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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?
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A simple guide to get rich massaging

Get rich massaging

So, I just finished reading the article Tips to Improve Your Finances in the Massage & Bodywork magazine.  You can find the article here.  I was shocked to find that ONLY 3% of massage therapist make $75k or more a year and only 7% make $50k – $70k.  Seriously blew my mind because I thought those numbers would for sure be higher.  Then there were all kinds of other statistics that jumped out at me that you can read about on your own but for this post, I’m solely focusing of how to get rich as a massage therapist.  I’ll define rich as making more than $50k/year as a massage therapist.  However, this recipe for richness has no limits.  

The magic formula

Let’s say you want to make $100k per year.  Here’s how the formula works.  

$100k / 12 months = $8300 month ← This is how much you need to make a month.  

$8300 / 4 weeks = $2075 per week  ← This is how much you need to make per week.  

$2075 / 5 – 7 days working per week = $415 – $296 ← This is how much you need to make per day respectively.  

A simple way to set your prices

Decide how many people you’d like to see a week.  Let’s see what the average cost per session would be at 25 weekly sessions.

$2075 per week / 25 people = $83 / average per session

Keep in mind this number is scalable depending on how many sessions you are doing per week.  It’s also dependent on what your pricing scale is for 60 minute, 90 minute, 120 minute and specialty massages.  I would recommend from experience that this figure be your 60 minute session price.  This is the minimum price you would need to make for you to reach your goal.  Everything else is extra or contributes to you reaching your goal faster.

Check your competitors prices to make sure you’re within the market range.  

Setting goals work

Setting goals is the number one driver to you achieving financial success.  Goals need to be broken down into smaller short-term ones.  Shorter goals makes it seem reachable.  The more short term successes we have, the more confidence we build and the more motivated we are to continue building our success.

Regardless of where you are in your career, I recommend setting weekly goals until you get a better picture of how your business operates.  When I first started this journey, I did this for the first 2 years.  It became a routine.  I got to see and understand in real time how holidays, marketing, weather, schools, client personalities effected my business.  These things matter.  They dictate things like visits, no shows, cancellations, how to utilize a wait list.  Basically things that effect the financial growth of your practice.  

Putting in the time

If you want the prize, you gotta put in the time.  You may look at the 25 sessions per week and say that’s a lot.  If you have high goals then you have to work for it.  As your business, brand, reputation grows you can reevaluate some of these things.  You can raise prices, give more options for your services, sell more gift cards, etc.  In theory, the older more established your business becomes the more you will earn and the less you will work.  

Try it out for yourself and let me know how it goes. 

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15 Massage Years. 15 Massage Lessons. 15 Massage Tips.

Where it all began
Yes, it’s true.  I’ve been massaging for 15 years.  Time flies, a phrase I often say and mean these days.  Looking back on my massage career there a many things I probably would do different.  I’m smiling as I write this because I know the truth that being a self employed massage therapist is hard.  Doing massage therapy day in and out for 15 years is hard work (borderline insane). I love what I do though and wouldn’t change it for the world.  I mean it.

15 Mistakes I Made

1.  Set some goals.

When I first started my practice in 2002, I did everything wrong.  So wrong that I had to close shop, work 2 jobs (actually 1 full-time & 1 part-time job) and dig myself out of the financial hole I had dug myself into.  On the second go around, I wasn’t going to let that happen.  It all started with setting goals.  My original and long standing goal was of course desired yearly salary.  My goal formula went something like this:  desired income ($100k) / number of weeks in the year (52) = $per week needed / # of clients I wanted to see = my hourly rate.  This formula really solved how I would approach every aspect of planning my business.

2.  Have a simple plan.

Successful businesses are based off a plan.  I hope I’m not alone when I say initially I didn’t have a plan.  I thought I’d open my doors, make a lot of money and that was it.  As I stated above, that wasn’t the case.  A simple plan just keeps you focused on your goals.  It’s you’re road map to success.  It tells you how you are going to achieve your goals.  The great thing about it is you can make it as simple as you want.  It can constantly be tweaked, changed, corrected as you become familiar with your business.

3.  Save some money.

I always think about my past and how little I saved.  If you read any good investment book, they will always tell you to pay your bills and put money aside for a rainy day and invest.  Just wish I did more of this earlier on.

4.  Focus on a niche.

I reached my goals faster by focusing on a single niche/target group.  I created my ideal client and pushed all my marketing and communication efforts towards this group.  It made structuring my website easy.  Designing my office was a breeze.  My plan was easy to develop knowing who I wanted as my customer.  I personally was happy knowing that I was seeing people I wanted to work on.

5.  Have a reasonable vision.

Don’t expect to work on movie stars if you live in Iowa.  You really have to do your research to see if your expectations of yourself and your business are practical.  For the first 2 years, I never took a vacation.  In year 3 I decided I needed to take a vacation, it was for a month.  What a disaster.  My income dropped.  It inconvenienced my clients and referral sources.  It just wasn’t practical for my business at that time.  I learned from it.  Planned for it.  Now it’s a normal part of my year.

6.  Build a routine.

Successful people have routines.  Think, you may be very successful if you adopt one.  Years and years I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off.  Until one day I finally crashed.  Literally could not move.  I turned to reading self help books.  I read the book, The Perfect Day Formula by Craig Ballantyne.  It changed my life for the better.  It taught me how to manage my time and  achieve my goals.  The solution was quite simple, create a routine for myself.  Follow that routine.  Tweak the routine.  I’ve been diligently on a routine for years now.  Not only has it benefited me, my mental state and health have also improved because I have more time for ME.   My clients and family have welcomed the stability too.

