In this episode, Ajay is speaking with Brittany Herzberg, a licensed massage therapist and business coach in New England who has run her own business for over 6 of the 8 years. Here, Ajay discusses the best social media and email marketing strategy for a new massage therapy practice to get a continuous flow of new patients.
Brittany Herzberg is a licensed massage therapist and business coach in New England who has run her own business for over 6 of the 8 years she's been licensed. She assists fellow massage therapists in running their own massage practices as well as helps her clients ease their chronic issues like headaches and lower back pain. Her mission is to help people help themselves, make it simple and actionable, and do it with a little bit of laughter!
Ajay: Good. So, when I look at it, I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to look at the details of the website. What city is it?
Brittany: I actually just moved to Vermont. So, I’m very close if you’ve heard of Dover, Vermont.
Ajay: Okay. Wow. You recently moved there?
Brittany: I did. I just moved here about three weeks ago. I was in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Ajay: So, interesting for you. A move to a new place, and you have started your spa. Is that, or are you going to be starting the spa? What’s the status of the business?
Brittany: Sure. So, I had my own massage practice. It was just me. I called it a massage studio. I had that in Raleigh, North Carolina, and when I moved out here before I made the move, I did find rental space. So, I do have my practice started up here as well.
Ajay: Okay, good, very good. Now, do you have any clients right now? I guess you started, and have you had any clients? I mean, tell me the status because it’s very interesting. It’s so new right now that you –
Brittany: Yeah, I’ve had three clients already, and I have one more signed up, but it’s been a really pretty slow start plus they want you to quarantine here.
Ajay: Yeah, that’s another thing. You are going to a brand-new place and on top of it, you have this, you still have the COVID issue. We even have several physicians and actually it’s turning out that the patients are not going to see them as often as they used to. They are totally baffled about what to do. I know this is a very different and a difficult time, but congratulations on your move and starting, now starting all over from there. Is there some experience or was there any reason for you to move or just wanted a change?
Brittany: It was mostly the wanted to change which is very fun to tell your clients. “No, I actually just want to go live somewhere else, and I’ve been working on you guys six, seven, eight years, but bye.”
Ajay: I am finding it so strange talking to you because that’s exactly what we have been telling people, all my friends. Actually, I had lived in Southern California for over 30 years, so they are saying, “Why? Why are you going?” It’s like, “You know what? Life has become really boring. There was nothing new. I wanted a change. I want to change.” And then, of course, they will say, “Why Franklin if you are changing?” I was like, “Really.” It’s good to find this kind of a soulmate in that area.
Brittany: Exactly. I’m thinking the same thing. Yeah, it’s great.
Ajay: Good. Tell me how can I, I know that you have a bunch of questions, so let me see if I can help you with your, right now the start up almost, right?
Brittany: Thanks. Yeah, I’d appreciate it. I guess for a little more of a backstory as well, not only do I have my own massage practice, but I also coach, assist, what’s the word I’m looking for? Advise other massage therapists as well because I think having your own massage practice is the way to go versus working for someone else. So, I had a few questions not only just with me in mind, but also with them in mind. And one of the things I wanted to ask you is what social media platforms do you think would be most helpful to a practice like mine, like a massage therapy practice? Do you think there’s one social media platform that’s the way to go?
Ajay: That’s a great question, and I definitely spent some time figuring out who my people are. So, I’m actually pretty evenly split between men and women, and interestingly I have a really heavy presence of clients both in the 30-age range as well as in the 50 to 60 age range. Then you mentioned about what they do for work. I have a lot of people in the healthcare space, interestingly doctors, nurses, dentists and people in the tech arena. And that was again with me being in Raleigh, that’s where I really pulled from. What I was thinking with going to the new place is I definitely work … Those clients really like my work. I enjoy working with them, so I would love to continue to try to find clients like that, but also keeping in mind that a lot of people are working from home. So, I’ve been kind of targeting people with headaches, lower back pain, those athletic type as well as the people that I consider desk jockeys that are just sitting all day long. Yeah, I would be glad to help.
Brittany: That’s a great question, and I definitely spent some time figuring out who my people are. So, I’m actually pretty evenly split between men and women, and interestingly I have a really heavy presence of clients both in the 30-age range as well as in the 50 to 60 age range. Then you mentioned about what they do for work. I have a lot of people in the healthcare space, interestingly doctors, nurses, dentists and people in the tech arena. And that was again with me being in Raleigh, that’s where I really pulled from. What I was thinking with going to the new place is I definitely work … Those clients really like my work. I enjoy working with them, so I would love to continue to try to find clients like that, but also keeping in mind that a lot of people are working from home. So, I’ve been kind of targeting people with headaches, lower back pain, those athletic type as well as the people that I consider desk jockeys that are just sitting all day long. Yeah, I would be glad to help.
