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What if you didn’t accept tips?

No Tipping?

What if you didn’t accept tips? Your clients would be happier, come more frequently and spread your name to all their family & friends. In turn, you would be happier, busier and have more time for yourself. Also, your customers would view you as a “health professional” like others in the health community such as personal trainers, physical therapists, chiropractors, acupuncturists, hypnotherapists (yes they made it on the list too). These professions don’t typically receive tips.

How would you make up the difference?

You’d simply make up the difference by raising your prices.  

This restaurant did the following, 

In lieu of tipping, menu prices at Park Kitchen have increased by 18% to 20% to maintain its profit margin – but in the end, customers will end up paying the same amount.

According to research by Michael Lynn, professor of consumer behavior and marketing at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, most people tip not based on service, but because they feel guilty and obliged. He also found that 53% of customers liked the idea of higher menu prices where tipping is not permitted.

It’s a mixed bag

Tipping is part of American culture. We like showing our gratitude with rewarding great service with a good tip or vice versa. But “no tipping” policies have been known to backfire. Especially in cases where people rely on tips or customers are known to tip really well. In cases like these, companies would have to step in to provide higher salaries to their employees to make up for the loss of revenue.

My personal experience

I’ve worked in places where there’s absolutely no way I’d survive without my tips. But, when I became self-employed, I instantly adopted a no tipping policy and love it.  Here’s why.
 
It puts less stress on the client. They can come in, pay their bill and leave. There’s no hemming and hawing about how much to tip.
 
It puts less stress on me too. No tipping took away all the awkwardness. It freed up more time in between sessions. Biases were completely removed from the interaction.  They show gratitude by rebooking and referring.  Two things I prefer over a tip.
 
As a result of not accepting tips, my clients and I are happy. It’s a win-win for all. 
 

Let me know your thoughts around tipping.

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Building the ultimate massage book collection

The ultimate guide to building your massage book collection

Here’s a great selection of books to begin adding to your collection.  These are books that will provide you with technical skills and knowledge right away.  These books are well written, highly researched and will help you get better in your craft.  

I will update this list as I find books that add true value to one’s practice.  

Recommended books

Books by Thomas Myers

1. Anatomy Trains

This book is recognized by every health professional worldwide as a must have.  I couldn’t agree more. I have all versions of this book because it’s just that good. Each version improves on the next. Get it.

Anatomy Trains

2. Facial Release for Structural Balance

I often find myself referring to this book to see if I’m doing it right.  This is the best book I’ve come across that ties body reading and facial restrictions together.  It’s for an experienced practitioner that works on clients who need focused bodywork.  Excellent book.

Facial Release for Structural Balance

Books by Leon Chaitow

Leon Chaitow’s books are always clear and accurate with a lot of research to back his teachings.  If they are technique books, they come with DVDs and/or access to an online video library.  These have helped me tremendously in providing thoughtful-therapeutic massage to my clients.

3. Modern Neuromuscular Techniques

Simply understanding that the nervous system controls the muscles and the muscles control bone is can help your clients make real progress.  This books tackles how to address complex conditions with this simple approach.

Modern Neuromuscular Techniques

4. Positional Release Techniques

If you want to add a gentle but effective therapy to your massage this is a good one.  This book focuses placing limbs into various positions can effect a release in the body.  

Positional Release Techniques

5. Muscle Energy Techniques

MET.  One more way to effect change in the body.  It will take your practice to another level.

Muscle Energy Techniques

6. Recognizing and Treating Breathing Disorders

As you deepen your desire to learn about the body and release restrictions in it you will eventually come to a persons breath.  Learning to release restrictions in the thoracic chamber will help with a handful of other conditions.

Recognizing and Treating Breathing Disorders

Other Books

These are books I would consider helpful to understanding the body and assisting you in guiding your clients into a maintenance program.

7. The Vital Psoas Muscle: Connecting Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual Well-Being

The psoas has come to be known as the core body part that can affect upper body and lower body pain.  So it’s no surprise that massage therapists are intrigued by it.  

The Vital Psoas Muscle: Connecting Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual Well-Being

8. Becoming a Supple Leopard 2nd Edition

This book catapulted my practice into another level.  I often see people who are serious about rehabilitating their bodies.  This book taught me to teach my clients self rehabilitation techniques and programs.  Dr. Starrett uses stretching & mobilization techniques to alleviate myofascial pain & restrictions.

