Creative (low cost) marketing ideas

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Creative (low cost) marketing ideas

Postby rtamm on Sun Sep 10, 2006 2:42 pm

Who has some?

I'm kind of stuck at a standstill, been in my office for just about 2 years and I love my clients and about 90% of them are regular and habitual reschedulers, but I just need more. My week started out with 12 clients, and today alone, I've had 3 cancellations :( One of them was a new client so I can't say that I'm not too surprised, and the other two, one wants to get in later this week and another is coming in 3 weeks from now, but I'm running out of ideas to get new clients.

I'm part of the Google AdWords program (I show up under the sponsor link) and that has gotten me most of my business, I've put up flyers around town for a new client special ($10 off) and I have a website that is generating hits, but I just don't know what else to do for new clients.

I could advertise in the local free weekly paper here, but running a 1/24 ad at a 3x frequency rate would be $500 each time, and I know the old saying that you have to spend money to make money, but I don't have it to spend. My credit is poor because of financial difficulties while I was in school, so I can't get a loan from the bank for the business (tried that), my clients, while they are great, I don't get word of mouth referrals much at all, which is what I would really like. I just don't know what else I can do, I'm strapped for ideas! I ordered Todd Brown's build your practice course some time ago and I didn't get much out of that, but I plan on re-visiting it...I also did the BNI thing and got nowhere with it, I'm a member of my local Chamber of Commerce and that's the same as BNI, but the commerce people, they've all been in it for years and they are very cliquey, and not very welcoming (I was discussing this with a fellow therapist who recently joined and is regretting her decision now).

What have you tried that has worked (or not worked) for you?
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Postby transcends on Fri Sep 15, 2006 8:54 am

Hi
I agree with Great Lakes. Your database of current and past clients is a great resource. The following may give you some more ideas about how to use this resource.

1) Develop a loyalty card scheme. Everytime they reach 9 stamps on their loyalty card they get a free treatment or they can give this free treatment to a friend or relative
2) Send a birthday card to them with a special offer. Do this at easter, Christmas, thanks giving etc. Just make excuses to keep reminding them that you exist.
3) That referral scheme Great Lakes mentioned is all important too.
4) Ask them for the names of 6 people they know who they think would enjoy a treatment. Then send them a nice card saying that "your client" thought of them and wanted them to have a discount treatment.

Other less costly ways of gaining clients are to ...

1) Use an 'A' frame sign outside your premises to attract passing trade. Make sure this holds your leaflets.
2) Approach schools and colleges and offer to give taster sessions to the staff. Take your diary with you so you can book full session appointments
3) Ask your health food store to put your leaflets in every customers carrier bag. You may need to sweet talk them or bribe them to do this.
4) Set up a pitch in Barnes and Nobles or Borders near the coffee section (do ask permission of course) and offer free taster sessions for one day.

There are many other ways of getting more clients without having to pay big bucks. Your biggest assets are your creativity and persistence.

Best wishes
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Postby rtamm on Fri Sep 15, 2006 9:40 am

Yeah, doing a lot of those, but my clients get a free massage after 5 sessions, then their 6th one is free. Birthday discounts are 50% off the week of their b-day, I also do this for clients that haven't been in for a while. I'll have to check into the bookstore idea!

One of the social groups I belong has a lot of different professions and we were talking about offering a member to member discount and specials throughout the year. I guess I'm just in a rut right now and just need to jumpstart things!
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Postby pueppi on Fri Sep 15, 2006 5:24 pm

I have to say, though craigs list may seem cheesy, I put a very nice ad on there last week (was bored :) ) and I ended up with a great client who will become weekly, from just that one ad.

What I did:

Put the name of my business in the opening line along with "Therapeutic Massage" (but not in parenthesis!)

NNN - Therapeutic Massage

In the text area, I put about 4 short paragraphs, with the following info:

Where located.

Who we can help.

What we work on, type of practice.

Info about our professional experience.

For more information please contact us at:
website


Name
Address
Phone


Of course it was not color coded, but it helps spell it out easier for this format.

If more of us did this with our ads, along with real sentences and correct punctuation, maybe craigslist would gain a whole new reputation for finding excellent therapists.
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Postby StressSolutions on Fri Sep 15, 2006 7:59 pm

Great info. BNI works great for some people, not so great for others. For me? It pays for itself and not much more. I get most of my biz through the chamber, which is still not saying much.

I got up today and reflected over the week...one 30 min GC redemption and a 15 min GC redemption, on Tuesday. No appts scheduled for today or Saturday. I too need to do something.
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Postby rtamm on Fri Sep 15, 2006 8:08 pm

pueppi wrote:I have to say, though craigs list may seem cheesy, I put a very nice ad on there last week (was bored :) ) and I ended up with a great client who will become weekly, from just that one ad.

