Facebook Burnout and the Need for Feed

Facebook my dear, I have so many wonderful things to thank you for. You’ve allowed me to get to know and become actual real-life friends with people who live across the continent, across town, and in my backyard. You’ve introduced me to a passionate community of evidence-based massage therapists, sassy bloggers, inspirational creatives, and empathetic virtual friends who are prompt with a kind word of encouragement when I’m feeling venty and clawing at the edges of insanity.

Remember that time you told me about the Depeche Mode tribute band that was playing at Voodoo Lounge? They were sooooo goooood! Or when you clued me in to the free performances of Teller’s ‘Play Dead’ at the Rio? I mean, that guy ate a damn light bulb on stage. A light bulb!

Darling Facebook, you make crowdfunding possible, and oftentimes vastly successful! You are a wandering searcher’s muse and a coupon code addict’s wet dream. Your messaging capabilities make it easy to contact peeps in a jiffy, and Facebook events are the ultimate in convenience (assuming all desired attendees are suckling at your networky teat). I can inflict my instagrams on both you and Twitter simultaneously with minimal effort. Foursquare check-ins, too! (Or Swarm, or whatever they’re calling it today. To my shame, I’m still firmly entrenched in fiscal first quarter 2014.)

Sweet social network of choice, you’ve been great – you really have – but as is the sad case so often in this life, all good things must come to unfriend.

 

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Now before you go all weepy on me, let me explain: it’s not you, it’s me. I’ve got an intensely obsessive personality, and your constant barrage of information overload has led me to develop the unhealthy habit of spending countless hours idly trolling your feed, for, geez, I don’t even know what. Distraction, I suppose.

The free magic shows and Dave Gahan-esque dance moves have gotten lost in a sea of the mundane, speckled with rare buoys of profundity. I sincerely appreciate the thoughts, the emotions – the people – behind these blips, but I’m just no longer cut out to be one of the lovelies manning the radar. Life beckons, and pressing tasks call.

Facebook, if it’s alright with you, I won’t deactivate you at this point in time. I’d like to continue to be tagged in posts and photos if need be, messaged when my input or assistance is required, and invited to join fun events that are of interest to me. I will continue to participate in a few choice Facebook groups, and will continue to maintain my business pages. I hope you won’t take offense when I share this blog post on my wall. I really hope you won’t brand me an ungrateful twat when I confess I just installed News Feed Eradicator on my laptop, and that I’ve unfollowed essentially everyone on my mobile app, save George Takei.

What’s that, you irresistible blue and white dealer of human commodification? Oh no, I’m not trading you in for Snapchat or the next Twitter, if that’s what you’re afraid of. You can rest assured I’m reassessing virtual boundaries across the board: instead of being overcome by the onslaught of curated life snippets y’all hurl at the masses on a moment-by-moment basis, I’ll be out there embracing my own corporeal experiences like a mofo, external validation be damned.

 

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Join Us In Vegas!

Big news, friends! The deets for July’s Young Thumbs CE workshop have arrived! Allissa, Ryan and I have been working overtime to plan this entertaining, informative and innovative class that gets you 3 NCBTMB-approved CE hours and quality time with, you know, US.

Class size is limited to 20 participants, and we’re giving Young Thumbs readers first dibs. I’ve posted the specifics below. You’ll have to pre-register at Eventbrite so we’ll have your seat saved and your certificate ready for you. It’s easy, it’s affordable, it’s Vegas!

***

Ethics, Schmethics: The Vegas Workshop

(aka Young Thumbs Day)

3 CE hours in NCBTMB approved ethics

Cost: $30 (Yes, you read that right.)

When: Thursday, July 24, 2014  1:30 pm – 4:30 pm

Where: Emergency Arts, 520 East Fremont St., Downtown Las Vegas (aka not The Strip. This is way cooler than that.)

What: Hospitality nut Andrea Lipomi, video powerhouse Ryan Hoyme and marketing geek Allissa Haines will be in attendance to head up this new and innovative ethics workshop.

We know what you’re thinking. We’ve all taken ethics classes that promise to be interesting and not the same old ‘don’t-sleep-with-your-clients’ schtick. Then it turns out to be the boring ‘don’t-name-your-clients-online’ class.  Ammirite?

This workshop is different. No, really.

Are you on the prowl for simple ways to up the hospitality quotient in your practice? Are you losing the battle with burnout? Could your professional life use a boundary makeover?

Attendees will be surveyed well before the workshop day to determine their specific needs. Each attendee will be asked to submit a question for the class, and we’ll all work through it together.

