Do clients seem to come and go, only getting in touch when they are really struggling with symptoms of various ailments?
Do you sometimes feel like a jack of all trades but king or queen of none :)?
Whilst it might seem counterintuitive, sometimes by reducing the number of services you offer and instead focusing on and becoming an expert in the few rather than trying to please the masses, you can reduce the amount of time you need to spend on marketing and grow your massage therapy business significantly!
Experts and specialists get more free marketing than anyone else, via word of mouth!
Are there symptoms that you see crop up frequently in your clients? Is there a particular style of massage you are drawn to? Or are there certain aches and pains that you feel particularly drawn to solving for your clients? Maybe you have personal experience with a certain problem or maybe a family member has struggled with an ailment and you feel passionate about the power of massage to relieve the symptoms?
By specialising in solving a particular problem you won’t appeal to everyone but to those who are seeking the answer, your services will become invaluable! If you deliver excellent massage treatments, focusing on each customers’ individual needs then rather than constantly having to look for new clients, you will have a solid base of loyal clients who will return for frequent treatments. You can also minimise the amount of time you need to spend on marketing, targeting only the groups relevant to your niche.
Take time to think about your experiences as a massage therapist so far. What ailments do you see the most? What work do you enjoy and derive the most satisfaction from?
Not all niches require a large commitment such as training. There are some that can even just be exploited seasonally. We will run through 10 ideas for niches that you could explore to secure more loyal clients. Just make sure you take time to test your new niche, slowly promoting your new massage specialism and building up a network of clients before changing your entire massage therapy business.
So we will start off with one that is easy to implement...
There is a lot of debate about to what extent massage detoxes the body of toxins.
However, it is undeniable that each January as we celebrate the start of a new year we are all tempted to try and turn over a new leaf, kick some bad habits and rejuvenate our bodies!
With some smart marketing, this is an easy niche to appeal to. Make sure from the 1st of January there is a large sign in the window of your clinic offering to help clients kick start some new healthy habits!
You can download this post designed for social media here.
On social media and when you present yourself in the local community, be sure to spread all the ways in which massage can support people through their detox process. Focus on how after all the overindulgences of the festive season adding a regular massage schedule into your routine can support clients in their quests for better health in a variety of ways including;
See if there are any events or classes in your local area aimed at getting people involved in exercise for the new year. As we all know, a career as a massage therapist can take its toll on your body, so attend these events or classes yourself and commit to some much-needed self-care! Become part of the community and offer your services to the group.
Go to local gyms and drop off flyers, speak to personal trainers and ask them to refer anyone they think could benefit from a massage and give them an incentive like a discount for every person who books through their referral. Best of all ask if you can come in with a massage chair and deliver taster sessions in the foyer between some of the busiest classes.
With this niche, timing is everything. Make sure you are well rested over the festive period and all your promotional materials are ready so you can hit the ground running as soon as January arrives!
Another seasonal suggestion, a promotion focusing on the benefits of massage for people suffering from hayfever and other seasonal allergies can really set you above the competition! Swot up on the benefits in our blog post before setting to work promoting your hayfever busting abilities!
Place an advert like the ones below, in your clinic window, in local papers, doctors surgeries or on local facebook groups and offer a discount for first-time clients. You can use the free service from Canva to create designs in different sizes for leaflets, flyers or social media. Don’t be afraid to reach out to local radio stations, who are often looking for ways to fill their air time and ask to come in and talk about the benefits of massage for hayfever sufferers. Make sure you ask a few weeks before the allergy season starts so they can schedule you into their programming.
You can download these two posts designed for social media here.
A relatively new phenomenon, the increasing amount of time we spend staring at our phone screens is creating new ailment, text neck!
Capture people’s attention with this curious sounding condition and win over new clients with this image and a witty promotion on social media! Ask your current followers to share your post with any friends or family who are addicted to their smartphones!
You can download this post for social media here.
In your post promise to cure their text neck and improve posture in just 5 hours and offer a discount on 5 prepaid treatments. When clients visit for their first treatment, ask if you can take before and after photos to help them see the progress they are making and so you can recommend the best course of treatment as you progress! After the first session send them a link to the video below so they can start to break bad habits!
When you finish the 5 sessions take time to show your client how far they have come and how much their posture has improved. Suggest ways you could continue to work together and offer another discount if they choose to book another block of 5 sessions. Add another incentive by saying these sessions can be taken anytime within 6 or 12 months.
Whilst this niche is unlikely to become the sole focus of your massage therapy business, it can be a good way to grab the public’s attention and boost business! Do a good job and clients will see the benefit in scheduling in regular treatments.
An easy niche to master, read up on some techniques and familiarise yourself with the different symptoms associated with various types of headache. Show off your knowledge by starting each session by identifying the type and likely cause of your clients' headaches. Promote yourself as a specialist online by sharing this post and outlining your process, highlighting the tailor-made approach you will take to cure each client's particular symptoms.
You can download this post for social media here.
Show your sincerity with a punchy mission statement. Share online in your social media bio and on your website and in your clinic with a big poster in the window. For example;
RSI is becoming increasingly common and if you have ever experienced it yourself you know what a distraction the pain can be!
A fantastic niche for mobile massage therapists to hone in on, make a list of all the companies in your local area where staff spend a lot of time on computers. Use Canva to create a small flyer or leaflet with some carefully selected statistics and a breakdown of your rates.