What I did:

Put the name of my business in the opening line along with "Therapeutic Massage" (but not in parenthesis!)

NNN - Therapeutic Massage

In the text area, I put about 4 short paragraphs, with the following info:

Where located.

Who we can help.

What we work on, type of practice.

Info about our professional experience.

For more information please contact us at:
website


Name
Address
Phone


Of course it was not color coded, but it helps spell it out easier for this format.

If more of us did this with our ads, along with real sentences and correct punctuation, maybe craigslist would gain a whole new reputation for finding excellent therapists.


I agree. Just for the heck of it, I took your advice (and some of your layout) and posted an ad of my own on CL. I made sure to put 'SERIOUS/LEGITIMATE INQUIRIES ONLY'. I already got an e-mail back....from someone asking if I had a picture I could send.

I was going to reply back with this big speech about how it is irrelevant what I look like seeing as how I am only doing legitimate massage with no "extras" and it upsets me that unethical people will post on there advertising their "services", and those people just make it harder for the honest, hardworking therapists to establish themselves without creeps looking for more then a massage. But I just decided to not respond at all!

I did see a post in the therapeutic section from a man wanting a "fun, cute female" to give him a 62 minute massage every 3-4 weeks for $100, and he wanted a nice, slow finish. Yeah, I reported him. Won't do much good but I hate people like that, and the therapists that will actually do it.
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Postby StressSolutions on Fri Sep 15, 2006 8:15 pm

rtamm wrote:..from someone asking if I had a picture I could send.



Feel free to send my picture...the picture of my butt.

give him a 62 minute massage every 3-4 weeks for $100

62?? that is kinda goofy. How would he know if it were 61 or 63?
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Postby MarionFM on Fri Sep 15, 2006 9:07 pm

You have to talk to EVERYONE you know and everyone you meet. Wear a name tag - a good laser-engraved one - with your name and your business name on it.

(Example - we went out to dinner at a new restaurant tonight - the owner was speaking to each table of guests. I told him I had been at Chamber events that he had catered and I was looking forward to eating there. Then he asked what my business was - primarily Chair Massage - and I asked him if he had any stress in his life. He remembered seeing me and my chair at a Chamber event.

There was another man there who was one of my son's prof's and I made a point of going and telling him that Andrew had got into chiropractic college. We chatted about my business and his wife was interested that I will do home visits and took my card.

The waitress had just moved to town and one shoulder was higher than the other, so I asked her why. She told me her mother told her off for that all the time, so I explained myofascial release to her, and she took my card too.)

Always carry your business cards and/or brochures.

I belong to the local Chamber of Commerce and a different breakfast networking group (BNI is very expensive) and a local monthly networking group. Go to ALL the events and smile and chat to everyone that will listen. Ask them about their business. After waffling on, sheer politeness will force them to ask you about yours!

Have an "elevator" speech (10-15 second commercial) for your business. Rehearse it. Sound proud and excited about what you do. If you really believe you can make a difference in people's lives, tell them!

If anyone asks about how your business is doing - tell them "Great - but I can always use more business!" Or referrals, or however you want to word it.

Have you ever looked at this site for suggestions on building your business? http://www.bodyworkbiz.com/index.php

There are tons of suggestions and different courses you can take. I have taken several of the courses and there are great ideas.

I have just had my best week ever, and next week is shaping up to be the same.

Good luck with your plans!
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Postby transcends on Sat Sep 16, 2006 3:13 am

Hi

In my experience of helping other therapists to succeed in attracting the clients they want is that some try to "carbon copy" what others do, rather than making the idea their own.

What I trying to say is that often, what works for one therapist won't work as well for another. This can be due to a number of factors including timing, location, design, copy, therapy and many more reasons besides.

That is why, if you are going to succeed with your marketing it is important to "own" what you do. It is important to understand the aspects of what is required with that type of marketing.

For instance Marion has given a great example and very inspiring one too of how to attract new business whilst socialising. She didn't say "hey I am a .... therapist, come and see me" she showed an interest in someone (waitress's shoulder) or remembered a detail (the restuarant manager's catering) she showed her appreciation for someone who had helped her son (prof) and look what happened.

Now another therapist in the same social situation may not have got any potential clients at all and yet the same opportunities were there. If you don't have Marion's rapport skills you have some choices, either get some help with them or just find a different way to merket yourself. Some of us are good networkers and others have strengths in different areas.

Actually, I believe there is a great lesson from Marion's experience which can be replicated in many different ways.

Marion kind of created a small imbalance in her communication with someone. Your see, generally, if you do something for someone, particulalrly when it is unexpected, you create an imbalance in a relationship. The person on the receiving end will want to correct that imbalance at some point in time... now or later.

