21 Marketing Strategies For Massage Therapist That Actually Work

In Massage business strategies by Kelly2 Comments

Marketing strategies for a massage therapy business are similar to that of any small business. There are a few things that need to happen before opening the doors, below I will list the steps needed to create a competitive, up-to-date marketing plan that any type of massage therapy business could benefit from.

Things you will find in the article: marketing tips and strategies I used when starting my massage therapy business, a printable PDF of a massage therapy business template, lastly you will have  access to my list of the best keywords to use in your new massage business website to help take your website to the top of Google!

When taking the leap and starting a massage therapy business, the unknown is scary but if you implement these marketing strategies that actually work, starting a new business will not seem so unattainable. Your success in life is determined by your ability to continue to learn and take action, I hope you fine guidance and clarity within this article.


No. 1 Branding

Your business needs to have a clear identity. A brand would be your name, logo, slogan, and your colors. Once you create a brand it becomes easier to market as people become familiar with your business. For example, if your colors are green and yellow and you have a image of a lotus flower, this is a pretty distinctive image that people will recognize and remember. 

If you use the same image across all your marketing materials people are going to remember your business and this is the start of building trust.  Once your brand is well known it will be easier to market and fill your schedule when people trust your company because they know what they are getting when they book with. This is the start of customer loyalty. 

One of the reasons Massage Envy does so well is because people know the brand, they know exactly what they’re getting when they walk through the door. This is important in any type of new business, but it is especially important that as a massage therapy business you create a brand that people can rely on and know that if they come to your office or spa that it’s a safe place.

This is why it is important to look at the big dogs in your industry and learn from them, if they are doing something right, follow suite, but make it your own. I’m not suggesting that you’re trying to be the next Massage Envy, I’m only stating that you need to look at who’s doing it right and figure out how to do that as well.

You may not agree with all the things that Massage Envy does, but that’s okay because you’re not creating another Massage Envy. You may not seem like it, but there is plenty of massage business to go around, I promise you. You also need to keep in mind you are not selling a new concept to the public, people know what massage is but it is up to you to educated you’re audience why they need it on a regular basis.

If you could tap into just a little bit of this booming industry, then you could have a successful massage therapy business that’s all your own. It is absolutely possible to exist beside the larger franchises you just need a small piece of the market to be successful and have a thriving business.

Need help finding the best colors for your website, or do you want to learn how to make your own logo for FREE, then click here

No. 2 Writing a business plan

Writing a business plan is so crucial to starting a small business, period! A business plan is your road map for your journey of your business that you’re trying to create. If you don’t have a clear vision of what your purpose or objectives are then you are dead in the water.

A business plan is not set in stone and you can alter it at any time but I highly highly recommend that you do at least as short hand business plan just to give you an idea of what your objectives are. A business is a huge financial endeavor and you need to make sure that you have your finances in order before you decide to go out on your own. A business plan will help make sense of all the details required to start a new massage business.

Sadly there’s no guarantee that any business will be successful, so if you don’t have a strong financial backing for the hard times you’re not going to be able to push through to get to the good times.  I’ve created a PDF file that you can download for free, it’s a short, easy to fill out business plan. I walk you through step-by-step what needs to go where and why. I also talk about the obvious and not so obvious expenses that come with starting a new business, for your free business plan click here .

No. 3 You Need A Great Website!

If you do not have a website for you’re massage business, how do you expect anyone to find you?  I don’t care what kind of business you have, if you do not have a website then you are missing a big piece to this marketing puzzle! You may think starting a website for your massage business will be difficult and  it may feel intimidating  but I am here to tell you, IT CAN BE DONE!

With today’s technology you do not need to know coding or any of that scary techy stuff. WordPress has taken the guess work out and has made it possible for anyone to create a beautiful website over the course of a weekend! WordPress is the most commonly used software system to create websites.

