Why is it that some businesses have people queueing up to get in, while others are constantly on the lookout for new customers? Chances are, some people are better at advertising than others, but it’s likely they also value their clients and develop loyal and strong relationships with them. Here are eight ways to get more clients, and develop a relationship with them that’ll guarantee they come back for more!
Be good to your clients
When running a business, nothing is more important than looking after your established clients. Your clientele are arguably your most valuable asset, so it pays to treat them with warmth and respect, and to stay in touch. You’ve already done the hard yards to entice them into your business, they like what you do and, unless something unexpected has happened, they’ll probably want your services again.
Existing clients are also likely to promote your services to others. Keep them happy by providing a good service, remember to ask them about themselves (find out a little bit about their lives, not just their bodies) and contact them regularly. Plenty of existing clients would probably love to book in for a massage more than they do, but simply forget to call. Make it easier for them and initiate the contact.
Start a website
Even a one-page website may suffice for a small business – but whatever website you choose, make sure it is informative, clear and speaks to the customer. Get in the knack of writing “you” and not “we”. The website should be focused on your customers and the benefits they can get out of your services.
Make sure your website is geographically targeted to your area. In other words, if you’re massage clinic is in St Kilda, state clearly that your business is in St Kilda, particularly on the homepage and contact page. Check out our blog post on building your massage website or Top 10 tips for starting your own massage therapy business for more information.
Further your online presence with Facebook and Twitter
Using social media can be great for your business as it will attract more people to your website. Additionally, social media will help spread the word to other like-minded people about your services. Facebook and Twitter are also great ways of keeping in touch with your current clients and once again, developing your relationship with them, which encourages loyalty. Best of all, social media can be great fun!
Develop a relationship with local businesses
Other small business owners face the same issues as you and are likely to respond warmly to any suggestions of reciprocal promotions. So get out and about in your local business district and meet people. Talk to the local hairdresser, the local GP, physios, chiropractors, Pilates clinics, yoga studios – all these people could be wonderful referees in the future, and may even want to use your services themselves.
The beauty of small business is that you don’t need thousands of customers. Also, your target customers are probably locally based, which makes local advertising ideal. Contact your local community newspaper and take out a small 10-week ad in the classifieds section. You’ll be surprised how many people read the local papers on the weekends, and it could supply you with more clients than you think.
Occasionally, you may wish to advertise in the main part of the classified newspaper. Now, here’s the trick: as this ad will cost you perhaps, $350, you want to get the biggest ‘bang for your buck’. To make your advertisement memorable, try to offer the readers something that entices them to cut the ad out of the paper and stick it on the fridge. Carefully design an ad with a large banner offering a sizeable discount, e.g. 25% off – this July only! Take note though– adding the end date is very important. If people think they have a discount forever, they’ll be slow to move. If they have to act quickly to reap the reward, that’s what they’ll do. Give them the incentive to act straight away!
Here’s more great news for small businesses: the cost of printing keeps getting cheaper! Why not get your local printers to make up cheap flyers, once again with a fantastic offer and end date, and circulate them in your local area? You can do this yourself, but to maximise your time and money investment, you may find it worthwhile to pay a small fee for your local newspaper to include it in their letterbox drop. These days, people respond well to all things ‘local’, so make the most of it – and enjoy being part of the community.
Print business/appointment cards
Who would have thought a small piece of cardboard could be so powerful? A brilliant and essential investment for massage clinics, appointment cards double as referral cards for your business. Most people will keep the card in their wallet, reminding them of their next appointment, and can easily whip them out and show them to friends who are looking for a good massage. You can also easily distribute the cards around local businesses and cafes.
Start a referral program
As you’re a small business owner with plenty of ‘get up and go’ you probably think others will be as proactive as you. Not so! Plenty of people may love your business but just don’t have the drive to promote your services. Besides, there’s no incentive. So dangle that carrot and watch people jump into gear! For example, you could make referral cards and give clients a discount or free massage once they have referred a certain number of new clients to you. Make the referral worth their while though, otherwise you may find a lack of action. After all, once you’ve gained another new client, you have yet another valuable asset. We all know how important existing clients are!
Sage Institute of Massage – it’s more than a job, it’s a rewarding career.
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