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Word of Mouth Marketing for your Massage Business

Word of Mouth Marketing for your Massage Business

Word of Mouth Marketing

There’s one question that every therapist asks:

"How can I get more clients through word of mouth?"

Everyone wants to grow their business through word of mouth, because (let’s be real, ) it seems like the easy option. There’s no advertising cost involved or endless creation of blog posts, social posts or websites.

But is that actually true? Is word of mouth the way to go to build your massage business? And if it is – how do you make it happen?

The Truth About Word Of Mouth Marketing

“Word of Mouth” recommendations are the holy grail for therapists wanting to grow their business.

And there’s a reason for this – it’s been proven that people believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising. So if a client recommends you to one of their friends, that friend will be more likely to book with you than they would if they saw your advert.
So yes, getting clients from recommendations can be great. Many therapists have built an amazing massage business full of their ideal clients from word of mouth...
...but (and here’s where it falls apart slightly),
Although Word of Mouth can be wonderful for your business, there are three big downsides to it: 
1) It’s slow.
Building a massage business via word of mouth only can take a loooong time. That’s because you’re relying on your clients to organically share their experiences, and it can take time to gain momentum. (Or for them to remember or get around to doing it!)

2) You have no control over it.
Unless you purposefully implement incentives to get clients to recommend you, you’re relying on the goodwill of your clients to get the word out for you, In this sense it’s not a marketing strategy as you’re not doing anything to direct or encourage it.
3) You could get the wrong people.
If you don't take care with your marketing and messaging, you risk attracting “un-ideal” clients –ie people who don’t align with your ideal customer profile. Recommendations, no matter how well-intentioned, might bring in people who aren’t a right fit for how you work or the treatments you offer.

Word of Mouth can take years. It doesn’t always help your business and you DO have to work at it.

All this means, we can’t just rely on word of mouth to magically happen spontaneously. We need to put the right strategies in place to encourage it to happen quickly and in the right way.

4 ways to encourage word-of-mouth recommendations:

How do we turn Word of Mouth into an actual marketing strategy? Here are 4 things we can do to encourage word of mouth recommendations:

NUMBER ONE - Get a niche!

Having a well-defined niche can be huge help when it comes to attracting clients through word of mouth.

When people talk about your services, having a niche makes you memorable. Instead of being a generic "massage therapist", you become the go-to expert for a specific need. This all makes it easier for clients to recommend you to other people who are looking for exactly what you provide.

Word of mouth isn't just about saying, "Oh, I know a great massage therapist." As soon as you have a niche, it becomes much more precise; "I know the perfect therapist for runners dealing with knee pain."

Remember, word of mouth isn't just about getting more clients; it's about getting the right clients. When people hear positive stories about your expertise in a particular area, they're more likely to recommend you to the right type of people that you can help the most.

Specialising allows you to tailor your treatments to a specific client type. When clients have a positive and unique experience, they're more likely to share their satisfaction with others, which can really help word-of-mouth referrals.

NUMBER TWO - Create a Recommend A Friend Scheme.

It’s so important to have a real strategy here, and not just *hope* that your clients will think of passing your name on; chances are, they won’t.

The first step is to decide what your offer is going to be, then design that incentive for both the existing client and the referred friend. This could be a discount on future services, a complimentary add-on, or a special loyalty program.

You must have clear guidelines in place so people understand how the offer works – including any limitations, when it starts and ends and what is the process for redeeming the rewards.

Then make sure you tell all your clients! It’s a good idea to have the information about the scheme displayed in your waiting area, on your website and on your social media channels. As well as telling each client individually when they are in for their treatment.

You’ll also want to create referral cards that clients can easily share with friends. Include details about the treatment and leave space for the existing client's name, to give it a personalised touch.

NUMBER THREE - Make connections in your local community.

Get referrals and recommendations from local businesses and community leaders.

The first step to doing this is to identify potential referral partners. Start by looking for businesses in your community that complement your massage services. Look at gyms, yoga studios, or wellness centres. Connect with local health professionals like chiropractors, physios, or doctors who might refer clients for massage. You could also, reach out to event planners organising things like Mind,
Body, Spirit fairs, community events, or sports gatherings.

You could join local community and business groups on platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn. Look in online directories to find health professionals or businesses who might be up for a collaboration.

Make sure you provide value first, before you ask for something. You could offer to put on free workshops or taster sessions for potential partners. It’s nice to also share something helpful such as relevant articles, tips, or tools that could benefit their clients.

Once you’ve made the connection, and given something of value - now you can come up with collaboration ideas. This could take the form of organizing joint workshops or classes that blend your massage expertise with their services. Or you could host events together such as retreats or community wellness afternoons to promote both your businesses.

Another idea is to set up a system where you refer clients to each other. You also might want to give joint discounts or special offers.

Once you’ve made the connection, keep it alive regularly checking in with your partners. This is about creating relationships, and that takes time and commitment.

NUMBER FOUR - Do Events & Sponsorships

You want to become known in your area and so you need to get out there and be seen. One way of doing that is to sponsor a charity event or offer vouchers there.

When it comes to sponsoring events as a massage therapist, it's all about picking the right ones and making the most of the opportunity. First off, choose events that match your community and the people you want as clients. Think about who's likely to be there – that's your target audience.

Once you've found the right event, ask if they’d be up for a sponsor. Be clear about what you want – where your logo goes, banners, and shout-outs during the event. Make sure both you and the event organisers benefit.

During the event, show off your brand. Put your logo everywhere, set up a stall, and make sure people know you're there. Walk around and talk to people.

Remember to collect contact details of anyone you talk to for future connections.

After the event, follow up with those you met. Say thanks, remind them what you do, and keep the conversation going.

As you can see, Word of Mouth can be a great marketing strategy – but you need to do it right. You can’t just sit back and expect it to happen, because that will take a very long time.

If you put the right strategies in place – whether it's getting a niche, encouraging referrals, networking, or doing events – you can find that Word of Mouth marketing helps you grow your massage business and fill it with ideal clients who are happy to recommend you to their network.

Remember, the hardest part isn't knowing what to do; it's committing to doing it.

So, choose one or two of these strategies to do and get started!


About the Author

Business mentor for massage therapists, Nikki Wolf has over 20 years in the industry; including teaching, owning a massage school, and managing spas. Nikki is on a mission to demystify marketing for therapists and empower them to build their own thriving businesses. When she isn't massaging or mentoring, she’ll be walking on the beach with her dog, Storm. Find out more about mentoring at Orchid Massage Academy.

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