Planning your marketing strategies around popular activities, as well as holidays and seasonal events throughout the year is much more manageable than trying to market to everyone all the time. One of the best ways to do this is to approach other businesses that see an increase in clientele at different times of the year to partner together in offering bundled services and / or cross promotions.
In addition to the standard holidays, each month of the year is also hosts several awareness events. These events can be great for partnering on fundraising activities with special interest group and charities in your area.
January – April
In the new year, there is an influx of new gym goers and people deciding to make healthier decisions. This is a great time of year to speak with gym owners about cross promotions. You could exchange a couple of gift certificates and each raffle them off to new clients, speak to some of the personal trainers about a referral relationship for massage therapy paired with trainer supervised “home care” activities, or similar activities. Most of the wording and images used for marketing these types of events could focus on fitness, workout injuries or pain, and other related physical impairments.
Speak with owners of popular date or gift locals like restaurant owners or chocolatiers about how you might do cross promotion. For instance, instead of “dinner and movie”, you and the restaurant could have a “dinner and a couple’s massage” package. You could exchange gift certificates with popular date locals and run contests, draws, or other events for the holiday. This type of marketing will likely appeal more to “relaxation” clients. Be careful with the media and wording in marketing material for this holiday to ensure that there is no room for misinterpretation.
Unlike the warmer months, it can be a bit more challenging finding outdoor events and activities to rent booths at during this time of year. However, many trade shows and indoor events run during the first few months of the year that you might consider participating in. Ski lodges, skating arenas and other winter sports facilities might be receptive to carrying your materials or doing a talk about common skiing / skating / hockey injuries and how to address them from home (or with massage), or doing mobile treatments in the facility if they don’t have RMTs onsite. You could contact hockey or curling coaches and arrange for treatments for the players as well.
Extended Benefits Renewal
Just after the new year begins, you could contact the corporate employers (or other facilities that offer benefits to their clients) and speak with their health services staff about setting up a corporate massage day, or provide a talk with the staff about how to avoid common workplace repetitive strain injuries. Approaching the facility with other care providers and offering do a larger health fair type event onsite is possible as well. With benefits packages just having renewed, and having just overcome the stresses of the holiday season, it’s a good time to appeal to the office workers and other 9-to-5ers.
- Alzheimer’s Awareness Month
- National Non-Smoking Week (January 18th-24th in 2015)
- Heart Month
- Psychology Month
- Eating Disorders Awareness Week (February 1st – 7th in 2015)
- World Cancer Day (February 4th)
- Endometriosis Awareness Month
- Multiple Systems Atrophy Awareness Month
- National Kidney Month
- International Woman’s Day (March 8th)
- IBS Awareness Month
- Parkinson’s Awareness Month
- World Health Day (April 7th)
- World Hemophilia Day (April 17th)
May – August
The weeks leading up to Mother’s Day are a great time to approach flower shops, gift shops and other similar businesses for package combinations and cross promotion. Speaking with baby product store owners, yoga instructors who teach mommy-baby yoga courses, or other businesses focusing on new moms / babies and offering to run class on infant massage can be a great way to market to new mothers. The wording and media in marketing materials could be focused on post-pregnancy impairments or general stress reduction / pampering, depending on which age range the business you’re partnering with usually serves.
Approaching golf courses, sports stores, men’s clothing stores, and popular restaurants in town to talk about cross promotion or packages can be a good idea for father’s day marketing. The focus of your marketing materials could be more on relieving aches and pains rather than luxury and pampering. If you’re marketing alongside sports or centers, you could focus the materials on impairments related to sports injuries. You could also do a fundraising event for a male health care issue like prostate cancer research by offering optional upgrades for donations.
Victoria Day / Canada Day / Civic Holiday
Long weekends and other short holidays during this time of year are really popular for cottagers, bed and breakfasts visitors, and other destination vacation spots. If you live somewhere rural, you could approach businesses that cater to vacationers and ask to leave marketing materials, provide mobile treatments, or offer to bundle services. Many cities also have fairs or festivals where you could set up a booth with a chair or mobile table and provide short treatments. The focus of your marketing materials would depend on the demographic the business or event, and the types of activities offered to their clientele. Cross promoting with a bed and breakfast location might include more couple’s massage or luxury treatment marketing materials, whereas a resort with a focus on physical activities might be approached with sports massage materials or more active modalities.
