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

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

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