Becoming a Supple Leopard 2nd Edition: The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performance

9. Atlas of Human Anatomy

This book covers all systems of the body.  It’s all hand drawn in color and simply delightful to read.  You want to pick up this book and study the systems.  

Atlas of Human Anatomy: Including Student Consult Interactive Ancillaries and Guides

10. Craniosacral Therapy

Becoming a craniosacral therapist is probably one of the best certifications a massage therapist can get.  It’s super beneficial to a wide range of people and it’s techniques are purposeful and specific.  This is an excellent source if you are studying or practicing craniosacral therapy.  Most likely you will have this book on hand if you’ve taken any of the Upledger courses.  If you don’t, you should.

Craniosacral Therapy

11. Trigger Point Therapy for Myofascial Pain

Knowing trigger point therapy is a win-win for you and clients.  Comes very handy in identifying trigger points and effectively dispersing pain related to them.

Trigger Point Therapy for Myofascial Pain

12. Lymphedema Management

This is a good book to pick up.  You don’t have to be a lymphatic therapist but it’s good to know about the lymph system and how it affects your clients.  If you have been in the field for sometime, it’s possible you have come across clients suffering from lymphedema.

Lymphedema Management: The Comprehensive Guide for Practitioners

13.  Muscles: Testing and Function, with Posture and Pain

Where you’re ready to get into problem solving ones pain tolerance or lack of function.  This is a great book to have on your self.

Muscles: Testing and Function, with Posture and Pain

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Simple 5-step digital marketing plan that won’t break the bank

Google Search Marketing

So you want to be a massage therapist?  You want to work for yourself?  And, you want to make a decent living?  But, you don’t think that you can afford to market yourself?  Well, think again.  Here is a simple 5-step digital marketing plan that won’t break the bank and it works.

Note:  I pay an average of $14.11 per month using the following plan.  Yes, it’s doable.  And gives you a competitive edge.

Step 1:  Build A Website

Now, this may seem intimidating but it really isn’t.  There are many many places to build a website for free.  Look into Weebly, Squarespace, Wix, Website Builder, WordPress.  But my ultimate recommendation is to build your website on the WordPress.org platform. 

Step 2:  Setup Your Social Media

So many businesses start here and end here as a means for building their business.  In my opinion, this is a mistake.  Yes, social media is important for building an audience.  It’s also a great source of business leads.  One thing that has become pretty clear about social media is that it doesn’t do a great job at turning followers into customers.  That’s why a website is so important.  You want to use your social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Yelp to drive visitors to your website.  At your website, you convince your visitors to call you, email you, and/or book an appointment with you.  

Step 3:  Submit Your Website To The Search Engines

You can do this manually by submitting your website to the top search engines Google, Yahoo and Bing.  This is free to do.  

Now if you want to submit your site to more search engines I highly recommend using a service like Entireweb.  The more places a link to your website equals greater chances of people finding your site.  Like all things, this has free and paid options.  The free version is adequate enough.  

Step 4:  Use Google Adsense

These are the ads you see at the top and to the right of all your searches in Google.  It’s worthwhile to have a few of these running under keywords that describe the type of clients you’re looking for.  Be as specific as possible because general words like massage, massage therapy, shoulder pain, back pain will cost you big bucks when people click on them.  These are keywords that are used by lots of businesses.  Most likely these businesses have a lot of money to burn compared to you.  Instead, use keywords like shoulder pain in the front shoulder, shoulder pain in (your city).  Be super specific.  The cost per click will drastically go down.  The idea is to have a presence in the search engines.  Not to have everyone click your ad.  

Step 5:  Promote with Facebook Ads

I’ll end here.  Facebook ads are super duper affordable and they are great for reaching your target market.  You can be as specific as possible when running ads on Facebook.  Although it only runs on Facebook, it’s pretty successful.  You can use these ads to guide people to your Facebook page or to your website.  You can use the more common words like shoulder pain, massage therapy, massage, etc on this platform without being penalized.  

Final Advice

If you don’t have the time or the brain power to do keyword searches or come up with creative ads, I recommend that you find someone on Fiverr to get this done for you.

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A path to better time management

Time Management

At one point or another, we all have to take a good look at how we manage our time.  There will come a point where you complain that you don’t have enough time.  You’ll read self-help books and websites for guidance.  YouTubers will motivate you just enough to get you through the day.  You can try bullet journal after bullet journal with little success.  Yet all these tools at your disposal and not a damn thing works!  How do I know this?  Because I’ve been there and I’ve talked to dozens of people who have been there too.  So what do you do?

