Marketing for Small Local Businesses

Hugh McLeod I was talking to a friend who runs a mobile massage business. She takes her table to you, does the work at your office or home or wherever. It’s great for people who maybe can’t leave the office, but could spare the extra hour within the day, or who could benefit from having a massage at home after a long day. Might be great for stay-at-home parents, too. We were talking about marketing, and what she’d done so far to get herself more business.

First, understand that the best clients for this kind of business are local-ish, have some discretionary money, and are hopefully shooting for being a repeat customer (that would work best for her business).

It’s not a simple transaction business. It requires loyalty. To that end, here are my ideas for marketing a business like hers.

Search and Listen

My first effort would be to find local prospects. I’d start with Google Blogsearch, putting in local town names, to see who’s blogging in the area. I’d use Twitter Search to find some more folks. I’d look around for other sources, like local online newspapers. You can even do some clever google work. Once I had a decent list, I’d start determining who, if any of them, are actually prospects. Just because they’re local doesn’t mean they fit the other criteria. Break the list down a bit more from there.


You need a home base. I’d recommend a blog, but even a static website is better than nothing. Then, I’d see whether or not you can get listings with any other local businesses, any local groups related to the field, possibly even the Chamber of Commerce.

Make your site a combination of explanations of your business and the value you provide, as well as a chance to get to know a bit more about you. Personalized businesses like this, especially a body works business like massage means that people want to know more about you, want to get a sense of who you are, and want to understand what matters to you.

If you’ve got a blog, consider doing video so that people can see even more about you. It’s a great way to add some promotional oomph.

From here, you might start reaching out into outposts. Facebook might be a tricky place to pick up business when starting. It’s not like a bunch of people will rush in and join the massage company fan page. That said, you can always try. Twitter might work better, insofar as people speak more openly there, there’s serendipity, there are more chances to find new people without “friending” first.

What do you do once you’re there?

I’d recommend talking about them. Them= whoever you’ve found at these outposts, the people you’ve found via these lists. As for WHAT to talk about, talk about what they’re into. Get to know them. It’s an important part of building relationships, to be there long ahead of the sale.


What might also work is an email newsletter, talking about other health and wellness tips, but also with a few subtle offerings from your organization. I mean subtle, too. Make it more about equipping them for success and much less about finding clients immediately. It will be a slower build, but you’ll have a better chance to build a community you can tap into when needed over time.


From here, you can work on conversions and sales. My friend who runs the massage business did a promotional event at a local arena. I think there’s an opportunity to do a few more gigs like that, even maybe calling around for corporations to offer two hour blocks of time for 10 minute chair massages (so 12 massages) at a rate of $300 (so close to the $150 an hour that a quality massage therapist gets). This is also a great lead generator for future business, so bring business cards.

Obviously, this step would be different for different types of businesses, but realizing that some kind of demo, promo, introductory offer is always a great way to seed future opportunities is the first step.

What Else?

I’ve given out a few steps, a few ideas, especially aiming towards social media and the like. What else would you tell someone looking to promote their massage therapy or similar business? How have you handled the challenge? What matters to you if you were the prospective client?

By the way, this kind of stuff is exactly what I cover in my new book, Social Media 101, should you be interested. runs on the Genesis Framework

Genesis Theme Framework

The Genesis Framework empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress. Whether you're a novice or advanced developer, Genesis provides you with the secure and search-engine-optimized foundation that takes WordPress to places you never thought it could go.

With automatic theme updates and world-class support included, Genesis is the smart choice for your WordPress website or blog.

Become a StudioPress Affiliate

  • Ricardo Bueno

    Organize your database. If you're a solo-preneur, I think it's a good step to take in order to get organized and discipline yourself to follow up. I like Highrise (a 37Signals product) mainly because of it's simplicity. It has just what I need in terms of organizing contacts and I also like how you can schedule tasks. I use it daily and weekly in planning my work days and with what/who needs following up.

    It's easy to get lost in the midst of all the chaos (you wear many hats when you're a small business). So using something like this, I think is a very important step.

  • annawoods04

    The first and the most important factor is to create a customer satisfaction. When he or she is paying for something then need to have faith on us that will help us generate more and repeat business. One satisfied customer brings five more customer and thus it is very much necessary to create a reputation and much more important is to maintain it the same.

    reputation management

  • jruhler

    It is extremely important to get your business noticed these days. There are three main options in being unique with your printing products. The “good” option is using a template, this can be extremely easy to use, but not always the most unique form of design. The “better” option is to create your own flyer design; this can work extremely well, helping to make your print products different from most others. The “best” option is working with a graphic designer; this is the best way to go to achieve a sure stand out look and feel. Using a printing partner like can help by ensuring high quality, noticeable products to make sure you will be successful getting noticed.

  • Fame Foundry

    Good summary. Thanks.

  • jonnylucas

    Leverage your social media presence and offer benefits to your customers. Figure out what they really like and build an excellent customer service strategy.
    Grow your networking efforts and make strategic alliances with other similar businesses.
    Ask! you can join Q&A, place your questions and get experts answers.

  • Kassandra Hannay

    The most important step when promoting a small business is building relationships. It is going to be the loyalty of your customers that brings you success. The most efficient way to build relationships with your audience is through social media. I do agree that Facebook would not be useful at first because you're not going to have clients immediately joining your fan page. Twitter, on the other hand, would be a very useful tool. In terms of a mobile massage business, your friend should use her Twitter account as a resource for health and well-being. For instance, she could post tips on relieving muscle tension, helpful articles that promote good health and promotions for her own business. You don't want your audience to view you as a self-serving business. Instead, use social media as a way to meet your audience's needs. Your clients should view you as a resource for your industry. This will allow you to build strong and loyal relationships.

  • karimkanji

    Timely post Chris!

    I just ran into a friend who just started in the mobile chair massage business. Of course, I recommended she read this article.

  • juergen99

    Yes, the good old off-line world has its advantages …

  • sumvision cyclone

    I like your ideas and it made such an impression on my mind. I hope it will be useful to all people which read this one. I agree that the most important step of promoting any business is building relationships with people or customers efficiently.

    • fred perry outlet

      I hope it will be useful to all people which read this one. I agree
      that the most important step of promoting any business is building
      relationships with people or customers efficiently.

  • Pingback: Relationship Marketing ideas from across the web

  • massage therapy school

    This is very good info which can target my local customers.

  • sunglasses

    A dress is like a barbed fence. It protects the premises without restricting

    the view.
    Louis Vuitton Sunglasses
    welcome to our store:

  • Pingback: Small Business Marketing from Chris Brogan

  • yuregininsesi

    I like your ideas and it made such an impression on my mind. I hope it will be useful to all people which read this one. I agree that the most important step of promoting any business is building relationships with people or customers efficiently.

  • Sempatic39

    thank you very much perfect sharing i am coming everday

    sesli chat
    sesli chat

  • prince raj

    this is prince number for full body massage at cheapest rate in delhi…
    service avliable at urs home…thanks u all……………

  • gucci medium hobo

    love the pointy spike at the heart comment. nice writing.

  • Amie

    I own a mobile massage business and I totally agree with what you are saying. Another thing I have started is to get one client to do a massage “party” where she invites seceral friends over for 30 minute massages. A great way to meet people and a different enough approach that they will remember you next time they need a massage! Those were great tips on using Twitter, too. I definitely need to do more with it!

  • Pingback: Social Media Marketing for Small Business | Clinton Goveas Blog