This is part 1 in a series of blog posts for Massage Therapists. Subscribe to the newsletter to get updated on the next and future blog posts for Massage Therapy Marketing.

It wasn’t long ago that I’d seen one of the most powerful marketing tools in existence. I’ve been marketing professionally for 8 years now since having started The Green Consciousness Guide (otherwise known in French as “Le Guide Conscience Verte”) and I’ve worked with hundreds of health based, local businesses. I’ve seen every style of marketing, from old fashion flyering all the way to spending thousands of dollars on Facebook ads to distributing “junk bag” coupons to houses (for even more thousands of dollars!). But there is just nothing, nothing that comes even close to the commanding power of Google.  Nothing that comes close to getting your business on the first page of Google.  

Now this might seem like quod manifestum (that's to say, "something obvious"), but I just couldn’t believe how few businesses are putting their energy into this. The commonly thought of techniques like word of mouth, physical flyering, posting on Facebook and the like are all nothing without being on Google. And, if you had to choose just one technique, there’s nothing that comes even close to Google.

Why is Google so powerful?

Google’s power for massage therapists comes not from their paid ads alone, but from ranking at the top of your city when people type in the critical phrase “Massage Therapy [your city]”. You HAVE to be at the top of this. Nobody is looking on page 10, or 5, or, let’s be honest, page 2. It’s all about page 1. And it’s all about getting as near as possible to the top of that page.

Results

Practices getting to the top of Google can get anywhere between 10-300 (that’s right, 3 with two zeros!) phone calls a month. There is nothing else that I know of that can get up to 300 people to contact you for service per month. Assuming you bill at $50 an hour, that works out to about $15,000 of new potential business, every single month. That’s $180,000 of new business every single year. That’s $3.6 MILLION in a 20 year career. And this is with virtually no cost, since you’re not constantly paying for ads. This is pretty incredible stuff. So how do we get there? Let’s dive in.

Getting Started

The first place we want to set ourselves up with is GMB, otherwise known as Google my Business or Google Local.  This is the fastest way to cut the line and get yourself to the top of the list. Natural search results take time, many months and sometimes years to get to the top of the rankings, but appearing as a local business when your perspective client searches for you.  Going in this direction can just take a few months at most. And sometimes it can be way faster, depending on how crowded your region is.  

First thing’s first, let’s get ourselves onto Google My Business.

STEP 1

Visit https://www.google.com/business
STEP 2
Click on "Get your page”

STEP 3
Type your business name in *exactly* as you plan to, or already have written it everywhere else on the web, with proper capitalization and spacing. We’ll talk about the importance of writing your business name later in the next post, but really take this seriously.
STEP 4
Click the 2nd option “I’ve correctly entered the name and address"

STEP 5
Fill in your business’ name, address and phone number. Remember to write your business’s name, address and phone number *exactly* the same as you’ve written it everywhere else.

STEP 6
Click “I am authorized to manage this business and I agree to the Terms of Service”.  Feel free to read the terms of service if you’re that kind of person, or just blindly accept all of Google’s demands.

STEP 7
Type in your phone number (it doesn’t have to be the same one that you’d written for your business name) to verify your account with Google.

STEP 8
Enter the verification code that Google texts or calls you with (depending on your choice).

STEP 9
In this example, I have to wait for the code to be mailed to be within 1-2 weeks. Sometimes you’ll get the option to confirm your location by phone number.  Definitely choose that option if they let you.  If not, click “Continue and verify later” and come back to this when you get your postcard in the mail.  Google of course does this to be sure that you genuinely have access to this address.  If this is a shared address with someone else, or another spa, just let them know that this is on its way so it doesn’t get thrown in the recycle as junk mail (this happens way more often than one might think!).

STEP 10
Now that your new page is created, go ahead and click “Edit” in red on the top right and fill in everything you can. Especially your website, hours of operation, photos, logo and critically, your category as a Massage Therapist.

When you’re done, it should look something like this (with your information and "Naturopathic Practitioner" instead stating "Massage Therapist").

STEP 11
Now click on “My Business” on the top left to go back to your main page and click on “Manage Photos”. Then go ahead and add your professional photography. If you don’t have professional photography, I’ve got a coming post about how to get it, and how important it is (hint: it’s *super* important).

When you’re done, it should look something like this to the public. Your profile picture will be on the left, and the cover photo on the right.

This is what it’ll look like for you, so no need to worry if it looks funky.

To see your public page the way others will see it, just hover over “My Business” on the top left, and then click on “Google+ Page”.

Any now, pat yourself on the back, because the first pillar is now in place! Once you get your verification code and put it in, you’ll be on your way to get on the top of Google search and maps whenever someone searches for a Massage Therapist in your area!

Now, we’re far from done in the work to ranking at the top of Google. There are more critical steps, but you’ve just completed the foundation.

In the next post, we’ll talk about how to use Customer Reviews to help your ranking, and the relevance of other directories.