Marketing for Introverts

By Esther Pearson

Spa owner Heidi Lamar has seen plenty of therapists come and go in her years hiring for Spa Lamar in Arizona. “Some are quite comfortable handing out their [business] cards wherever they go, but others would rather walk barefoot across shards of glass,” Lamar says. “My busiest, most successful therapist is one of those. How did he become my highest paid therapist? The old-fashioned way: he does a great job, and he has been at the spa for almost 10 years.”

Lamar’s example proves that you don’t have to force yourself to act like an extrovert in order to fill up your appointment book. You don’t need to stand outside your office with a sandwich board yelling out to people on the street. All you need to do is figure out what type of marketing strategies fit your strengths and put them to work.

Embrace Your Strengths

Introverts have their own unique strengths that set them apart in the world of marketing. Lauree Ostrofsky, a life coach and founder of the coaching firm Simply Leap, sums up three of these strengths: 1) quality over quantity, 2) listening, and 3) written communication.

Quality Over Quantity

It’s the depth of a relationship that counts, not the sheer number of relationships, experts say. One solid connection trumps a bevy of surface-level contacts. Focus on just a handful of people in your business network and target your efforts. “By targeting your conversations, you make an impression,” Ostrofsky says. “Even for extroverts, one solid contact at an event is successful. Introverts are already wired to focus on one contact, one conversation, and that puts them at an advantage.”


People love when they feel like you’re listening—really listening. “In fact, they love it more than witty comebacks,” Ostrofsky says. “You may think you aren’t doing anything, when in fact you’re doing something not many people do. Listening, asking questions, and remembering what the other person says are in high demand. Most people are too busy talking about themselves to focus on the other person, but they love feeling like the other person finds them fascinating, and that’s where the introvert can shine.”

Written Communication

While in-person communication requires thinking on your feet, written communication takes the pressure off and gives you time to form a thoughtful response. Social media, email, web communication, and instant messaging have opened up whole new modes of business communication—ones that give introverts an advantage. “We take our time, are thoughtful at responding, and do not bombard people, all of which are appreciated and set us apart,” Ostrofsky says, a self-admitted introvert. “Short responses, regular communication, and treating each person you contact as an individual is who we are naturally as introverts, and it’s how people want to be treated.”

Find Your Groove

Do you need to change your whole personality in order to be successful at marketing your business? According to Wayne Rawcliffe of Senga Consulting Inc., who works with introverted business owners and leaders, the answer is no. “Introverts are not broken and do not need to act like extroverts to be successful,” Rawcliffe says. “As an introvert, you provide your service in a unique way. Market to the advantages and benefits of that way. Be true to who you are, and when new clients meet you, they feel a connection because the experience you said that they would have is the experience they in fact have.”

Successful marketing is about more than just handing out your business card at the grocery store. It’s about exceeding your clients’ expectations. Don’t just give them what they expect. Give them an experience that makes them say, “Wow!” That’s what will bring your clients back. And that’s what will get your clients talking about you to their friends and coworkers.

Stick It Out

One of the most basic but overlooked marketing strategies is to stay put. Massage therapists who continually change locations will have a difficult time finding clients loyal enough to follow them. If you’re expecting a fully booked schedule in six months, you may be expecting too much. Building a client base takes time, and establishing yourself in one location is one of the master keys to success.

“No amount of marketing can help a therapist who changes jobs every six months,” Lamar says. “I have watched so many over the years, and they all have the same thing in common. They run around handing out cards, then sit in the break room complaining about how they need to make more money.

“These impatient therapists invariably start talking to other spas who, impressed with all of their marketing ideas, hire them, and the cycle begins all over again. By the time people call to request them, they have moved on to the next spa.”

Lamar is a compulsive marketer, and she encourages her staff to do the same. “My staff jokes that when I go to lunch, I bring my server back for a spa tour,” she says. But Lamar knows that just getting a new client in the door once isn’t enough. “I also remind my staff of this very important part of the equation: if you exceed your clients’ expectations, they will return. You need to be there when they do.”

Get to Know Other Therapists

The unique marketing style that fits you may be different than what works for another introverted therapist. Tamar Kummel, a licensed massage therapist in New York and Los Angeles, takes a networking approach based on mutual referrals with other massage therapists. “Because I work out of my home, and in major cities, I can’t advertise at all. My business, for safety, must be word of mouth,” Kummel says.

How does she create word-of-mouth marketing opportunities? “Meet as many other therapists as possible and recommend each other. I collect other therapists’ business cards and email addresses and make sure they have mine. I get recommendations for good companies to work for. When jobs come up, I email my licensed therapist group. We all work together to get each other work, and I never have to leave my computer!”

If meeting other therapists sounds too intimidating, try meeting them in the virtual world. The growth of massage therapy forums and social networking sites, like, not only allows the free exchange of ideas on technique, etiquette, and business ideas, but it fosters relationships between therapists. Social media sites are another way to network online.

