15 Tips for Booking More Massage Appointments Online

Getting your first *paid* online massage booking is thrilling.

It’s an accomplishment and a turning point. At that moment you realize the time has finally come. You can proudly pronounce to the world: “I have my own business!

Turning your mishmash of random bookings into an organized massage therapy practice? Well, that can prove an epic journey.

This month we’ve mapped out 15 indispensable strategies that’ll grow your massage therapy business from “I’m open” to fully booked & thriving.

1. Dial-in your marketing message

Your new favorite word will be *focus.* Not sure where to start? The massage services you provide will guide you toward your ideal client. For example, if you offer sports massage, you won’t be marketing to pregnant women the same way a masseuse who does prenatal massage would be.

Remember Focus on your marketing message. 

Set up social media accounts for your massage business… separate from your personal accounts. Create a mix of posts that solve the problems affecting your ideal client. This could be a video series documenting the gains a client has made working with you, posts that outline key factors to staying healthy, alongside messaging that shows why you’re the expert in your specialty.

Getting clear on your message and demonstrating your expertise will help you command higher prices and set you apart in a sea of massage therapists. It also makes you a magnet for clients who want to book an online massage booking with you—not the cheapest therapist in town.

2. Keep your massage business top of mind

When you’re running a solo show, it’s cheaper to retain clients than constantly earn new ones. The sobering reality? Your best clients may not be as loyal as you think.

It’s your responsibility to remind them to care about your massage therapy business!

Send out a weekly email newsletter, post regularly to your social media, and stay visible in your community. Keep your name in virtual *bright flashing lights* as you update them on the newest massage techniques and the *life-changing* services you offer.

There will always be fresh competition waiting around the corner. They’re poised to drown you out in social media ads and dangle the proverbial carrot for your clients with * first-time visit* offers or rock-bottom prices. You need to stay alert or you might find your *so-called* loyal clients jumping ship to book an online massage booking with your newfound competition.

3. Make a connection that counts

online massage booking

As a solo entrepreneur, you’ll always be competing against the *big guys.* You may never have the ginormous marketing budget, the fancy-schmancy office or the assistant to handle your appointments.

But you *do* have access to the most important thing of all—the know-how to *wow* your clients.

Commit to delivering *above-and-beyond-service* during every massage therapy appointment. You’ve likely had an interaction with a service provider who wasn’t really “there” with you. It makes for a terrible experience. But let’s be honest. It’s all too easy to fall into a rut and operate on autopilot. Your clients can feel the difference, so put 100% into each massage you deliver and reap the rewards of a full massage appointment calendar.

Client interactions don’t end when your massage timer goes off { ← or start when the client walks through the door}. Take your clients’ complete experience into consideration. Always be on time, follow up on emails/calls promptly and demonstrate with your actions how important your clients are to you. Minor shifts can make a monumental difference. Whether that’s noting of your clients’ favorite music so it’s queued up for their next session or having a heated neck pillow on hand.

Help yourself stand apart from the crowd by putting your clients first.

Related: How to Wow Your Clients: 25 Ways to Stand Out from Your Competition

4. Deliver on your promises

For some, a massage is the ultimate in *self-care.* A 45-minutes escape from the daily grind. For others, it’s a disruption. Their *massage* is required therapy being squeezed into their day between meetings and flying home to pick up the kids before baseball practice.

Yet another reason you need to get to know your clients.

All of this to say, if you want clients knocking down your door, it’s time to perfect your massage delivery. Offering a 30-minute, in-and-out massage? Best not to take 42 minutes. The sooner you master delivering on your promises with show-stopping results, the sooner you’ll be filling up the online booking calendar.

It’s the art of effectively meeting your client’s needs and creating value for both parties { ← AKA the win-win}.

5. It’s time to get serious about social

Social media has helped level the marketing playing field for solo entrepreneurs. Gone are the days when it was a requirement to have a fat bankroll for ads to attract your ideal clientele. Now, with a little research and time, you can put together an effective strategy for your business that’ll attract and engage your massage clients—without ending up in the poor house.

Aim for a mix of inspiring, educational { ← these will be the massage-focused posts}, and entertaining posts to keep the mood fun and positive. The goal is for your audience to find your account, engage with you and resonate with your personality. By choosing words and pictures that connect with your ideal client you’re sure to fill up your massage online booking calendar.