Part structured mastermind group, part freestyle learning, and part extremely confidential peer counseling, this workshop is about collaboration with minimal lecture and zero stuffiness.

***IMPORTANT: You MUST pre-register for this workshop at eventbrite.com. Class size is limited to 20 participants. Registration ends July 10th, 2014.***

But wait! There’s more! We’ve decided to make a fun-filled day of it, so you’re also invited to join The Young Thumbs for the following optional events:

11am-1pm

Lunch at Eat.

Please bring cash to pay for your own meal. Separate checks will not be available, IRS compliant image of receipt will be provided via email to each attendee after the meal.

6pm

Dinner and Adventuring! (Details TBA, but we promise it’ll be a blast.)

Please bring cash to pay for your own meal. Separate checks will not be available, IRS compliant image of receipt will be provided via email to each attendee after the meal. Dinner will NOT be fancy or crazy expensive.

***Please visit The Young Thumbs Facebook page regularly during the entire week of July 20th. We’ll have lots of last minute Vegas shenanigans to announce – and we want you to join us!***

DOWNTOWN LODGING: The hotels on and near Fremont St. would be happy to have you. We can personally vouch for the lovely, recently remodeled rooms at the Downtown Grand.

CARPOOLING: If you’re staying on or near the Strip, we may be able to help with transportation to get you to the workshop. Please email Andrea at helpinghands@confidentmassage.com by July 10th, 2014 with your situation and we’ll try our best to be of assistance.

REFUNDS: If you require a refund, please submit a request to helpinghands@confidentmassage.combefore July 10th, 2014.

CONTACT: If you have any questions, please contact Andrea at (702)468-5886, or at helpinghands@confidentmassage.com.

We’re so excited we can barely contain ourselves! See you in Downtown Las Vegas this July!

(Andrea Lipomi is approved by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork as a continuing education Approved Provider, #451780-11.)

The Young Thumbs Take Las Vegas

During Wednesday’s episode of The Massage Nerd Show, Allissa, Ryan and I made an announcement worthy of attention from the finest massage therapy news outlets and celebrity gossip magazines:

ON JULY 24th 2014, THE YOUNG THUMBS WILL TAKE OVER LAS VEGAS…AND YOU’RE INVITED!

That’s right, friends! Starting around noon on the day following the World Massage Festival’s four-day Vegas run at the Tuscany Suites & Casino, we are going to eat, workshop, eat, drink, conspire, eat, and shenanigize our hearts out! The festivities will be centered around the Fremont East neighborhood of Downtown Las Vegas, an area north of the Strip and home to lots of exciting, new and innovative development.

We’re still working on the deets, but so far we’ve decided:

  • This day will revolve around fun. If you’re looking for boring, we will only disappoint you.
  • Components of the event will be optional. Want to lunch with the crew, but skip out before the workshop (topic TBA) begins? Not a problem! Care to meet up later on in the evening instead? DO. IT.
  • The day’s expenses will be minimal. You’ll be responsible for paying for your own eats, drinkies, and any extracurricular entertainment. Know that we are totally committed to keeping the workshop super affordable too, because we love you.
  • Emergency Arts will be accommodating our workshop space demands. They are located at 520 East Fremont St., Las Vegas, NV 89101. If you’re looking for lodging in Young Thumbs territory, there are gobs of (affordable!) hotels in the ‘hood.
  • Further details will be posted on theyoungthumbs.com as we get closer to the blessed event.
  • Any questions? Please ask ‘em in the comments section below.

Watch the three of us talk about this stuff (and more).

Please save the date, and pack accordingly. :)

***

Andrea Lipomi is a licensed massage therapist and esthetician who lives and works in Las Vegas, Nevada. She also peddles massage therapy ebooks and NCBTMB-approved continuing education courses at ConfidentMassage.com, will travel hundreds of miles for a fantastic spa experience, and craves dark chocolate and Depeche Mode’s upcoming tour dates on an almost daily basis.

12 Sales and Marketing Terms Massage Therapists Need to Know

John Gelb is a friend of mine, and the head honcho over at At Peace Media where you’ll find great massage music and outstanding webinar-style CE courses for massage therapists. John is not a massage therapist, but he understands us more than most civilians I’ve met, so I’m excited to bring you this guest post. Enjoy!

1. Friction

This is a perfect example of jargon. Friction might mean one specific thing in, say, massage, and then another when you’re talking about high or low friction in the sales process.

Low friction is the goal, because friction is anything that may impede the sale.

