Time and money are VALUABLE resources. We spend most of our time as massage therapists working one-on-one with clients. And, those of us who are small business owners, are likely investing at least some of our profit toward the cultivation of new clients. But just because you might be an employee doesn’t mean you are exempt from knowing your ideal client as well. The VALUE of getting to know your target customer whether you run your own practice or work for someone else, is that you learn how to reach and communicate with the types of clients that YOU want to work with. You can benefit from this knowledge EVEN IF YOU HAVE BEEN IN PRACTICE FOR A WHILE.
Identifying your target customer can help you make important decisions in your career and business. Interested in learning Thai massage or barefoot bodywork? Before you invest your time and money into these classes you might want to know if your current clients are ready/willing/able to receive this type of work OR if you need to create a new marketing strategy to attract clients who are.
WHY YOU NEED TO KNOW
Here are seven reasons why getting to know your target customer can help you.
1. Clarify and simplify your menu of services
We can’t be everything to everybody. Knowing your target customer can help you create a service menu that speaks directly to their wants and needs.
2. Put client needs front and center
Yes, I know that you are a compassionate therapist and strive to give your clients the best possible service every time. What I mean by putting client needs front and center is making your clients AWARE of the help you are providing them with. The more you can speak their language (by understanding THEIR language) the more conscious they will become about the targeted solution you are providing to their problem. Of course, the proof is also in the great massage you give them, too! This practice often generates more client referrals - referrals of more of the types of clients you are currently helping. And we all know that referrals are one of the best sources of advertising.
3. Develop effective marketing communication strategies
Using broad, sweeping language about the benefits of massage therapy in your marketing and promotional materials is like casting a wide fishing net into the ocean without any idea of what you might catch. Identify your ideal client then customize your marketing efforts to communicate more clearly to them.
4. Make it easier for the clients that need you to find you
Focusing your language and incorporating the buzz words used among your target population will make your marketing easily stand out to those who are already looking for your services. It’s much less work to get a client who is already looking for a solution then it is to convince them that they have a problem you can solve.
5. Showcases you as a specialist
Even if you never thought of yourself as a specialist, continuously working with your ideal client doing the specific type of massage you enjoy MAKES YOU ONE. Knowing your specialty makes it easier to refer clients to another practitioner that specializes in something else. This makes even more room in your practice for you to do the type of work you enjoy, help as many people as possible and create a respectable referral network.
6. Saves you time and money
Don’t spend hundreds of dollars on Facebook ads when your clients aren’t on Facebook. Don’t do massage at the 5K event unless you plan to work with athletes. Don’t work the spa party unless you want to do more spa-type, pampering services. Don’t place the ad in the parenting magazine unless you want to work with mothers.
7. Shapes the language and identity of your brand
Whether your brand is made up of multiple practitioners or just you, the image you put forward in all of your marketing efforts needs to speak to your target market. Your mission, vision and values statement are a reflection of the type of work you do, the type of people you help and the problems that you solve for them. Knowing your audience can help you to set up rules for language usage that establish clear boundaries for acceptable tone of voice and create consist messaging.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
It helps to know your strengths as a therapist and what type of services that YOU enjoy providing. Then, you can consider the benefits of those services and think of the types of people that need them. Think about what types of problems are solved by the work that you like to do and WHO the people are that typically have these problems. What are the challenges that these people face when attempting to solve this problem?
HOW TO CREATE YOUR IDEAL CLIENT PROFILE
The easiest way to get started is to journal your answers to the following questions. Be as detailed as you can. You can also create a Pinterest board and pin examples of your answers to each of the following questions.
What type of problems are solved by the work that you do?
Who has the types of problems that you solve?
What are the challenges that these people face when attempting to solve this problem?
What are the demographics of this population? Age, gender, geographic location, income, education, type of work, marital status, number of children, age of children
Where do they shop? What businesses do they frequent?
What are their lifestyle choices and habits? What is their level of physical activity?
Whether you are starting a new massage practice or looking for ways to grow your existing practice, knowledge of your target market is valuable information to have. Your target market is a part of your business plan and all business plans should be reviewed and updated regularly. Inevitably, you and your practice will grow and change. Re-evaluating your business plan will help them grow together.