How the Internet can help grow my practice

By Abram Herman
[Tell Me...]

Online marketing is being hailed as a cure-all for your traditional advertising woes—and it just might be, if you have the right plan.



Why Go Web?

Consumer habits have evolved, and being online is now virtually a necessity. “Times have changed,” says Jennie Degen of Massachusetts. “We’re living in a digital era and nowadays everybody expects a business to have a website.”

In many ways, an online presence is starting to supplement, or even replace, word-of-mouth referrals, because being online allows for quicker connection with a wider range of people. “It’s where our potential clients are hanging out; we need to be there!” says Tiffany Blackden, cofounder of “Social media is a way to have your current clients, folks who already love you, refer you to their friends more easily.”

And it’s effective. “Nearly 90 percent of new clients who’ve found me did so via Google or some other search engine,” says Tonya Taylor from Massachusetts. “Over the years, I’ve spent a lot of money advertising via fliers, brochures, direct mail, print ads in newspapers and local circulars, etc., and all of those methods combined attracted less than 2 percent of new clients.”


Did You Know?

A May 2011 survey by Pew Internet found that 78 percent of all American adults are using the Internet. among 18–29 year olds, that figure jumps to 95 percent. According to Google, the most popular site on the web (by unique visitors) is Facebook, which has 800 million active users, And 50 percent will log in on any given day.



A Friendly Face

Your online presence is an extension of you, and it should reflect your personality and the feel of your practice—all in a professional manner, of course. (Make sure you know and use those privacy settings on Facebook and other social networks.) What’s your niche? What makes your experience special for the clients who already enjoy your work?

“Create the image you want others to know,” says Daniel Cohen of California. “Use photos that represent you and your work, so the reader can get a feel for you as a therapist.”


Getting Online

When you’re just starting out, it’s important to maximize the efficiency of your online marketing. “Prioritize,” says Allissa Haines of “Website first, then add email marketing, social media, etc., at a reasonable pace,”

If you’re a member of Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals, you already have a free and easy-to-use website available, but whatever website you choose should make it simple to change things as you go. “Keeping [your website] fresh is important,” says Heather Carr from Colorado. “There is nothing more annoying than finding the website … only to see it’s outdated or doesn’t have all the info you are looking for.”

Should you decide to go beyond the basics of setting up a website, remember that social networks are all about relationships. “Think about what your specialty is, and post your thoughts regularly,” says Rick Merriam of Engaging Muscles
( “You want to put out great work that impacts the tribe you are trying to reach.”



“A simple, powerful way to make your online debut, even without a website, is to claim your business listing on sites like Google Places and Bing Business Portal. A little time spent optimizing your business listings can ultimately pay off by getting your massage therapy practice well positioned in local search results.”
Libby Peterson,


“Sponsor a gift certificate giveaway and include requests for email addresses on the sign-up sheets. You can then start sending out bulk emails once a month with specials, helpful hints on health-related items, stress busters, pain management ideas, etc.”
Julie Creighton, California


“Your website and Facebook page need to be linked. Have online booking. This will save you time and money.” Luisa Caraballo, Illinois