You make a conscious decision that today you’re going to create a routine that will give you more time and provide me more value.  I’m going to stick with it for 1 week, 1 month, 3 months and so on.  I know you have a ton of different options of how you can manage your time so here’s one more, mine.

Create a Self Honor Statement

I will do the following every day.

  • Will not get involved in gossip, drama or speaking negatively of anyone.
  • Show up to work 30 minutes early every day.
  • Leave my workstation clean and prepped for the next workday.
  • Surround myself with those who share common values and goals.

This statement is comprised of personal morals, values, and ethics that you will live by daily without thinking about them.  In a sense, these are your scriptures that guide you to being productive, focused and distraction-free.  And ultimately giving you back your time.  I listed 4 of mine above.  

The Unquestionable Routine

Build a routine that has hard starts and stops.  Always leave time for yourself and your family.  Make sure your family agrees with your routine so that they can support you and vice versa.  So here’s a routine that will surely give you back your life.

  1. Wake up early
  2. Journal
  3. Family/Free time
  4. Work
  5. Family time.
  6. Journal
  7. Go to bed early.

The Break Down

Waking up early

Talk to any successful person in any industry and they will tell you that waking up early is the key to success.  Your mind and body are the sharpest at this time of day assuming you’ve had a good night sleep.  It’s quiet. You don’t have commitments.  Can get a lot done.  Some people like to take this time to read, write, stretch, meditate, drink coffee, listen to music.  It’s your time to enter the world.  Decide how you’d like to do that.

I wake up at 4 am daily.  I take this time to drink coffee and write blog posts.  

Journaling

Adopting this into your morning routine is key.  It allows you to do what I call a mind dump.  Get it all out.  Just write everything you’re thinking about.

I am normally thinking about what I need to get done that day so I tend to write lists.  I refer to these throughout my workday. 

The Scattered Squirrel makes great free downloadable planners and journals.  Check out the website here.

Family/Free Time

Your family should be just as involved and supportive of your routine for it to work.  You need to come up with a functional plan that everyone can get on board with.

Weekday mornings I make breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  I walk the dogs.  I work out.  Mind you, my workday usually starts at 12.  On the weekends, I workout.  I don’t have the responsibilities of cooking meals and walking dogs.

Work

If you are self-employed, I would urge you to set a schedule.  Only work during your set hours.  That way you have a hard start and stop time that you can commit to and train others to respect.  If people can’t respect your hours then you don’t need them as clients.  Remember this is about freeing up time for YOU.

I use to work around the clock.  What that translated to was no time for me and burnout.  It took a lot to reverse the patterns I had established but once I did, I felt great.  Not only did I feel great, my clients were much more organized about their time, and I bettered my relationship with my family & friends.

I made a definitive hard start & stop time to my work day.  My day starts 30 minutes before I see my first client.  Before I leave for the day, I clean my office as to walk in the office the next day ready to begin my day.  I carved out time in my workday to be able to return calls, answer email, enter client information.  ***Put in your communications when you return correspondence.  For example, my emails say I will respond M-F at 2 pm or 6 pm.

Family Time

Don’t take your family for granted.  Make them a priority.  If you don’t have a family, this applies to distant family members, animals, and friends.  Be home for dinner, watch tv together, attend functions, spend time with your pets.  Things that let others know you care about them and vice versa.

You can also use this time for your personal enjoyment.  Get a hobby.  Meet friends.  Relax.  Work-life balance.  It’s essential to living a healthy life.

I’m fortunate enough to live close to my parents.  Every week I spend time with each of them.  They have helped me feel like my time is valuable and is well spent.  I’ve also to learned to play the guitar, play table tennis, and educate myself on new massage techniques.

Journaling

Check in with your checklist from the morning.  Cross off all that you got done.  Next, write down what’s on your mind.  Write one thing you’re grateful for too.

I like ending my day on a positive note so I always like to end with what I’m grateful for.  It’s fun to look back at my journal entries to see how far I have come.

Go To Bed Early

Nothing good ever happens after midnight.  – Bo Schembechler

I first heard this quote in college.  Remembered it ever since.  Turn off the tv.  Drop the game controller.  Hang up the phone.  Put down the cookies.  Replace that with a good night sleep.  Have trouble sleeping?  Build a nightly routine.  Stop eating by 7.  Journal.  Read.  Shower. Drink camomile tea.  Lay in in bed.  Train yourself to go to bed early.