Ajay: Correct. Okay. So, then I would still stay with the same two that I talked on. When you are talking about the younger group, then of course Instagram is becoming a better target, a platform. And then, the older group like me, Facebook. I would just start with those two and not worry about the other platforms. You can create a profile, but you have only so much energy, right, and all the marketing resources to spend. Rather than scatter it all over, I would suggest concentrate on Facebook and Instagram.
Brittany: Okay, and you would say that even as well for a massage therapist that just starting their own practice?
Ajay: Yeah, exactly. The people, exactly right. When you are starting it, you have to have … I’m sure that you have your own story, the reason why someone should come with you, you know, come to you. You had the client base. So, get your story right, and then just share on that data. I mean, a lot of people will be intrigued really by the fact that you have moved to a new place just because I am getting a lot of people who want to meet with me just because there is this is very interesting. You are running your own business, and then you decided to move here, but I’m meeting with a bunch of people. Just use your, what you want to do is play on your story. You had a successful practice there, and now this is your expertise and now you have come to a new place. You want to meet new people and get new clients. So, yeah, just build upon that.
Brittany: Okay, great. That’s super helpful and I’m going to make sure to get, stay on top of those two. One of the things I most recently opened was a Facebook group and that was mainly limited for finding the massage therapists. But I do think, and I guess actually I’d love your input with this as well, do you think it’s ever a good decision for someone, take my example where I have massage therapists that I’m working with as well as finding massage clients, do you think it's a good idea to have two groups for the different groups of people?
Ajay: Yeah, definitely. You want to have them because those are your two different target audiences, right? You definitely do want have two different groups, yes.
Brittany: Okay. Another question that I had for you, since you’re especially talking about Facebook, is do you think it’s necessary to use paid ads or can organic reach be enough at least for me for my massage practice to grow?
Ajay: In the beginning, I would say paid ad always helps because it speeds up the whole process. Facebook, I don’t know that much. I have not faced that problem. Google almost forces you to do that because if you don’t, what we are noticing is getting ranked up becomes difficult in Google if you are not paying, if you are not using a paid ad. But I would say right now since you are brand new and you are starting, it makes sense to have, to try some paid ads, but again, the good thing news about is that you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to see whether it is working or not. I would use a very small budget, a $100.00 to $200.00 kind of budget and see how it works. As a marketer, my approach always is that I don’t look at marketing expense as expense, you know, the marketing dollar. I always look at it as the investment. So, if you are doing a paid ad and suppose your $1.00 is giving you a return of $2.00, $3.00, $4.00, whatever that capital number, as long as you are getting there, then why not? That’s my approach.
Brittany: Okay, cool. And you answered my additional question about is there a best amount. So, $100.00 to $200.00 and that’s for the month?
Ajay: Yeah, to start with I think that should be sufficient because that will start to you get you an indication, and argumentatively on Facebook, because you have a very local area as it is. I don’t think that you can even spend a lot more if you wanted. But the goal, your initial goal should be to don’t worry about whether that all of the $100.00 was productive in the beginning really because you will have to do some trial and error. When you are trying it, let’s see if it works or not, but your goal should be that by the time you have exhausted this $200.00, you know that. “Okay, now I know that for every $10.00 I have spent, I get a client,” sort of thing. So, once you have … I’m not saying that 10 is a magic number. All I’m saying is once you know that what is the amount that you need to spend to get a client, then it makes your decision very easy there, for that too, it makes sense, I will keep on doing it. That should be the goal of the first couple of hundred dollars that you invest on paid advertising to see can you establish, can you figure out a number that says, “Okay, I know every $25.00 I spend,” or $50.00, whatever is the number that works for you. Then that comes out. I know that I can get a client, and then you have to make a business decision, right? Suppose it’s $200.00 part-time, then you may decide that that won’t work. That’s a goal, I would say, $200.00 should be sufficient to test.
Brittany: Okay, and I have never done paid ads in case that wasn’t clear, but do you have to run one ad a certain amount of times within that month, or how does that work with budgeting and just kind of for me being prepared to look into that?
Ajay: Since you control everything, when you have an ad, and the ad to me is not more about the look of the ad. It’s more of the message and the messaging that you are talking about. So, I would say figure out what are some of the best messages, and then when you do that, you control how much you want to spend. You can have an ad that says my budget is only $10.00. After $10.00 stop. As you set it up, then what happens is after it has gone through $10.00, you will see or hear how many people, it will tell you how many impressions were there. In other words, how many people technically saw the ad. How many people clicked on the ad after seeing that, and then it will also tell you how many people ended up filling out the form or whatever the way to reach out to you.
