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Sports Massage Marketing Ideas: Ultimate Guide (2020)

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If you’re looking for sports massage marketing ideas then you’ve come to the right place.

Whether you’re newly qualified or you’ve been practising as a sports massage therapist for a while now, marketing is absolutely essential if you want your business to be successful.

In short, having a good marketing strategy is the plain and simple answer to ‘how to get clients for sports massage’.

Fortunately for you, we’ve included all of the best sports massage marketing ideas in this post. That includes ways to get new clients, tips for your online and social media strategy, and how you can use marketing strategies to boost retention to keep the clients you already have!

But before we get started, if you aren’t yet qualified as a sports massage therapist go ahead and check out our Level 3 Sports Massage course so that you can get started with your new career.

Attracting Clients As A Sports Massage Therapist

image of massage therapist giving smt

The aim of any marketing strategy should be to attract customers, but before you can even start with creating that marketing strategy, the first thing you need to do is think about your target audience. 

It’s all well and good having a brilliant marketing strategy which provides your brand with plenty of exposure, but if your message is reaching 1000’s of people and none of them have ever stepped foot in a gym or fitness facility, then it isn’t going to get you any new clients. Essentially, making your efforts a bit of a waste of time.

‘Throwing spaghetti at a wall and seeing what sticks’ is not a good marketing strategy for any business, but especially not for a sports massage business as this is a pretty niche area of the fitness industry. 

Even compared to personal training, your potential client base is a lot narrower if you’re a sports massage therapist so you really need to focus on making sure that your marketing strategy gets your message across to the right people.

So, who is your target audience? What kind of person would be a potential customer? Or in the case of sports massage, who are your potential clients? 

Once you’ve answered those questions, then you can start to think about how you can create relationships with that target audience and ultimately, how you can turn them into clients!

 

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Who Are Your Potential Clients?

As somebody searching for sports massage marketing ideas, you’re obviously well aware that the benefits of sports massage include: reducing muscle tension, swelling, and fatigue, as well as preventing injury, and even preparing for peak performance.

With this knowledge, identify the types of people that could benefit from sports massage therapy. 

graphic of woman running a marathon

That includes professional athletes, bodybuilders, and boxers, but the benefits can also apply to a more casual athlete, like regular gym-goers or somebody who enjoys running on their weekend.

You need to decide - who do you want your clients to be?

It’s good to start by evaluating the demand in your area, try to find a gap in the market, and research your competitors to see if there’s something you have to offer that they don’t.

From there, you should create your branding and messaging around your findings. That way, you’ll be able to properly target an appropriate audience

Sports Massage Marketing Ideas

When you first started to think about a career as a sports massage therapist (SMT), you probably didn’t expect that you’d be spending your time sitting at a computer searching for good marketing strategies.

However, as is the case with a lot of careers in the fitness industry, when you’re self-employed or working on a freelance basis you are responsible for attracting and retaining clients.

Without clients, you won’t have a business, so you need to know how to get sports massage clients. 

We trust that you’re going to do your homework on researching your target audience, but what comes next? 

Now that we’ve established that the first step of your marketing strategy is identifying your target audience, let’s get to the important stuff.

Obviously getting your social media and online sports massage advertising right is key, so we’re going to share our tips and tricks for making the most of these platforms very soon.

But first, read below for the most underrated marketing strategies that will help you get new clients for your sports massage business without breaking the bank.

Create Relationships with Local Businesses 

sports massage marketing ideas smt and pt shaking hands graphic

When most people sit down to get started with their marketing strategy, the first thing that comes to mind is social media. Obviously, social media is a really effective way of marketing, it’s cheap, easy to manage, and it will get your brand message out there. 

But (there’s always a but!) social media isn’t the be-all and end-all of marketing.  A little further on we will share our tips for creating a successful social media strategy, but for now, we’re going to talk about a couple of other ways to build your client base.

What should you do?

Identify businesses in your local area that operate in the same, or a similar, industry to yours. This could be going into a gym and asking if they have a massage therapist working for them, or creating a professional relationship with a local personal trainer who could then recommend your services to their clients.

Even if there is no demand for a sports massage therapist to work in a local gym or health club, their business will still be booming with potential clients. 

If you have a good relationship with the staff (or the business owner for a smaller business), then that can open the door for referrals and you can ask them if you can bring in printed marketing materials for them to display or share.