For example, if your clothes are hanging outside to dry and it rains but you are not around to get them in they will get sopping wet. If a neighbour takes them in for you, they have done you a favour and created an imbalance. As the person on the receiving end of that thoughtful gesture, the minimum you would do in return is to collect their clothes in, if the situation is reversed. However, that might be sometime away from happening so you may just bake them a cake or find another way of showing your gratitude.

This same principle of correcting an imbalance is true in marketing. So by Marion showing an interest, remembering some detail, thanking someone, or showing concern, she created an imbalance. The recipients of that imbalance then did something in return. They showed an interest in Marion and what she does and at the very least she got a chance to hand her business card to people who wanted it. This of course also helps "word of mouth" marketing too.

I hope this rather long response helps others to know that owning a marketing method is all important. Don't get disheartened if what works for someone else doesn't work for you. Change it, tweak it and try again or move on to something new.

Also remember the imbalance idea illustrated by Marion's example it can be applied in many different situations.

Best wishes
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Postby pueppi on Sun Sep 17, 2006 8:33 am

Nice ideas... keep 'em coming. :)

I agree. Just for the heck of it, I took your advice (and some of your layout) and posted an ad of my own on CL. I made sure to put 'SERIOUS/LEGITIMATE INQUIRIES ONLY'. I already got an e-mail back....from someone asking if I had a picture I could send.


I'd like to just add here, that in my experience, when people post things like the "serious inquiries only", that seems to bring out the ones who are not serious about our work in the same way we are. It may be worth it to edit that part from your ad.

Good luck, all!
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Postby StressSolutions on Sun Sep 17, 2006 11:36 am

I too found that we do have a local CL, looks like within the last month our fair city has one of our own, so I posted an ad based on the one above. So far nothing, but I doubt too many people look at it yet. Besides, not too many are working at Mayo right now! :lol:
Thanks!
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Postby Gessika on Mon Sep 18, 2006 8:26 am

I have gotten a few clients from my local Craig's List, no repeats or regulars though. Everytime I post an ad, I always get several calls, but not many bookings once they realize I'm not going to take them the same day. Oddly/annoyingly enough, I have also never had a female caller from those ads. Where are all the women who need bodywork??

I generally put a "special offer" in my ad, a reduced price on an hour, so I think the clients I have seen were coming more becuase they were getting a good deal, and not becuase they were interested in bodywork for their general wellness.

In the future if I advertise there again, I most likely won't be offering a reduced rate (unless I am running a special already). I also always add: "Professional, non sexual services only" at the bottom of every post I make there. My local CL board is unfortunately full of sex stuff in the therapeutic section.
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Postby StressSolutions on Mon Sep 18, 2006 10:18 am

Gessika wrote: My local CL board is unfortunately full of sex stuff in the therapeutic section.

Sure is, and I flag as much of it as I notice. I don't visit too often, so I dunno if it helps or not.
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Postby moogie on Mon Sep 18, 2006 10:21 am

Gessika wrote:Oddly/annoyingly enough, I have also never had a female caller from those ads. Where are all the women who need bodywork??


I guess they're not checking out the ads on CL??

We have a local free news-magazine that is notorious for it's sex ads. Like CL even the "therapeutic" section is full of ads listing the "therapists'" vital stats (5'6" 120lbs 38DD redhead) and offering a "full release" etc.... so no legitimate therapist will advertise with them anymore and anyone who is looking for a legitimate massage wouldn't call anyone who advertises there.

It's sad.

I wish the sex places would stick to advertising in the "adult entertainment" sections and leave the therapeutic sections to us. But, once they've crossed over in to our sections, they are never "usable" by us again.

:cry:

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Postby pueppi on Mon Sep 18, 2006 5:26 pm

But, once they've crossed over in to our sections, they are never "usable" by us again.


I have to say I disagree that the sections are not usable ever again. If more of us used these venues, it would be obvious that the "adult entertainment workers" were the ones in the wrong place. At the same time, there are enough bodyworkers who just don't feel the need to deal with the trash or have the time to post the ads. But, my fellow came back again this week, and re-scheduled for next. He's a bodybuilder and wants regular work, so it's been a good find for me. I haven't had any other calls though, so it could have been a fluke! :)
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Postby StressSolutions on Mon Sep 18, 2006 5:34 pm

Still no calls from CL, but that's ok.

I've been working on mailing postcards that I got from VistaPrint announcing my plunge into MFR.

UHG 4 more payments on the yellow pages ad and that monkey is off my back. I think he's got ebola or ebonics or something.
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Postby Gessika on Tue Sep 19, 2006 7:06 pm

I made a post a bit back wondering about chalking sidewalks with my business name and website address. I thought it would be a creative, low cost marketing strategy. Maybe chalk in public parks, in front of co-ops, etc.