Back in the day a website were no more than a digital business card but today it can be so much more. Prospective clients want to see a professional easy to navigate website. Things your website should include:

  • Your logo
  • Your business name
  • You need a about me page (why did you become a massage therapist, why did you start your business?)
  • Pictures of you at work, your office, offsite events you have done (not to many but a few to paint a picture)
  • Outline your business’s purpose (why are you in business)
  • Blog page
  • Contact page
  • Video of you working
  • All you forms should be online for clients to be able to print and fill out at home
  • Online scheduling/payment software
  • Prices
  • Hours of operation
  • Any discounts you offer
  • Address
  • Office phone number
  • What form of payment you except
  • Your cancellation policy
  • List your modalities you offer

I’m not suggesting you write a book, but people are going to want to know who you are and what you are about. Talk about what you specialize in and why that modality is important to you. If you convey a clear message of who you are, this will tell people right away if they have found what they are looking for.

Not everyone is looking for a relaxing Swedish massage, some people want to find a massage therapist who specializes in Craniosacral therapy, or maybe sports recovery therapy so it is important to relay a clear message of who you are and you massage style. If you keep your website simple and to the point your users will have a better experience and will be more likely to call or click on the book now button.

To get started building your business you need the best hosting for your website. Two companies I have worked with and I equally like are Blue Host and Siteground, both are solid companies with a great reputation. I suggests checking out both to see if either are running a special and you could possibly get a better deal.

When you sign up for hosting it is a one year contract but both companies offer a 30 day money back guarantee if you are unhappy with the hosting. If you are read to create a killer website today, click here and let me help you get started!

No. 4 Understanding SEO

SEO stands for search engine optimization. If you can master SEO it will take your massage business website to the top of the Google search engine.  Example, I have a business about massage therapy so throughout my website I have words like massage therapy, massage therapist, deep tissue massage, Swedish massage, sports massage, Etc. Every minute of everyday Google as little google bots that crawl the internet looking at websites and determining what that site is about.

There is an art form to SEO that you need to understand if you want your website to rank on the first page of Google, being on the first page is very important! If you live in a area where there is a lot of competition then you better have a killer website. You need to optimize every page with words and phrases people search every month.

I suggest you download this amazing free tool by Chome, its called Keyword Everywhere. This tool is absolutely free and it is incredibly handy. When I first started my website I paid a company to optimize my website so I could rank as fast as possible. Over the course of a year I paid this company $800 for something I could have done for free with this free browser.

After you install Keyword Everywhere, start paying around with words, you will need to get creative at times. Words like Swedish massage or massage therapy will be impossible to rank for. There is just to much competition for words so look for words that are not searched as much and focus on the “low hanging fruit”.

Click here for a free list of keywords and phases for your massage therapy website

 No. 5 How to get traffic to your site?

At this point you have a website and you have optimized it floor-to-ceiling, now it’s time to get people to come to your site. To do this you need to sign up for a Google my business account. Google my business is a free service, simply go to www.google.com create an account, fill out the information and in 7 to 10 business days you will receive a postcard in the mail that will give you a code to verify your business.

Once you have verified your business, prospective clients will see your business on the google map as a massage business near them. If you do not have this for your business I don’t know what to tell you, it’s free, it’s easy, and it is absolutely a must-have for people to find your your business.

When filling out the information to verify your business, it will ask for a address. If you do not have a business front that is fine you can use your home address or a P.O. Box number as well.

I suggest downloading the app so you can manage your listing by adding photos, add a link to your website and this is were your Google reviews will be listed. When you are just starting out Google reviews are so important so I suggest offering clients a small discount on there next session if they leave a Google review.

That’s what I did in the beginning, I offered $5 off there next session for a review. Potential clients are more likely to click through to your website if they see favorable reviews before hand. It is also important to display a few images that highlight your business. We are visual by nature so have you friend or your mom snap a couple of pictures of you working.

NO SELFIES, you need professional images that are appropriate and display the professionalism you are trying to accomplish.


No. 6 Get active in the community

It’s time to get active in the community and get your business out so people can see you, a great way to get active in your community is to volunteer for local charity events like 5K fun runs. You can set up a booth, it’s usually free to volunteer and offer massage to the runners and give away free 5 minute massages and hand out business cards.