You could even work out a referral exchange between your business and other professionals in the industry who can’t offer SMT. For example, you could arrange this with a freelance PT. They would recommend your service to their clients, and you could do the same for them.

How can you do this?

image of woman using linked for sports massage advertising

Outside of heading into local businesses and chatting to the right people, LinkedIn is a brilliant place to start. You can search for people by profession and location, and message them online. 

If you want to reach out to people on a bigger scale then you can use a tool like BuzzStream which allows you to outreach on mass. 

Printed Materials

This is another marketing tool that is often overlooked now that social media dominates pretty much all things marketing and advertising. However, that isn't necessarily a bad thing!

Chances are your competitors will all be focusing on their social media strategy, so if you can be the one business to use printed materials, and get that right, then you can get ahead of the game.

Printed materials include posters, flyers, and business cards. This might not be the most inventive or original idea, but it’s still a really effective way to increase your visibility in your local area.

The last thing you want to do is fork out a load of money to spend getting materials printed - fortunately, that’s not necessary. 

image of receptionist giving out sports massage advertising business cards

There’s no need to have your picture plastered all over your local highstreet, instead, finding the right place where your materials will be seen by the right people is the (not so secret) secret.

This all relates to that first point that we made about targeting the right audience, once you’ve figured out what kind of clients you want to attract, have a think about where you might find them.

For example, if I wanted to target amateur boxers, I might go to a local vitamin and supplement shop, or a boxing gym, and ask to leave some business cards or put a few posters up.

This is where having good relationships with these local business owners (our first point) comes in handy!

Workshops & Webinars

graphic of smt performing an online workshop to get new sports massage clients

Part of the problem with growing a client base as a sports massage therapist is that although the average gym-goer could benefit from SMT, most of them don’t realise that.

This means that no matter how much your posts pop up on their instagram feed, it’s unlikely that they’ll get in touch with you if they don’t think that they have a problem that your service could solve.

What can you do about that? Get the word out there!

If you want people to learn about the benefits of SMT, then you need to be the one to communicate that message. 

One of the best ways you can do this is by holding a workshop or an online webinar. 

For a face to face workshop, a good way to go about this would be to partner up with a local business, and then invite or advertise to potential clients.

For an online webinar, you could advertise the date and time on social media, and create a facebook campaign to target potential clients.

In terms of content, it would be good to discuss some specific benefits of sports massage therapy and explain how SMT can solve problems. 

sports massage advertising poster in a boxing gym graphic

Going back to our boxing example, you could hold a workshop (or webinar) where you discuss how SMT can improve performance. You could advertise with printed materials in local boxing gyms, or target the audience online and on social media, for example by posting in facebook group.

The aim of workshops and webinars is to make the audience start to think about how they could benefit from sports massage therapy, and hopefully encourage them to enquire about your services.

You could even ask to take contact information from anyone who expresses interest so that you can follow up on them as a lead. Or, offer a discounted rate to anybody who attends your webinar.

Refer A Friend Schemes

This one won’t apply if you’re just starting out as a sports massage therapist, but it’s still worth thinking about for the future.

If you do already have a few clients, and you’re looking for sports massage marketing ideas to expand that client base, then you should definitely put a refer a friend scheme in place.

It’s really as simple as asking your existing clients if they have any friends or family members that could also benefit from your services.

two marathon runners giving each other a high five graphic

Chances are, your marathon runner client who you see every week, she has a network of friends with similar hobbies and interests. 

Those friends could be potential clients who just don’t know about sports massage, but once they hear it from a friend, they might think about giving it a try. 

Not only that, people trust their peers - more so than they do brands and business owners. If you can get your clients talking about your business, that can be a more effective way of getting new clients than any marketing communications that you set out yourself.

This is a classic form of word of mouth marketing which will really get your message out there.

If you really want this strategy to work, then consider setting up an incentive-based referral scheme.

Offer an incentive to your existing clients, for example, a discounted or free massage for every new client that they bring in. That will really encourage your clients to talk about your business and get clients through the door.

Make Referrals Between Your Services 

image of a personal trainer

This one will only apply if you’re qualified to offer another service in the fitness industry, for example, if you’re a personal trainer.

If you’re not a certified PT, then it’s worth considering adding a personal training qualification to your CV because these careers go hand in hand. If you’re interested, then why not enquire for our personal training diploma?

So, how can you use your role as a personal trainer to get new sports massage clients? 

It’s simple really. If you’re a personal trainer, you have a host of potential sports massage clients right in front of you. 

