We’ve recently had marketing consultations with three different massage therapists in Northern Colorado.
On the surface, these businesses seem quite similar. They all offer massage, they’re independently owned, and they’re all located in the same geographic region.
You might think that the marketing strategy, goals, tactics and execution would be very similar for these businesses. As a marketing agency, Marketing 360® could just break out a cookie cutter to design their website, create some PPC ads, optimize their local SEO, then kick-back and watch the leads roll in.
However, the surface doesn’t tell much of the story. With just a bit of digging, we discovered each of these businesses has very different marketing needs.
The first is located in the city of Boulder and has considerable competition from both other independent massage therapists and from chains like Massage Envy. Their target audience is people who want affordable massages during the week with last minute scheduling or walk-in options. They need thorough competitor analysis and planning for aggressive paid advertising.
The second is located in the small town of Lyons, located north of Boulder. They have minimal local competition, however their local reputation is not what it should be. The owners were a bit lax about making a few appointments and got stung with a series of poor reviews on Google and Facebook.
This business needs a reputation management initiative to improve the view of locals and get some positive online reviews.
The third business is located in a suburb of Denver. The reality is they have more competition in the area than they can budget for.
However, as we discuss their business, we learn that they have specialized Chinese massage techniques and are in fact a group of highly qualified massage therapists trained in China.
They have a totally unique offer in their area, but their website does nothing to communicate this. They need a website redesign and content overhaul that includes developing a unique value proposition, service descriptions, and stronger calls to action.
Three seemingly similar businesses. Three very different marketing strategies.
Strategy Guides Tactics
If we were to start with marketing tactics, we might have created similar marketing plans for these three businesses. Each can benefit from SEO, website design, reputation management, and social media marketing.
But just scratching under surface shows what mistake this would be. Before we can start executing tactics, we have to understand what the business actually needs to achieve. Those needs determine what collateral we develop and tactics we plan.
When it comes to marketing, think strategy first. Consider your business in its individual circumstances – not just as an industry vertical.
Your distinct offer, competition, specific needs, and overall business goals impact how you market your business.
If you go to a marketing agency and they claim to have a “system” that works for any business, be wary.
What “one size fits all” system would have worked for the three different massage therapy businesses?
Putting Systems to Work for Your Business
Businesses who have not engaged in formal marketing efforts or who used uncoordinated services are often all over the map with marketing. None of the massage therapist businesses had a cohesive marketing effort in place. None of the business owners was savvy about the breadth of marketing tactics available.
When a firm like Marketing 360® begins a relationship with this type of business, we look carefully at their individual needs and goals. Then we develop a strategy that’s specific to where that business is at.
But an important point. While one size does not fit all with marketing, there is a general scope of activities and collateral we develop that is the same for most businesses.
At this point, we build websites for all the businesses we work with. Websites are fundamental to digital business marketing.
Most businesses need some type of search marketing; organic, paid or both.
Currently, social media needs vary greatly. For some businesses it’s a necessity, for others it’s a peripheral tactic at most.
Informational content can produce high ROI for businesses where leads do a lot of research and have consistent information gaps. These businesses get high ROI from blogging and video production. For others, blogging is of minimal value compared to paid, direct-response advertising.
Certain businesses lend themselves to certain tactics. We make sure those match with the goal of getting the highest ROI.
For instance, the massage therapy practice specializing in Chinese massage has a greater need to educate clients on the benefits they offer. They could explore blogging and video content that shows how they work and explains the health benefits.
The Boulder practice, on the other hand, is about convenience and price. They are targeting people who already know they need a massage and want it to be fast and affordable. Paid ads are the better tactic for these goals.
The Lyons practice, with a highly local audience, should build out their social media presence, starting with a solid Facebook business page. They can connect with the community and begin to build out their review profile.
We recommend using marketing software for all the businesses we work with so you can more easily track the channels you’re using, and to take advantage of our email and free CRM software.
All In One is Not One For All
There is a point we’d like to clarify.
We refer to Marketing 360® as an all in one marketing solution. By this, we mean we have the skills and resources to execute any small business marketing tactic or create any type of collateral. We also have the best team of professionals in the business and pride ourselves on the one-to-one relationships our marketing executives have with our clients.
We do all this work in-house in our Fort Collins, Colorado office. Everybody works here under one roof.
Our solution is tied together with the marketing software we mentioned.
All this would make it easy for us to execute every marketing tactic available for any business.
But our point here is that we don’t.
Because we’ve learned that every single business we deal with is a little bit different. Each one is coming from a different place and has different needs. It is in fact, sometimes surprising to be reminded (as we were with the massage therapists) how different businesses are, even when they look the same on the surface.
When you deal with a marketing company, make sure they understand the unique needs of your business. Don’t go for a cheap, cookie-cutter, set-and-forget solution. It will sound good at first, but you’ll find that it’s not specialized enough to get optimal results from your marketing.
At the same time, an agency with efficient, scalable resources like Marketing 360® will save you time and money. We don’t have to re-invent the wheel for every business.
There is no one size fits all in marketing. But it is absolutely necessary to apply experience, refined tools, and proven tactics in a precise way.
What are your unique needs? What tactics will work best for your individual circumstances?
The only way to answer those questions is to talk to a marketing consultant about your business.
Every path to success is a little different. We’d love to help you find yours.