Will Having My Picture on My Massage Business Website Attract Sexual Solicitations?
In a career as fulfilling as massage therapy, it stinks to deal with the raised eyebrows, off-color jokes, and innuendo that come with telling someone what my vocation is. I created Respect Massage to elevate the profession from within by empowering massage therapists to take a stand against sexual solicitations.
I get asked a lot about what pictures therapists should have on their website—what other industry needs to be so sensitive to that? Ugh. Well, I got asked so many times and saw so many therapists removing their photos, I knew I had to do something.
WE are not the problem.
Why should we have to hide our faces?
Yes, It’s OK to Post Images and Photos of Yourself on Your Business Website
It will help attract your ideal clients if you are clear about who exactly you are marketing to. Having pictures of you working in your space is a great way to demonstrate your skills, professionalism, and expertise. It is also an easy way for your potential clients to get to know you. The vast majority of the clients looking at your business want to book a legitimate massage. Market to them. Do not let your website look like every other massage business out there and play to the lowest common denominator.
How to Design Your Massage Business Website
Do Your Research. Look to massage businesses that are respected in your area. Look at what is on their website. Then, do an online search for “massage parlor” and see what is on those websites. They are typically very generic with lots of stock photos. The lesson: Do not use stock photography!
1. Have a Photo Shoot
Either hire a professional or get a bunch of friends together. Take headshots of you along with photos of you standing near your massage table and in different parts of your office. Then—this is the important part where a lot of massage therapists end up sending the wrong message—get pictures of you working. Take pictures of you in action that are going to entice your ideal client to work with you. Have models that look like your ideal client. Take photos of you solving the problem they are looking for a solution to with massage therapy. The lesson: Vanity metrics are not going to fill your massage schedule.
2. Download the Respect Massage Logo and Client Policy
Plaster the logo all over your website. Make sure the logo is specifically at the top of your business’s site. Imagine you are a potential client looking for a happy ending—if you come across a site that says Respect Massage/Zero Tolerance all over it, you will not even try to call that place. The membership statement is available to accompany the Respect Massage logo. The lesson: The logo works to deter solicitors—use it.
3. Now, Add Some Text to Your Massage Business Website
Avoid listing modalities. Take the opportunity to describe your work in terms of results. Outside of massage therapists, the public does not understand the terminology we use to define massage modalities. Use terms they understand and can relate to. Even a modality as simple as “deep tissue” is often misinterpreted by clients. If you have been practicing for any amount of time as a massage therapist, you know that not everyone’s definition of deep tissue is the same. The lesson: Speak to your potential clients using terms they understand. Not everyone is a trained massage therapist.
4. Show Your Website to Your Colleagues, Friends, and Family
Show your site to people you trust. Make sure your website is reviewed by massage therapists as well as people who have never had a massage before. Ask them if your message is clear. Ask them if they want to get a massage from you after looking at your website. Ask them if there are any photos or wording that may seem inviting to someone looking for a happy ending. The lesson: Share your website with a bunch of people before launching it. Use their feedback to your advantage.
5. Now, You are Ready to Launch Your Website
At this point, between the Respect Massage logo and your clear photos and text, it should attract your ideal massage clients and deter the rest. If you notice a sudden increase in sexual solicitations, do an online search for yourself and make sure you are not listed anywhere you do not want to be. There are some happy ending sites like Rubmaps and Harlothub that will list legitimate massage businesses on their sites. They often change the business name slightly. To search, do a separate online search for each of the following: your business name, your name, your phone number, and your address. That way, you are likely to find your business if they have changed any of the details. The lesson: Do an online search for yourself occasionally to ensure you are not listed anywhere you do not want to be.
Go For It
Protect You and Your Practice from Solicitors
Take the ABMP Respect Massage CE course, “Ethics: Create A Zero-Tolerance Practice,” for a complete list of 30+ red flags, how to spot sexual solicitors before they are on your schedule, excuses to get out of dangerous solicitations, plus real–life practice scenarios to test how you would react when your boundaries are challenged.
The Logo Works
Protect your business with the Respect Massage logo. Use it as a deterrent for sexual solicitors. The Respect Massage Zero Tolerance logo makes it clear that your business is not a parlor and does not provide happy endings.
Share the #RespectMassage Movement
Share this link and information with other massage therapists and bodyworkers you know. We can shut down sexual solicitations if we stand together and know what to look for.
For more information about ABMP membership, liability insurance, legislative advocacy, podcasts, magazines, and continuing education, go to ABMP.com.