(Source: TUC Safety Rep Survey 2003)
Whenever possible, go in person and ask to speak to the human resources manager. Be confident and present your services as a great benefit they can offer their staff and also boost productivity by nipping any aches and pains in the bud. Companies are always looking for inexpensive benefits they can offer employees to keep them loyal and as a way to beat the competition when hiring new staff so be sure to present a few options of how you can collaborate together. Some ideas could include;
You can download this post for social media here.
If this is a niche you have an interest in exploring then investigate courses that can bring you up to speed on all the contraindications and techniques you need to know. The London School of Massage offers a one-day introduction and with WellMother you can study for four days in either London or Bristol and become a true expert with the great benefits of learning techniques for massage during labour and postnatal period which will give you options to expand the services you offer.
Which leads us nicely onto our final point that with this niche, in particular, the possibilities to expand the range of services are especially good. After establishing yourself as a prenatal massage specialist and delivering amazing treatments to your pregnant clients you can go onto to create a range of services including accompanying clients during labour, a series of treatments after the birth and even massage sessions for mummy and baby!
Create a series of special offer packages you can promote in your waiting room, in person and online for a series of sessions after the little one arrives! Some ideas could include;
To promote yourself as a pregnancy massage expert, reach out to local groups for expectant mothers and new mums. Team up with other therapists or beauticians to host pampering evenings, with massages, manicures and a chance to meet other new mums or mums to be. Offer these potential clients a taster session for £10 and take lots of pictures for your social media of everyone having a great time! Ask for some feedback and offer a discount on their first treatment if they get in touch and book after the event.
Increasingly researchers and doctors are promoting massage as a way to relieve some of the pain associated with arthritis and recommend that the moderate pressure from “massage can result in a significant reduction in pain” (Tiffany Field, PhD, a research psychologist at the University of Miami Medical School). This is trickling down and more massage therapists are seeing clients approaching them for help.
Online, the Arthritis Foundation lists a number of types of massage that can ease the symptoms on its website. The good news is many of these are typical styles of massage rather than anything that would require any additional training. Read up on what techniques are especially effective and then get to work promoting your services!
Continue networking with local GPs and ask local doctors surgeries, libraries and councils if you can put flyers in waiting rooms, front desks or posters on a notice board. Offer an introductory discount for first-time clients or a 5% discount for OAPs.
According to Pain Doctor, massage has 6 main benefits to clients dealing with Fibromyalgia;
A quick search online and you will see there is a massive need for massage therapists who specialise in helping clients with fibromyalgia. People who are struggling with this condition are comforted knowing that they are in the hands of someone who really understands their symptoms. This condition doesn’t often receive the level of empathy it deserves and this can lead in turn to struggles with depression. With their compassionate ear and a few special techniques, massage therapists can have a big impact on the lives of people struggling with this disease. This quick video from Massage Nerd gives a great introduction to the different considerations you need to keep in mind when working with someone with fibromyalgia.
Read up on some of the literature around the topic or look into some hands-on training. For example, JING Massage offer a one-day course where you will learn everything you need to correctly assess and treat clients with fibromyalgia.
When working with clients with fibromyalgia, it is vital to focus on delivering a tailored massage treatment. Ask what symptoms are especially troubling your client at the start of each massage and check in frequently to make sure the pressure level is enough but not causing too much discomfort.
At the end of your first appointment, it is worth telling clients that around 10% of people with fibromyalgia will experience aggravated symptoms after their first few massage treatments. However, with a little perseverance, they will soon feel the benefit.
Once you are ready to start promoting your services as a fibromyalgia specialist, speak with local doctors, ask to put flyers up in hospitals and see if there are any charities or support groups in the area. Take a look on Facebook and other social media channels to see if their are any groups online. If there isn't, set one up for your area, share some articles that might be of interest and give people a place to talk. When the time is right, subtly mention your work as a massage therapist and offer a discount code to anyone in the group.
It has been proven that touch is imperative for our development when we are babies. But this need for touch doesn't go away as we get older.
People suffering from mental health challenges like depression and anxiety can really benefit from the decrease in cortisol and an increase in dopamine experienced during a massage treatment.
Reducing stress and grounding people in their bodies is often commonly quoted as a benefit and can help support other practices such as meditation often recommended to reduce the side effects of anxiety.
This great guide from mental health charity Mind goes through all the common FAQs and outlines the benefits of massage beautifully and is well worth a share as you start promoting your services.
Reach out to doctors and local charities to offer your support. You could reach out to offices to encourage them to beat the stigma around mental health in your community by offering to give a short talk to employees and taster sessions in the foyer. Take lots of business cards and see if bosses can be persuaded to subsidise weekly sessions.
This is the niche that requires the most amount of work to initiate but is perhaps one of the most rewarding in terms of the impact you can have on your clients.
Working with clients battling cancer requires very specific techniques and any massage therapists interested in working in this area will need to undergo specialist training to ensure they do not harm patients who are already vulnerable.
You can get a feel for what is involved and if working with oncology massage might be for you with this 4-minute video.
Some of the most respected courses are provided by Susan Findlay who presents the video above. After completing an online course and 3 days of practical sessions, you will be a fully qualified oncology massage therapist and have the knowledge to provide treatments safely and with confidence.
If you decided to specialise in oncology massage then reach out to local GP’s, hospitals and charities. Take the time to go in and speak to doctors, receptionists and charity workers in person to build a personal connection and always offer a discount to any referrals that come from these sources.
Demonstrate your commitment to the cause by supporting local cancer charity events or offering to sponsor your own. Ask local supermarkets if you can bring in a massage chair on Saturday lunchtime and offer 15-minute taster massages to customers for a charity donation. Not only will you demonstrate your commitment to charity partners, but you might also pick up some new clients for a more general style of massage whilst you develop your new niche.
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.