As an entrepreneur with very high goals, I can’t afford to waste my time running idol.  Yes, it occasionally happens but for the most part, I’m in bed every night by 10.  Ready to get a jump start on my day.

Final Thoughts

Life can become overwhelming PDQ (pretty damn quick).  Once it starts to pile up, it seems impossible to get control of it.  But, you can chip away at the pile bit by bit to get it down to a manageable level.  It takes two things willpower and planning. You can do it!


 

Do you have a routine that you follow?  I’d love to know what it is, how it’s helped you.  Comment below. 

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You know you need a virtual assistant when…

Virtual Assistant

You know you need a virtual assistant when you’re self employed and missing phone calls.  Assume your average cost per massage session is $100.  Let’s say you miss 1 call a week.  That’s $400 dollars month.  $4800 a year.    

Virtual assistants save the day

A virtual assistant is as the name suggests, an off sight helper.  They can:

  • Manage an appointment book.  
  • Answer phones.  
  • Make calls.  
  • Enter data.  
  • Email management.  
  • Collect payments.

You name it, they can most likely do it for a fraction of the cost.

Hiring a Virtual Assistant

There are a few ways to go about hiring a virtual assistant.  Google virtual assistant and you’ll come up with a number of options.  Select the ones that look the best to you and give them a call.  Questions to ask are:

  1. What do they do?
  2. Are out going calls, emails included in their virtual assistant fee?
  3. What happens if they miss a call?
  4. If you are having them book appointments, do they use their software or do they log into your account?
  5. Do they charge if you go above what’s included in the fee?
  6. What hours will they be working?
  7. Do they give you a virtual mailbox or forward your calls during after hours?
  8. Do they check the mailbox the next business day or is that your responsibility?
  9. Can you give them a script to use when answering calls?
  10. What are their fees?
  11. Is there a contract?
  12. What are the penalties of leaving the contract early?

Every business is different so you’ll need to ask additional questions around your business structure.  These are questions that I’ve learned to ask from experience.  

In My Experience

I have used a virtual assistant for the last 6 years.  I’ve used two different companies.  One was a national company I found through a google search while the other (and my current) is a small local  company that I found on Craigslist.  They both cost roughly the same $100/month for 5 hours of time each month.  Each additional call is $2/call.  Note: I’ve never gone over my time.  Nor does my time roll over.  They answer calls, run my waitlist, make cancellation calls when I’m sick, book my appointments M-F 9-5 and forward all after hour calls to me.  

Here’s a review that I wrote for my virtual assistant several years ago:

Intelligent Office is a Must Do for Any Entrepreneur

I started with Intelligent Office (IO) about 18 months ago and haven’t looked back. In the past, I worked with other virtual assistant services who just couldn’t get it right. I needed someone to competently answer my phones or else I’d lose business.

I’m a solopreneur and there’s just absolutely no way to do it all alone. If I am in a session with a client then there’s no one to answer the phones. As they say, an unanswered phone, is lost business. Meaning that person is going to call the next business on their list. I just couldn’t let that happen.

IO has helped me tremendously. They answer my calls, they book my appointments, they help me reschedule clients in cases of when I am sick or weather conditions. They do all of this with a smile over the phone. My clients have nothing but positive things to say about their interaction with IO which makes me feel that they are treating them with respect and kindness.

If IO has questions, they don’t hesitate to ask me through email or with a call. They have even taken the time to learn about my business. Because of their help my business stays busy. I am happy to have found them. They’ve been an asset in my creating and maintaining a thriving massage practice.

Felicia Hayes, Licensed Massage Therapist

I think that sums up how I feel about using a virtual assistant.

A word of caution

Pick a virtual assistant who is as inquisitive about your business as you are theirs.  The virtual assistant should be friendly, patient, and have a strong desire to learn about your business.  They should also be confident and well educated on their own business and customer service.  

Although I paint a beautiful picture of the service, it took work and still takes work.  I communicate with my virtual assistant at least once a week about tweaking the way they handle calls, updating policy or what to do in certain situations.  

Be clear this isn’t a talk to them one time and you’re off doing your thing.  If you do that, things will surely fall through the cracks.  It is a working relationship.  Like all relationships you have to work at them to be successful.  They are your employee.  Just be mindful that you must guide them in the direction you need them to go in.  