Ajay: When you set it, it will give you the whole story. You will very easily start to see whether it’s effective or not. Facebook, it’s not that difficult. Once you start the startup, they have a dashboard where you can go and see everything and they have tried, Facebook has really done a good job of making it really easy too for anyone to create an ad because the smart businesses are their target clients versus Google now likes to make, go off of people who are paying $100.00 per click and all that. So, Facebook is, once you start to build that, you will see that. It’s very easy, and Instagram is exactly the same because it’s owned by the same company.
Not only that you will be able to create an ad, and yes, do run I would say one ad at a time. It could be for, and there’s no time limit. Supposed you have run one ad for two days, and then you see that were 1,000 impressions but no one clicked. You know that something is not working with this ad, right? Now you want to change it. You may want to look at the messaging. You may want to look at the design. Marketing, at the end of the day really, it’s not a science. It’s a lot of trial and error to figure out, and also you never even get a perfectly. So, it’s trying to make it work and then keep on improving it.
Brittany: Okay, that sounds good. Is there, you mentioned not worrying so much about what the ad looks like at first. Just putting it out there. Is it better do you think to use video or photo?
Ajay: On Facebook, video tends to do well, but you can, I would say, do the photo because a video is more engaging obviously. But the best part of a video is that once someone clicks to see the video, then you know that the intent is high. They just have it as high in the service. But again, the video, don’t make it a movie. You have a quick video. Make it funny, but still talk about the value that people will get which you should define. I mean, it’s creative. It’s again like I said, it’s all trial and error. Maybe initially you want to do a very boring video. By boring I mean not deliberately, but just talk about the benefits if you are, like you said, what was the term that you said where people are working from home?
Brittany: The desk jockey.
Ajay: You can start with something, “Are you a desk jockey? Are you having this?” So, again, that’s what I’m thinking. Something that’s engaging that grabs people. Video is the idea. And then what is your caption of the video, in other words, the title? That is the biggest thing about in marketing is the headline, what people read. Is it intriguing enough for them to click to see your ad or listen to the video? Yeah, I would do video. Try video, try also just maybe the image, and see what works.
Brittany: Okay, that sounds good. I can definitely do that. I’m going to segue a little bit to something completely different.
Ajay: Okay, sure.
Brittany: I don’t see a ton of massage therapists using email marketing, and I was wondering if you think that’s maybe a missed opportunity?
Ajay: I think it’s a missed opportunity. First thing you should have a program. I’m sure that you had a program since you were running a successful massage therapy there in Raleigh is that you should have a database off of your people anyway, your clients, and you’re sending them the regular email, offers and stuff like that. Maybe then you send them, not always send them things like, “Oh, your discount or come in,” but also maybe some posture, something that is useful like that and is not always selling them. Email campaign, I always say that you have their permission to sell every, each time. Sometimes it should be something that is good for them, interesting, which means that you will have to do some homework and sit down and create, maybe you create 20, and then you start to rotate it which is fine. But the idea is that, yes, I think it is a big, missed opportunity. Number one, you definitely need an email campaign to your current clients as a reminder, and also to invite them.
And then having said that, I don’t suggest doing email like a spamming email. The way you do that is you want to build your list and the way that you build your list is have your website, have something ready, interesting. You can build your list through Facebook advertising because again it’s much cheaper and you can invite people to come in and, “Hey, download this,” whatever, this posture pdf that you can print it and you can sit. You’ll be a better desk jockey than a bad desk jockey. That’s what you want to build a list of interested people and do email campaigning. Email campaign is, again it’s one of those things where it takes in the beginning … I’m telling you, part of the reason why I think most of the people don’t use it is because either they think their email is spamming which is a list and you will spam it and nothing happens or they think that it should be instant. Email is just like another marketing approach where you have hopefully bigger and bigger lists that you are sending information to that start to become real followers by opening it and reading the email, and then once in a while, you make them a special offer to convert them into a client. But yes, email definitely you want to do. It should be part of your marketing mix.
Brittany: I totally agree with you. That was my very subtle way of getting someone else to tell massage therapists that they are missing an opportunity. I wonder if people in healthcare in general, you probably run into this frequently, if they just worry that they are breaking HIPPA in some way, and I think I actually heard you reference this is another one of your podcasts that, well, I guess, will you explain that a little bit more and how it’s not really a HIPPA concern and how we might kind of have that confused in our brain?
Ajay: Not everything … The only damage is HIPPA if you are, if you said on social media, suppose I go there and I have a back issue and on social media I just said, I went back and I’m like, “Okay, thank you.” Then you came back and said, “Yeah, we are very good with people. We are very effective with people who have back issues.” Now that is a HIPPA issue, but in the general thing, there is nothing wrong with HIPPA, and when you are talking in general about what’s the problem of sitting on the desk all the time, what can you expect? There is nothing HIPPA in there, I think.
