Learning Thai Massage is one thing. But growing and retaining a good client base is a completely different set of skills for massage therapists.
There are fancy ways to go about that, like building a website, opening social media accounts, doing lots of posting or doing autoresponder email campaigns.
However sometimes a simple and free method can work surprisingly well. This one worked wonders for me in my Thai Massage business for many years.
Creating a simple guest book
Go to a stationery store and buy a notebook. It should open out flat easily and should be a little smaller than A4 size. All it should have inside is horizontal lines, nothing else. You could go out and buy a fancy visitor’s book, but this is not necessary.
Now you take a ruler and draw several vertical lines all the way down the page. You want to end up with several columns.
Write headlines on top of the columns. It should look something like this, separated by vertical lines. The comment column should be the widest.
NAME | DATE | EMAIL | ADDRESS/PHONE | COMMENT |
Now you have your guest book set up. Total cost is 2 or 3 dollars. I still have my first simple guest book from 2003 and I cherish the memories of many good Thai Massage sessions and happy clients.
From now on, after every session with a new massage client, bring out your guest book and ask them to write a short comment on how they feel about the session.
Hand it to them along with a pen, but make sure to tell them that it does not need to be an entire story, but just a 2 minute affair, a couple of sentences.
This is important, because some people are intimidated by the concept of writing something, and they don’t want to spend a lot of time doing that after their massage session. If they hesitate, say that even a couple of words is good enough.
If you built up some rapport with your client before and during the session, and you did a good job, most people will be happy to write something in your book.
Getting permission to use client’s feedback
If they seem enthusiastic about commenting, after they are done writing, casually ask them if it would be okay with them to use their comment for your promotional literature or on your website.
If there is any hesitation, say that you don’t have to spell out their last name if they prefer to remain anonymous. If they still hesitate, drop the subject.
In my experience, most massage clients will give you permission. Don’t try to get written permission on a special form, this will scare people as too formal and legal. Verbal permission is enough.
You could even add a column to your guest book, titled: “Can I use your comment for my promotional literature – yes/I’d prefer not”. But again this is kind of formal. If you get verbal permission, and people like you, you are fine.
Why not use a more automated or web based system?
This system seems almost primitive in this day and age of fancy glossy websites and web-based surveys.
The guest book works because it is personal, and it is instant. You get your client’s feedback right after the session when the feeling of it is still fresh in their minds.
You will get much higher quality results compared to following up with an online survey. By that time they have already forgotten much of how they felt after the session and their minds are on other things.
The guest book testimonials capture their wonderful feeling after the session better than any other method.
When and how often should you ask for testimonials?
I got 70 to 80 percent of my clients to write something in my book. Sometimes they are in a hurry to leave or have to make a phone call, and you lost the opportunity.
Of course you only ask them to write something in your guest book if you feel that the massage session went well.
You can do this with first time clients, or you can do this after you have established a good relationship with a repeat client. Then they will be even more inclined to write something wonderful in the book.
However you should do this only once. Asking a client to write more than one comment will feel a little over the top. By the way, never call it a “testimonial”. This sounds too official. Just ask for “feedback” which sounds much more informal.
When does the guest book method work and when not?
This method is difficult to implement when you work in a spa where there are rules which you have to follow and little if any time to interact with a client after a session.
The guest book works best if you have some flexibility with your time or work for yourself.
The spa might have their own guest book or feedback system, but this will combine feedback from many clients. It won’t be your own and you cannot keep it. If you have your own guest book, it will become an impressive chronicle of the quality of your work.
Following up with your massage clients
The next day, send your clients an email, thanking them for coming and telling them that it was a pleasure working with them and that you are looking forward to another opportunity to work with them etc.
Include a personal reference to a particular issue you worked on during the session. You don’t want to make it appear like an automated thank you message.
Send occasional emails with brief interesting stories, promotions, or interesting facts that relate to your massage modality.
In this way your client will remember you and will feel that you care and that there is a connection. This will often result in more appointments and loyal clients.
Writing individual emails works fine if you don’t have lots of clients. Once your business grows, you might need an email service (autoresponder) to automate the email delivery. But that’s beyond the scope of this article.
Promotional use of the massage testimonials
Use some of the best comments from your guest book for your website or any written promotional material.
By the way, several of the testimonials on my website came from this very method.
You can also use your guest book to help convince hesitant clients to try Thai Massage. Testimonials from other clients carry a lot of weight and can help them to make up their minds.
This simple system has many benefits:
- It builds you an email list
- It allows you to follow up with your clients
- It gives you testimonials for promotional use
- It will be an inspiration for you whenever you read the comments
- It can help you attract clients to Thai Massage
- It requires practically no financial and very little time investment
Thai Massage session booking avalanche
When I used this method regularly, I was traveling frequently and was often absent from my home town in the US for many months.
Before I returned, I sent all the people on my mailing list an email, telling them that I was coming and would be available for appointments for a limited time only.
Every time I did that, I got lots of bookings, sometimes for weeks in advance. I should add that I had an excellent reputation and kept my prices quite reasonable.
At the same time I asked for referrals, and often ended up with new clients before I even came back into town.
I know this method works. I have used it for many years in my Thai Massage practice, and it will work for you too.
The guest book is not meant to be a replacement for trip advisor or facebook pages, instagram or linkedin profiles. It is just one easy tool in your repertoire of marketing skills.
It can also be a welcome relief for those who are not so comfortable or familiar with more high tech marketing methods.
Have not learned Thai Massage yet, or want to improve your skills? Here is an effective and convenient method:
The author, Shama Kern, is the founder and director of Thai Healing Massage Academy.He has been practicing and teaching Thai Massage for two decades, and he is the creator of 20 online Thai Massage training courses.