These clients will all benefit from SMT, and there’s the added bonus that you already have a good relationship with them. All you need to do is talk to them about how sports massage can help their training. 

You don’t even have to go with a hard-sell approach, you can bring it up as a solution to a problem. For example, if your clients performance is being held back by a limited range of motion, explain how sports massage can increase ROM, and book them in for a session.

In the same way, you can maximise your income by turning a sports massage client into a PT client. 

For example, you could have a client who came to you for SMT post-injury, and now they want to get back into training. This would be the perfect chance to explain that you’re also qualified as a personal trainer, and again because you already have a good relationship with them, you can get them started as a PT client, too.

Introductory Offers

special offer graphic for how to get sports massage clients

We’re not claiming that we invented the idea of an introductory offer, but you asked ‘how to get clients for sports massage’ so we’re here to tell you this is how. 

Any good marketing strategy will increase the visibility of your brand and get your message out there, but that isn’t always enough.

What can you include in your sports massage advertising to turn interest into action? Basically, how can you get that person looking at your ad to actually make an enquiry?

Using an introductory offer is a classic way to get anybody thinking about starting with SMT to transition into a genuine lead.

This kind of offer usually involves offering a discount for a client's first massage. The client gets a good deal, but really, you are the one who will benefit the most from this situation.

Getting clients to their first session is potentially the hardest thing when it comes to marketing, but having an introductory offer makes that much easier. From there, it’s on you to make sure that your service and sales are on point so that the client keeps coming back. 

Tips For Your Online Marketing Strategy 

different logos that can be used for sports massage advertising

Yes - this means social media! We know that we said social media isn't the be-all and end-all of marketing, but it is still pretty important.

Scratch that, it’s really important! Social media is cheap (free if you only focus on organic marketing), easy to use, and it’s effective.

You’d be silly to skip this section!

Online marketing isn't as simple as posting a picture of your logo or your latest offer onto social media. To really get the most out of online platforms there are a couple of things that you need to do (which you probably aren't doing at the moment).

Google My Business

First things first, is that Google My Business is absolutely essential. 

Regardless of how big or small your business is, even as a sole trader, setting up a Google My Business account should be the first thing you do with your sports massage advertising strategy. 

Setting up a Google My Business account is really straight forward (you can get started by clicking here), and it’s free which is always a bonus! 

Once you’ve set up an account, your business will show up on the map when a google user searches for services in their area. For example, if you search “sports massage therapist liverpool”, then local business come up in a list like this: 

google my business example for sports massage advertising

This list comes below any paid ads, but above all of the organic results. That means that if potential clients are searching for a sports massage therapist in their area, so they search ‘sports massage therapist’ or  ‘sports massage therapist +location’, then your business will be one of the first things that they see. 

They’ll be able to see your brand name, logo, location, contact number, and customer reviews.

This is a great way to get your business’ name on the first page of google without having to pay for ads. 

Google Ads are still a really effective sports massage advertising tool so keep reading because we’ll explain how they work shortly! But first, here’s what you should be doing on your social media pages.

Be Consistent Across All Platforms

image of logos of social media platforms for sports massage marketing

The main social media platforms you’ll want to focus on are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. If you don’t already, you should create a profile on each of these platforms.

One of the most simple but effective tips for social media is to have consistency across all platforms. 

Before you even start to think about specific content, the first thing you should do is choose a logo and a brand name. From there, use the same logo and brand name on all of your social media profiles - no exceptions! 

Tip: This should be the same logo and brand name that you used for your google my business page.

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Your aim should be to get your brand seen more than any of your competitors, so the bigger your presence on social media, the better. In order to achieve this, consistency is key. 

Being consistent will lead to improved brand visibility and it will ensure that potential clients will recognise your brand between platforms, increasing brand awareness. 

By having the same name and logo on both Facebook and Instagram (for example), whatever your audience sees on facebook will improve the effectiveness of the content that you post on Instagram, and vice versa.  

That’s because a repeated message is an effective message. The more your audience is exposed to your brand name, logo, message, and promotions, the more likely it is that they’ll make an enquiry. 

Have Valuable Content

woman with question marks around her head graphic

If you’re stuck for ideas of what to actually post on social media, then the best thing to do is have a brainstorm and think about what kind of content you can create that will be of value to your audience.

Yes, competitions and offers are a classic way of getting the attention of your audience and encouraging them to make an action (enquire), but content that is not directly sales related is just as important.