Example: Your homepage has a large clickable image inviting me to purchase a special spring massage package. I click it and instead of being able to purchase the deal on the next page, I find another link to click. Then I’m taken to a third party website and have to fill out a 2-page form before I can even enter my credit card number. That’s an example of high friction and as a customer, I’ll probably get frustrated and go check Facebook instead of finishing the transaction.

2. Scalable

Scalability is a characteristic of a system or process that describes its capability to cope under increased or decreased workloads. This is tied into “economies of scale” where ideally there is an increase in efficiency of production as the number of goods being produced increases.

Example: A scalable massage practice maintains or improves its profit margins while the clients and bookings increase.

3. Barrier to entry

Barrier to entry is a term used to describe the complex mix of barriers when a business enters a new market. The article, Barrier to Market Entry, on Inc.com describes the two extremes: “Entry into a market is always in some way possible yet also constrained in some ways—except in purely theoretical descriptions. The two extremes are described by a state-supported absolute monopoly on the one hand (an insurmountable barrier to a new entrant) and a market on the other hand where entry has zero cost (a totally barrier-free market).”

The major categories that translate into barriers are cost, capital, know-how, location, and state power.

Example: A small business owner like yourself benefits in an underserved area, with good location, and plenty of “differentiation” that makes you stand out from the competition. This would be a low barrier to entry.

4. Buying cycle (Sales cycle, purchase cycle, life cycle)

People go through stages as they interact with your company, and each stage requires different marketing actions. HubSpot calls this “Lifecycle Marketing.”

Depending on who is talking, the buying cycle stages can be defined differently, but it goes something like this for your ideal customer:

Problem recognition
I feel like I need a massage.

Information search
Where might I get a massage? Let’s ask Google (or my best friend, Kathy).

Evaluation
SmartCity Massage has a good deal right now. I trust my friend Kathy and her favorite massage therapist is Mark Jones. From my online research I’ve definitely ruled out E-Z Massage.

Purchase decision
Can I really afford this massage? Should I go ahead and book it now, or wait a week? Should I call or just fill out this form online?

Post-purchase behavior
I booked my appointment with Mark Jones, received a stellar massage, now I’m booking an appointment for next month! And I’m going to give Mark a shout out on Twitter.

5. Content marketing

Content marketing is the process of creating valuable content that will attract your target market to your website or brand.

Content examples: blog articles, infographics, how-to videos, and downloadables like ebooks and guides.

6. Call to Action (CTA)

Words, buttons, images that are used to get a visitor to take a certain action. A CTA at the end of a blog post might be a simple link or a button that says “Like what you’ve read? Click here to subscribe to the blog!”

Or, something like this (subtle, right?) …

7. Conversion Rate

A conversion rate, generically, is the percentage of visitors who take a desired action on a website. The action could be purchasing something (which is a conversion from visitor to customer) or they could be filling out a form (conversion from visitor to lead).

Example: If 100 people visit your online booking form, and 30 of them fill out that form, then the form has a 30% conversion rate…not too shabby. If the conversion rate is low, it’s time to fix the form or process to get a higher conversion rate.

8. Inbound marketing

HubSpot has been the leader of formalizing inbound marketing, and according to their website it is “the most effective marketing method for doing business online.” It is the process of turning strangers into customers and promoters of your business, through strategic use of tactics like blogging, social networking, keyword optimization, lead capturing, email marketing and more. This is the visual representation of how to attract visitors, convert them to leads, close a sale and delight your customers using Inbound Marketing methods:

Image credit: HubSpot

 9. Pay Per Click (PPC)

You’ll hear this whenever someone is talking about Google Ads or other kinds of online advertising. PPC is a payment model in which payment is based solely on qualifying click-throughs (when someone clicks on your ad).

10. Memes

An internet meme is a concept that spreads from person to person throughout the web. It’s a term borrowed from cultural studies about the spread of information. Think of photos or images with text on them (like the original LOLcats have evolved into the many iterations of talking cat memes, like Grumpy Cat). Tip: You can use memes in your social media marketing!

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11. Downsell and Upsell

When a client or customer rejects a more expensive product, you might try to sell them something more affordable. This is the opposite of upselling a more expensive product or an additional item to a customer who wants to buy something less expensive.

Example of downselling: Client is interested in your (10) one hour massage package but hesitates over the price. You might suggest a (5) one hour massage package instead.

Example of upselling: Client buys a gift certificate, and you suggest a bottle of massage oil or lotion to go along with it.

12. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is the process of choosing targeted keyword phrases related to a site, and ensuring that the site places well when those keyword phrases are part of a web search. Everyone gets really worked up about SEO because they want to be at the top of the Google search results page. Nice job, Young Thumbs! You are winning.

