So, you have already found out your state's laws, completed a certification course and now you're ready to start making some money doing what you love...massaging horses! The only problem is no one knows you exist and the phone isn't ringing. Here are some tips to help you start bringing in new clients.
Create your brand. Create a unique logo and company name so people can recognize it. Your brand should clearly show what it is that you do. Once you find the perfect logo, you need to get it out there so people will see it! Make shirts, hats, decals for your vehicle, pens to hand out at barns and put your logo on all your paperwork.
Build a website. Creating a high quality website has never been easier. With host sites like Weebly that allow you to easily build and edit your own website, there is no reason why an equine bodyworker shouldn't have a website. Be sure to include information about conditions that can benefit from your services, information about yourself and your credentials, testimonials, any specials you are currently offering and tons of high quality photographs! Click here for $10 off a new Weebly account.
Create Social Media Accounts. Social medias such as FaceBook, Twitter and Instagram are great places to build up followers who could potentially become clients. It is also a create place to keep in contact with your current clients by posting blogs, testimonials, specials and pictures of you working. It is now easy to run advertisements through these medias where you can choose your audience by location, interests, gender, age and more!
Pass out flyers and business cards. Flyers and business cards are a great way to advertise at barns, feed stores, tack stores and other equestrian venues. When creating a flyer, make sure to keep it short and concise. Focus on what you can do for their horse and also what your credentials are. A high quality photograph of you working on a horse should be included. When creating business cards be sure to include your contact info and website along with any social media sites. Always list your certification number on your card and state that you work through veterinary affiliation or referral if it is required in your state. Don't forget to add your logo!
Do demonstrations. Demonstrations are a great way for you to show people what you can do and also educate them on the benefits of equine massage. You could either do a general massage demo explaining what you are doing as you work or you could do a specific demonstration focusing on a specific condition (like TMJD) or technique (kinesiology taping demo, myofascial release demo, etc). Pass out flyers and cards during the demo and consider offering discounted sessions to those who book an appointment immediately following the demo.
Set up meetings/lunches with local veterinarians, trainers, dentists, farriers, etc. Setting up a lunch can be as simple as bringing sandwiches to an office during lunch and explaining the services you offer while they eat (if you plan one for a veterinary office make sure to include the staff!). Be sure to make it short and concise and leave them cards and referral pads to make it as easy as possible for them to refer to you. When interacting with veterinarians remember that their time is limited. Your personal veterinarian, farrier, equine dentist, chiropractor (and whoever else you use for your horses) are the best people to start with.
Offer package deals and first time discounts. Discounts can be a good way to persuade horse owners to try you. Once they see what you can do they are likely going to refer you to their friends, so provide them with business referral cards. With each card that they pass out, their friend will receive a discount on their horse's first session and they will also receive a credit on future appointments. This is a great way to motivate your clients to help advertise your services. Be sure not to discount your services too much though because then people will devalue them. Make sure they know what you are worth!
Create an email list and send out monthly newsletters. Start to build your email list by adding client's emails to it. You can also have allow people who visit your website (potential clients) to join your newsletter list. This is a great opportunity to share blogs about the techniques you provide, case studies, new techniques you have added to your practice and testimonials. You can also add seasonal tips such as blanketing in the winter, keeping your horse cool in the summer, horse treat recipes, etc.
Offer your services at local horse shows and events. There are always a lot of horses at shows, clinics and organized trail rides. Set up a table at these events so that you can pass out flyers and cards to potential future clients and also offer your services during the event to those who would like to have their horse worked at while they are there. This is a great way to meet a lot of horse people in one day!
Send follow up letters. A follow up letter is a great way to thank a new client for using you and also serves as a way to let them know about additional services you offer that they may not be aware of. You can also include referral cards and explain your referral program in your follow up letter. If a horse was referred to you by a veterinarian or other equine professional always send them a follow up letter as well thanking them for the referral and sharing your findings and treatment plan (make sure to get the owner's permission before sharing these details).
I hope these suggestions help you! Most importantly remember to have fun doing what you love.....massaging horses!
Dr. Angelique Barbara is the founder of Angel's Animals LLC, a company that has developed online animal bodywork courses for both owners and professionals. Dr. Barbara's unique teaching style along with the dynamic layout of the courses allows people of different educational backgrounds from all over the world to benefit from her knowledge.