7.  Stick to a schedule.

Commit to having set hours.  I am always in my office during these set hours.  My clients know when they can reach me and expect correspondence.  It also, lets my family know when I’d be working.

8.  Call people back.

I learned many of my lessons early in my career except for this one.  Early in my career I was driven.  I didn’t want to miss a call or a customer.  I was on it!  As I became more stable, I started to not call people back right away or immediately respond to emails.  There’s nothing worse than having potential clients or your answering service (if you use one) scold you about not returning calls.  It’s downright embarrassing.  Right away I changed my behavior and returned calls.  I’m fortunate that people didn’t decide to write negative reviews or stop coming in.

9.  Learn about online marketing.

This is the key to driving people to your business.  It allows you to reach and target a large group of people for very little.  My initial try at a massage practice failed because I paid an awful lot of money on marketing.  I got very little in return.  Taking the time to learn about online marketing jumpstarted my second go around at building my massage practice.  I can say that 75% of my new clients come from online marketing.

10.  Communicate.

Be very clear in your communication.  If you really want to attract loyal customers then you need to build a working relationship with them.  All relationships are based off of communication.  People who come to see me end up being regular clients.  I don’t lose clients because I have communicated my services and expectations clearly at every stage of our relationship.  If I do lose a client it is because someone bought a gift card for them.  Therefore, bypassing my entire screening process.

11.  Have a support network.

This is SO important.  Think about this, every super hero has a wingman or some cheerleaders in their corner.  You need the same.  They can be family, friends, peers.  But you need outside sources that will challenge, motivate, and encourage you to do your best.  Everyone needs to feel good about what they do.

12.  Do one thing at a time.

Everyone is so concerned with multi-tasking.  Many studies will show that multi-tasking doesn’t work.  It takes longer to complete an item when you’re constantly multi-tasking.  Instead work on one thing at a time before moving to the next.  I say this because I would often have incomplete tasks that never got done.  But now I complete tasks that I set out to do.  Which is much more satisfying and productive to my business.

13.  Don’t over extend yourself.

Naturally we become massage therapists to help people.  It’s a rewarding profession in that sense.  But know that massage is one of those services people can’t get enough of and want you to give away.  You have to know yourself and tolerance well enough to know when to say no.  In the past I would over extend myself by agreeing to a number of things like home visits, charity events, donations, etc.  Even-though I didn’t want to do these things I said I would out of obligation.  I realized that these things didn’t make me happy.  In fact they did the opposite.  I soon stopped doing them for my own mental health.

14.  Be forthright.

If you make a mistake, own up to it and make it right.  If you make a scheduling error, do what you have to do to make your client happy.  The last thing you should do is lie about the error or not try to correct the problem.  If you do, karma will get you.  In all seriousness, you won’t have to remember any lies to hide from your clients.

15.  Take vacation.

Massage is hard-hard work.  You need regular vacations reboot your energy and passion of massage.  When you take care of yourself, you’re better able to care for others.  I take multiple long weekends throughout the year, holidays and one 4 week vacation during the year.  Implementing this motivates me to WANT to go to work everyday.


15 Things You Should Do

1.  Hire a virtual assistant.  

Every call missed, is a missed opportunity.  When you’re growing a business you can’t afford to miss calls.  

2.  Build a website and get it listed in the search engines.  

If you have no clue as to do these things, hire someone to do it for you or put the time in to learn how.  This is how your clients are going to find you.  

3.  Promote yourself.  

Let everyone know you are a massage therapist.  Hand out business cards.  Yes they are still relevant and professional. 

4.  Get listed on social media.  

It’s just another free way to drive people to your businesses.

5.  Offer massage packages, specials and gift cards.  

This a good way to encourage your clients to return more often and refer.

6.  Get an online appointment book.  

If you’re worried about weirdos signing up for sessions make people enter a credit card.  That solves that problem.

7.  Accept credit cards.  

Sign up wit Square, PayPal and Stripe.  They charge minimum fees.  

8.  Don’t charge your clients the credit card service fee.  

That’s just tacky.  Build it into your prices.

9.  Practice good customer service.  

If you don’t know how to do this, take a course in it or read books about it.  

10.  Get your clients to review your service.

Ask them to review you on Google, Yelp, Facebook, your website.  

11.  Pay your taxes quarterly.  

It’s just easier.  Quickbooks for self employed is a great tool for this.

12.  Dress for success.
13.  Create an awesome space for your clients.  

A space that is warm, inviting and safe.  You want clients to say how much they love your space.  

14.  Be the professional.  

Stay up to date on your licenses, certifications, training.  Never speak negatively about anyone.  Be positive.  Be there person people want to be around.

15.  Pay someone to do your sheets.

My point is to simply free up more time for yourself by delegating tasks.  Hire a service, neighbors kid, a retired person to take some nominal things off your plate like sheets, walking the dog, cleaning your office.  


Closing Thoughts

When you’re a self employed massage therapist the number of things on your plate can become overwhelming.  You hear entrepreneurs talk about wearing many hats and being so busy that they don’t have time for themselves.  This can lead to bigger problems like injuries, burnout, depression, broken relationships, lack of motivation.  And, once you’ve reached these limits it’s pretty hard to turn it around.  For some reason we’re not thinking about these things when we go into the business.  But we soon learn running and operating our own massage business part-time or full-time is challenging and comes with a lot responsibilities.  Consequently a great number of massage businesses fail.  I hope I can save you time, energy and money with my lists of massage lessons and tips I’ve picked up in my 15 years on the job.

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