8 ways to recession-proof your massage business

“From The Massage Table: Marketing
and Motivation That Works”

March 20, 2009
Volume V, Issue 9


Welcome to “From The Massage Table”! My name is Michael Humphreys, cofounder of Help Your Practice.

Each month, From The Massage Table will hit your email inbox with the latest news, special offers and great massage business tips that can help you create the massage practice of your dreams.

Want to make sure you don’t miss an issue? Please add mike@helpyourpractice.com to your address book and keep the spam filters from eating your subscription!

Now Available: “Keeping In Touch: Massage
Client Newsletters” Volume 1 and 2

“If you could use massage client newsletters created, tested and proven to work by a successful massage therapist in his own super-busy practice… how much busier would your massage practice become? The answer is found below…”


I had originally planned to finish this up last weekend but family duties called and this newsletter had to be postponed. As promised, here is this month’s issue.

Motivational Monthly Tip

This month I want to share something that has been on my mind lately. Part of how I stay fresh mentally is chatting with old business allies each week.

Yesterday, I had a lunch meeting with another marketer who I called Mark to protect his privacy. During lunch, Mark was telling me a story about promoting his latest product which is a collection of website graphics. This collection has over 1300 graphics that retails for about $150, or about 8 cents per graphic.

Mark was telling me that he had placed an ad on a marketing forum promoting his product and one of the forum members had posted a comment complaining that he couldn’t afford the graphics package. But when Mark went to their website, he learned that this forum member charged more than $2K to write marketing pieces for other people!

Mark and I had a brief chuckle over the irony of the situation. Then he said something that has stuck with me since:

“Mike, I would be willing to help this guy with his business… but I don’t want to deal with someone who has such a scarcity mindset. It’s a real downer to deal with someone like that. The thing is, it wouldn’t matter how much it cost because he doesn’t believe that he could ever afford it.”

It reminded me that your mindset doesn’t just affect how you think and feel.

* It affects how other people respond to you.
* It causes people to decide if they want to be a massage client of yours… or go somewhere else.
* It can make another business owner think twice about referring their customers to you.

Take a look around you. There’s plenty of gloom and doom everywhere. It’s not hard to find negative things to dwell on.

But successful people don’t want to dwell on the negatives. Instead, they want to focus on things that keep their spirits up. They want to bring more positives into their lives and decrease the amount of negatives too.

Most of all, they find ways to keep their mindset positive and energetic.

Successful people don’t say something costs too much. Instead, they say that they can’t afford it right now. Or they might say, “What do I need to do so I can afford it?”

Successful people don’t say they aren’t good enough at something. They say that they need to get better.

The next time you catch yourself saying something like “It costs too much”, remind yourself that there’s a reason why you can’t afford it right now. It’s a temporary reason and not some type of a permanent financial ailment.

If you start mentally beating yourself up and find yourself saying that you aren’t good enough… then tell yourself that you need to work a little harder to get better instead.

Focus on your mindset.

Do what successful people do.

Stay focused and positive!

Monthly Massage Marketing Tip

This month I’ve decided to share another email I got from one of this newsletter’s readers. This time, I received it after the January issue was sent out with my answer to another subscriber “Jim”.

Again, I’ve changed the subscriber’s name and removed her website address to protect her privacy and correct a few typos of mine. I’m sharing this because I believe my answer will be helpful to many of you.


Thanks to the recession, my massage practice is really struggling right now. I’m not seeing as many clients as I used to and those that are coming in, well, they aren’t coming in as often. What should I do to revive my massage practice? I was thinking of buying your Instant Massage Marketing product would help me?



Hi Jim,

Thanks for your email. Believe me, you are not the only business owner that has taken a financial hit thanks to the U.S. recession. I know of some business owners in non-massage niches that have seen their businesses almost completely wiped out.

Let me start by saying that any massage marketing product (even ones that aren’t sold by my websites) that you were to buy can help if you take the time to use it and put it into *ACTION*. Could my product Instant Massage Marketing help you? Sure. But if you do decide to buy it (or any other product of mine), then please make the commitment to use it right away. Because if you don’t put it to use, then you will have wasted some of your hard-earned money.

Having grown my massage business through more than one recession/economic slowdown to date, I can share with you some insights I’ve gained which I believe will help you.

1. Relying on just one or two methods to generate new clients is dangerous because if they ever slow down or dry up, then you’re in serious trouble. That’s why when I owned my massage therapy center, I would use 25-30 different methods to get people booking massage appointments. Use multiple methods every month and track your results. There is a tracking form included in Instant Massage Marketing or you can choose to create one on your own.

