You’re entering your massage therapist career. The education is done, you’ve passed state licensing, and your new massage space looks perfect. Now for actually getting a client in the door for a massage! Portland, OR is a haven for health nuts who love taking care of themselves with massage, so it’s not too tough to begin building a client base. Regardless of whether you’re in the Rose City, the following ten approaches will win you new massage clients.

  1. Volunteer at Athletic Events. Post-run, post-triathalon, post-ride: Massage never feels better than after a long athletic event. Contact event organizers and inquire about volunteering your massage services. You can bet you’ll pick up some new clients in the weeks after the event is over—especially if you have a contact form to capture email addresses and phone numbers for potential clients.
  2. Get Involved with Local Groups. A massage therapist career is nothing if not human-centered. How do you find humans for your table? By hanging out with them outside of the massage clinic. Neighborhood association meetings, local events, and specialized group meet-ups are excellent opportunities to talk about your services. And while you’re there, why not wear a…
  3. T-Shirt with your Business Card Info. Be a walking billboard for your therapeutic or sports massage business. Online printing companies (such as Vista Print) are happy to print your logo on t-shirts as well as business cards. Order a tee or two when you’re ordering cards—and wear your branded gear when attending local events where you’re likely to meet new clients.
  4. Get Listed in Online Mapping Services. Chances are, your future clients are already looking for you—online! Even if you don’t have a website, you can get your business location and contact information listed in Google maps and other location services. Get your business on Google for free through this link.
  5. Ask for Referrals from Current and Past Clients. This is the “low-hanging fruit” of the massage client world. Let your massage fans do your marketing for you! Give them a little incentive—$10 off future massages for each referral, for instance. Or you can offer a free massage for 5 referrals.
  6. Social Media and Email Marketing. Set up email marketing and a Facebook page for your massage service. Ask current clients to like your page and forward your newsletter emails. Then post specials that will get new clients in the door—and be sure to ask current clients for social media/email referrals as well.
  7. Create an Opening Offer they Can’t Refuse. A free 30-minute massage, or an amazing discount on your regular price, can get new people on your table. Chances are, if you give them an amazing massage, they’ll be back to book a full appointment.
  8. Hang Post Cards all over Town. Print up a mess of postcards advertising your business as well as your impossible-to-refuse opening offer. Hang them all over town—in cafés, grocery stores, bookshops—wherever you could imagine your future clients hanging out.
  9. Donate Gift Certificates to Local Events. Is your local school raffling off prizes? Or is that art museum you love having an open house? Donate a couple of gift certificates to the event. Then, attend it, mingle, and let other avid supporters know about your massage services.
  10. Connect with Other Local Business Owners.
    Think about “cousin businesses” to your massage clinic. Any health or beauty firm will be a natural fit for partnership opportunities. If you’re near a salon, for instance, you can decorate a raffle box for their counter and give away a one-hour massage. Then, with the emails, phone numbers, and/or physical addresses for all entrants, you can send out a 10% off offer for those who didn’t win. It’s also a good idea to network with chiropractors, yoga teachers, acupuncturists, and standard Western doctors in your area. These healthcare professionals can refer clients to your business—assuming, of course, that you are also happy to refer your clients to them.