This post offers online marketing strategies for massage and health therapists. It is geared towards independent practitioners and smaller practices, although the concepts apply broadly.
Many people find online marketing overwhelming, but don’t worry, not many people don’t find it so! Start with the low-hanging fruit (items that are simple, important, inexpensive, or you can accomplish yourself). Most importantly, strive to do a little each day, each week, or each month to enhance your online presence – it adds up.
I recently wrote a post, My Business is New, What do I Do? The Foundations of Online Marketing – it’s not fun reading, but it’s important. In particular, consider:
- Register a domain name for your business (your URL)
- Select a business email address and phone number. Most therapists do not use their personal email or phone for business, for privacy reasons. Note that free options are available (see this post for more info).
- Establish your office location and/or service area. Having an office is particularly beneficial becaise the office location will appear on Google maps. On the other hand, if you work exclusively in client homes, or do not wish to list your home location, you can still submit your business as a service area business – but, you will only appear in search results on Google maps. A hybrid listing is also possible (see Google Business and Map Listings).
- If you work from an office, make sure that your business has visible signage, and if you work from a shared office space, make sure that each business at that location has a unique physical address, e.g., a suite number (these are Google requirement for business listings).
- Define your business details exactly and the same way in all your materials.
Develop your Website and Social Media Pages
If possible, create a website or a Facebook page before registering your business with Google. However, you can also establish these later. Websites and social media pages take time to develop, and they will definitely contribute to your business.
Your website should highlight your contact information and office location, and be mobile friendly.
Consider adding your credentials, any specialties, pricing, and interactive appointment scheduling (see below).
Submit your website to Google and Bing webmaster tools, and setup Google Analytics to track visitor behavior.
Scheduling Sessions Online
Many methods are available to allow online scheduling of appointments. From less to more complex, these include:
Include a form on your website that asks clients to give some good days and times for them, and then match that to your schedule.
Add a calendar on your website, that shows when you are NOT available, and then let clients contact you to arrange an appointment during those free times. I would suggest using the Google calendar to show events on a website (also see below).
Many interactive scheduling systems are available. Consider each in terms of it’s cost and features (e.g., client notifications).
Appointy offers a free tier with notifications to clients.
Many other platforms are available.
A Note About iCalendar and Google Calendar
In my experience, my Google calendar syncs to my iPhone calendar quite well, but the reverse is not always true. I would suggest using Google as the basis for your calendar system (and then set a Google calendar as the default on your iPhone).
If you are showing your availability using an embedded calendar, put everything on one calendar. The MassageBook booking system syncs to Google calendar.
Explore Google Business Categories
Google has established a list of accepted business categories. See which categories best describe your business. Use Blumenthal’s Google Places Category Tool (see the search query box at the top) or the Moz Category Tool (see below for massage-related categories)
To refine your search, paste the Blumenthal results into the Google Keyword Planner tool, to see which categories get the most traffic.
For more information, see 13 Best Practices for Searching Google Categories (an outdated but useful post).
Google Categories for Massage
The *** symbol shows keywords with the highest search traffic
Massage Therapy ***
Sports Massage Therapist ***
Facial Spa ***
Asian Massage Therapist
Massage School Institute
Thai Massage Therapist
Register Your Business with Google, Yelp, and other Directories
Register your business with Google (at Google My Business) and Yelp. You will need to include:
- Business location or service area (see notes above, and Google Business and Map Listings)
- Tag line and brief description
- Business categories (see notes above)
- Profile and header images (as on Facebook)
- Other images related to the business
After Google, the next most important business directories for massage and health therapists are probably Yelp, Bing, and Apple maps. Please comment if you have other suggestions.
Consider free or paid submissions to consolidators. See How is Your Business Listed in Local Directories?
Keep your Google and Yelp Listings Active
Keep your Google and Yelp listings active! This will influence how you appear in search results.
Solicit reviews (but not for Yelp) and add photos to your listings every few months or so. Reviews are particularly important.
Submit your business to specialty directories in your area of work. Not only do you promote your business, but backlinks to your website also help your website ranking. An excellent source for finding appropriate directories is Bright Local’s Top Local Citations by Business Category.
Or, you can Google e.g. “Massage Directories”, which brings up sites such as
Include your business in directories of professional organizations, such as the American Massage Therapy Association.
Start a Blog on Your Website
A blog or news section on your website expands the amount of searchable content on your site, and improves your rankings with Google. A blog is also an excellent way to share information with your clients, including specials. Use your blog to
- Highlight special offerings, which you can send to your email list
- Highlight a specialty area, which you can promote with targeted keywords in Google adwords
- Highlight relationships with professionals in related fields, especially in your local area, which improves your local SEO; share these communications with your assoicates
- Write an occasional post about a personal or professional interest, which lets your clients get to know you.
Develop an Email List
Collect the email addresses of all your clients. Consider offering specials that require email signup. Slowly grow your email list, so that you can send news to your clients (the news should also be posted on our blog). Consider segmenting your list according to areas of interest. Send follow up emails asking for feedback. Track which clients open and interact with your emails most often, so you know who is following you.
Paid advertising on Google can be particularly beneficial if you have a specialty service that people are searching for online. In this case, you have a well-targeted audience, and your Adword campaigns will provide a higher return on your investment.
Facebook provides powerful tools for reaching targeted audiences. You can target a local audience with specific interests, or who like your page, or who have visited your website.
Reach out to your neighbors! Target potential clients in close proximity to your office. ‘Hyper-geotargeting’ can reach clients within 1 mile of your office using Google Adwords or Facebook ads.
The US Postal Service offers direct mail options to target particular mail routes in your immediate neighborhood using (this is not an online strategy, but it’s a hyper-geotargeting tool that many people do not know about it); see Every Door Direct Mail.
Other Local SEO and Massage Therapy Resources
I came across some good general resources for ‘marketing for massage therapists’ while writing this post. They cover more than just online marketing tools, which are of course important.