From Zero Clients, To 10-15 Per Week In 6 Months. My Personal Secrets!

Today I’m going to bring you in behind closed doors and show you exactly what propelled me to success in only 6 months.  After I went through my “dry spell” for about a year, these are the marketing techniques that I implemented that set me apart from my peers and attracted clients into my practice.

While there are many different steps one can take to attract clients, (which I cover in my “Secrets to a Successful Massage Therapy Business” training), the following 5 steps took me to a place where I was finally succeeding in this business.  I was thrilled when I saw that my actions were actually making a difference and I began to do more and more each and every week.  success-and-failure-sign

Read on to discover what started it all for me!

1.) I built an attractive, detailed website that offered information about my practice.

It’s 2010 and if you don’t have a website, you frankly don’t exist.  Your future clients need a place to go and learn about your massage practice before they will ever think about making an appointment with you.  My website included key information that sucked people in and made them want to pick up the phone.  Below are 5 must have’s for any massage website:

*a photo
*the type of massage therapy you specialize in
*the type of people and issues you work with (i.e. car accidents, work injuries)
*an attractive bio page that discusses your passion for the field of massage therapy
*simple and easy to understand prices & services menu

There are many other things that should be included in a website, but these are the top 5 I recommend in getting started to attract people to you.  I highly recommend Site Build It as the service to use when building your website.  They make it simple, easy and search engine optimized so that people will find you when searching for a massage therapist in your city.  Something that is incredibly difficult if you try to do on your own.

2.) I positioned myself as an expert

I can’t emphasize the importance of this enough.  This is a MUST if you are going to be successful.  You can not just advertise yourself as a massage therapist and expect people to come see you.  What can you do for them?  What problems are you capable of solving?  You must figure out what your niche is in the field of massage therapy and build a business around that.  Do doctors open up practices and just advertise that they are doctors? Never!  If you look through a list of doctors in a provider directory they are generally listed by specialty. You must do the same for your practice if you are going to be successful.

A word of advice on how to pick a niche.  Figure out what you are most passionate about and go from there.  When I was picking my niche I noticed a huge demand for people suffering from different types of pain.  I love to work with people that are dealing with pain, and provide them the opportunity to decrease or resolve their pain problems.  It’s very rewarding for me.  Take some time to figure out where your passions lie and build on that.

3.)I got to know other health care professionals and business owners in the community

You can call this networking, joint venturing or marketing, whatever you want to call it, it’s very powerful.  Most massage therapists will end up skipping this step for many different reasons.  I think the fear of putting ourselves out there and the possible fear of rejection stops us in our tracks.  Trust me when I say that I always hated standing up & speaking in front of a group of people.  It’s not something I enjoy doing.  But I knew it was a must if I was going to build a successful business.  If you aren’t willing to do this, I suggest you work for someone and be an employee.  You have to step outside of your boundaries and fears and get to know others within your community if you are going to be a successful business owner.

I worked within a BNIchiropractic clinic which helped to expose my business to many people.  The chiropractor and I would refer our clients to each other.  I also go to know other physicians and acupuncturists in my community.  I introduced myself to personal injury lawyers and attended networking meetings.  I recommend looking into BNI, as they are the worlds largest networking and referral organization. The exposure you have in joining an organization like BNI is priceless for your business.

4.) I billed insurance companies to add an additional stream of income and expose myself to more people

Please, please, please don’t let the fear of not knowing how to bill insurance companies keep you from actually doing it.  I knew absolutely nothing about billing insurance when I decided to become an insurance provider.  While Washington State and Florida are currently the only 2 states that allow massage therapists to bill private insurance, massage therapists in all 50 states are able to bill through PIP (motor vehicle accidents) & Workers Comp. (on the job injuries).

Becoming an insurance provider positions you with an advantage.  You will have access to hundreds of people on a monthly basis and earn thousands of dollars extra per year.  The acceptance of massage therapy in the medical community continues to increase.  Clients are realizing that they have the ability to use insurance, instead of paying out of pocket.  Many will go looking for a massage therapist that accepts insurance.  Please don’t make the mistake of not accepting insurance.  Turning clients away because of this is a no-no in my eyes.

