The Most Overlooked Marketing Strategy
I’m often asked to reveal the most powerful marketing strategy you can use to market your massage practice. While I would love to give you one tried and true marketing strategy that will work for you without a doubt, I hesitate.
Why do I hesitate? Because the most powerful marketing strategy has little to do with advertising, web sites, direct mail, email marketing, referrals, or even video and blogs.
No, before any of those things will really have any impact on your massage practice you’ve got to do one thing. You have to uncover and communicate a way in which your massage practice is different from every other massage practice in your area. Get out of the commodity business and stake your claim on a simple idea or position in the mind of your prospective clients.
Ways to Differentiate Yourself
In other words you need to differentiate yourself from the rest of the pack. Let’s look at a number of ways to claim a unique point of difference – your brand.
1. Service – Many times this can be the packaging of a service as a product. Massage is usually delivered on an hourly basis. But what if too that same hour of massage and packaged our massage sessions based on an outcome, with defined deliverables and fixed package price.
If you work with athletes and you know it usually takes 4-5 sessions to help relive a rotator cuff injury, why not package that as a 5-session massage package where at the end of the 5 sessions your client will reach some outcome that you have set up at the beginning. Or perhaps you work with pregnant woman and you think it is ideal for a woman to come in once a month during her pregnancy. Why not package this at 9-session pregnancy massage.
This is a very effective way to differentiate a service offering. Don’t forget to give the service a powerful name!
2. Determine Your Niche – Carve out a niche or two and become the most dominant player serving that niche. A really nice bonus to this approach is you can usually raise your prices dramatically when you specialize in this manner. Need more information about how to target your ideal client (i.e. niche)? Check out my ebook Your Target Market, Finding Your Ideal Client.
3. Create an Irresistible Offer – Become known by an offer you make! Like this one… an accountant offers his tax preparation clients a 100% refund on their preparation fee when they refer four new clients. They are the 100% refund tax guys.
4. Solve a Problem – What do prospects/clients fear or seem to believe about massage? Focus on communicating how you have the solution. When I was younger I hated going to the dentist – and usually avoided it – because going to the dentist meant pain. But then I found Dr. Ternisky who advertises “Painless Dentistry”. I no longer avoid going to the dentist. Here is another example from our general contractor who just did our roof. When I was looking at this general contractor’s advertising, I noticed that he promoted the fact that he owned more ShopVacs than any other general contractor on the planet. I was intrigued so I asked him about it. He told me that what his clients appreciated the most was the way his crews cleaned up at the end of the day.
5. Message of Value – Many times there are things that you do – extras that you provide – that don’t get communicated. Your positioning might just rest in more effectively communicating what you do. I know an office furniture dealer that has adopted the message – We Make Your Business More Valuable – to communicate all the things they bring to the party. Now, everything they do is focused on delivering on that statement. Everyone else in the industry just sells furniture. Do you just do massage? Or do you give your client their life back?
6. Guarantee – Can you offer a guarantee so strong that no one else would dream of doing it? You probably guarantee your work anyway, you just don’t say so. Come out and boldly announce that you guarantee results and watch what happens!
7. Customer Service – When you think of superior customer service in the retail industry, what chain comes to mind? I think everyone knows the story of the customer service provided by Nordstrom’s. If Nordstom’s can do, you can too! Create your own over the top customer service and word of mouth advertising will flow liberally. One of the greatest ways to kick this off is to over deliver on your first customer contact. Give them something more than you promised — extraordinary service, extra touches during the service like a heated towel or eye pillow, a gift, a discount for a related service.
8. Develop a Unique Touch – You have probably heard that you should under promise and over deliver. What better way to over deliver by being generous. A few years ago, I remember that a friend told me about her financial planner. He has his client’s car detailed in his parking lot while they are having their annual review. What a unique touch! I bet his clients can’t help but rave to their friends. Mine did!
Clues to Uncovering Your Difference
1. Look at your current clients. What common elements exist among your best clients?
2. Interview your clients. Ask them if they can tell you why they chose to work with, why they stay, why they refer?
3. Study your competitors more closely. What do they do that you could do better, what don’t they offer they you could, how do they position themselves?
Communicate that Difference
Once you choose your strategy or combination of strategies to differentiate your massage practice, then focus all of your advertising and promotion around shouting about that difference.
Commit to it, stay at it and resist the temptation to wander off in the next new direction. Building a brand, and that’s what I’m talking about, takes time and patience. The payoff, however, is what differentiates the winners from the losers in this big marketing game.
You can have anything you want in your business (for realz!), but until you can articulate exactly what that is, no one can help you get it.
Got thoughts or feedback here? What is your differentiating factor? Leave a comment and let me know!
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