Comment below if you have any questions about getting a service of your own or how you should set up your service.

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FREE Massage Salary Calculator

Salary Calculator







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This is the best space to build a massage practice

My Professional Office Space

When I decided to go out on my own.  Be my own boss.  Work for myself.  The very first thought was where am I going to open my practice.  My next thought was where would my clients fill the most comfortable.  Really that last thought was what guided my search.  I needed a space that was comfortable, safe and airy.  I made of list of several spaces I would be interested in growing my business.  They were:

  • Professional office space
  • Physical therapy office
  • A wellness center
  • Home

The Professional Office Space

I ultimately choose my own professional office space in a community shared suite.  That’s a mouthful.  I gave my search a lot of thought.  I looked at a variety of setups before finding the perfect spot.

My suite is filled with independent professionals.  Although I thought about renting out an entire suite for myself in the past.  I didn’t want the burden of that high cost of rent or finding tenants to rent out the extra space.  Nor did I want to  grow a full fledged business.  So this single 8 x 10 office was an excellent solution.  It was big enough for me to create a real welcoming environment.

There are many many examples of these professional office spaces.  But what drew me to mine was its waiting room and there were other tenants that had complimentary practices.  In my suite there’s a hypnotherapist, 2 speech therapists, a marriage family counselor, a life coach, an esthetician, an in-home caretaker and of course, me.  So I never feel alone.  Also, my clients like the vibe that there are other people around.  It makes for the appearance that we’re part of a greater network.  This has proven to be great for satisfying client comfort and safety.  On the flip side still allows me to be 100% independent of everyone in the suite.  One last note about this community office is through natural progression we all refer to one another and it has become an unexpected generator of clients.

I remember looking at other suites that didn’t have such a dynamic environment, a waiting room or were filled with non complimenting professionals like lawyers and relators.  Which bring me to my next point.

The List

Know what you are looking for when you head out searching.  I made this list of must haves to get me through my searches.  I would only allow my space to not have one thing.  If it had more than one, it was out of the question.

Light parking  √ Month to month lease
Handicapped parking  √ Less $600/mo
Location easy to find   √ Close To home
Bathrooms   √ Breakroom 
Elevators   √ Conference Room 
Clean   √ Gym  
Professional   √ Restaurant 
Waiting room/area   √ Close to food, shops 
Multiple tenants   √ Receptionist
A window   √  
Internet   √  

This list is basic.  The asterisk sign means these were things that would be nice to have but not necessary.  I purposefully made it that way because I knew I wanted to make the space conducive to bodywork and therapeutic massage.  I just needed the space to have good bones.  The rest was up to me.  My space isn’t picture perfect but over time I have created it to be a functioning space that can accommodate all of my clients.  I have been in it for 6 years at the time of this posting with hopes of being in it for 6 more.

Cost

These types of offices can range from $250-$800 a month.  Depending on location and size.  I opted for a nicer office to accommodate my clientele.  My office has a window.  It is at the end of the suite to cut down on noise and foot traffic across my doorway.  The office is the largest in the suite.  That paired with the window creates a sense of openness in the room.  

Cost played a major factor in my decision but I didn’t want to compromise on my space.  So I had to compromise in other ways.  In order to keep my rent low I ended up signing a year lease with a one month deposit.  There after my lease would be yearly renewals versus month to month renewals.  This was the compromise I made to get a lower rate but nicer office.  This particular suite is owned by a couple.  So I was able to have that discussion with them about cost and leases.  Where as if it were a management leasing company it would have been a no go. 

I was all in.  I knew that I was going to open shop and move forward.  There was no second guessing my business plan.

How did I decide the things I needed in an office space?

I rolled played.  Pretended I was the client coming to visit me for the first time.  Walked myself through all the stages leading from my house to getting on the massage table.  Took notes along the way.  As I was finalizing my list and setting up my business, I would go on Living Social and Groupon to get massage deals.  I would then make appointments taking notes along the way about the pros and cons of every interaction I had.

  • How easy was it to get there?
  • Was parking easy?
  • Is there handicap parking?
  • Easy to get there?
  • How was the check in process?
  • Are the people in the office nice?
  • Is the place clean?
  • Noise?
  • Where’s the bathroom?
  • Do I have to fill out a form?
  • Is the room comfortable?
  • Was I on time with my services?
  • Did I wait a long time to get worked on?
  • Was there water?