Content that adds value to the audience could be graphics that explain some of the benefits of sports massage, or a testimonial from a client who is happy with their results.

Posting this content will help you to create good relationships with your audience, so when they come to choosing between you and your competitors, they’ll choose you.

In terms of creating that content, you could get in touch with a graphic designer, or if you’re trying to save some money, have a go at creating your own graphics on a free site like Canva.

Just as with your logo and brand name, consistency applies here, too! When you’re designing your content or discussing what you want with a graphic designer, start by deciding on a colour palette and design that you can apply to across all social media platforms.

Run Competitions

Running competitions across social media is a brilliant way to get a bigger audience and improve your engagement. 

This could involve offering freebies for your services, or even partnering with local brands to create a bigger giveaway.

signpost with different social media interactions for how to get clients for sports massage on social media

You can ask people to like, share, and comment on your posts, and follow or like your page to be entered.

Because of the algorithms on platforms like Instagram, which ‘reward’ posts that have a high level of engagement, this will increase the visibility of your post and your profile, allowing the post to reach a much wider audience than your usual posts.

You’ll also gain a lot of new followers who are interested in your business, and might even enquire regardless of whether they win the competition. 

Facebook (and Instagram) Paid Ads 

graphic of sports massage therapist using google ads for advertising

Posting on social media is a great way to get your brand message out there, but if you really want your sports massage advertising to take off then it's a good idea to use Facebook and Instagram ads.

Facebook owns Instagram, so ads for both of these platforms are controlled by Facebook Ads Manager (which you can check out here). 

This platform is really simple to use, even if your marketing skills are minimal you’ll be able to set up an effective and aesthetic ad without any issues.

The best thing about using facebook and instagram ads is that you can set-up your ad to target your specific target audience. So if you want to focus on reaching out to people in a specific location, you can do so. You can even filter your audience for specific interests, age ranges, and by gender.

Google Ads

Although you can advertise for free with google my business and organic social media strategies, it’s still worth considering paying for google ads.

Obviously for this one, you’ll need to have your own website. If you don’t want to pay for a web designer, then setting up a landing page is a good place to start.

Think about it this way, if you wanted to find a sports massage therapist, what would you do? You’d google it!

You’d probably search something like ‘sports massage therapy’, and so would your target audience.

If you’re not doing any sports massage advertising with google ads, then you’re missing out on a lot of potential clients. 

cost per click sports massage advertising graphic

With google ads, you can pay Google a Cost Per Click (CPC) to appear at the top of the results page for specific search results. That means that every time someone clicks on your ad and goes to your website, then you pay google.

This cost can vary for different terms, with more popular terms costing more than a more specific keyword.

If you pay to rank for “sports massage liverpool” then your ad would appear like this:

screenshot of google search for sports massage advertising example

Google allows upto 4 paid ads to come up at the top of the page, and upto 3 to appear at the bottom. For this particular search term, there were only 2 paid ads at the top of the page which shows that other sports massage therapists in the area aren't taking advantage of google ads.

This is brilliant for you because it means the cost per click will be relatively low!

Influencer Marketing

sports massage therapist taking a selfie

If you’re trying to think of how to get sports massage clients in a way that your competitors haven’t considered, then you should definitely start to think about how you can use influencer marketing.

This might be an idea to bear in mind once your brand gets a bit bigger, but it’s always good to think ahead!

Childers, Lemon, & Hoy (2018), defined influencer marketing as a strategy “which connects online personas with brands or services that target audiences trust and engage with regularly.”

Find their full study here.

Basically, influencer marketing involves offering free or discounted services to a local influencer in exchange for exposure on their social media channels. You could even set up an incentive-based  referral scheme like we explained when we discussed under a ‘refer a friend’.

The main benefit of this strategy is that it allows you to increase brand awareness and reach individuals in your target audience beyond your own following. 

An influencer can be anybody with a big following on social media or their blog, but it’s not enough to pick any old influencer. But, research has shown that choosing the right influencer has a significant effect on user engagement (Roope, Muller, & Jan, 2017).

So, what do you need to do? 

When you’re choosing the right influencer, think about their following. For example, if you find a local fashion blogger with 20k + followers, you might be tempted by the thought of getting your brand message to all of those people, but will that really help your sales?

Put some time aside to find influencers who would benefit from your services. That means, fitness influencers, with followers that are interested in all things health and fitness - exactly the type that you’re trying to target.

