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Here's why relying on online reviews could be damaging your massage therapy business

by Samantha Jenkins December 20, 2019

Dark background with a thumbs up and a thumbs down

In the past, before the days of social media, it was common for massage therapists and many small business to have a limited online presence and to be reliant on online reviews alone to bring in business. Even today I hear massage therapists going through a tough patch saying "a few more good reviews and it will turn around."

But think about it 

Nowadays customers are rightly suspicious of reviews. People know good reviews can be bought and bad ones are likely written by a disgruntled customer  largely blowing a situation out of proportion. Especially when it comes to a such a personal and health related service, clients might take a quick look on yelp or google but really they will be looking for a referral either from their doctor or directly from a trusted source. 

Whilst it is great to share your good reviews on social media, many potential clients won't put much sway into a review unless they can see the customer involved either in a photograph or a video. Whilst these are valuable exercises they can be time consuming if it is your only strategy of marketing your massage therapy business. Add to this the majority of people who are likely to view these reviews on social media or on your website may be existing clients and you have a pretty ineffective way of generating new business. 

So how can you shift focus and get the reviews that matter? 

Do you have an empty slot this week? Put the kettle on and take time to go through your diary. For each client make a note of how they found out about your services and if you don't know make sure you ask them at the start of their next massage treatment! 

After this exercise you will have in front of you a detailed idea of where your referrals are coming from. Next go through and highlight any tricky clients and make a note of the issues you are facing. These can include anyone who doesn't do their homework to the client who constantly quibbles on cost.

Think about how these clients came to you, were they referred by a local GP, did they find you online or did an existing customer recommend you? Could you change something in your practice to combat the problems you are coming up against at your referral source and through your online presence? For example;

  • Make a short video or share resources about the importance of doing your homework between sessions and share on your social media.  
  • Approach GP's with a leaflet to hand to any referral clients. In the leaflet outline your services, introduce important T&C's and provide links to your website and social media. This way you can give potential clients a thorough introduction to your business before they call to make an appointment.
  • Offer to give a small talk at your local doctors surgery or at any community groups you regularly receive referrals from about the benefits of regular massage treatment. 

Make sure you are making the right impression

Also take time to go right back to square one and analyse whether you are making the right first impression when introducing your services to potential clients or referrers. Getting off on the right foot can save you time, money and stress down the line, nipping any potential problems or pitfalls in the bud. 

 

Facebook post about making the right first impression when approaching businesses

 

Analyse the way you are presenting yourself and your services to potential clients and referrers;

  • Is your branding professional, consistent and clear?
  • Are your materials like business cards looking tatty and dated? 
  • Have you practiced what you are saying? Do you think you come across as experienced and confident in your knowledge? 

 

Facebook post from Ann Wheeler about practicing your pitch with friends

 

  • Ask yourself are your approaches personalised so you are directly addressing how your services can benefit this person or group specifically? Being clear about what you can offer wheedles out time wasters and can help doctors and other healthcare professionals refer the right type of client. Offer GP's an incentive like a 10% discount for any referrals so that he can helps his clients who might be struggling financially with healthcare costs. 
  • Is it obvious what you offer? This also applies to your website and social media? Is it amazing to see how many social media accounts for massage therapists don't include a location! Potential clients need to know where you are, whether you are a static clinic or where you are prepared to travel to if you are a mobile massage therapist.  

 

Facebook post from Kelly Jacobus about approaching businesses with a tailor made presentation

 

Don't make basic mistakes 

 

 Facebook post from Robin A. Doerr about firing massage therapists for not being on time

 

This post is seriously heartbreaking! After all your hard work to train and get yourself set up in the massage industry don't blow it with simple mistakes like this! Be on time to every appointment you make with potential clients or referrers and once you win their business respect it! Even if you run your own massage clinic just imagine how annoyed a client will be if you spend the first 10 minutes of their appointment getting yourself ready and just imagine the feedback they could give to the person who referred you. 

 

Taking time to analyse the way your are running your massage therapy business will not just result in great reviews but in getting the kind of clients who respect your work, skills and expertise! 

 

What did you find when you analysed where your referrals come from? Let us know on our Facebook thread




Samantha Jenkins
Samantha Jenkins

Author



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Massage Table Size Guide

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

  1.  They are smaller in size (normally around 61cms wide) and as such have less materials
  2. They are sold by specialist retailers who also sell anything else they can import and turn a profit on. As such they just buy the cheapest massage tables they can find in China. They go for smaller sizes as they are cheaper.

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.

 

The Width of the Massage Table:

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.

measuring the width of a massage table


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.

 

The Height Of the Massage Table

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.

 

Massage Table Shape:

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.

 

4. Hour glass shaped with sharp gradient
Same as point above but instead of the it gradually going from wide to narrow, the massage table changes quickly from normal width to narrow width so people of very short stature can get in close.
5. Oval Shaped

 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.

oval massage table

 

Have any questions or comments about anything above? Please let us know in the comments below!

 

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