What are some marketing and sales terms that you’ve come across that made you scratch your head?

What is a REAL massage photo?

I recently posted this on my FB page and it ignited some great responses!

What my massage photos “DON’T” have :)
1. Long Fingernails on the therapist.
2. A client with their head turned to the side.
3. Photoshopped massage clients and therapists.
4. The therapist in the photos that is not a massage therapist.
5. Horrible body mechanics.
6. Charging $5-$100 per photo.
7. Ridiculous “Terms of Service” in using the photos.
8. Unrealistic massage locations.
9. Lots of jewelry on the client and therapist.

The biggest reason I decided to shoot my own massage photos, is because so many therapists were complaining about what is this available for MT’s to use promote their business. I will be the first to agree, that the photos available out there look gorgeous, but it doesn’t perceive what we really do.

It’s time for “US”, as massage therapists to take back this profession, and to market it the way we really massage. Honestly, the average client might not think twice about the photos you use, or the position of the clients head, but once they receive more massages, they will understand that it’s false advertising.

People have been complaining for years, that they want real people in photos, and not photoshopped liked most of them out there. I recently saw a movie poster for “The Heat” with Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy, and Melissa was totally photoshopped to look thinnerthere was a backlash on the Internet about it too.777

So, the next time you want to advertise your business to the public, think what photos really represent you :)

Thirty Two Add-On Service Ideas for Non-Spa Massage Therapists

(This post is inspired by a question asked over on the Massage Nerd Group on Facebook today. If you aren’t a member, yet, come join in on the discussion! 1,838 minds are better than 1.)

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I have a lot of fun with spa services. You will probably see me write about them a lot. I love to have creamy concoctions that smell pleasant smeared onto my skin and massaged in. I love to have my dead skin cells sheared away with tiny crystals and to have hot steamy towels envelop various appendages while I soak it in and pretend to be Cleopatra. It is heavenly. Moreover, I love to design, implement and execute these services in my practice. For me, it is soothing, relaxing, artful, and restful.

…however, this post isn’t about me. It is about you. The therapist who doesn’t sit by as they massage hot oil into a client’s scalp or apply warm sugar scrub to the feet and enjoy the service by proxy, like some therapeutic succubus, vicariously living through every girly spa treatment she gives.

(…what? I said it isn’t about me…)

It is about you, the therapist in the trenches who doesn’t want to bother with essential oil selection, whether to use raw turbinado sugar or salt, or use a mortar and pestle because it makes them feel old timey and cool. You, who when asked about “spa services” cringe when you think about the additional laundry, the oil stains, the salt granules between the toes, the ooey gooey, creamy, slimy, smelly, sticky, girly, messy stuff flying around all the time. You think about all of the bowls and bottles and canisters of extra stuff you have to procure, mix, and handle…and it just seems like more trouble than it is worth.

Fear not, non-spa massage therapist, for you too can offer add on services that can help increase your bottom line and add value for your clients without adding to your laundry basket or taking away from your ability to stay goop-free. For the purposes of this article, I am including both energetic types of work and more clinical approaches in order to satisfy/address a wider audience.

Here is a list of ideas, in no particular order:

1) A scalp massage add-on. You can do this dry, or with your lubricant if it is good quality. Some people hate stuff in their hair so of course be sure to ask first. A little goes a long way. If you feel like you want to add something a little extra or different, you can use a shampoo brush or scalp massaging instrument along with your hands and fingers. They even make battery operated scalp massagers…which I haven’t tried yet but want to. I’m not sure if they would work well for clients in a service but might make a good product offering for self care.

2-5) Reflexology add-ons. If you are trained in reflexology you can offer it on the feet, hands, ears, and face.  It can be incredibly relaxing and doesn’t involve any additional product or set up.

6) Abdominal Massage add on. You can use or combine different modalities, or receive training specific to this area, such as Maya Abdominal Massage. 

7) Facial Massage. You can do this dry or with your lubricant if it is very gentle and of high quality. I prefer to use jojoba, virgin coconut or safflower oil on the face. A little goes a long way. There are lots of CEUs and instructional videos on this subject.

8) Acupressure.

9) Reiki.

10) Cupping

11) Facial Cupping

12) Facial lymphatic drainage

13) Dry Brushing exfoliation

14) Hot and cold stone massage. If used as an add on you can simply use 6 stones, and a refrigerator or small heating device. There’s no need to heat up or cool a set of 30 stones. It doesn’t have to be that complicated.

15) Hot or cold stone facial massage. Both can be great for headaches and can be very relaxing.