And while many will argue that billing insurance companies is more pain than it’s worth, I disagree.  If you are willing to learn how to bill correctly, there will be less headache.  If billing insurance companies was more pain that it was worth, I wouldn’t be going on my 5th year as an insurance provider.  When you consider that 80% of my business comes from insuramanipulate_your_futurence work, you can see the power in becoming a provider.

The one and only insurance billing course I recommend is by Vivian Madison-Mahoney.  Vivian has compiled more than 20 years of research and experience into her “Manipulate Your Future” home study course.  She is a true expert when it comes to knowing how to bill correctly and make a generous income doing so.  Vivian’s courses are well worth the investment and will no doubt help you increase your income once you start billing insurance.

Make sure you mention that you heard about her courses from Ann Ross to receive 20 FREE insurance claim forms.

5.) Lastly, I offered complimentary 30 minute sessions to new clients

I realized early on that if I was going to attract clients into my business, I had to offer something that was going to:

A. Set me apart from the competition
B. Create a risk free way to get my hands on as many people as possible

I came up with the idea to place a form on my website that offers a complimentary 30 minute massage session (with the option to upgrade to an hour for a fee), to each new client.  This was powerful because it allowed clients to get a massage without the risk of any money out of their pocket in case they didn’t like the massage.  Also, it helped me to get my hands on as many people as possible and guide them through my valuable massage therapy service. I would also provide them with 3-5 gift certificates at the end of the massage to pass out to family, friends, coworkers etc. to expose my business even more.

A great resource to create very inexpensive, beautiful gift certificates, note cards, business cards and more is VistaPrint.  I have used them for years and am always satisfied.  Follow this link to Save up to 90% + get FREE Shipping

It’s important to remember when building your business that most people don’t know you.  Getting a massage is a vulnerable decision for anyone.  If you can create some type of risk free way to get people on your table, you will be well on your way to creating a very successful business.  Don’t forget to provide world class customer service and an amazing massage, and it will only be a matter of time before you are booked solid!

What are you waiting for!

I hope you have enjoyed learning a few of my secrets today.  Take the information I have provided for you and start implementing the same principles and ideas into your own massage practice.  The sooner you get started, the sooner success will be knocking on your door.  Unfortunately, being a great massage therapist isn’t enough to create a successful business.  Before you can WOW people with your amazing massages, you have to get them on your table.  Before you get them on your table you have to create a system that markets correctly.  Do you see the chain reaction?  While it is work in the beginning, it’s well worth the time investment.  Creating a successful massage therapy business is one of the most fulfilling and rewarding things you will ever accomplish.

To your success,

Ann Ross

P.S. If you know of any other massage therapist that could benefit from this information, please don’t hesitate to retweet this post, or forward it to a friend.  Thanks!

13 thoughts on “From Zero Clients, To 10-15 Per Week In 6 Months. My Personal Secrets!

  1. Gloria

    I Totally Agree! I have done all the above as well (altho the website was not the first 25 years ago) when I started and it makes a huge difference.

    My niche was also pain management and my network was health care professionals! Huge advantage to be able to work along with them. I did insurance billing as well many years ago, but remember you must know what you are doing with coding, be willing to wait for payment and be able to prepare a report if they request those details. I had a background working in a hospital as a coder and then for a neurologist where I started as a transcriptionist and insurance biller. These were very advantageous. Not everyone is successful with this process, because they are not interested in paperwork nor do they understand how to do it. So take a class and learn from the professionals. You should keep very professional and accurate details S.O.A.P., notes too.

    I love the new client promotion! Always one of my favorites too. Often I would hear people say Oh you shouldn’t give it away. Y’know, it’s cheaper than advertising in paper and a better way to advertise your skills.


    All Great advice!
    Much Success Everyone.
    If you have questions, I’d be willing to help you too!