During the warmer months, there’s a lot of opportunities to market yourself to various outdoor groups or clubs. Offer to do a talk at a local runner’s or biker’s club about how to help prevent and / or treat injuries that you see often from those demographics. Contact recreation and athletic centers about what sort of community leagues are running that season, events that are being run, and so on. Contacting the organizers offering to provide a talk, or maybe setup a small station to provide mini demo treatments during the events / games. Consider joining a league as a player! Not only will you get some exercise, but it’s a great chance to meet and network with the other players.
- Cystic Fibrosis Month
- Foot Health Awareness Month
- Multiple Sclerosis Month
- National Physiotherapy Month
- National Hospice Palliative Care Week (May 3rd to 9th in 2015)
- International Day Against Homophobia (May 17th)
- World Hypertension Day (May 17th in 2015)
- ALS Awareness Month
- Relay for Life events
- Stroke Awareness Month
- National Cancer Survivors Day (June 1st)
- International Self-Care Day (July 24th)
- World Hepatitis Day (July 28th)
September – December
Labour Day / Back to School
Labour day weekend and the back to school season are ideal times to talk with parents and teachers about heavy backpacks, approach PE teachers and school athletics coaches about doing presentations for sports injuries and home care activities, contact businesses about offering ergonomic tips and corporate massage days (now that everyone is coming back from the holidays). You can approach colleges and universities about providing massage therapy to their staff, or treating their varsity teams during home or away games now that students have returned. Most of the materials you make for these types of activities will be related to the impairments the students or staff are likely to come across..
Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, etc.
Gift certificates are big sellers during the holiday season. Promoting gift certificate sales in your marketing materials and suggesting them as gifts is a popular tactic. In addition to gift certificates for massages, you could also consider free upgrades or other benefits for your regular clients, like adding hot stones or paraffin wax dips to regular treatments if you’re equipped for those types of services. Cross promoting with gift stores, donations of gift certificates to various festivals or holiday events and also help increase clientele. Your clinic could do a toy / gift drive, or have a draw for a gift basket. Any client who refers a friend to your practice could get additional ballots.
Extended Benefits Rush
Many clients put off using their extended benefits throughout the year, and then book multiple appointments at the end of the year. Reminding clients that most benefits packages cover some degree of massage therapy throughout the year can help to minimize the last minute rush. Suggesting that client’s spread out their coverage throughout the year, and working with them to help come up with a schedule that needs their treatment plan requirements and takes advantage of their coverage, can help avoid overbooking yourself during the holidays. If you are looking to earn a little extra money for the holidays, you could extend your regular hours one or two days a week during the month of December to accommodate a few extra last minute appointments.
If your clinic accepts MVA clients, proactively marketing that fact can help as the weather starts to get bad. With the recent FSCO regulation changes, many therapists have decided not to accept MVA clients anymore, so it will it can benefit clients to know upfront if your clinic is an option for them following an accident. If you’re clinic does accept MVA clients, you might consider including that information in your marketing materials when the snow or freezing rain starts to fall, like writing a blog article about the how the process works from the client’s perspective.
- Men’s Cancer Health Awareness Month
- National Arthritis Month
- Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month
- Prostate Cancer Awareness Month
- AIDS Walk for Life (September 12th to 20th in 2015)
- Terry Fox Run (September 20th in 2015)
- Healthy Workplace Month
- National Occupational Therapy Month
- ADHD Awareness Week (October 14th to 24th in 2015)
- National Seniors’ Day (October 1st)
- World Spine Day (October 16th)
- Movember Canada Month
- Osteoporosis Month
- National Pain Awareness Month (November 1st to 7th in 2015)
- World AIDS Day (December 1st)
- International Day of Disabled Persons (December 3rd)
Although there’s a number of suggestions here, this article is obviously not exhaustive – there are plenty of other events, niche markets, and strategies you can use to build clientele. My hope is that these ideas and suggestions can help you think of creative ways for you to network in your community. Make sure to keep track of which strategies draw the most clients to your practice, so you know where activities to repeat or invest more time on in the future.
Have any suggestions or strategies that have worked well for you, or that you think would be great to try? Share them with us in the comments!