How to automate your massage business

There is only one of you and hopefully many of them. If you’re a massage therapist with your own practice, you may need new ways to streamline the administrative processes of your business. Your time is better spent in session, working out knots and easing tension, not sitting behind a desk staring at a computer screen. Unfortunately, you can’t just ignore phone work, appointment scheduling, marketing, and customer follow-up. These are necessary tasks for the success of your business. However, for most small massage practices, outsourcing the work or hiring an assistant is cost prohibitive. The solution? Harness the power of technology to automate your massage business as much as possible by doing the following:

  • Create and maintain a well-designed and informative website -In today’s market, having a website is not an option. it’s a must Customers assume that a “successful” business will have a web presence, and of course you don’t want to disappoint them. Your website must provide an accurate description of your services. Whether or not it includes a price list is a matter of preference. Most spas and therapists do this. Keep in mind that many clients will make their decision to schedule an appointment with you based on the types of services you offer and at what price. Include your available appointment times and instructions on how to schedule a session. An FAQ section with the most common questions (i.e. what to bring to a session? Are credit cards accepted? What to expect during the first session? etc.) will allow you to easily and effectively address client concerns.
  • Online Appointment Schedulers – Booking a first time appointment with a new client can sometimes take more than thirty to forty five minutes. New clients often have questions. Of course you want to take the time to answer their questions and make your customers feel comfortable. Whether it’s through the FAQ on your website or if it’s about a specific medical condition, when they arrive, you need to address customer concerns. The interactions you want to avoid are clients sharing details of their busy schedules with you and explaining why they want to come in on Saturday at 2:00 pm instead of Saturday at 11:00 am With an online appointment scheduler, clients can review your availability and schedule their appointment accordingly. If they need to reschedule, that can easily be done online without the embarrassment and stress of them calling to speak to you. Online appointment schedulers not only help you automate your massage business but also empower your clients.
  • Virtual Phones – Nobody wants to sit in an office and wait for the phone to ring. Chances are, if you’re in your office, you’re in a session, and if you’re not in a session, you’re marketing, running errands, or attending to personal business. With standard business phones, your best bet is to forward your number to your cell phone. If you run your business from your cell phone, you are forced to have two cell phones, one for work and one for personal use, or you risk mixing business calls with personal calls, which is not good. The best solution is to use a virtual phone. For just $4.88 a month you can use phone.com’s virtual phone service and project a professional image to your customers. Your calls can follow you anywhere. You have the option of an automated attendant, unlimited voice mailboxes, call screening, call forwarding, after-hours greetings, etc.
  • Email marketing (using autoresponders) – Following up with customers after a first session couldn’t be easier if you use an autoresponder. Autoresponders allow you to prewrite customer messages, save them within your account, and then schedule a time to send them. The software does the rest. So, for example, you could set up a Campaign which automatically sends a welcome email to all new clients, then sends a what to expect email two days before your scheduled appointment and a follow-up email the day after a session. Are you organizing a special offer or want to wish customers a happy holiday? You can send a mass email (using a pre-designed graphic template) to your entire customer list. It’s easy to stay in touch and follow up with customers when done the right way.
  • text messaging services – Lastly, staying in touch effectively with an always-mobile customer base is essential to automating your massage business. Customers need to stay informed and connected. What better way than their cell phones? (Most people won’t leave home without them) With emails, websites, virtual phones, and online schedulers, you trust the customer to take action to receive your communication. They must check their email, surf the Internet or call a number. With text messages, you can bring communication directly to them. No additional steps are needed. Do you need to remind a client of an appointment? Send them a text. Do you want to inform them about your referral program? Send them a text. Need to advertise your Valentine’s Day special? You got it… send them a text. With free text messaging services like textmarks.com, you can get the word out to hundreds of clients at once and focus more of your energies on providing the best massage experience possible, not on chasing clients.

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