  2. Ann Ross Post author

    Thanks so much for your insight, Gloria. It’s always wonderful to hear feedback from one of the true pioneers in our industry. Thank you for all you do!

  3. Jessica Weagle

    The best promo I have done to date hass been offering a 90 min. massage for the price of a 60 min. I did it for a month and now all those people get 90 min. massages at my regular price

  4. Robin Doerr

    Hey Ann! Vistaprint also offers very low cost and easy to edit websites templates with nice images that you can use that coordinate with your print materials as well. I have a several pages site with Google key word searches and paypal to accept online product and gift certificate orders that is as easy to use as a Word processor. It pays for itself each month. I agree with getting out there in your community in your local chamber or networking groups and mostly speak up! Having T Shirts that you and your staff wear is also nice since you can strike up conversations about what you do anyplace! Always carry your business cards and if possible a PDA to manage appointments on the fly, when you are at the grocers, dry cleaners etc. It has worked for me.

  5. Amber Phillips

    Hi, Ann,

    Loved your post & it was very imformational 2 me. I am a 21 yr old Massage Therapist with a year under my belt. My partner & I are stareting a business Just 1 Touch Massage Mobile. Your info was so real unlike most of the junk u find online. If u have any other info fell free 2 get back 2 me.

  6. Jerrod

    Thanks for having a site that is so informative.
    I have been a practicing therapist for 6 years.
    What I would really like to get is a massage management package that includes electronic records of my clients, a place to store my SOAP notes, e-mail communications with my client list, on-line booking for my clients amd me and also a web-site. I seriously know I can’t get that all in one package, but can you recommend seperate products that would let me manage my practice but also can sort of work together?
    Right now I use Microsoft outlook and a paper system!The web-site I had quoted for 3K..ouch. Then I have to pay a monthly fee to get it hosted on the internet too I am told.

  7. Ann Ross Post author

    Hi Jerrod,
    I understand where you’re coming from. Trust me, If I was a “techy” person I would have created a system like that long ago :)

    Here is a list of the services I recommend:

    For website hosting please don’t use anything that is free. It will cost you dearly in the long run. Paying a monthly hosting fee is so worth it to have a GREAT site that is found in the search engines I recommend. Although a 3K up front fee is NOT NECESSARY. Here is a link to the 3 to a post where I discuss the top 3 hosting services I recommend:

    For your newsletter I recommend iContact. I have used them for years and for 9.99 per month you can’t beat it. Here is a link to a post I wrote and video on creating your newsletter.

    SOAP notes and client management I use Massage Suite:

    As far as scheduling I haven’t yet gone that route for myself, although I hear that schedulicity is amazing!

    I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions, Jerrod! Best of luck!


  8. robin doerr

    fyi schedulicity includes email marketing with online scheduling in one low cost package! just heard your webcast with Irene Diamond – loved it!

    all the best to you!


  9. phara cherenfant

    WOW!!! This information is great!!! Thanks for sharing with us for free. I just graduated from Massage Therapy school this September. I’m also completing my certification to be a Labor Doula and Infant Massage Instructor. This is so valuable to me as a newbie.

  10. Ann Ross Post author

    Great tip, Robin! Thanks so much for reaching out :) Glad to hear you enjoyed the webcast! It sure was exciting for me to pass on my words of wisdom!


  11. Ann Ross Post author

    Hi Julia! I HIGHLY recommend taking an insurance billing course from Vivian Madison-Mahoney. She’s been billing insurance since way back in the day and is the woman to learn all the logistics from. She has a CEU course which is great! Rules and regulations differ from state to state so you’ll want to see what is allowed in your own state. I wish it was as easy as giving you an A, B, C type method, but it’s more complicated than that. Check out Vivian’s course and it will help put you on the right path: Keep in touch and let know how you are doing, Julia. Much love!

  12. Nicole

    Hi Ann,
    Great tips! For#5, did you go to potential clients home for the free 30 mins or did they come to you?


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