• How to Get a Massage Therapist to Answer Your Email

    I’m sure it’s happened to you or someone you know. You’ve emailed a service provider of some sort asking for an appointment or for more information about their services and they never answer your query. I’ve been there and it’s so frustrating. You wonder, “Are they so busy that they don’t need or want another client?”, “Are they a flake?”, “If this is how they treat the people their supposed to be trying to impress (i.e. prospective clients), how do they treat the clients that they’ve already hooked?” Those are all valid questions, and ones you want an answer to before doing business with them.

    Sometimes the answer to why they didn’t respond lies totally with them; there are flakes and rude people in every profession. Even if they aren’t taking new clients, they should reply and tell you that; it’s the professional and courteous thing to do. Sometimes the answer lies with technology; it could just be that the ethers ate your email and it never arrived in their inbox. Sometimes, I’m sorry to say, the answer might lie with the email writer. I can’t help you with the first two issues, but I can help you with the third. I’m going to specifically address how to get a massage therapist to reply to your email, but many of my suggestions can be used to help get a reply from other service providers as well.

    If It Looks Likes Spam…

    No one likes spam

    You might be surprised at how many spam emails massage therapists receive from people supposedly wanting to hire us. Every profession gets spam like this, and while the specifics will vary from profession to profession there are some general hallmarks of spam that you want to make sure you avoid in any email you send:

    1. Use good grammar and spelling – Spam emails usually look as though they were written by someone who has only a tentative grasp of the English language. Syntax is messed up,  words are missing or repeated, words are misspelled, verb tenses are incorrect etc. If you know you have some issues with grammar or spelling, compose your email in a word processing document first and take advantage of the built in grammar and spell checks. Once it’s free of mistakes, copy and paste it into a new email.
    2. Use appropriate punctuation – You don’t have to use perfect punctuation but please, for the love of all that’s holy, use some. Spam often has little or no punctuation. Many times the email looks like one giant run on sentence that should probably have been one or more paragraphs and I often wonder if the writer was simply doing some free writing and forgot to go back and edit their message or if maybe they didn’t make it past a third grade education but whatever the reason it’s really hard to read and most of us stop trying to make sense of it after a few lines and hit the delete button. See what I mean about using punctuation?
    3. Use complete sentences – Another hallmark of spam is an abundance of incomplete sentences. Remember: you’re writing an email, not a text message. Don’t use texting abbreviations or emoticons in a business email; spammers often use the same message whether they’re texting or emailing us spam. If we get an email from someone that we don’t know and it resembles a text message, we usually delete it.
    4. Tell us how you heard about us – First of all, do NOT say that you found us while you were searching the web; that’s what spammers say. Be more specific. We want to know exactly how you heard about us; did you find us doing a Google search, a Bing search, a professional directory (let us know which one – some directories add us without our permission), through a special event we participated in, from a piece of marketing or advertising that we did? Tell us what it was. It helps build credibility if you open your email with something like, “I saw your ad in [name of publication],” or “I clipped your reward (or coupon) from [name of promotion, website, or publication]” Then follow that up by telling us that you visited our website, which you should have done. But only tell us you visited our website if you truly did. If a current client recommended that you should see us for a massage, definitely mention that first thing; you could even put it in the subject line. Nothing gets our attention like seeing “[Client’s name] recommended I get a massage from you” in our inbox.
    5. Don’t ask for basic info that’s on our website – Nowadays, there’s no reason that you should not have visited our website to find out the most basic information (unless we don’t have a website and then shame on us, because in this day and age there’s no reason for us to not have a website). Nothing screams spam like, “I found your website and was wondering what you charge and when you’re open,” when we have a “Rates and Hours” page. If there are problems with the pages, or you couldn’t find the info (I’ve seen some sites with literally hundreds of poorly titled pages and no search function), by all means let us know so 1) we can fix it, and 2) we know WHY you’re asking for info you should have gotten while you were on our site.
      The only only reason that I can think of for you to not visit our website is if you clicked a broken link in a directory and were unable to access it – please let us know if this is the case so we 1) can fix it, and 2) don’t delete your email as spam.

     Massage Scams and Spam

    Spam to massage therapists have a few specific hallmarks of their own. Here are a few more suggestions to avoid having your email end up in the deleted folder:

    1. Give enough, but not too much detail – Spammers often give waaaaayyy too much information or backstory when initially contacting us, although some tend to go to the other extreme and give no reason at all for wanting to make an appointment. You want to fall somewhere in between. Tell us which muscle you injured and briefly how (playing a sport, falling down stairs, etc.), where you have chronic pain and roughly how long you’ve had it, or which specific condition (sciatica, carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia, etc.) you are seeking help with when you ask for an appointment. We’ll get the in-depth details when you come in for your appointment.
    2. Know the size of the business you’re contacting so you can book appropriately – Spammers are forever trying to book an extraordinary number of massages at businesses that consist of only one therapist. They usually want to either book multiple appointments at the same time or they have 8 people who will each require 3 massages per week while they are in town. Neither of these are possible at a single therapist office, not if the therapist has any degree of success anyway.
    3. Be Specific – Spam emails to massage therapists often come from someone who is “going to be in your area” during a vague period of time like “the end of April.” If you’re trying to make a massage appointment for your vacation/convention/business trip destination you should be very specific about location, dates, and how you found us. It also helps if you tell us why you chose us over all of the other massage businesses in our town. For instance, “I’m going to be in Grand Rapids on vacation April 17-21, and found your business, New Yew, via a Google search. I’m mostly looking to relax, but I noticed that you specialize in neck and shoulder issues and I have chronic pain there. Do you have any available appointments for a 90 minute massage during that time?”
    4. Ask for services that we offer – Not all massage therapists do relaxation massage, deep tissue, or work on injuries. We tend delete the requests for services that we don’t offer because the requester hasn’t taken the time to find out what we actually do, and the terminology we use to describe it.
    5. Be believable – Nothing says spam like a truly incredible story from someone we’ve never seen before, especially if you don’t tell us how you found us. For instance, I recently received an email asking for appointments for 3 people. The sender stated that they* (*I’ll be using a gender neutral pronoun on purpose when I refer to the sender) are “into the deep tissue massages” (see #4), and that their 88 year old grandmother “could use that and then some.” They went on to say that their spouse “always has a sore back due to falling down a mountain in Afghanistan.” Really?? Your 88 year old grandmother wants to be pummeled and your spouse fell down a mountain in a foreign country and thinks that massage can fix it and you’re contacting ME? This one happened to arrive just as I was starting to write this blog post so I replied. I stated that deep tissue massage was totally contraindicated for an 88 year old unless they were an active and serious athlete and had been getting deep tissue prior to reaching geriatric status. I also told the sender that I’d need a doctor’s release for their spouse as falling down a mountain could cause too many serious, yet hidden, problems that massage could easily make worse. They replied that the deep tissue was for them and that their grandmother just wanted a “therapeutic” massage. They went on to say that their spouse had been given a clean bill of health by the army and that they just “get sore probably more so from poor posture and being a little to thick in the middle, lol.” Is it any wonder that I normally delete emails like this without responding?

    If you’re a massage therapist or other service provider, what else would you add to this list?

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