I think you get my point.  In the end these were very good learning tools that helped me decide on critical aspects of my business and its location.  They were absolutely worth the investment in time and energy.  Because now I have a workspace that I’m proud of and has allowed me to build a successful thriving practice.

A few more things that come to mind

I did my search through Craigslist.  There were plenty of options.  These types of units are always readily available.  Rarely was I asked to do a credit check.  Most cases it took only a deposit to hold the office.  I used my intuition about places.  I never ignored it.  Sometimes I was tempted to because the place looked awesome or it had awesome amenities.  This is where my list really helped guide me.  I choose a space that sent the signal to clients that I’m a working professional that is serious about my craft.  It works.

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[Download] Trouble growing your clientele? Don’t give up. Try this.

Grow your clientele

Know who your ideal client is and talk to them.  

How do I know who my ideal client is?

You create them.  

My ideal customer is a person who is familiar with massage and is seeking massage for very specific work.

I came up with this statement after years of being in the industry.  This is the customer I enjoy working with and working on the most.

Why do I need an ideal customer?

An ideal customer profile helps you better direct your marketing efforts towards their needs.  If you can do this effectively, you will increase your business with people you care to work with and build a loyal customer base.  

Think about the places you frequent the most and why you return to them.  Do you think it’s by coincidence that they have gained your business?  No.  Most likely you are their ideal customer.

Creating your ideal customer takes work.  As simple as my ideal customer sounds, it took years of brain power to form that statement.  Not to mention, the statement is always evolving and changing.  And, that’s okay.  Yours will too.  Especially as we grow in our careers, our needs, wants and desires change.  So will our customer.  For example my original customer was anyone, then I focused on health insurance, to finally the above description.  

Crafting our ideal customer

Crafting our ideal customer is a strategy that helps us focus on our goals.  Let’s say the goal is making $100k/yr salary.  This figure is going to determine how we reach, communicate, market, build a working relationship, design incentives and grow our skills.  This is where it’s necessary to know who were are seeking as clients.  

I recently had a massage therapist seek my help in growing her practice. 

She had been in business a year but it was under performing. 

My very first question to her was, “Who is your customer?” 

You know what?  She couldn’t answer the question. 

I took her through this super simple but effective drill. 

Try it for yourself.

  1. Take 2 minutes (time it if necessary) to write down all the characteristics you require in your ideal client.  This exercise gets easier the longer you work in the field and with the more bodies you work on because you get a sense of who you connect with.  Be brutally honest with yourself.  No erasing or back spacing.  This is for your eyes only.
  2. Take 30 seconds cross out all words you can live without.  If you have to think about it, cross it out.
  3. Take 1 more minute to write down more characteristics.
  4. Now, narrow your list down to 3 characteristics.
  5. Write sentences for each item on your list.  Start your sentences with
    • My ideal customer is ____________________________________________.
  6. Now marry all 3 sentences together.  You may find that you keep all three, or two and maybe just one.  That is okay.

Congratulations you have done the first iteration of your ideal customer!  Remember it can change over time.  

Download the My Ideal Client Worksheet to develop a detailed profile of who you’re selling to.

The massage therapist that I spoke of above came up with these 3 sentences:

  1. My ideal customers are Jewish women.
  2. My ideal customer is over the age of 50.
  3. My ideal customer plays mahjong.

We looked at these statements, read them out loud and began to play around with the wording.  She began to question her limits, values, demographics and eventually decided on:

  • My ideal customers are women over 50 who play mahjong.

A winning statement

That there is a winning statement.  It allows her to reach a wide diverse group of people in her community that she feels comfortable working with and on.  Because you’ve taken the time to identify your target customer profile it will make reaching them much easier.  Your messaging, branding should be speaking to them. 

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[Download] 5 Email Templates You Should Be Sending Your Clients

5 email templates

If you aren’t using emails to communicate with your clients, you should be.  They are a very effective tool for communicating to clients.  Here are a few more reasons why you should be using them:

  • Emails help limit the number of no shows.  
  • They are quick.
  • Have high deliverability and open rates.
  • You can be as direct or indirect as you want to be.
  • Clients feel they are less intrusive than a call, a text, a poke.
  • Clients also have control over who can contact them.

Simply put, email can be a very valuable tool – especially if you know how to use it.