Quick Tip: Don’t forget to include a direct link to your appointment booking page. Make the step between discovery and commitment seamless.

Social media can be a great initial touchpoint for your massage therapy business. It gives people a peek into your personality, your values, and your niche. On top of that, it’ll draw potential clients to your website and provide a platform for current clients to direct their referrals.

Related: How to Book Appointments Through Instagram

6. Advertise your massage business locally

One beauty of running an independent business is that you don’t require thousands of clients! Also, your ideal clients are more likely to be locally based. These two qualifiers make local advertising an ideal fit.

It may seem old school, however, depending on where you live contacting your local community newspaper and taking out a small ad could give your massage business the boost you’ve been looking for. You’d be shocked how many people read local papers while enjoying their Sunday morning coffee and a bowl of Shreddies.

Two other methods that work well from *back-in-the-day* are:

  • Business Cards – hand these out to local businesses relevant to your niche (ex. OB-GYN)
  • Flyers – print out professional flyers and post in community hot spots (ex. Fitness Center)

7. Optimize your online visibility

online visibility with Google

What would happen if I typed your business name into Google right now? If you’re feeling unsure or just broke out into a cold sweat, it’s time to get to work.

Improving your online visibility is a marketing tactic you need to get behind. Everyone and their sister are using search engines to discover local businesses… along with literally EVERYTHING ELSE. Understanding a manageable starting point might feel overwhelming. You hear words like *algorithm,* and *SEO,* getting thrown around and either tune out or feel like blacking out.

Stop panicking. It’ll be OK. Think of it like this.

If your potential client types “book a massage in Austin” or “best masseuse in Austin” into Google, the results they see on the first page will dictate what business they’ll book an appointment online with.

So… if you’re not front and center…

So, your first step for online visibility is setting up a “Google My Business” page. From there, you can decide what other online footprints make sense for you. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Website – including a blog where you can talk about problems or concerns facing your potential clients
  • Social Media – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube
  • Online booking page – Yet another way for your business to appear near the top of Google search when clients are looking for “barbershops in XYZ city”. Set up a booking page (shameless plug: try Bookedin!) and be sure to include your address, phone number, along with plenty of text describing your services. This lets Google know what you’re all about.

… and so on.

8. Build a stellar online reputation

Now that you’ve had a little think about your visibility online, it’s only natural we chat about your reputation.

In 2020, your potential clients are frequenting community-driven review sites like Yelp and Facebook to check out what past and current clients have to say… before they book a massage online with you.

However, no need for alarm—this newfound focus on reputation provides a pathway to success if you play your cards right.

Start by going the extra mile to *wow* your clients during your time together. Follow up with them right after the appointment {the sooner the better so the experience is fresh in their mind} and ask for a positive online review. As a solo entrepreneur, you can be upfront and let clients know how powerful online reviews are today–it can make or break your business. There’s nothing wrong with being honest and asking for their help.

With your reputation in mind, stay vigilant about monitoring what’s said about you online, including on social media. Respond to any constructive feedback or negative comments ASAP professionally, then moved forward with encouraging clients to flood your online presence with positive reviews.

9. Increase your exposure

As a solo entrepreneur, anything you can do to get your name and business in front of potential clients should be priority number one. Building the strength of your business or adding new clients is a numbers game. Here are a few strategies for increasing exposure of your massage therapy business:

  • Create a website → add the link to your massage online booking page, business cards, newsletters
  • Make business cards → hand them out to surrounding businesses that relate to your target client
  • Get social → post to your social media accounts regularly, link to your massage online booking page
  • Send out regular newsletters → stay top of mind with your clients, provide helpful tips and resources
  • Sponsor or volunteer your services → get involved in your community, become the *go-to* referral by getting out there

Make adding new clients to your business a game—rather than something that gives you panic sweats. Ask yourself: “How can I book more online massage appointments this month?” and make a list of all the ideas you come up with. Before you know it, you’ll be looking at a fully booked online calendar.

10. Make the move to online massage booking already!

When was the last time you picked up the phone to book an appointment? Times have changed. Offering the convenience of massage online booking is no longer optional. It helps to fill up your schedule and provides clients the convenience of booking 24/7.

