You’ve probably seen massage advertisements that include stock photos of young, attractive, skinny white ladies relaxing during a massage with a smile on their face and a flower in their hair.
The fact is that only a small percentage of the public will recognise themselves in these depictions, leaving the rest of the population feeling at best dissatisfied and at worst offended and alienated, and so less likely to choose your massage practice for their professional needs.
The question then becomes how to ensure that your marketing materials are inclusive of all demographics. In order to attract and serve clients from all walks of life, MASSAGE Magazine talked to some marketing experts about how to make your practice’s promotional materials more inclusive and generally attractive.
1. Start with yourself and your group.
Doing so will demonstrate your dedication to diversity and inclusion in marketing.
All of it begins with you. Alice d’Olive, founder of Studio Teia, a mindful marketing agency in Lisbon, Portugal, has remarked, “If you have a team, having a varied staff and creating possibilities for minorities is a terrific way to start.” You may show your support for diversity in an unobtrusive way by including images and brief biographies of your massage therapists on your website.
According to Brené Ashley, president of KAUSE Marketing & PR in Washington, D.C., “clearly say that your profession is one of diversity and welcomes all personnel and clients.” Customers, stakeholders, business partners, and even staff members will have their doubts and concerns answered by this. It is this kind of transparent sharing of information that fosters internal and external advocates for your business.
Even if you’re the only patient at your office, d’Olive says it’s possible to gain exposure to new viewpoints. She questioned how I made room for several people in my daily life. Do you expand your social circle beyond your usual hangouts? Do you work with or know someone from those groups? If you want to enter into the mindset of diversity and inclusion, rather than just the current principles, consider the following questions.
Also Read: Massage Therapist Self Care
2. Sharing your commitment to diversity
Display variety by using images of people of various ethnicities, sexual orientations, ages, and physical appearances in your advertising materials. To show that your company welcomes all kinds of people, you may do things like including a range of photographs in your brochures and frequently switching up the pictures on your website.
According to Ashley, “the most successful technique to attract to potential customers is to exhibit photographs of your target audience in the location in which you hope they will be.” Display images and photographs of a variety of currently popular cultural artefacts without resorting to stereotyping.
Ashley recommends being upfront about your inclusive policies if it fits with your brand’s identity. She argued that the best approach to show genuine hospitality was to say it explicitly. “It demonstrates that the company cares about the planet, and here you are.” Brochures and websites can also have carefully chosen logos and marketing slogans to target audiences.
3. Attempt Hardly, but Don’t Strive Imprudently
If you strive too hard to seem different, as d’Olive warned, it may backfire and come across as stereotypical.
In order to attract a wider range of customers, she suggested including images of members of the LGBTQ+ community and people of colour on the company’s website and promotional materials. However, what many individuals don’t realise is that doing so might make them appear opportunistic or promote “diversity washing,” which is counterproductive to their goals.
It’s not enough to simply display people from different backgrounds, as Ashley pointed out; you can also be insulting if you don’t evaluate the context of images thoroughly. Exhibit persons of colour and other groups as both massage therapists and clients, for instance.
The question of “what is the image transmitting” is more important than where another ethnic group is placed in the image, according to the speaker. she said. Forgetting about a group altogether is one thing, but relegating them to a lower category is another. We need to be careful not to reinforce negative stereotypes in that way.
4. Make a Choice Regarding Your Brand’s Voice…
Promote your offerings to the people most likely to be interested in them, as advised by d’Olive. Your brand voice is a term used in marketing to describe this.
Keep variety in mind as you craft your brand voice, which should be distinctive to your business and convey what sets you apart from the competition. D’Olive recommends looking into how other brands have written content that has universal appeal. I’m curious as to what kinds of advertisements and sales you’ve seen that seem to resonate with a large number
She also recommends interacting with people from other backgrounds on social media to better understand their language, slang, and general tone of speech.
Also, get feedback from loved ones, coworkers, and friends, especially those of different races or who identify with the LGBTQ+ group. Is your content engaging to them, or do they find it boring or irrelevant? How could it be enhanced, if at all?
A consultant or agency specialising in marketing can be retained to assist with communication strategies.
5. Develop a New Brand Identity
Sincerity in your approach is the key to having broad appeal, as d’Olive explained; if you find that your brand’s imagery and messaging are in need of a complete overhaul, be honest about it; this will prevent you from coming across as opportunistically following a diversity trend in the changes you make.
“Being honest about the fact that you weren’t aware of the problem in your marketing,” she said, “or perhaps you didn’t know how to show up in a more inclusive manner, but are now committed to taking a stand for that cause,” can be a great starting point and an opportunity to assert your brand values to your public. If done tastefully, this will help you connect with your audience on a deeper level by revealing your humanity.
This will make them “lifelong advocates for your company” rather than “one-time buyers.”