Think You Know All About Marketing?

Think Again!

By Les Sweeney & Kristin Coverly
[Business Side]

Here are eight types of marketing you might not have considered. Prepare to have your mind blown.

Cause Marketing
Les: Cause marketing has become a hot trend recently, and if you like to support companies that do good, you’ll like this. Cause marketing is attaching a belief or cause to your business’s efforts. A perfect example of this is TOMS Shoes. This company makes shoes (and other items, but shoes are their primary focus), and in their words, “With every product you purchase, TOMS will help a person in need. One for One.” You buy a pair of shoes for yourself; TOMS donates a pair of shoes to a child in need. Pretty awesome, eh? The nice thing is there really isn’t a catch. TOMS shoes aren’t cheap, so you’re probably paying a little extra to allow them to fulfill their mission, but for most people that’s just fine.
How could this affect your practice? Well, maybe you have a cause in which you believe strongly. Perhaps attaching your service to that cause could be a win-win, generating awareness and support for your cause, good feelings for your clients, and additional business for you. Love animals? Maybe raising your prices by $5 for a month, with all extra proceeds going to your local animal shelter, will generate a nice donation for the shelter and some good points for you.

Drip Marketing
Kristin: Sprinkle a little farming theory into the marketing mix and you get drip marketing. Named after drip irrigation systems that deliver water slowly but consistently so soil is never dry or oversaturated, drip marketing involves sending a steady stream of marketing messages to current and potential clients. The success of this marketing strategy relies on finding the sweet spot of sending messages often enough to keep you in readers’ minds and inspire action, but not so often that readers click “unsubscribe.”
Create two drip-marketing plans: one for current clients and one for prospective clients. This is your opportunity to put structure behind all of those great ideas you have, like “I should send clients a newsletter,” or “I should let people know I practice Thai massage.” Yes, you should! The key is to create a plan for content and for sending, and by that I mean putting dates on the calendar. For example, “March 11, send client newsletter,” “April 8, send Thai massage introduction and promotion,” etc.
You know the leads from the 5k race who signed up to receive information about your practice? Plan the series of messages you send after they give you their contact information and agree to receive emails from you. What messages does this group need, in what order, and how often? Working with an email marketing system really helps to manage contact information, design attractive messages, and follow unsubscribe laws.

Free Sample Marketing
LS: I thought of writing about this idea by repeating the word “Costco” 150 times. Enjoying the free samples at Costco has become a bit of a national pastime. Even former NFL football players do the same (even with a typo):

Why does Costco give away their inventory? Well, they let you try it, in hopes that you like it, and will then buy it. And guess what? It works—ridiculously well. Two recent articles about sampling (“Give It Away Now: Why Free Product Samples Always Pay Off” at, and “The Psychology Behind Costco’s Free Samples” at illustrate the effect. The benefits are financial—increases in sales of over 2,000 percent—and behavioral—people buying things they normally would not.
Now, it’s probably not a great idea for you to set up a display of mini-pizza bagels next to your massage table, but sampling with bodywork can provide a similar benefit. Most people who do not get regular massage aren’t aware of the benefits. How can you educate them and convert them into a client? A fancy brochure? Maybe. How about experiencing it? Now we’re talking. That’s why chair massage is so popular—a natural entry point and something you can provide in sample size to your potential clients. C’mon, people—I shouldn’t have to explain this. Let’s move on. Costco, Costco, Costco, Costco, Costco.

Business to Business (B2B) Marketing
KC: Businesses make great clients, too! B2B marketing is selling your product or service to another business instead of an individual. The other business may use this purchase as they wish: perhaps they award one of your gift certificates to their employee of the month or pay you to provide chair massage to customers or employees. A realtor may purchase gift certificates to give to new homeowners as a closing gift. A business may also purchase your service to enhance one of their own sales; for example, a local fitness club may offer a gift certificate for your practice as a special offer for every new member who joins that month. In this case, the fitness club purchases the gift certificates directly from you at an agreed-upon price and distributes them to qualifying members. The key is the other business is buying your product, not an individual.
How do B2B marketing opportunities happen? You create them! Look at the businesses in your community, brainstorm ways those businesses can use your services, and initiate conversations with those business owners. This is one of those occasions where being a member of your local chamber of commerce or a networking group comes in handy.
Why does B2B marketing work? You receive payment for your services from the business up front and then have the opportunity to introduce your work to a new set of clients. Win-win!