Say goodbye to the chaos you experience with your current system. With online appointment booking, email and text notifications are taken care of automatically. And boundaries? Set the moment they receive your confirmation email. Your policies are outlined upfront.

It’s no surprise that Melissa Wall, RMT said:

“I love the simplicity of this software. Bookedin is a huge help for me, running my own business can be time consuming and Bookedin takes so much pressure off me and gives me more time for my clients. All of my clients have given me great feedback about Bookedin and they love the friendly reminder right to their mobile phones.”

11. Cut down on no-shows and last-minute cancellations

So far it’s been about how to book more online massage appointments… strategies to drive growth in your business. But what about those nasty factors that undermine it?

You guessed it. No-shows and last-minute cancellations. Even the odd, *oh-my-gosh-I-totally-forgot-until-five-minutes-ago* client who flies through the door 14-minutes late, throwing off your entire day. All total bummers. All income losers.

When clients fail to show up for their appointments, it damages your bottom line. Repeated no-shows can even make you feel you’re wasting your time. { ← was it something you did? Said?}

To put the kibosh on these potential blows to your new businesses’ growth, invest in massage scheduling software offering up-front deposits. When paired with automated reminders, it’s the one-two punch you need. Clients will love the convenience of multiple reminders–and you’ll love the security a deposit brings to your bank account!

Related: Tired of No-Show Appointments? 5 reasons Why Your Clients Keep Bailing

12. Build repeat clientele

happy massage client

The secret to repeat business? Developing a heartfelt connection with your massage clients. Get to know each one for the special person he or she is and let them know you’re there to help. When you’re interested, your client will feel it and keep coming back.

One of the most important things any massage therapist can do is to ask their client to reschedule before leaving the session. It might feel a little awkward… maybe even a little presumptive, but if you don’t ask, clients aren’t likely to offer.

Giving clients the option to set up a recurring appointment is beneficial to you both. You’ll have peace of mind with set appointments {translation: money} going forward, and your client gets to check off a future task from their already jam-packed life.

13. Create *can’t miss* promotions

Whether you’re just getting started or trying to grow your business, promotions are a fantastic way to drum up visibility. You need not discount to make your offers tempting. Why not add value to your services or create a “special package” for your promotion instead?

A successful promotion lies in the way you craft your message and position your offers.

It’s not unusual to fear devaluing your services with a promotion. Many businesses fall into the trap of discounting their services on a predictable cycle. Clients will then wait until a “promotion” to book, knowing if they hold out long enough a deal is bound to pop up.

Be smarter and use value-focused add-ons or create unique packages only available during special promos. To be extra safe have a look at what services are most profitable and exclude them from all promotions.

14. Get out from behind your computer

As social media has grown, in-person connection has fallen by the wayside. And though it’s great to shake those *virtual* hands, growing your in-person referral network could be your key to success. Make a point to network with surrounding businesses that make sense for you and your clients—physical therapists, personal trainers—and start a referral list.

The small business community is tight-knit and full of entrepreneurs facing similar issues—they’ll want to see you succeed and be open to helping as much as they can. So get out and meet people. Talk to your local hairstylist, spin instructor, baristas – each of these people could be wonderful cheerleaders for your business in the future. Not to mention, they just may need to use your massage services themselves.

15. Run a referral campaign

Everyone loves a freebie. Don’t believe it? Next time you’re at Costco, peep the line-up at ANY free sample stand… no matter how terrible the giveaway is. { or how long the wait is for a half-bite sample of perogie}

How does this apply to you? You have the potential to double your online massage bookings by offering incentives like *refer-a-friend.* You can offer a discounted rate on your most popular service to both your most loyal clients and those newbies they’re bringing in.

It may seem strange that your current clients aren’t already shouting your name from the rooftops and sending in their Mom, Aunt and BFF if they loovvveeee you so much. But without an incentive—people are lazy.

When you dangle the carrot? Watch out. You’re about to experience a stampede of new online massage bookings!

Do you feel confident about increasing your online massage bookings?

Are you prepared to go from: “I have my own business!” to “I’m fully booked this month!

Building an organized massage therapy practice can feel overwhelming—when you’re taking in the bird’s-eye view.

With the 15 detailed strategies and tactics outlined above, we’ve zoomed in on how to grow your massage therapy business from *just opened* to fully booked online. An epic journey? Yes. But completely worth the trip.