I had a full schedule most of the time. […] All I had to do was focus my marketing and website strategy to appeal to the people I most wanted to work with.
Back when I was a massage therapist I found myself struggling in the same way so many other small biz folks struggle: in finding and retaining clients that were a good fit for my business. Sure, I had a fair number of people calling me to book in, and I had a reasonable income. Some of my clients were great people and very reliable, always rebooking and paying their bills on time. Sounds like a formula for building a solid business, right?
Spoiler alert: my business wasn’t growing.
Here’s the thing: Word-of-mouth is a fantastic way to get new clients, but if you aren’t actively working on ways to increase the number of referrals you get, eventually they are going to dry up. And with my website, flyers and business cards, I wasn’t showing at all how I was different from the other massage therapists in the area. Honestly, my website might have had a different visual design, but the content was pretty much the same as everyone else’s.
So even though referrals from existing clients were very helpful, I wasn’t doing myself any favours with my advertising. Many of those client referrals weren’t sure if I was a good fit for them. They’d go and look at my website, which was pretty generic, and then hesitate to book. And the people who found me on Google? My website wasn’t helping them choose me. Mostly I got clients who lived nearby or booked because I happened to have a time open the next day. Generally, they were looking for one treatment and wanted whoever was close and available immediately. Great for short-term income, not great for the long-term development of my business.
I knew I had to do something different.
Now, I’d always loved working with different people because it’s fun to meet folks from all walks of life. But I also had a strong interest in working with woman and children, especially pregnant women and infant massage. I’d even taken post-graduate courses in those areas. So I wondered, how was I going to advertise in order to get those clients? I only had a handful of pregnancy clients in my practice (so not a lot of natural referral sources) and searches on Google for local pregnancy massage therapists had my website several pages in.
The massage niche lightbulb moment.
One evening as I was trying to piece together something for my existing, generic massage website it dawned on me that I could do something better: I could create an entire website dedicated to pregnancy and infant massage and market my services that way. ????
I purchased a new domain name (prenatalrmt.ca) and used it to create an entire website dedicated to pregnancy and infant massage therapy in Toronto. I talked about my services and experience, how I really wanted to help women through the aches and pains of pregnancy and was excited to help them learn to massage their babies, too.
Niche website = quick results
It didn’t take long for my prenatal massage website to start coming up as one of the first few hits on Google when searching for ‘pregnancy massage Toronto’. Within a year, my practice went from about 15% pregnancy treatments to 50%. I taught a few infant massage classes, which were well received, and had a few of the new parents return for private infant massage lessons.
And as a bonus, while I was focusing my efforts on pregnancy and infants, I was still getting a good stream of new patients for other types of massage. That meant I had a full schedule most of the time. In fact, I had a hard time booking time off, because the demand was pretty high!
This was exactly what I had dreamed of having. And while I’m not going to say it was an overnight success, it really wasn’t that difficult to do. It mostly took me taking a leap of faith, that choosing a niche was going to work out well and not limit my business at all. Once I focused my website and marketing strategy to appeal to the people I most wanted to work with, it came together.
So for all you health and wellness practitioners out there who feel that your services are for anyone and you can’t possibly limit your marketing to only one group: it does work! And I promise you, it actually opens up more opportunities if you let it.
For more on choosing a niche and why it works so well, hop over to my post all about that.
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