16) 15 or 30 minute therapeutic stretching and/or ROM time. This can be a great add on for those that request relaxation massage but you know they could use something a little more. They are more receptive to it because you aren’t taking away from their full treatment time.

17) They can book a time block for 15/30 mins before or after their massage to just zone out on the table. You can call this “meditation time” or just “decompression time” etc.

18) A lot of my clients enjoy therapeutic hair pulling. These are usually my clients who constantly have in weaves or extensions, and they book their sessions in between getting new sets installed. I have been trying to come up with the best name for this service and I think I will add it my menu as “Hairapy”. I know, gimmicky…but I don’t want it to get confused with the scalp massage options I offer.

19) Kinesio Taping

20) Craniosacral Therapy

21) Indian head massage

22) Asian reflexology. Did you know that there are actually many different methods of reflexology besides the Ingram method? Check them out. You might find something you like better.

23) Ice massage add-on. Water, mini dixie cups, and a freezer. You will need one hand towel for this one.

24) The Toasty Toes add on. For those clients that get cold feet easily. You can have them in this the entire time and end the massage with an extra 15 minutes of massage on their nice warm feet.

25) Ice plunge add-on. For those that work with their hands a lot. You walk them through it and include printed instructions on how to effectively do it at home. all that is required is a little ice and water (easy if you already have a freezer in your office) and a small tub or bucket.

26-31) Other self-help protocol add-ons. You can add self-help protocols with or without tools such as tennis balls, specific stretches and ROM exercises, etc. The “add on” would be an extra 15/30 mins allotted to teaching them how to use the information or tools effectively, maybe a print out reminder, and a set of tennis balls etc.(example: wrist relief, shoulder relief, low back relief, foot relief, neck relief, headache relief, etc)

32) Extra 15/30 minute samples: I usually let my clients know that they can “sample” a different modality during their regular massage time to see if they like it and want it added in later. I have decided to start advertising this as an “add-on”, in the hopes that people won’t have as much trepidation because they know they are getting their full massage time, with just 15 mins “extra” of trying something new.

I hope these ideas have been helpful. I realize different therapists might already include some  of these services in their regular session pricing…my intent was to include as many as I could think of on this list to stoke the imagination.  If you are a therapist who chooses to maintain a goop-free lifestyle and you feature “add-ons” in your practice, please let us all know what they are below. We would love to hear from you!

Image courtesy of SweetCrisis / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

You Are Not My Audience

I finished reading Erika Napoletano’s THE POWER OF UNPOPULAR while sitting alone in an isolated booth at a bar known for its goth night and hipster art fest runoff. I was there to show my face at a fundraising event, and your teetotaling narrator had arrived sans company, because well, that’s her lot in life.

I only mention this detail because it amuses me. All you really have to remember is that I mentioned “Erika Napoletano’s THE POWER OF UNPOPULAR”, because it is a good business-y read, and if you’re a business owner or project leader, it’s likely to give you hope and make you feel less alone in this world. Here’s what I loved about it:

  • It gives you permission to be yourself.
  • It gives you permission to make mistakes, and to be nimble enough to turn mistakes into opportunities.
  • It gives you permission to identify who the right client is for your business, and to adjust this assessment at any time if need be.
  • It gives you permission to stop wasting your time trying to please everybody, which includes many people who are not your audience.

I realize my repeated use of the word “permission” could be a turn off to some (or a turn on to you BDSM devotees out there), but sometimes it’s nice to have a respected marketing guru tell you “It is perfectly OK if you do this! Civilization will not crumble to the ground if you do, and you will be better off for having done it!” Feel free to swap “permission” for “two thumbs up” and it’s the same difference.

As a small business owner with an edgy business name in an up-and-coming neighborhood where certain suburbanites still fear to tread, these are all valuable reminders — with the last two points holding special significance as of late. While at my shop, I welcome friendly visitors and explorers with open arms, and I’ll happily answer questions and discuss the day’s events from bell-to-bell. My (mild and admittedly self-indulgent) irritation arrives with the rare yet reliable strangers who feel it’s their place to impose their multiple, unprovoked sales objections on me when they’ve never spent a dime in my establishment.

You demand that I perform couples massages in my tiny 140 square foot treatment room that quite obviously contains only one treatment table? And you’ve never been in here before, and you’re not buying anything today? And you also demand that I offer services that aren’t currently on my menu, in addition to providing you with a discount? And after alllll this preaching, you still haven’t bought even the least expensive item I sell in my little, local, one-woman-army owned and operated dream business?

Well my dear, you are not my audience.

And that’s a wonderful thing.

