If you give really great massage treatments all the time it's true that your clients may recommend you to their friends, which may generate more business for you, however when it comes down to it, just being a great therapist does not guarantee that you will be able to build a thriving and successful massage business.

In fact, a large majority of the massage therapists that I know, all say that they would like more clients.

So how does the career massage therapist get a steady stream of clients? Well they certainly don't just sit and wait (and hope) for the phone to ring, that won't pay the bills. No, what every massage therapist who has decided to go out on their own should be doing (when they are not massaging) is in fact 'marketing massage'.

Now I know that the idea of 'marketing' may conjure up in your mind, corporate images of elaborate and expensive advertising campaigns and the like, but really all I'm talking about is consciously and effectively putting your business in front of the different kinds of people you would like to attract to your massage business as clients, and getting them to make contact with you and book in for a treatment. That's all!

You could be the most knowledgeable, talented, highly trained massage therapist out there but unless people 'know' about you and how 'your service' can be of BENEFIT to them, you may never experience the kind of practice or income that you want or deserve!

The first thing that I feel is necessary to grasp is that a massage practice (no matter how big or small) is in fact a 'business', your business! The next most important thing is that there are two sides to your business and one cannot survive without the other.

One side of your massage business is the providing of excellent massage treatments. The other side of your massage business is the marketing side i.e. the strategies and systems you use to attract a continual stream of clients and to get them to book in for a massage with you.

The secret to building a thriving and successful massage business is to realize that you need to be a marketer of massage first (in order to get the clients), and a provider of massage second. These are the twin pillars of your business. Once you get the clients on the table your job is only half done, you then need to give them a first class treatment that is based around their needs, each and every time!

So now that you know that you need to be a massage marketer as well as a massage therapist, the next question to ask is, "How do you market your massage?" Well it all starts with the most important rule.

"Don't try to be all things to all people all at once!"

The biggest mistake I see therapists who are trying to build up a list of clients make, is that they will do up a brochure or business card etc that has their name or business name and / or logo, a list of the services they offer, and maybe a little about who they are and their qualifications, and that's it!

The thing is, every other therapist is doing exactly the same thing, so not only do they not stand out from the crowd, they are not speaking to the specific needs of the people that they are trying to attract as a massage clients. In fact many therapists are not even sure who it is they're even trying to attract.

So before you even think about printing up another brochure, flyer, business card or doing another ad, you need to first ask yourself, "What type of clients do I want to attract to my massage business? Who are they? Where are they? How can I get them interested in my business?"

Some massage therapists like to work specifically with sports people, others with women only, or people with back pain, others with people who are rehabilitating from illness or injury and others primarily for relaxation and rejuvenation etc, OR you might be the kind of therapist who wants to attract and work with people from all types of backgrounds. There are really no limits!

However, in order to effectively attract specific types of people into your massage business, your marketing must be 'tailored' to reach these people directly and speak to 'their' individual needs!

The mistake that a lot of massage therapists are making is that they'll do up a brochure or put an advertisement in a magazine or newspaper and they'll try to promote to all of these types of people at the same time. They might list the different benefits of their massage treatment by saying that their massage is good for back pain, relaxation, sports injuries etc.

By doing this they are saying that their massage is good for everything and everyone and while this is probably true, they are not speaking directly to each individual type of person, and therefore the power of their message is diluted.

The key to getting a great response is to market to each style of person individually, and whether or not you use a flyer, brochure or paid advertisement, you need to come across as a specialist by listing only those benefits of your massage that will appeal to that style of person.

Let's say that we work from home or out of a small clinic and there are a couple of gyms in our area. We know that many people who go to workout at the gym will be interested in receiving massage so we decide that we would like to attract some of these people as clients.

If we want to attract a particular style of person to our massage business, we first need to get into their head and find out what their 'needs' are.

This usually isn't too difficult. In regards to people who go to the gym, just put yourself in their shoes. "Why do they go to the gym?" People generally go the gym to workout because they are health conscious and they care about their physical appearance and their level of fitness.

Now think about what happens after you have a hard work out? Your muscles can become tight and tense and often there is soreness due to lactic acid build up. You often feel energized but your body now needs a period of rest to rejuvenate before the next workout.

Keeping this in mind, a great way to market to people who regularly workout at the gym would be to focus on all of the 'physical' benefits that these people would receive should they come to have a massage with you.

You could for example, focus on the BENEFITS of receiving massage treatments 'in between' workouts and list only those benefits that would most appeal to the style of person who works out on a regular basis.

Some benefits of receiving massage that would be effective in this example are that it:

- Quickly eliminates muscle soreness after your workout.

- Relieves muscular spasm quickly.

- Improves your flexibility and range of movement.

- Cuts your recovery time in half.

- Reduces the chance of injury by alleviating tension in the body.

- Increases your body's ability to absorb nutrients and vitamins.

- Oxygenates your body's cells giving you greater levels of energy.

- Can greatly improve your general health, well-being and appearance.

- Makes you feel relaxed, refreshed and ready to take on the world!

At the top of your flyer you could combine a few of these benefits into an attention grabbing headline for example, "Discover How To Quickly Eliminate Muscle Soreness After Your Next Workout!" followed by a subheading, ...and feel completely relaxed, refreshed and ready to take on the world!

A benefit rich headline that captures the interest of your 'target market' should be at the top of every piece of marketing you do, whether it's a flyer, an editorial or just a simple advertisement!

You could then follow up with the rest of the benefits above, so that you come across as a therapist who 'specializes' in working with people who do intensive exercise on a regular basis.

If possible you would then throw in a testimonial or two from clients that fall into the same 'target market' that you have massaged previously, so that it gives you credibility and shows why they should have a massage with you.

Then give them a special offer of say 90 minutes for the price of an hour and mention that it's for a limited time only, tell them to call A.S.A.P to make their appointment type and in your phone number so that it is big and bold. If possible, include a small photo of yourself and voila, you have a very targeted, inexpensive method of putting your business in front of a specific type of client that has a high probability of making contact with you.

Now this is just one example, and you could tailor different flyers for different styles of people and also different styles of massage. The main thing that I'm trying to get across here is that even though your massage itself may not change that much from person to person, you need to target your marketing so that you are speaking to each different style of person (target market) specifically and answer the question, "What's in it for them?" by clearly listing those benefits that will be appealing to that style of person.

So to recap on what I covered so far today, think of your massage practice as a business that has two equally important sides - the 'marketing of massage' and the 'providing of massage'.

Work out what types of people (target markets) you would like to have as clients and then market to each of those groups individually with benefit rich, 'attention grabbing' headlines. Then answer the question of "What's in it for them?" by illustrating the specific benefits of your service.

Then, make sure you give yourself credibility by throwing in one or two testimonials from clients that are in the same target market and make them a 'time sensitive' offer that they can't refuse. Last but not least, tell them 'how' to make contact with you. Make sure that these elements are included in ALL forms of marketing that you do, whether it be brochures, flyers, editorials or simple classified ads etc.

Then when clients show up for their massage treatment, give them 110% each and every time! This is a must!

If you can do just these simple things with your marketing, I have no doubt that you will be well on the way to building a very successful massage business with a steady stream of clients!

Author's Bio: 

James Thomas is a marketing mentor and motivator to hundreds of massage therapists around the world and is the creator of http://www.massage-marketing-tips.blogspot.com. A site loaded with FREE massage marketing and success tips for massage therapists. Visit now and get your FREE report on the ultimate massage marketing strategy!