Boost Customer Retention With Your Marketing Strategy

image of a sports massage therapist working with a client

It’s all well and good putting the time and effort into the above ideas and getting new clients through the door, but if you want to run a business that is sustainable, you need to structure your marketing strategy in a way that ensures that the clients you do get, stay. 

Even if you have the best sports massage advertising, getting clients through the door in the first place can be hard work. You don’t want to add to your workload by having a high turnover of clients, so keeping your existing clients is just as important as getting new ones.

Above we mentioned your current clients briefly, explaining how you can use a refer a friend scheme or that you could refer your own clients to your other services, to grow your business. But, you need to think about what else you can do to keep these clients.

Obviously providing a good service and keeping your clients happy is essential, that’s a given. An unhappy client won’t give a good referral to their friends, and someone who doesn’t feel like a valued customer might think twice about taking you on as their PT as well as their massage therapist. 

But outside of keeping people happy in general, here’s what you can do to attain your sports massage clients:

Monthly Contracts 

graphic of contract for how to get new sports massage clients

If you’re an experienced SMT, then you’ll know that client attrition can be a problem. Unfortunately, when people need to cut back on their spending, SMT is a place that a lot of people start.

Obviously this is your income we’re talking about, so it’s not ideal when clients start to disappear close to christmas, because you still have bills to pay!

Advertising monthly contracts is a tried and tested way to ensure that you get a regular client base.

Rather than allowing clients to book in with you as and when, setting up monthly contracts where your clients pay a fixed fee for a set appointment will reduce the likelihood that your clients start to cancel their sessions.

Loyalty Cards

graphic of a loyalty card for sports massage marketing ideas

Loyalty cards are a brilliant way to keep clients coming back. Everybody loves a bargain. People like to think they’re getting a good deal, and they’ll take their custom wherever those deals are.

A loyalty card can be as simple as a stamped business card, just like those that you get in a coffee shop. You could offer a free massage every time a client has had 8 massages. 

You might think that the physical loyalty card is a waste of time, because you could just keep track of how many massages your clients have had, but that card is the key to why this strategy works.

Say your client hasn’t really developed any kind of relationship with you yet, they’ve been to you once or twice so they’re yet to have any loyalty to your brand. Next time they want to book with a SMT, they might not know who to go to. 

Having that physical loyalty card in their wallet will act as a reminder of your brand and your business. Not only that, seeing that they’re only a couple of stamps away from a free massage will push them towards your business and away from your competitors. 

Package Deals

graphic of different sales and discount tags

Finally, one idea could be to create package deals. This typically involves offering a discounted rate when a client buys sessions in bulk.

You could even join forces with a local personal trainers, or merge both of your businesses if you’re a qualified PT yourself.

That could include a set amount of PT sessions and a number of sports massage sessions for a discounted price when they buy the services as a bundle.

You could even tie this strategy in with the ‘monthly contracts’ idea above to avoid clients buying a package deal as one off thing.

Before You Go!

Now that we’ve shared all of the best sports massage marketing ideas, what are you waiting for? Get started and see the results for yourself.

To learn more about sports massage careers, check out some of our other blogs. We think you’ll love:

If you aren’t yet qualified as a sports massage therapist, then give us a call on 0800 002 9599 and a member of our team will be happy to have a chat about our courses.

References

Childers, C., Lemon, L., & Hoy, M. (2018). Sponsored #Ad: Agency Perspective on Influencer Marketing Campaigns. Journal of Current Issues & Research in Advertising. 40 (3). pp. 258-274.

Roope, J., Muller, O., & Jan, B. 2017. The Impact of Content, Context, and Creator on User Engagement in Social Media Marketing. Available online: www.researchgate.net/publication/

 

Become A Personal Trainer

Expand your Sports Massage business by becoming a qualified Personal Trainer

Written by Abbie Watkins

Fitness Content Executive, OriGym

Join Abbie on Facebook at the OriGym Facebook Group

Holding an MA Marketing Communications and Branding as well as a BSc Psychology from the University of Liverpool, Abbie’s experience encompasses the retail, hospitality and fitness industries. Since joining OriGym, she has become a qualified Personal Trainer, taking particular interest in Group Exercise. Abbie’s main focuses cover staying up to speed with YouTube fitness influencers, identifying successful and innovative content formats. She has contributed to various publications, including the Daily Express. Beyond OriGym, she describes herself as a ‘work-hard, play-hard’ type going on scenic runs and upbeat exercise classes, and often found on the front row of a Saturday morning spin class.