And by the way, one of the things that I always recommend to every business is that you should have a very effective, I will say effective or ongoing, good sales program going on. It should be totally automated where you are always asking people to, you should always be asking people about their skills which is kind of a reminder. Obviously, you can get reviews. When people are happy you can ask for reviews, but also that gives you a chance to ask for a sale. If someone says, “Yeah, I had a great experience. I’m giving you a five-star based on how you, what happened to me. My back pain is gone,” or whatever. That’s where the time, the iron is hot, so that you should a system that is automated and say, “Hey can you, just would you mind recommending me to your friends, relatives who may need it?” And then, basically just make it easy for them. Put it in an email and send them a form and say, “All you have to do is this and just put your name and email address and we’ll take care of everything.” Whatever, but the idea is that you want to have a resale program ongoing
Brittany: Yeah, I love it. Your suggestion makes it easy. We always try to make it too complicated.
Ajay: Yeah. I mean, generally speaking again, it does not come. I’ve always said that if I did okay in marketing, then obviously it doesn’t require someone to be a brain surgeon because I’m not. Marketing is meant, it is very simple. A lot of it is common sense really. It is just a matter of having the discipline to be doing it continuously and always you are rating and tweaking and improving. That’s all it is. Otherwise, marketing for most of us is great and the same.
Brittany: Yeah, and I love the point that you made about just, that thought totally went out of my head, about having it be routine, I think that’s what I was going to say. It’s just once you get it automated, it is easier, and I incorporate that in my practice, and I haven’t seen a lot of other people do that. A friend of mine has a massage clinic, so she has several independent contractors that work for her and she was saying that one of the things that drives her bonkers is that one of her massage therapists will be checking someone out, checking out a client after the session, and she’ll just be like, “Okay, bye.” There’s no, “Do you want to go ahead and rebook now?” And that’s my thing personally is that I’m going through the checkout process and I’m like, “Okay, do you want to go ahead and book your next one?” You can do whatever, in about a week be seen, but I’m going to ask.
Ajay: Exactly, and they may say, “Well, I’ll get in touch with you.” It’s like, “Sure, do you mind if I send you a reminder?” So, again, just having, just taking it one simple step. Almost everyone will say, “Yeah, sure.” And then, all of the sudden, now you have their permission to go back to them and say, “Hey, it’s already been three weeks. Would you like to come?”
Brittany: Bingo. Now that we’ve talked about some positive, some good things today, I have this burning question. What do you think is the worst marketing idea or the worst marketing thing you’ve seen a massage therapist or healthcare person do?
Ajay: So, in today’s world, the worst marketing idea is number … So, I see way too many people that even I run into I can tell you obsess over things like the logo. How is my logo looking? How is my – What are -- How beautiful is my business card? To me, those are the biggest wastes in today’s world right now because we are all not 90. People get used to and they will say, “Look at 90.” What the logo means. Unfortunately, you will never get a chance to have that many impressions. So, obsessing over those things is a total I think a waste of time and money. The other thing also is that I have started to realize that the traditional marketing, I guess part of it is the print, the number of prints has dropped so much. Advertising in the magazines and newspapers almost never seem to work anymore. I would say those are the biggest ones. Direct mail, I still see pretty decent success if you are sending postcards and things like that, but the biggest waste is spending too much money and time on the logos and the stationery and all that I think is a waste. And then, the second I would say is the print advertising when sending it in newspapers or magazines.
Brittany: I love that you brought up the logo and the card, because I just had that conversation this week with another massage therapist and she has two business names. She’s trying to figure out what to do. I’m like, “You are kind of making it complicated. I understand you might be attached to both names, but I think you should do this and worry about cranking up on the SEO with the second business name,” because it was words and terms that she could very easily incorporate with SEO and the website. Thank you, again for making another one of my points.
Ajay: Okay, sure. That seems to be very good. You already know what to do, so that’s a fantastic thing, and I really wish you the best of luck.
Brittany: Thank you.
Ajay: With this whole new move and starting a new business. I know it’s exciting, but I’m going through that phase myself.
Brittany: I’m so glad you are. It’s nice to meet people like you were saying that are going through something similar.
Ajay: Yes, exactly right. So, good. I don’t want to take anymore of your time. Is there any other question?
Brittany: You answered all of the ones that I came up with. I appreciate you helping out and taking the time.
Ajay: Wonderful. It was really wonderful talking to you, and again, best of luck with your business.
Brittany: Thank you so much. I hope you take care.
Ajay: Thank you.
Speaker: Thank you for listening to this episode of The Founder’s Corner Podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to rate and follow us on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, and SoundCloud. If you are interested in being a guest, be sure to visit our main page at www.gmrwebteam.com/thefounderscorner.