 ***

Andrea Lipomi is a licensed massage therapist and esthetician who lives and works in Las Vegas, Nevada. She also peddles massage therapy ebooks and NCBTMB-approved continuing education courses at ConfidentMassage.com, will travel hundreds of miles for a fantastic spa experience, and craves dark chocolate and Depeche Mode’s upcoming tour dates on an almost daily basis.

Cool/Uncool

I’ve never consumed an alcoholic beverage in my entire life. I’ve never smoked a cigarette, joint, pipe, hookah, or taken a hit off a bong. Second hand smoke? Probably. First hand experimentation of the chemical variety? Nope!

We can get into the whys and what fors if you’d like: I didn’t grow up in much of a drinking, smoking household, and it was pretty strict. I had taken Prozac for a couple of months to try to alleviate my teenage OCD, but quit when I realized I could become dependent on it. Cigarettes smell like death, and lots o’ (drunk) people annoy me.

Maybe I have control issues. Maybe I feel the need to go against the status quo. Maybe I’d rather spend my money on clothes and breakfast. Maybe I’m just the most uncool person you’ll ever meet.

It’s OK, you can tell me I’m uptight — I’ve heard it before. Go ahead, become the millionth person who’d “love to see [me] get drunk for the first time”. Gaze into my eyes with bewilderment when, instead of hitting you with a heavy tale of rehab and broken dreams, I relay the history of a life devoid of cool.

I’ve lost so-called friendships over my choice to live the non-alcoholic life. The time these “friends” wanted to spend in my sober company decreased in proportion to the growing quantities of alcohol they were consuming on a now daily basis. In retrospect, these individuals did me a favor, but at the time it hurt. Alas, the only thing I had to drown my sorrows in after each parting of ways was a carton of unsweetened almond milk.

***

Even more pressing than the question “Why doesn’t Andrea drink?” is the question “Why is Andrea discussing this on The Young Thumbs?”

***

I opened my own little one-person day spa in February, and I am working hard to make it successful. I’m tickled to report that Feetish Spa Parlor is the center of my existence, is truly my happy place, and that cash money is slowly — but steadily — flowing into my bank account.

Obviously, marketing is on my mind every day. Spotting opportunities to meet new people, injecting myself into new social settings, taking advantage of the countless free events that take place in my community; you’ll see me out and about more now than ever before. And I enjoy it! It’s new, unfamiliar, and actually really fun! I have made some interesting new friends, and I don’t give a shit if they fall asleep each night spooning a six pack (of Coors Light).

But there are certain events that revolve around the availability of free alcohol that I just haven’t been able to bring myself to attend. And I feel like maybe I’m missing out on something by ignoring the siren’s promise of free whiskey on the rocks: Not to drink, but to surround myself with normal social behavior, an uncool anchor in a sea of libidinous lubricated linguists.

I watched “Blood Into Wine” on Netflix with an appreciation for Maynard James Keenan’s drive to get grapes to grow on the side of a mountain in Arizona, however I have no interest whatsoever in going on a Napa Valley wine tour. But what if I knew the tour bus would be full of wealthy wine snobs looking for a new spa experience in Downtown Las Vegas? Would I stuff my pockets with business cards and board the drunk bus to Napa?

You’re über cool, but let’s pretend you’re me.

What would you do?

***

Andrea Lipomi is a licensed massage therapist and esthetician who lives and works in Las Vegas, Nevada. She also peddles massage therapy ebooks and NCBTMB-approved continuing education courses at ConfidentMassage.com, will travel hundreds of miles for a fantastic spa experience, and craves dark chocolate and Depeche Mode’s upcoming tour dates on an almost daily basis.

I don’t need video to advertise my business

I constantly get this question a lot: “Why do I need video to promote my practice?” I have many responses to that question, and I’ll explain my answer in depth below.

#1. YouTube is the third largest website for Internet traffic.
#2. 48 hours of video are uploaded every minute to YouTube, resulting in nearly 8 years of content uploaded every day.
#3. Videos have been showing up in search engines for the past few years, even without clicking the video tab.
#4. People are more than likely to click on a video, instead of reading text…except if they are at work, then text is more popular  :)
#5. 30-60 second video clips are more than sufficient on YouTube.
#6. More people are visual, and you can get your point across quicker.
#7. It’s always a good idea to have video on your website, and you can have text along with it, if they prefer to read.
#8. If you are not a good writer, then try video.