Someone pointed out that that is probably illegal and would be defacing property or something like that. :roll:
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Postby Blisss on Sun Oct 15, 2006 6:49 am

Hi. I was browsing the Refloxology Marketing forum, and found this suggestion which I thought was hilarious, but at the same time very creative free advertising:

Dragonflies wrote:
An acupuncturist I know used the following trick... he would take one of his own business cards and write on the back "Sue, this was that acupuncturist I was telling you about" or a similar message. Then he'd "drop" the card in an ATM booth, at the post office, or other public places. Sure enough he told me that people would pick up his card and call for an appointment. They assumed that someone somewhere was pleased enough with his work to tell a friend about it, they might as well give him a try too. Might nudge that word-of-mouth process to kick in a little.
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Postby moogie on Mon Oct 16, 2006 10:12 am

Pete wrote:
Blisss wrote:Hi. I was browsing the Refloxology Marketing forum, and found this suggestion which I thought was hilarious, but at the same time very creative free advertising:

Dragonflies wrote:
An acupuncturist I know used the following trick... he would take one of his own business cards and write on the back "Sue, this was that acupuncturist I was telling you about" or a similar message. Then he'd "drop" the card in an ATM booth, at the post office, or other public places. Sure enough he told me that people would pick up his card and call for an appointment. They assumed that someone somewhere was pleased enough with his work to tell a friend about it, they might as well give him a try too. Might nudge that word-of-mouth process to kick in a little.


OMG! I love that! Who knew that littering would become the next big thing in Marketing!?


:smt082

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Postby tropicmom on Tue Oct 17, 2006 8:17 am

I haven't been brave enough to try this one but the idea intrigued me:

Bookmarks. Can be made on the computer specific to, say, stress or pregnancy massage, or whatever your target market is, with your contact info like a large business card. Then insert them in books in the library in corresponding subjects.

I did make some up but gave them to a friend who owns a bookstore and she gives them out.
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Postby Sandyolmt on Sun Apr 15, 2007 6:31 pm

I just wanted to add that I have tried so many marketing ideas. Some have been successful and some not. The important thing is to never stop doing it. You always have to be doing some sort of marketing for your business. I would have to say, marketing that I have tried when I started my career probably woudn't work so well today. Our market is very saturated now, which I believes makes a difference. But, keep trying. Recently I joined a networking group and I have to say it has brought me new regular clients and about $1,000 extra a month in income. This particular group is only $60 a year. Totally worth the investment and I have met some great people. I am even planning their annual mixer this year. Get involved with people as much as you can. I believe this business takes a special kind of person. You not only have to be a talented therapist, but have the personality that makes people connect with you. Good luck!! Oh, and I agree with earlier posts about CL. I put several ads on there every week. I think more of us legit therapists need to post ads also. But because of this, my ads stick out to those people looking for legit bodywork and the hits on my website have gone up from about 200 visits a month to over 1,200 a month. I want people to visit my web site. It keeps my name out there as much as possible. I encourage all of you therapists to post ads on CL.
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Postby palpable on Sun Apr 15, 2007 7:42 pm

SandyO, I know there are some obvious answers to this, but what, in your opinion, makes your CL ad different so that it stands out to folks looking for legitimate MT? Is it that you have one of the only legit looking ads, or is it something else?

Thanks....
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Postby Sandyolmt on Mon Apr 16, 2007 6:22 am

My ad stands out because most of the people posting are posting for
sexual massage and such. My ad is titled with my business name. "Integrity Bodywork & Wellness". I don't know if it stands out per say, but I am one of the few that advertises legit massage on CL. I also post ads in other catagories too. Like creative services and general catagory. Also, I make sure to post my logo or some sort of massage pic. and of course my web link.
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Postby Gessika on Mon Apr 16, 2007 8:03 am

palpable: I have posted on CL many times. It has brought me some calls and 2 clients for a current total of 3 visits to my office. I think a lot of the people who use CL to find a bodyworker are looking for a "bargain" massage and are likely to come if you are offering a discount and then move on to another place for another discount.

Posting a link to your website if you have one generally gets the point across that you are not a therapist that offers "extras" (provided that your site is professional in wording and design). I also always add something like "This is a non sexual service" right at the end of the ad. I don't want to deal with a bunch of time wasting calls trying to feel me out to see if I will offer more than massage.

It would be nice if more "legit" postings for massage showed up on CL. I think it kind of depends on the area you live in as to whether or not there will be a lot of erotic ads in the "therapeutic" section. Unfortunately the sex posts on my local CL board are posted more and more often and getting less subtle.
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