasing in their treatment room and/or they find it easier to move around the massage table during the treatment without having to side step the corners. This is particularly handy when space is limited in your treatment room.