I really like doing races because these are exactly the kind of clients that you want to have. Its people that want to get healthy, they understand the importance of monthly maintenance and they are willing to pay for it. Charities events can be a gold mine, this can be a get way to hand out a lot of information to so many prospective clients in just a few hours.  I suggest you have your schedule handy because I have been known to book clients right then and there. 

This where having an online scheduling system like schedulicity  comes in handy. Booking right then and there when the thought is fresh in their heads makes it more likely to seal the deal. I could use my tablet, get the persons info and a email would be send right over to them with all the information they needed for there up coming appointment, people love convenience.

No. 7 Creating a wellness program

A wellness program is not for everyone but for some this cam be very fruitful. A wellness program is when you work with specific businesses or organization and you give discounts to it’s employees. Sometimes you can make arrangements with the company to where it’s employees can come to you at a discounted rate then at the end of the month you would invoice the employer for the difference.

For example you could charge the employee 60{aa85435535b2bb3a4ba78547bb21fc32eb7710b0e77a951858af600607b97eba} at the time of the massage then at the end of the month charge the employer the remaining 40{aa85435535b2bb3a4ba78547bb21fc32eb7710b0e77a951858af600607b97eba} for all massages given. Many companies also have health saving accounts or flex spending as an employee health benefit which you could also except if you use Square card readers for your credit transactions, Paypal does not except HSA or FSA.

Lastly, some businesses like to have massage therapist set up in house massage for it’s employees, I worked at a business that had it’s own little gym and twice a month I would set up in the little gym. I would be there for 6 hours and I would have a sign up sheet filled out ahead of time and people would just stole in throughout the day and get a massage.

I would invoice the company once a month and I would receive payment usually 2 months later. A long wait time is typical when working with businesses so don’t stress if it takes a minute to get paid, they will pay you.

No. 8 This is not so much a strategy as it is a warning

Do not use Groupon and do not do paid Facebook ads if you are not careful you could  discount yourself out of business. Groupon is such a waste of time that once you do the math there’s a good chance for a 60-minute session you will have made $12. Groupon takes 50{aa85435535b2bb3a4ba78547bb21fc32eb7710b0e77a951858af600607b97eba} of whatever you set your price for that promo, then you have to hold back 20{aa85435535b2bb3a4ba78547bb21fc32eb7710b0e77a951858af600607b97eba} for taxes, leaving little left for you.

Anyone surfing Groupon are looking for deals, these kind of consumers are not your ideal client unless you continue to use Groupon discounts. If you plan to give away massages that cheap you might as well work for someone else and save yourself a lot of time.

Facebook ads, another waste of time, energy, and money. Everybody thinks Facebook is the end-all-be-all for online marketing but in fact I read a recent study that marketing on Facebook yields 2{aa85435535b2bb3a4ba78547bb21fc32eb7710b0e77a951858af600607b97eba} return on your investment. When I ran a few Facebook ads in the beginning of my business I spend a couple hundred dollars and gained one client and a lot of creepy phone calls.

Using social media is a powerful tool but get your friends and family members to share your website and create a Facebook business page and invite everyone to like and follow it. I’m not suggesting you should never run promos if you want but be careful not to discount your work to much. Instead of Groupons and Facebook ads simply offer $10 off your first visit or $15 off for referrals, or $5 if someone writes a Google review about you.

If you offer any or all these discounts, have it written somewhere you only except one discount at a time and if needs to be on a session of 60 minutes or great. I made that mistake and people were trying to use multiple discounts at a time and I had to put a stop to that real quick, momma got bills!

No. 9 Check out Nextdoor.com

Nextdoor.com is a free service that’s not well known but it’s all about local businesses conversing in rural areas. I had a client who owns a construction business and she told me about Nextdoor.com. I immediately signed up for an account and started posting ads and just telling people about my business I left links for my website and I gained a lot of business from that and it was free advertising, all it cost me was my time.