Seasonal Marketing
LS: Pretend a greeting card company has hired you to figure out how to sell more greeting cards. How can you make an impression? I just did some web research on holidays and found a page that listed every 2015 holiday. Do you know how many there are? Me neither! I stopped counting when I hit 70 by the end of April. Like the greeting card people, holidays can be good for your business, too. Use them as excuses to make a fuss over something.
Here are three great marketing ideas, free of charge, that I just made up by looking at this never-ending holiday list:
1. Kamehameha Day is June 11. Kamehameha the Great was the king of Hawaii. Anyone who comes in wearing a Hawaiian shirt gets 20 percent off.
2. Daylight Savings starts March 8. Welcome back the sun! 15 percent off any 7:00 p.m. session for the month of March. Or 30 extra minutes for the price of 10, or something like that.
3. Parents’ Day is July 26. If you are a parent, or you’ve had parents, book a session today and you’ll get 20 percent off your next session if you come back before August 10.
There it is. Just like that. You can market around unusual holidays, traditional holidays, or the seasons. Autumn. Tax Day. Summer. Halloween. Grandparents’ Day.

Direct Mail Marketing
KC: How many potential clients in a 5-mile radius of your office know your practice exists? How many drive by every day, totally unaware they’re that close to greatness? One way to introduce your business to the neighborhood is through direct mail—sending marketing pieces by mail.
Direct mail doesn’t always get the highest response rate compared to other forms of marketing, but it does give you the opportunity to introduce your practice to potential clients in a specific geographic area. It’s pretty easy to implement, too. First, choose your marketing message: introduce your services, gift certificate sales, new modality, new location, limited-time neighborhood discount, Kamehameha Day special, etc. Then, choose a provider to work with. Two organizations that offer user-friendly options are the United States Postal Service (USPS) and Vistaprint.

USPS Every Door Direct Mail
Use the online mapping tool to target your area and choose your mail route, then bring your marketing pieces (using the correct size and label specifications) to the post office, and the postal carrier will deliver them for you. Visit for information or to order a free kit with examples.

Vistaprint Custom Materials
Vistaprint will design, print, and mail postcards for you. You can upload your own mailing list if you’d like to mail the marketing piece to current clients, or you can purchase a mailing list to market to potential clients in a geographic area. Select “Postcard Mailing Services” under the “Marketing Products” tab on to learn more.

Content Marketing
LS: Massage and bodywork professionals have practiced content marketing for many years—with ABMP’s help since 2001, when we started producing the client education magazine Body Sense for ABMP members. The idea behind content marketing is to use content and education to spur interest in a product or service.
The good news regarding this strategy is you don’t have to produce everything from scratch. From Body Sense to our newsletter generator, client brochures, and articles on, ABMP has done the work for you—you just need to spread the word. Educate your clients, and focus your effort on what you do well—don’t highlight articles on reflexology if you don’t practice it. Provide them information about things they can do, but be sure to bring it back to the importance of regular bodywork. Increased frequency is the goal here.

Affinity Marketing
KC: Are you really resonating with “one is the loneliest number” these days? You don’t have to go it alone! Give affinity marketing a try and form mutually beneficial partnerships with complementary businesses. Think of a Chase credit card that offers United Airlines miles or a coffee shop that sells bagels from the local bakery. Both businesses are trying to reach the same audience and work together to do that successfully. Affinity marketing gives you the opportunity to get creative, think outside the box with partnership opportunities, and share some marketing responsibilities. Bonus: new relationships with other business owners often reenergize your enthusiasm for your own practice.
Start by thinking of client groups you’d like to attract to your practice and then identify other businesses or groups that work with, or sell to, those potential clients. For example, if you want to work with runners, consider partnering with a local running club to offer a discounted rate for members of their club. Benefit for you: the running club promotes your practice and you’re introduced to potential new clients. Benefit for the running club: the discounted rate on your services may incentivize members to renew their club membership.
Start brainstorming! Why not offer chair massage in the waiting area of the hair salon next door? Or partner with an acupuncturist to give educational talks? There’s a ridiculous number of opportunities right in your community.
Mind blown? You’re welcome. Hopefully your practice will never be the same again.

Les Sweeney is ABMP’s president and resident blogger. Contact him at and read his blog on Kristin Coverly,, is the manager of professional development at ABMP and teaches workshops for therapists and instructors across the country. Both are massage therapists with business degrees who care about you and your practice. Want more? Check out their ABMP BizFit video tips on