The Yellow Pages phone book is pretty much dead. We all know the internet has replaced it. The question now isn’t, “Do I want an online profile?” Because believe it or not, you have an online profile. The question is, “Am I controlling my online profile?”
Controlling your online professional massage therapist profile is particularly important because more and more your identities are being presented to the public, sometimes without your consent or knowledge. The best way to control your online massage therapy profile is to create a website, that serves in part as your profile presentation to the public, so when someone searches for you, they find what you want them to find, not what someone else is promoting for their own benefit.
According to AMTA’s 2013 Massage Therapy Industry Fact Sheet, only 40% of massage therapists have their own website, up from 38% a year before. That means a lot of therapists are both missing out on reaching new clients, and worse yet, being found online in ways they don’t even know about.
To figure out what to include in your professional profile, start by thinking from the client’s perspective. Often, many massage therapist websites seem more like they are made for the therapist, or other therapists, with lots of jargon, and fluff that clients don’t understand.
Here is a list of some of the essentials to include in your online profile:
1 Professional picture: This is one of the most important elements to your profile. Keep it very professional. That doesn’t mean you have to pay a professional, but don’t use silly pictures (there is a place for that, just not here). Make sure it’s a smart, professional headshot.
2 Other photos & video: Pictures are all the rage, and there’s a good reason why: they are worth a thousand words. Pictures of your studio will engender trust that you are a serious professional massage therapist. Wanna be stellar? Create an intro video. This goes miles in creating trust with new clients. Here is a great example of an effective intro video by Sarah Cafiero, LMT.
3 Professional credentials: I recommend displaying your education, training, and license/credential information. Bottom line is that your credentials are what makes you a professional, and although clients don’t often understand the intricacies of licensing and credentialing, seeing something about your massage therapy training is assuring to them.
4 Your elevator speech: Make this front and center. Let clients know 1) what your skills are; 2) who your ideal client is; 3) what the benefits are to them. Keep it short and sweet. Here is one I consider to be very effective: “I specialize in sports massage therapy with elite athletes, helping them recover faster and reach peak performance.” For more help on elevator speeches, visit Massage Therapy World.
5 Massage treatments: Yes, it’s smart to let people know the focus of your massage practice by letting them know what kind of massage treatments you offer. Just keep it simple. Brief explanations of your treatments is usually helpful, listing out 35 different treatments is overwhelming.
6 Massage Philosophy: Massage therapy remains a mystery to many potential clients (only 16% of Americans got massage last year). Writing a statement about the kind of philosophical approach you use in your practice, helps massage clients understand if you are a good fit for them. If you use energy work, clients into this will appreciate knowing it, and so will clients who want strictly “research validated” massage therapy. There are plenty of clients for all types of philosophies, so why not let potential clients know more about your approach.
7 Blog: Blogs are a great way to add more depth to your profile, letting clients know more about your background, and that you are an active, thought leader in your profession. Allissa Haines has a great example of a client-focused blog here: http://hainesmassage.com/blog/.
8 Contact info: Can’t forget that. Show your location, preferably with a map, address, email & phone number.
9 Online booking: If you aren’t giving clients the opportunity to book a massage with you on your website, you are leaving money on the table. Online booking increases bookings by new clients, old clients, and reduces no-shows and cancellations. Wanna make more money, start doing online booking ASAP.
10 Social & Mobile: That’s the name of the game these days. Make it easy for clients to share your website by including social media sharing–Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest, LinkedIn (even though you might not use Google Plus, I bet some of your tech savvy clients do, so why not give them the opportunity to share your profile with other tech savvy people). And finally, make your website mobile compatible. Our phones are fast becoming our central computing mechanism.
We all know the Internet age is here. Massage therapists, as hands-on professionals, have lagged behind other professions to embrace it. Now more than ever, having a professional online profile and website isn’t just about good business, it’s about identity control. Take control of your online identity by creating your website today. It’ll help you get in-front of your clients, ahead of the competition, and in control of your professional image.
About the Author: Benjamin McDonald, MBA is CEO of Massamio.com, an elegant, easy to use online directory, website, and booking service for independent massage therapists.