This is a visual profession. That means your appearance matters a lot. Consumers want to “see” their massage therapists. A visual assessment is often a determining factor in choosing a therapist, even over skill set. In fact, studies show that advertising with a photograph is more effective than without. It is not important to be beautiful or thin; typical fashion rules do not apply in our industry. What potential clients are looking for is what I call “the picture of health” and is often displayed in the skin, the eyes and the smile.
Most massage therapists have a website or some sort of internet presence. Photographs accompany the profile and in fact, should. Yet I am disappointed, sometimes even horrified, by what some therapists think is appropriate, attractive or good marketing. Here are some tips for projecting the right visual image:
- Get a professional to take the photo. Barter for it, if necessary. A candid shot at last summer’s party (cropping out the rest of the guests) isn’t going to cut it.
- Take a high resolution image so it can be used in a variety of mediums. A photo can be made smaller but can’t always be made bigger without losing integrity.
- Don’t have your sunglasses on your head.
- Don’t flaunt your cleavage, your muscles, your legs or any other attribute you have worked for at the gym.
- Dress the part. If you think you look too casual, you do. Always dress a little better than you think.
- Don’t be afraid to get a close up shot. Remember people want to see your face, your smile, your eyes.
- Take an image of you working on a client. Remember to get the client’s written permission to use the image.
- Show a variety of images on your webpage or social media site.
- If your life isn’t appropriate, consider NOT having an internet presence. Google yourself to learn what images already exist online.
- Check for “tagged” photos on Facebook to make sure your best image is represented. Untag yourself if necessary.
This is clearly a short list but you get the idea. The photo you use to market yourself matters. When in doubt, ask a trusted friend or even a client. Make sure the image you show the world is a good one and if it isn’t… change it. Stay focused.