Selling to seniors: How to market your spa and massage practice services to older Americans
By Jean Shea on Feb 18, 2016
Among your clientele, how many are seniors? According to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), many older adults are finding massage therapy is a way to improve quality of life and provide relief from health issues. The AMTA’s 18th annual Consumer Survey conducted in 2014 found that approximately 9 million people over the age of 55 had a total of 39 million massages in the preceding 12 months with the primary reason for medical purposes – to relieve pain, soreness and stiffness and recovery from an injury.
Expectations are that the percentage of older Americans will continue to grow to represent an ever increasing percentage of the U.S. population. In 2013, people 65 and up accounted for 14.2 percent of the population, reports the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Community Living. BY 2040, the figure is estimated to grow to 21.7 percent of the population.
All of these figures indicate that there is a significant opportunity for your spa or massage practice to reach out the senior community. Therapeutic massage therapy may be what gets them in the door, but you also may have an opportunity to sell other spa services as aging Americans seek to retain their youthful appearance.
Reaching out with the right marketing and messages
Like any other demographic, there are messages and marketing channels that will be most successful in reaching this target audience. Here are some things about seniors that can help your outreach:
Highlight solutions: Seniors want to know how therapeutic massage is going to help them. While cost is important, they are more concerned about meeting a need. If they are convinced your service can help, they will be less concerned about the price.
One size doesn’t fit all: Even though they want solutions, seniors don’t want one-size-fits-all. They want solutions that speak to their individual needs. When you have the chance to talk to a potential senior client, make the message very personalized. Talking about your expertise is important but especially in the context of how it will help resolve their problem.
Keep it simple: Make your message clear. Whether ads, displays in your spa or massage practice, or website, make the message about what you have to offer straightforward. You don’t want to use jargon or ever come across as patronizing or condescending to someone older. Simple should also apply to visuals. Don’t overload your marketing materials with too many images that will confuse the reader.
Don’t overload the technology: While many of today’s seniors are on social channels – Facebook most notably – many still aren’t comfortable with all the latest tech trends. While they do like texting, they are not inclined to download apps, writes Krissy DeAngelis in “Marketing to Seniors: How and Why You Should Market to the Golden Agers.” Do remember if you are going to send a text, you need to get permission first. By and large, offline technology continues to be preferable to this age group.
Word of mouth matters: For this age group, word of mouth is particularly important. You can prevail on any clients you have who are seniors to help spread the word about your spa or massage practice to their friends. Also you’ll want to become visible in your community through volunteer work or participation in organizations where you have a chance to connect with seniors.
Partner with other service providers: Reach out to chiropractors, physical therapists and even senior care service providers who are in a position to recommend you. You might want to identify several professionals in your community you would like to work with and ask to meet to discuss co-marketing potential.
Make special offers: Everyone loves a deal, but some seniors on fixed incomes especially appreciate the buy one, get one free offer on a retail item or discount on a service. You might be able to introduce seniors to their first session though a discounted service offering.
Health and wellness is important to everyone but especially to seniors who are looking to remain active in the golden years. Your spa or massage practice can play a vital role in helping seniors do just that.