2. Instant Massage Marketing doesn’t focus exclusively on getting new clients because that is only one way to grow a massage business. Getting more repeat business and increasing the average amount spent per visit is just as important. That leads into my next point.

3. By my conservative estimate, it’s 5-10 times easier to get a client who hasn’t been in for a massage in awhile reactivated than to “convince” someone new to try your services. That’s why marketing like a birthday postcard work so well. It’s “non-salesy” marketing and offers a gift. My birthday postcard that I’ve used for years has converted for me between 2-5% conversion rate, depending on the time of year (i.e. January is traditionally a very slow month). Client newsletters are another easy way to get in contact with your client base and remind them that they are overdue for a massage.

4. Two of the top ways to get new clients into your massage practice, once you are out of “start-up” mode, is gift certificates and referrals. Gift certificates are really just a paid referral. If you aren’t promoting referrals and gift certificates every day, then you’re costing yourself thousands of dollars in income — this year and future years.

5. The referral program that is included with Instant Massage Marketing works very well with limited income folks because they will love the idea of saving money. It doesn’t work as well with affluent clients because they are less swayed by discounts. Use multiple referral systems and methods. Let your clients and business allies help bring you more business. If you prefer to get a wide variety of ideas for referral systems, then you may want to check out my Easy Massage Referrals product. Regardless of where you get the idea for a referral system, you need to pick one and start *USING* it right away!

6. Just because many people are experiencing a recession-induced financial shortening doesn’t mean every person has been affected. Some people who could become your weekly clients won’t be affected at all. For example, a doctor who does exclusively insurance billing patient care, won’t be affected by the general public’s lack of disposable income. Someone who is a high-income earner or is financially independent won’t affected by the economy as much either. Stop worrying about what your clients can or can not afford and market your massage practice. It’s been my experience that clients will figure out how to afford their massage appointments if it’s something that they need or really want.

7. It doesn’t matter how many other massage therapists are in your area… it’s HOW you position yourself as being positively special that makes you stand out. Last time I checked, I had 50 other massage therapy providers within 5 mile radius of my office… and 99% of them weren’t anywhere near my business size or scope.

8. People who are happy with their existing therapist aren’t your target market. People who don’t have a massage therapist that they are working with AND people who are unhappy with their current therapist are potential clients for you. If you sell yourself as the unique solution that they are looking for, you’d be surprised how many new clients you’ll get.

Hope that helps,



Got Feedback Or A Success Story You Would Like To Share?

Drop Michael an email and tell him now.


That’s all for now. I look forward to talking with you next month.

Seize the Day,

Michael Humphreys

Help Your Practice

P.S. Do you know someone who would enjoy reading this newsletter?

Please forward this newsletter to them and help share the wealth! Better yet, use the Recommend Us page on our website http://www.helpyourpractice.com/recommend_us.php and tell them about Help Your Practice.

5 Responses to 8 ways to recession-proof your massage business

  1. Earl

    Greetings! Very helpful advice within this post! It’s the little changes that will make the largest changes. Thanks for sharing!

  2. sarah

    Thanks for the tips, im here in Queens NY and its been slow, There is Thousands of Massage business in my Borough of NYC, Can someone please look at my website and tell me if its good for Google adwords, http://www.BodyMassageSpa.Com

  3. Michael Humphreys

    Hi Sarah,

    Right now I would not recommend Google Adwords for your website. There’s a number of things that need to be improved upon first to position you best. In the interest of being helpful, here are three things I spotted right away:

    1. No free report. By offering a free report (i.e. 7 ways to reduce your stress), you build an email list of prospects. Prospect that you can do follow-up marketing to and that includes special offers when you want.

    2. The price is right upfront on the main page. To the prospect just hitting your website, they don’t know if your price is cheap, expensive, or right in line for what your business can offer them (skill of therapists, massage techniques offered, ease of location, etc).

    3. Not enough copy. Tell them about your location… what you offer… what each technique does and maybe a bit of its background. Give them more information to digest that will help them make a buying decision quicker and easier.

    Hope that helps,


  4. Michael Humphreys

    One more thing. While it’s true you can geo-target with Adwords, many of my clients and business allies are reporting better results from using Facebook Advertising. With either one, you want to have a free report offer on your website. That way the money you spend on getting them to your website isn’t wasted if they don’t buy immediately. Instead, you’ll be able to do follow-up marketing to them and convert a portion of them into clients over time.

    The key to using Adwords or FB Ads is proper targeting and sticking to a strict ad budget. Left unchecked and you can quickly ring up hundreds or thousands of dollars in Adwords or Facebook Ad charges.

  5. james

    Attempting to purchase several products, can not get the free air shipping to be removed to allow other shipping format to be typed in to order. Help! Can I call the order in? Thanks! James

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