Who is your ideal massage client?
The first step in marketing your massage business is finding out just who your ideal massage client is. Most massage therapist start out just thinking that they will work on everyone and anyone who calls or shows up on their table. In some ways you might actually have to work that way to begin really knowing what you like and don’t like as far as working on people.
After awhile when you work on everyone including people who you find to be draining, it will take it’s toll on you for sure. I truly believe that this is one of the biggest causes of burnout in the massage profession as well as the cause of most massage therapists struggles. When you are constantly running around trying to get everyone to be your client your marketing efforts are often scattered and uneffective. Knowing who your ideal client is can help you in creating a very targeted marketing plan and get the people you want on your table.
You start first with general demographics – location and consider things like age and sex but it is taking it even farther and finding clients who will appreciate you and who value their health enough to be willing to pay for regular weekly massage (or even once a month).
You can also choose a specialty like pregnancy massage, injury work or working with a more specific disease and condition such as fibromyalgia, herniated discs or carpal tunnel.
When you have a clear image of your ideal client you can use it in your marketing campaigns but also in your policies and procedures. You can also apply it to your everyday interactions with people and clients. When you are clear about what you want, it makes room for you to have it.
When you work on people who are less than your ideal client, you are giving away your energy. You are giving up on your values. You will lose a little part of yourself each time. After a few years it will take its’ tool on you, I guarantee it. When you work on people who are less than your ideal client you will end up feeling resentful which could lead to you even doing less than your best work with people. Yes it is true. I talked to a massage therapist once who said she actually felt like hurting someone on the table because they were receiving a significant discount from her. Even though she was the one giving the discount she felt like she had to to keep that client. She gave up a piece of herself and ended up with really intense feelings.
To me clients who are less than ideal are people who always cancel at the last minute or always forget their check books. They are people who complain when I raise my rates $5. They are people who are not injured who try to use their insurance. (Insurance here covers massage for acute conditions and not maintenance massage.)
The first step in building your foundation is to choose your ideal clients, the individuals and businesses with whom you do your best work, the people or environments that energize and inspire you.
In the book Attracting Perfect Customers: The Power of Strategic Synchronicity
by Stacey Hall and Jan Brogniez uses these questions to hone in on the ideal customer or as they call it the Perfect customer:
- Is this person the perfect customer because he or she shows you respect and values your time?
- Does this person come to you with realistic expectations?
- Do they appreciate your efforts happily paying for your services and referring others to your company?
- Does working with this person make you feel needed, appreciated, respected and understood?
- Do they reconnect you with the passion and purpose that puts joy in your work-the very reason why you began doing massage in the first place?
.. if you try to be everything to everybody, you end up being nothing to anybody.”
These are just a few resources to help you in learning more about the concept of the “Ideal Massage Client” and helping you on your way to finding yours.
The other thing though is that this is a process. If you have clients that you find draining it will take time and some marketing to let go of them (and also some self confidence boosting.) If you don’t have any clients you may not know who your ideal client is. It will come by taking action and seeing clients and seeing the contrast of how it feels to work with different people. Having a good business coach or supervisor can also help.
Updated 08/07/2021. I first wrote this on my website initially back in 2010. The idea of an ideal client is thrown around in marketing groups and Massage Facebook groups like it is the holy grail. I too first thought that back in about 2010 when I first heard about it. After years of thinking about it and learning, I think it is really a bunch of BS. If a client is not ideal, it usually means you have to fire them. That is just not right. It is usually a result of letting your boundaries go and then blaming them for you not being able to set your boundaries.
My view on this has changed and more info is available in my latest book:
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