Marketing on a Shoestring…

self employed-business

Marketing on a Shoestring…

Rachel Fairweather has been earning a living from massage for twenty years from an organisation that started on a shoestring. In this article she shares how you can do the same

Nothing seems designed more to strike fear into the heart of your average therapist than the word “marketing”. The term seems to conjure up images of huge departments of creative gurus, glossy brochures, expensive web campaigns, and yes, money, money, plus more money – big budgets, which as a newbie starting up your own business, you probably don’t have. Yet the good news is that there has never been a better time to create a HUGE marketing buzz with very little cash. Good old-fashioned marketing was always more about passion, creativity, and enthusiasm (all free) than fat wallets, pulsating with pink notes – if you put into the mix the rise of powerful cost-effective online marketing tools, like website templates, Facebook, and Twitter, then you really can have the power of a massive marketing department for the cost of a pair of shoelaces.

Best top tip…

The best business tip I was ever given was: TTP, Then TTMP, (Talk to people! Talk to more people!). Start with people you know – at every social occasion, meeting, workplace gathering, strangers on the bus, rides in taxis. Simple let the people you are talking to know what you do. Tell them with passion and enthusiasm. Let them know what your therapy can do for their life; bad back, arthritic hip, headaches. Get the word out. It’s your duty. Back it up with a well-produced card or leaflet. If you get the opportunity, book them in there and then, on your phone for an appointment or take their details if they are interested and give them a follow up call.

Business cards: Amazingly, there are now companies around that offer free business card design and production – check out vistaprint.co.uk (250 for free – just pay delivery),

or uk.moo.com (free 50 card offer). Or just design and print your own, which works out even cheaper. Remember, that it’s not the business cards that get you the clients (although it’s a good start) – it’s what you do with them. Putting brochures around town or doing a mail-out will give you very little return for your time – for each 100 leaflets you mail out you can expect maybe one phone call – and then you still have to convince the client to come to you.

If you have moved into a new town centre location, take your brochures around to the local shops, but make sure you talk to someone who works there -the owner if possible- about what you do. Introduce yourself, or offer them a free treatment. Give out free treatments or consultations at a local workplace and pass on your business card to everyone you touch. Get the word out there, but always with a face behind the card.

Phone set-up: Ensure you have a professional message on your telephone voicemail, and check it regularly. Keep track of the people you have spoken to. Make sure you have: Names, telephone numbers, email addresses and postal addresses for everyone you come into contact with who might be a potential client.  Write down who you have spoken to, when you had the conversation, and what it was about.

Communicate with your contacts regularly – send email newsletters to let them know about special offers, articles of interest or any new training you have been on.

I know this sounds basic – but it is absolutely crucial for any therapy business to exist, that people are able to get hold of you, and are aware of your presence. If not, they will get impatient and go elsewhere.

Keeping your bookings and contacts on your phone enables you to quickly make bookings, take contact details or respond to emails wherever you are. If you are at a party and someone is interested in what you do, book them in there and then. Check your emails regularly and respond promptly.

Online: Do you have a website? If not, why not?

Website templates are available free from Google, they are called Google sites, and are perfect for basic information. You can also get websites free when you buy your domain name, or from sites such as Wix.com.

Social media is what I like to refer to as “word of mouth on steroids”. If you are in fear of Facebook or terrified of Twitter than you are going to have to just get a grip, as you are missing out on one of the biggest free marketing opportunities of all time. Social media is the easiest, most-effective way to get your message out to hundreds of people within seconds. Best advice – Do it now!

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