When posting on Nextdoor.com don’t spam all over it, that will get you kicked out real fast. Just introduce yourself, and talk about your business, then from time to time check in and talk about anything new that’s happening with the business. Give people useful information don’t be a walking sales pitch.

No. 10  Blogging 

If you want your website to stand out against the competition, then you don’t want your website to go stale. A stale website is one that is made and then it’s never looked at again by its owner. Blogging new refreshing articles about recent conventions you’ve went to or new continuing education you’ve recently taken helps keep your website growing and pushing to the top of the ranking.

Blogging not only increases your visibility on the internet but it helps  creating trust with the community as they follow along reading your post they see that you’re actively working to keep and grow your business. For a typical blog post you should shoot for about a 1,000 words.

Blogging is simply answering questions; for example i will use Reiki . Many people are interested in Reiki but they know very little about it so I would recommend starting your blog with “what is Reiki?”. Then you could go on to write about who would be an ideal person for Reiki or I’ve just been in a serious car accident Could Reiki help?

Answer questions people ask you on a weekly basis, shoot for about a 1,000 words, add a few relevant pictures, and try to add new articles monthly. If you continue to add to your website and if you include the right keywords, your website will continue to move to the top.

No. 11 Clients love technology 

Clients love technology and they love convenience, for this reason I strongly urge you to have an online scheduling system. There are a handful of companies out there that offer online scheduling services that is inexpensive and your clients will love it. I use Schedulicity and with my package I have unlimited scheduling they send a email reminder immediately after the session has been booked and a text 24 hours prior to the massage.

 I also require a credit card to be put on file in order to book a session, I do this as a safety net for no call no shows all of those features cost me $25 a month. I highly recommend you look into some form of online scheduling system, my clients love the convenience of it and some scheduling systems have there own apps that clients can download, it’s pretty cool stuff.

No. 12 Corporate massage

I touched on this earlier but do not overlook the big businesses. There is so much money to be made if you can establish relationships with reliable companies in your area. If you can establish a great reputation in your area and build a few accounts with businesses you could have a full time schedule just traveling to local businesses. This could be in office, health fair, or work retreats; if you want zero over head, this is a great way to go.  This can be an amazing thing so please don’t overlook the opportunities here.

No. 13 Leverage social media, but not paid ads.

When starting a new business you need to be everywhere, under your business name create new accounts in:

  1. Twitter
  2. Instangram
  3. Pintrest
  4. Facebook
  5. Yelp
  6. Google My Business
  7. Reddit

Don’t be overwhelmed by this, social media is fun but it could also be a huge time suck if you do not stay focused. Encourage friends and family members to like, follow and share your Facebook business page. Tweet and use Instagram  every now and again adding funny massage massage jokes or pictures of you at work or if you are doing a charity event.

Yelp and Google serve the same purpose, create accounts, link them to your business and encourage clients to leave reviews!! Reddit is a good place to share your blog posts and start conversations. Getting people to talk about your blog will help boost the rating on Google.

Lastly Pintrest, or Pintrest let me count the ways. Massage like topics do well on Pintrest, anything health related, stretches, self-care, aroma therapy, spiritual healing. If you write about anything in this area and put a trendy picture with it will gain attention. All of these avenues help get more eyes on your website.

The more views your website has the higher the ranking over time.

No. 14 Start a email list

 Having an email list is handy if you have a lot of openings on your schedule that you’re trying to fill. You could select a few emails of clients  you haven’t seen for a while and shoot them all the same email in one click saying “hey I have openings this week and I haven’t seen you for a while, would you like to book anything this week?”

If you like the idea of creating an email list, you might be interested in a company called AWeber. AWeber allows you to collect emails and create any kind of email campaign that would suit your businesses needs. With a email campaign you could have a email that automatically sends a thank you for booking a session online. You could create a email that sends a happy birthday email to a client. You could create a we miss you email if you haven’t seen a client in a while.