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Tips and Tricks about video: 

#1. Add in as many tags (keywords) to your video. If you live in Minneapolis Minnesota, then you should add those, plus the surrounding towns, counties and even abbreviations to them. Add these tags too: massage, massage therapist, pain, therapeutic…
#2. The two most important things to get your videos seen on YouTube are: your title and thumbnail (small picture of your video).
#3. Add http:// at the beginning of any website in your youtube description. If you just add www, then it won’t be clickable.
#4. Have a clickable link as the first thing in your description. People are always looking for things to click after they are done watching a video.
#5. Add a long description of your video, so search engines will find your video.
#6. There is a limit of how much title, description and tags you can add to each video. YouTube will let you know if it’s too long, after you try to save it.
#7. If you don’t feel comfortable in front of a camera, then have one of your friends do it or make a slideshow with a voice-over.
#8. Never upload a video directly to your website. It will load slower and it will be harder to index on search engines, and you can’t see the analytics for it.
#9. If you make a playlist on YouTube, after the viewer is done watching a video, then it will automatically play the following one in your playlist.
#10. Autoplay a video on your YouTube channel home page and it’s a good idea to have an introduction video on there, so people will get to know you better.
#11. You will be your WORST critic and have your friends watch it, so they can give you ideas for your next video.
#12. Audio is 2/3 of the video, so make sure you have a decent microphone and test it out before you are ready to shoot.
#13. Tripods are the best invention to complement a video. You don’t want people to take Dramamine before watching your video…do you???
#14. Don’t upload your videos directly to Facebook and only upload them to YouTube. You can share the link to your YouTube video on social media.
#15. Don’t use copyrighted music, pictures or video. Best site for royalty-free music: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/ (have to give them credit, and they ask for a donation) and the best site for royalty-free pictures: www.clipart.com (monthly or yearly fee).
#16. You don’t need fancy and expensive equipment to get started.
#17. If you are a PC user, use Movie Maker. If you are a Mac user, use imove. They are pretty easy to learn.
#18. Have a video for each of your pages on your website: Home, About, Services, Contact and other pages you have.

Plus there is so much more.

Hope that helps answer some of your questions why video is so important to your business :)

Article written by Ryan Hoyme, owner of MassageNerd.com and of Hoyme Consulting

Turning Warm Leads Into Well-informed Clients

Looking for some suggestions on how to get, manage, and effectively turn warm leads into “a client on your table”?  I’ve got some practices, here, in lead gathering and use that apply to primarily a sole-proprietorship but can also apply to any business.

Even before I started professionally practicing massage therapy, I knew I had to get as many people on my table as possible, and the more diverse in body type, considerations, and client goals, the better – I was going to open my own private practice someday.

But, before I even got out into the massage therapy world after my basic training, I knew that I had to come out from under my shell..and actually talk to people to get them on my table.  Student Clinic prepared me for that one-on-one interaction and encouraged me to get my hands on as many people as possible AND gave me a tool to keep track of everyone I had on my table [during Clinic]…and off the table [that I had talked with about massage therapy].

head-scratcher

In the beginning, and with people that I talked to (trying to get them on my table) understanding that I was “new”, I had a hard time getting contact information, much less talking about what I would do with it once I got it from that person.

I thought a good method would be to direct “people on the street” to my website, where they could sign up for an occasional newsletter that I would publish and learn more about me – that way I could get their email address.

Then I thought, a good way to get “people at gigs where I was doing chair massage” to get on my table was to include a space for the chair client’s email address and permission to contact them on the release form.

Then I thought, why don’t I get “people at a wellness event/fair” to sign up for my contacting them via email.

These, unfortunately for me I learned, were really permanent warm leads that I was creating.  However, the web-disseminated information about massage therapy I did create to serve these warm leads allowed others who would search for a massage session and become my client find me (based on relevant search results, in “massage”) through my various (and consistent) business listings and profiles, and book with me based on my web presence or presentation.

Following are some practices I use to effectively and for-the-long-term interact with potential clients and some techniques I use to create, through my database information, working relationships as “people who get on my table”:

Contact [Enrollment] – anyone is a potential client.  Be aware that personal relationships can also be professional relationships and that your sister will eventually hold two or more roles in your professional practice: sister, client, referrer – be sure you put her in the appropriate-named database categories, too.  Treat every Contact as your client, and treat their contact information, permission, and intent like gold – because it really is fortunate that they want what you have to give.

admtCreating a List – collect contact/business cards.  If they don’t have one, ask for their name/phone #/email address [to write down] so you can keep in contact with them about that awesome, enthusiastic conversation you just had with them about massage therapy.  Any other information you think is important to know/note: also include that in the information you collect.