Here are the emails you should be using.

The Standard 5

  1. Appointment Confirmation: Sent the day they make an appointment.  To give peace of mind that their appointment is acknowledged and made.
  2. Appointment Reminder:  Sent a day or two before the appointment to reconfirm their time and date as well as give options to cancel their appointment.
  3. Cancel Appointment:  If you or they cancel the appointment, this email should be sent immediately after to acknowledge the cancelled appointment but also to reschedule the appointment.  Possible suggesting available dates.
  4. Request A Review:  This should be sent anywhere from 1-5 days after the appointment while the service is still fresh in their mind.  It should only be sent to people who haven’t reviewed your service.
  5. Save the Dates:  Their email can be sent quarterly, giving clients a heads up of special dates you may have scheduled like vacation, training, etc.

Two More

Here are two other emails that are worth adding to this list.

  1. Sick Policy: Send this out at the beginning of a new season when people are likely to get sick.  Think winter & beginning of the school year.
  2. Weather Policy:  Let your customers know what are the parameters for canceling during bad weather.

What’s the best way to deliver email?

You don’t need fancy software or to spend money to create them. You can do something as quick and budget friendly as setting them up in your Gmail account. Here’s a blog post you should check out if you’re interested in this method, click here.  

However, the most common method is using an appointment scheduler like Fullslate, Square, Genbook.  These usually have a monthly fee.  They also come preloaded with generic email templates.  I would encourage you to customize the emails with information that is specific to your practice.

Customized email template

Subject: Massage Appointment Confirmation

Hi Sally,

Your appointment with Hayes Bodywork on 1/1/18 at 12pm is now booked.

You can visit {appointment link} to view or modify your appointment.

Thank you,

Felicia Hayes, LMT

Phone: 000-000-0000

Text: 000-000-0000 (Please ONLY text quick messages.  I will ONLY respond during regular business hours.)

Address

4256 Your Street

Your City, Your State, Your Zip

DIRECTIONS:

1.  Coming from  

2.  Coming from

3.  Coming from

Sick Policy:  You will not be charged for missed appointments due to being sick REGARDLESS of when you cancel your appointment.

Crazy Weather:  You will not be charged for missed appointments due to weather conditions REGARDLESS of when you cancel your appointment.

Keep in mind that your clients usually have limited time.  These emails should not infringe on their time. 

My clients often compliment me on having all the details in my email.  It makes everyone’s life easier.

These key elements should be in your emails.  

  • Contact information.
  • Address.
  • Directions.
  • Any policies you enforce.
Make your emails stand out too

Also, highlight important information that you want your clients to know either by changing the text color, bolding the lettering, highlighting the text, or making certain words larger/smaller and italicizing.  These are all fantastic ways to draw your clients eyes to parts of the email you want them to notice.

If you want people to think you are not a robot, add a bit of personality to your emails.  It doesn’t have to be riddled with sarcasm but add some of you to the content.  You will see this in my emails which you can download here.

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Start creating email templates now

Train yourself to get in the habit of sending emails to your clients regularly. Make the emails purposeful and appropriate. Nothing is more irritating than receiving an email without any purpose. Clients might mark your emails as spam and rethink whether or not they should come back to you. So be smart about your email.  Ask yourself, “Would I like to know this information?”.

Another word of advice would be to start a list of regular questions you receive from your clients. Take a mental note as to how often you hear the same questions. This will determine if an email template would be appropriate to responding to these questions. For example, I also have email templates about price increases, the best ways to contact me, how to have insurance pay for massages and so forth. Now I may not send these emails out regularly, but I do when they are appropriate.

Creating and using an email template can save you a lot of time, especially if you find yourself sending out the same replies to clients. With an email template you can save the information that you’re frequently asked so you don’t waste time retyping or even copying and pasting it every time. Instead, the appropriate template can be selected and any new information can then be added to it if necessary before emailing it to clients.

Download the editable version of my email templates here.  Plus get 2 bonus email templates too.   

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This is how you get clients to write awesome reviews for you

How to get clients to write you awesome reviews

Let’s face it, reviews make a substantial difference for driving customers to your business.  According to a Vocus study, 68% of consumers go to social networking sites to read product reviews.  The more reviews you have spread out across the web the more likely people are going to find you.  The fewer reviews you have, the less likely people will bother looking at your information.  It’s that simple.  So how can you take control of your reviews?  How can you get your clients to review you?  How can you get more reviews?  