Ask for What You Want

Want more referrals? Ask for them. All it takes is a simple request: “If you know of others who would benefit from massage, please let them know about us.”

As an introvert, you’re more comfortable with one-on-one conversation with people you already know. Take advantage of this strength (building deep personal relationships) by asking for referrals from your existing clients, who can personally vouch for your skills as a massage therapist.

You can formalize the request with a rewards program that offers discounted or free massage to clients who refer friends and family. If a new client books (and keeps) an appointment as the result of a referral, both the new client and the referring client receive a discount on their next massage.

Shel Horowitz, a marketing consultant and the son of a chiropractor who constantly struggled to build his practice, suggests asking for referrals from other practitioners. “Approach other practitioners for mutual referrals,” Horowitz suggests. “Develop referral programs from nonpractitioners also in the feel-good business: hair salons, custom clothing shops, gourmet dessert bakeries—anyone whose clientele likes to be pampered.”

Another option is to partner with another health practitioner. “Become the in-house massage therapist at a doctor or chiropractor’s office, and then they’re doing the marketing for you,” Horowitz says. Although you’ll still want to do some of your own marketing, the partnership takes the pressure off and can lead to more natural marketing opportunities through a mutually beneficial teamwork approach.

Nurture the Client Relationship

Think your marketing efforts are over when you get a new client in the door? Think again. Relationships take work. They either move forward or they die. If you’re not working on building the client-therapist relationship, there’s no reason for the client to stick around.

Once you’ve established contact with a new client, it’s important to nurture that relationship. At the end of her first appointment, ask if she would like to book her next appointment. Do this for your regular clients, too.

Send a handwritten, personalized thank-you note to new clients after their first massage. Even if you don’t hear back from a new client right away, don’t give up too soon. Six months down the road, you want to be top of mind when he overdoes it on the weekend and needs a massage to ease aches and pains.

In your SOAP notes, include client preferences about draping, lighting, music, temperature, and other details. Make clients feel special. Remember their birthday with a handwritten card, a coupon good on their next massage, or a free add-on treatment. It’s the little things that matter.

Keep in touch with your clients online through social media and email newsletters (ABMP’s Client Newsletter Generator makes it easy). Let clients know about last-minute openings in your appointment book, special discounts or seasonal offers, and news about your business.

Get Online

The less inclined you are to network and promote your business in person, the more important it is for you to promote yourself online. Your website, email contact list, and social media profiles are powerful mediums to reach new clients and keep in touch with your current client base.

Just having a website that shows up in the search results for “Fort Collins massage” has led to new client leads for Tiffany Blackden, a therapist in Fort Collins, Colorado. “Our website has brought us several hundred new clients in the last five years, and it required no face-to-face effort at all,” Blackden says.

Her online marketing efforts extend beyond a website. “Social media marketing is great to hide behind the computer and educate the masses about health,” Blackden says. Through her blog, email newsletter, and Facebook page, Blackden shares tips on living pain-free and embracing a holistic view of health.

Kayse Gehret, a San Francisco-based massage therapist and founder of Soulstice Spa, is another bodyworker who has embraced social media. She recommends four platforms in particular: LinkedIn, Facebook, Yelp, and Twitter. Each platform has different benefits.

“LinkedIn is a great way to reach out and network with other therapists and connect to your existing clientele,” Gehret says. LinkedIn has generated new referrals for Gehret, as has Facebook, which provides a more personal way to interact with clients and other therapists.

Yelp is a popular website offering reviews of service-oriented businesses. For clients who find you on the Internet, unbiased reviews are one of the major driving factors in motivating clients, to pick up the phone and book their first appointment. “Encourage your clients to write reviews on your Yelp profile,” Gehret suggests. “Make it easy for them by sending a quick thank-you email and providing a direct link to your profile page.”

What can 140 characters do for your business? More than you might think, according to Gehret. “Twitter is ideal for letting your customers know about last-minute news and updates, such as special deals or open appointment times. For example, you might have one appointment space left at 7:00 p.m. today. With Twitter, you can let all your followers know about the availability and quickly get that time slot filled.”

Find a Balance

In the end, marketing is about finding the harmony between your clients’ best interests and your own. In massage therapy, being an introvert is often a good thing, as Frances O. Thomas, a nationally certified counselor in Saint James City, Florida, affirms. “Clients often come to a massage therapist to relieve stress. Introverts tend to talk less and listen more than extroverts, so they are restful to be around.

“While introverts don’t usually feel comfortable in a crowd or at a social gathering, they deal well with clients in a one-on-one situation such as massage therapy,” Thomas says. So even if traditional, extrovert-friendly marketing techniques aren’t your thing, you can be confident in your ability to provide the environment and the restful presence that clients crave.


Esther Pearson is a writer and marketing communications specialist for, an online store offering professional massage products and spa accessories. Contact her at