It’s a really handy took and I like recommending AWeber because they are so user friendly and the support is great. I had no idea how to use this software in the beginning and they held my hand through the entire process. This is a stand up companie that you can do a trial run at no cost to you for simple taking there software for a test drive.

No.15 Know your audience 

I’ve already talked about this but I want to bring it up again because I felt like it was worth mentioning twice. In the beginning you need to get very specific of who your ideal client is. Do you want to work with athletes, geriatric, post surgical, prenatal, ect? Once you determine who your idea client is, create a brand around that ideal person.

Start small and go after that specific group of people and don’t be afraid to start out this way. Once you start getting clients coming in then they will go to work and tell all their coworkers and friends about you then word of mouth will kick in and then you will be rocking and rolling.

No. 16 Flyers, handouts, and business cards

When thinking of strategies for your massage business it’s a no brainier you are going to need some business cards. Business cards are inexpensive and if you are a AMTA member you get a discount through Vista print so I would check that out. If you are not a AMTA member you could search the web for promo codes, either way a box of 500 business cards will not set you back to much.

Other then business cards what kind of marketing material should you have on hand? In my opinion, nothing. I started my massage therapy business 4 years ago and in all that time I have had 2 people ask me for a brochure. People just don’t want that stuff, it’s wasteful and unnecessary.

I briefly subleased a space out of a floating spa that was just starting out and needed help getting the word out about their business. So I offered to take some of their promotional materials with me to set beside my stuff at the health fair I was working. After the event the owner was very concurred about getting all the unused brochures back, I asked her why are you so anxious about these brochures and she said the one box I was holding cost her $600!

These were triold glossy brochures that look really nice and professional but I just thought that was a waste of resources. You do want your business to stay fresh in people minds but in today’s world a powerful website that can answer a consumers question quick and easy is what people want.

That is why I stress the importance of a clean easy to navigate website that will answer a question quickly. Also this is why I encourage you start a email list so you can send out monthly newsletters just saying hello to you audience and encourage them to book soon. AWeber can help you create the right email campaign to keep you clients informed and engaged without the needs for brochures or flyer

Other marketing strategies for your massage business, some may think its tacky but if you primarily do traveling massage, get a decal for your vehicle. Have it display your company name, slogan, and a contact number. If you do primary corporate chair events, make that big and bold on your vehicle.

17  Creating a YouTube channel

This one might be tough for the introverts but I’m telling you starting a YouTube channel is extremely helpful for your business. I’m not saying you need to post a video every week, but having a handful of videos demonstrating your skills will give your audience a glimpse into who you are and your style.

It’s just like making a commercial for a business but through YouTube it’s free! You can use a video camera or just your phone, uploading a video to YouTube is a snap then once it is on YouTube you would copy and paste that videos unique URL onto your website.

To upload a YouTube video to your website you will need a plugin called Featured Video Plus, this is a free plugin that is simple to use. When I first started my website I illustrated a dozen stretches and talked about common injuries that I saw. My clients said they really liked the videos and thought they were helpful.

I only did a few videos because my business really took off and I didn’t have time to make more, so that was a good problem.

No. 18 Start a newsletter

This falls inline with sending monthly emails but when it comes to newsletters make it look like a fun but professional flyer. In the newsletter let your readers no about any put coming promotions or if you recently hired a new employee do a featured article about that therapist. If you plan on attending any major function in your area, let your readers know.

Example: Hi guys, I just wanted to you know if you want to drop by to say hi, you can find me at 5th and Main this Saturday from 9-noon at the farmers market. I will be providing 15 minute chair massages to raise money for the breast cancer foundation. Stop by and show your support, look forward to see ya soon!

Newsletters are a great way to keep in touch with your clients without coming across over baring or spammy.

No. 19 You must have Google reviews!

It is extremely important to have reviews on Google, people want to see what star rating you have and they want to read reviews about you. Before anyone even thinks about clicking on your website, they will first look to see if you have reviews then they want to see pictures. 

