Here is a recent email from a massage student:
In my reply, I first mentioned that there are some 26 articles about chair massage on this blog along with many others that have more generally to do with massage. Then I also sent her the following concise overview of the why’s and wherefore’s of chair massage marketing.
Options for including chair massage
There are three basic ways to integrate chair massage services into a professional practice:
- As a way to market your table practice. This typically means giving away free chair massage at events so that you can introduce people to your touch and your table work. Practitioners have done this successfully any place there is a group of people with time on their hands, e.g. queues on the sidewalk outside of popular restaurants or movies, church bazaars, charity events, health clubs, and waiting rooms of various stripes.This is a good option if your primary interest is in developing a table practice. After the practitioner has as many table customers as she wants, then the free chair massage tends to go by the wayside as the natural marketing momentum emerges from a well run table practice emerges.
- As a mix with your table practice. The difference from the first option is that here you are charging for your chair massage services in one or more of the three market segments described below. It still has the advantage of the first option in that you may also convert a certain portion of chair massage customers into table customers.Most practitioners use chair massage this way. In fact, I see a lot of experienced table practitioners adding chair massage to balance out their professional lives and raise their visibility in and connection to the community.
- As an exclusive chair massage practice. Some practitioners decide to focus
exclusively on chair massage. There are many possible reasons including:
- not wanting to deal with nudity,
- feeling more comfortable with shorter customer interactions,
- not wanting to work with oils or lotions,
- wanting to reach more people who can’t afford a table massage,
- not wanting to be restricted to four walls,
- not wanting to be working on the same 20 or so people every week.
Three markets for chair massage
There are also three general market segments where all chair massage is found:
- Events. These are situations jobs where you typically see customers once and never again. The largest markets are conventions, conferences, trade shows and corporate health fairs. However, the list of potential one-time events is endless ranging from weddings, reunions, back stage at theater events, athletic events, car racing, RV rallies, equestrian events and on and on. There are many local, as well as large regional and national chair massage businesses that focus exclusively on these markets.
- Workplace. This has also been a rich vein to mine for chair massage customers. Unlike events, these tend to be ongoing relationships with companies and their employees. The frequency of visits could be a long as a year apart or, more often, quarterly, bi-monthly, bi-weekly or even weekly.
- Retail. Providing chair massage services in a retail setting has been the slowest of the three segments to get off the ground because it requires the most up-front investment. However, the growth in retail chair massage has started to accelerate in the past 5 years, primarily due to the influx of Mainland Chinese immigrants flooding through the Los Angeles basin and scattering to shopping malls all across the country.
Finally, I mentioned that we have assembled an eBook in PDF format that can be ordered from the TouchPro Store here. It assembles the relevant articles from the blog into one convenient place and affordable price.
David, We met at the Oregon School of Massage mid 80s. I have one of the original chairs (someone left it with me) that has hardly been used. Do you have anyone who might want to purchase this historical heirloom?
Good blog on chair massage. Sometimes it is hard to get started. I personally would go around to businesses and try to book gigs. I would talk to the boss. I give him ir her a free chair massage. ..afterall who doesn’t like FREE?! After that I would tell them how and why their employees needed chair massage. Usually helped book chair and table massages for me 🙂
Thanks for the good advice, Melissa! Make sure you sign up for the TouchPro Newsletter [above in the right column] to keep up with the latest articles and posts on chair massage. Keep up the good work in Nashville!
Thanks for the information. Im just getting started. I have a few ideas of how to get started. I just need to do more research.