Monthly Archives: June 2013

Massage as Medicine

Massage therapy has been known for a variety of health benefits including stress reduction, pain management and improved circulation and flexibility. It can benefit anyone from pregnant women to premature babies. Despite numerous studies that prove these benefits, massage therapy has not always been accepted as a legitimate type of medicine. As of now, Washington is the only state that requires insurers to cover massage therapy.

Fortunately, this type of alternative medicine is steadily gaining acceptance. More hospitals are bringing in massage therapists and even acupuncturists as a natural way to help ease the pain and discomfort of some of their patients. Although these “integrative therapies” are usually not covered by insurance, their effectiveness compels people to pay extra.

Research on the effectiveness of massage therapy has increased over the last several years, perhaps driven by the increase of people getting massages. People in the massage industry hope that continued research will urge more insurers to cover this type of alternative medicine. Chiropractors and physical therapists are usually covered by insurance, but traditional massage therapists are often left out.

Western and alternative medicine have often been in conflict with one another, but alternative methods seem to be gradually gaining acceptance when used in addition to more standard healthcare. It may still take more time and research before massage therapy is widely accepted as a legitimate form of medicine but in the meantime, there will still be those who know and take advantage of its beneficial results.

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Incentives to Boost your Business

Revised from Creative Strategies to Boost Your Business by Ann Brown for Massage Today Magazine 

As with most businesses, spas took a hit from the economic recession in 2008. Spa owners had to think about how to not only attract new customers but also to keep their regulars coming back. Spa owner Ann Brown gives some of her strategies on how she dealt with the recession and increased her profits. Although the economy is steadily improving, her ideas are helpful for boosting your business which is important regardless of which way the economy is going.

One of the most obvious techniques Ann started out with was discounting. She also came up with the idea of creating a more comprehensive wellness program that would promote a longer lasting relationship with the customer and spa technician. Customers would receive incentives for returning to the spa by way of discounts with expiration dates or complimentary goods or benefits. Her new program customized services to the customer’s needs and included benefits such as complimentary seminars and reading material for different needs such as weight loss, stress management and better sleep. Focusing on wellness and prevention helped the customer see the benefits of continuing to use her spa’s services.

While discounting and complimentary services are usually good ways to guarantee an increase in business, Ann notes that how customer’s perceive the value of the deal is really important too. She suggests offering the use of your sauna or providing customers a choice of products specific to their wellness goals can really make a difference. If customers feel as though they are receiving personalized attention and their needs are being met, they are likely to continue using your services. As Ann is the owner of a resort spa, this personalized experience has an even greater impact because resorts usually cater to more infrequent visitors.

She also talks about the importance of word of mouth marketing. If regular customers are given an incentive to bring a friend to your spa, you might make a little less profit but you will potentially bring in new customers. Even if only a small percentage take you up on the offer, those few customers may become regulars who return to pay the full price of these previously discounted services.

Andy Semovitz gives four rules for success in his book Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking:

Be Interesting.
Make people happy.
Earn trust and respect.
Make it easy.

It’s important to make the incentives easy because customers will not refer friends if they feel as though they are working as your sales team. Simply telling a friend about an additional 15 minutes added on to a massage or the sauna at your spa can make a big impression. Ann also suggests reaching out to certain customers such as CEO’s or executives. You can try giving them an incentive to reach out to their employees in exchange for a write up in their company newsletter. Again, it doesn’t have to be a big discount but maybe just a service specified to their needs.

The last strategy Ann discusses is the use of social media. She makes a great point in saying that it’s easy to make the mistake of trying to be present on every platform- Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. Find out which websites your customers frequent and devote your time to maintaining just the top one or two most popular outlets. It’s better to have a good presence on just  one or two than a mediocre presence on several.

If you’re in need of some new strategies to refresh your business, consider some of these ideas. Most every type of business benefits from new ways to market at one time or another and as Ann proves, it doesn’t always have to be a big undertaking.

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