If you live in an area that is over saturated with massage therapist, you need reviews to stand out and you need several pictures illustrating you at work. If you have an office take a few pictures of the office so people know you are a legitimate business. 

You will do all this through your Google my business app, keep your pictures fresh and encourage clients to leave a review by offering a  $5 discount or giving them a free enhancement on their next massage like an aroma therapy. Give people a reason to write a review and if someone leave a bad review don’t ignore it, acknowledge  the complaint and offer a solution.

If someone reads the bad review but then they see you were proactive regarding the issue that takes your credibility way up and people will appreciate that and it could work to your advantage.

No. 20 Offering packages and memberships

  At some point you may choose to offer packages and or memberships at your business. Some massage therapist base their entire business around memberships others prefer pay per session. The option is 100{aa85435535b2bb3a4ba78547bb21fc32eb7710b0e77a951858af600607b97eba} yours to make, it is whatever makes the most sense for you and your business.

One of my best friends is a massage therapist in St Louis and she has a membership-based program but then she also does a pay per session option as well. The membership goes as follows: pay $100 one time a year and that will give the member rate per massage and they can have as many massages as they want during that year. Non-members will pay a slightly higher fee if they don’t want to become a member it’s straightforward, it’s easy to follow there’s no long-term commitments and she does very well for herself with this platform.

For myself I like pay per session, it’s less to keep track of and that’s what works for me. Even if I do pay per session I do encourage clients to come back monthly or by weekly depending on there issue. I am extremely confident when I speak to clients regarding my opinion on how often they should receive massage.

It is not uncommon for me to re-book clients for multiple session after there first massage with me. I will get clients to book weekly for a few weeks then we go to biweekly and then get them to monthly maintenance. This is the ideal treatment plan for many of my clients as most come to me with some sort of injuries.

When I first opened I offered a referral discount program, if anyone sent a referral to me the referrer would receive $15 off their next session of 60 minutes or longer.  When a referral came to me I would send a thank you email to the referrer and let them know they had a $15 credit waiting for them and I would end the email with when can I get you booked to redeem your discount? 

Many times people would email right back with days and times to get them booked. I became quit efficient at this to a point I didn’t need the referral program anymore. After only one year of business I had grow to a point I took away all discounts since I had such a large following.

If you implement the strategies I am laying out for you, you to could have the same level or greater success then I had!

No. 21 gift cards gift cards gift cards

Make no mistake, gift cards are a money maker. Make it well know on your website, your email campaigns,  and all marketing material that you offer gift cards year round. At different times of the years you can offer gift cards sales like; buy four 1 hour massages and receive a 30 minute upgrade for free.

I recommend offering gift card discounts during the slow time of year like the summer month. Christmas and Valentines days, gift cards sell themselves so I wouldn’t run any discounts at that time. People are going to buy gift cards regardless so why give away your time?

Last year there was one day I had to go back to the office 3 times because people kept calling and asking for gift cards. This year I plan to have extended hours just to be on stand by for last minute shoppers. In one day I sold $1,500 in gift card, it was crazy I almost ran out of cards!

When offering gift cards if you use square they have options to purchase customized or there standard gift card. I would just buy the standard Christmas cards then have a stand or sticker you could put on the envelop. I also include a business card in the card sleeve so people can easily contact me.

Through square you can also offer E gift cards on your website which I absolutely recommend. It’s pretty cool when you look at your square account and see someone bought $180 gift card while you were sleeping. Please keep good records of all your translations so your numbers match up at the end of the month.

If you do not current use square as your primary credit card transaction provider and you would like more information about this program click here.

That about covers it

I hope you found these marketing strategies helpful as you begin your journey in starting your own massage therapy business. It’s always easy in the beginning but if you take the time to create a business plan this will give you the solid foundation you need to start your business. By getting your fiances in order, create a website, get active on social media and in the community you will be well on your way to a long successful career as a massage business owner. 

I hope you found this article helpful and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask!

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    1. Author

      You are so welcome! I hope you were able to apply some of these strategies and had great success! I wish you the best of luck.

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