I’m going to teach you how to increase your visibility on the web right away which will also lead to clients naturally going to those big sites like Yelp, Google Plus, Facebook and your website to leave you an awesome review.  

Take Control Of Your Reviews

1.  Dedicate a page for reviews on your website

Create your own review page.  This will give you the ability to ask clients to review your work which you then can place on your site.  Ask.  Copy.  Paste.  It’s that simple. 

2.  Get a Yelp Business Page

Yelp can drive a substantial amount of quality business to you.  Quite often people who find you on Yelp are pretty good about writing reviews on Yelp.  Just check out the statistics here.  So it behooves you to set up your Yelp page.  But once you do this ALWAYS be on your A+++ game.  A Yelper can enter your massage practice at any moment.  Then review your business as they walk out the door.  You want to make sure you get the best review possible because it can drive a lot of business to you.  Where as a bad review can have the opposite effect.  Yelp will tell you that it’s better to get fewer awesome reviews than more mixed reviews.  Consistency is king!  

3.  Setup a Facebook Page

Most of your clients are on Facebook and so, your business should be too.    Facebook makes it very easy for people who follow you to write reviews.  Also, your clients are more than likely looking for your on Facebook.  

Word of advice, separate your business page from your personal page.  It makes life much easier and professional.

Also, those who are following you are likely to write quality reviews.  Not to mention, people on Facebook love to share good finds with their Facebook community.  Making this a must do.  

4.  Make a Google + Page

Getting people to review you on Google+ is probably the most challenging just because there really isn’t a community there like on Facebook or Yelp.  It takes more effort to get reviews here.  But boy oh boy it’s beneficial.  The more reviews you have on Google+, the higher ranking your website gets in the search engine.  The better reviews the stronger your ranking.  It’s a whole algorithm that Google uses.  It can potentially drive quality business to your website.

5.  Use an online appointment book

Take the time to setup an online appointment book.  You can use Fullslate, Genbook, Square, Acuity and there are probably a million more.  Some have free options.  Others are based off a monthly payment fee.  But, they all have the ability for clients to leave reviews.  It makes it easy for you to setup an automatic request for a review after their appointments.  You can then post the review to your own website and/or to your online appointment book.  

Pay attention to this

Yelp discourages businesses from asking their patrons for reviews.  Facebook and Google encourage you asking your customers for reviews.  Yelp feels you will be bias in who you ask.  Facebook and Google feel the more reviews the merrier.  More traffic and searches on their engines.  

How to get the message out

Reviews have helped my business grow and continue growing.  I have gotten to the point that I discretely ask for reviews at every touchpoint I have with a customer:

  • “Please review my services on XXX” with a link.  I have this tag on every email I send to my returning clients.  
  • I send review my business emails to all my customers after their second visit.  that way they can give a solid review of my service. 
  • Quarterly I send a newsletter to everyone and in that newsletter and one of the topics I ask for reviews.  

How to get better reviews

The messaging you use in the email requesting a review has to be short and guiding.  It has to tell your clients what you want in the email.  If you simply say, please review my business then you’re going to get a simple response like “Felicia is awesome.”  Really you want the people reading your reviews to understand why Felicia is awesome.  A better way to get your clients to write more would be to say something like, 

Dear {name},

Hayes Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork has invited you to share your experience with other potential customers. Your review may be published online and will help others make an informed decision.  

Please leave a short review by clicking here. 

Thank you, 

Felicia Hayes

This will inspire your customers to explain why they came in and how they felt about the massage they received.  It will get a greater response from your clients and add more value to your potential clients reading your reviews.

Are incentives necessary?

People like being rewarded for giving reviews.  I’ve seen businesses give a percentage or dollar amount off of the customers next service in exchange for a review.  And I’ve seen businesses not give anything.  

I think the better approach is to think about the behavior you want from your clients, yourself and of your business.  Here are some examples of questions I would be asking:

  • Will my clients always expect something in return?
  • Do I provide great service and massages that will inspire them to write a review?
  • Am I willing to take another decrease in income for the review?
  • What will I gain from the review?
  • Do I give away enough already in my practice?

The answers will lead one to make a logical decision for themselves and their business.  

Final Thoughts

It’s a no brainer that collecting reviews should be a part of your business model.  It’s free, within your control and can drive a ton of quality business to you.

 

Need more information on building a plan for collecting reviews on your website?