Storing your List – when you get their phone number through their business card or verbal information, keep it in your phone or, better, an online service that is seen through and interacts with your phone/website.  Often times when someone calls you, Caller ID may fail – if their name & phone number are already in your phone, you’ll know who it is right away and be able to minimize or avoid altogether that awkward feeling of that “I recognize your voice, but…who are you, again?” moment.  Also: computer spreadsheets, paper spreadsheets, paper address books, contact databases in a local email client (Outlook, Eudora, etc) or online (Gmail, Yahoo, etc) are efficient ways to keep the information permanent – in electronic version, you’ll definitely want to BACK UP your information or print it out on paper every once in a while to assure you never lose it.

Using your List – regarding contact information: if you have the ability to categorize your contacts easily, do.  I separate non-clients and clients in my database with color coded categories in Outlook for easy access later, for things like creating client letters, broadcast announcements, and the like.  Regarding email addresses you got in an online form: I use Google’s Feedburner to automatically send out my blog website’s RSS feed entries to my Feedburner-subscribed email list.  This is so I know that everyone interested in the information but who are not necessarily my client get the feed they subscribed to on my website.  With Feedburner, I can manually enter email addresses that I have collected and have “permission to market” on file.

Once you have your contact list started, populated with people who are “warm” leads (aka, of whom you have not yet had the pleasure of meeting) and of whom you have permission to market, start the scheduled emails.  Stay ahead of the game by always having more than enough articles to publish.  If you have specials to promote, make sure that you include that information (maybe even a link to a permanent webpage featuring the details of the special) somewhere in the email.

Maintaining your List – the best rule of thumb that I have used is: take care of it now.  Any delay in adding or removing a contact from your list only reflects on you as apathetic and uninterested in the needs/desires of your audience.  Most email systems, like Feedburner, Constant Contact, Email Brain, will have automated unsubscribe links within each email sent – easy for the recipient to Unsubscribe if they want.  But make sure manual entries and deletions to these permission-based list are done promptly – your efforts will be appreciated, leaving you looking professional…and possibly worth electronically- or professionally-reconnecting with at some point.  I like the automated emails that state “did you mean to unsubscribe?” or “if you would like to re-subscribe at any time, please click this link” in the unsubscribe confirmation emails – I keep these for future (resubscription) intentions.

The following suggestions are based more on ethical considerations moreso than business practice or practice-building:

DOs – establish permission-based marketing

checkedCollect business cards – it has always been my understanding that if someone gives me a business card, it is implied consent to contact them.  That said, I only contact them with their business card information about the “thing that we talked about” when they gave me their card.

checkedUse “sign up/in” sheets at events – include a space for [your client’s or potential client’s] email address AND indicate, somewhere on the form, that you’ll contact them [in the future] with…well, you decide: newsletter, specials, surveys, etc.

checkedCreate a form on your website that collects a visitor’s email address – when they are asked to sign up, they are usually promised something: a regular newsletter, specials notifications, first-time client offers, and the like.  You can make it worth their while – to be in your database – if you personally email them an article you wrote, a “tips”/information sheet, or even an infographic you have permission to use or made yourself to connect their website entry with you personally.

DON’Ts – spam

uncheckedCollect email addresses anonymously or “harvest” them from sites that explicitly state that using the information on the site in ways other than the purpose of the site (which is to connect massage therapist(s) to clients, for massage therapy purposes, et al).  This type of information gathering is not permission-based and will get you blacklisted on the major email services (AOL, gmail, Hotmail, etc) or account terminated on web-based email list management services (Email Brain, Constant Contact, , etc) if you are reported as “spam” – to the ISP, mail service, or list management services through their no-spam “unsubscribe” policies.

uncheckedPut people on lists that they did not sign up for.  The fastest way to lose an electronic client…and possibly a live one…when they figure out you added them because they were in your database and not subscribed or interested in the information you started sending them.

uncheckedSend too many communications by email/RSS feed – when you do more than monthly newsletters that have advertisement or promotion in them, “overbearing” comes to mind of the reader…and every time they see your email header in their Inbox.  This results in a behavior modification that not only hurts your business but also your identity/reputation.  If you send an article ONLY of interest to your email database – and make it relevant to the service and/or product you purvey in another space (like a booking webpage), link it in the footer or signature of every email you send out.  I promise: people will always know where to find you when you are consistent in placing your contact information there.

 

Now, if you’ve read this far AND are not familiar with all these concepts, your head might be swimming – please ask questions, give suggestions, confirm/deny, or feel free to leave your favorite smoothie recipe below.  Maybe you’ll be able to put down the Dramamine before you’re done typing 😛

What are some ways you collect contact information, methods you use to connect with warm leads, or “best practices” for maintaining a relevant database for your practice or business?