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Jackson Hole is Awesome

Jackson Hole is Awesome

Why is Jackson Hole Awesome? I’ll tell you why Jackson Hole is awesome…we get an end-of-ski-season concert – Michael Franti and Spearhead – FOR FREE!!!  Howdya like that??

 

And just to warm us up, the party started on Friday evening with Blues Traveler – and if you need warmed up for that – there’s even a previous FREE concert on Thursday evening with Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe (Who??? – Think Lenny Kravitz’s band and Slightly Stoopid.)

I tell you what – being a massage professional in Jackson Hole is just the best. Not only do we get free rock concerts night after night at the end of season, we get to ski in the mornings (skiers don’t generally want massages before 2pm – so that’s fine because all the powder is gone by then anyway). Let’s see – oh yes – before I’m off the concert thing – three years ago we had Grace Potter and the Nocturnals…boy – can she belt it out!

 

So what else is great about being a massage professional in Jackson Hole – well – it’s just gob-smacking gorgeous around here for one thing, and the opportunities to get out there and play in it are never-ending. Grand Teton National Park is right on our doorstep with the magnificent and mighty Teton Mountains to go hiking in.

 

You don’t have to be into big scary mountaineering to enjoy them – there’s no end to possibilities for those who are into just nice day-hiking – or you could get more abitious and get up into the really high-country, take a tent with you, and spend a night or more out there in the wilderness. A couple of years ago Rochelle and I hiked the Teton Crest Trail – three nights on the watershed ridge that separates the two Teton Counties of Wyoming and Idaho. (I wrote and photographed for an article about this, which will be published in Teton Valley Magazine this summer.)

Image showing Hamish and Rochelle hiking the Teton Crest Trail

Oh no – I’m already running out of space and I haven’t begun to tell you about the bicycling we do here – be it road biking or mountain biking – easy or gnarly trails – there’s just tons of it. You can’t go mountain biking in Grand Teton National Park, however because of the no mechanized vehicles on park trails. (A good thing in my view.)

 

And then there’s rafting on the Snake River! We’re very lucky to have our own boat – and have had for many years.

 

The Snake River has a large variety of river sections from mellow and peaceful flowating through the park, viewing the Tetons, to a fun white-water run through the Snake River Canyon – about 11 miles south of Jackson. Commercial rafting is a big industry around here in the summers. Jackson Hole supports maybe a dozen river outfitters. If you want to float or have a whitewater experience on the Snake River, I recommend Barker-Ewing (for who I rowed many years ago), or Dave Hansen Whitewater (for whom my son rowed last summer).

 

Maybe I’ll write another post on this topic when I can get into the parasailing, nordic skiing, horse-back trail-riding, mountaineering, kayaking and all the other ‘ings’ you can think of.

But the best thing about being a self-employed massage therapist in Jackson Hole is that we don’t have to go anywhere to immediately immerse ourselves in a ‘wonderful world’ – it’s  literally right out of our front door. In fact, I think I’ll go for a walk right now…

 

Be well,

 

Hamish and Rochelle

Changing it up.

Changing it up

‘Blogging about all things massage, and all things Jackson Hole’

 

For our millions of readers here at the Massage Professionals of Jackson Hole blog – you may have noticed several changes in direction with this blog. At first there was the stumbling, fatalistic – nobody-reads-this-anyway-and-I’d-rather-be-skiing  – sort of attitude where, as long as I interjected relevant keyword phrases on a regular basis – it would do…right?

 

But then I started to get a passion for the blog writing – and I thought a decent ‘angle’ would be to write about Rochelle and me and our nascent massage professions and business – and take readers along with us on that bumpy ride that started while we lived in a motel room at the Virginian Lodge. Not a bad theory. In my days of writing for ‘Sail’ magazine, I wrote as a sailor new to boat ownership and voyaging in general – and wrote articles for those in that same stage of boating – learn with me as I discover. (See my published articles.)

 

But then Rochelle and I went back to McKinnon massage school in Oakland, CA for two months last fall. This in itself got me much more fired-up about massage in general and I decided to report on my learning curve and start to give my ten cents worth about giving massage – and about receiving massage. I’ve had suggestions like “Write about healthy lifestyle tips, great healthy recipes, smoothies, Yoga articles” – none of which would contain keywords relevant to massage in Jackson Hole. But most of all – while I do participate in a very active, healthy, good-eating lifestyle – to write about it, on top of the gazillions of others out there doing so – would bore the kilt off of me (yes folks, I’m Scottish born and raised – hence the Gaelic name, Hamish.)

 

And now, most recently, I’ve been advised to become a travel resource for in-coming visitors and tourists to Jackson Hole and the Teton area – perhaps even the state of Wyoming…wow – a tall order – but it seems like a great idea – thus the last three blog posts about things to do in Jackson Hole. All for the sake of improving our web site’s  position on Google and other search engines.

 

So – what am I supposed to do? What is best to write about that keeps me sane; will contain the essential keywords; will interest the (millions of) readers; and yet stick to some logical, reasonable theme? Well – Rochelle and I were out for a walk yesterday and we decided to blanket the whole thing in a tag-line for the blog: “Blogging about all things Massage, and all things Jackson Hole.” What do you think of that? And you know what – I even think I’ll just write about what I darn-well please.

Be well,

Rochelle and Hamish

 

You Come to Us.

You Come To Us

Last week my blog post was all about ‘We Come To You’.  This was indeed how we defined our business when we started out – it seemed like a really good idea – and it IS – up to a point.  There are some people who just don’t want us to come to them.  For various reasons, it’s not convenient. There might be interruptions at home, or the noise of TV, kids, dogs, construction…who knows.

For the occasional visitor who comes to Jackson Hole and stays in nice hotels or vacation residences, in-home massage is a great service and one that is much appreciated as part of a pampering massage experience. But we now feel that this leaves out our more local customers who may not have large places for us to come to – and they’d rather be in a more purpose-oriented massage studio to get down to the business or regular sports or deep tissue massage therapy.

So Rochelle and I have decided to expand our practice and our thinking…and just this week we have taken on a shared space in ‘The Connection‘ (270 Veronica Lane, Jackson), which will enable people to come to a centrally located massage studio in Jackson at their convenience…and ours.

And, like so many things in life, this has turned out to be a fabulous move for Massage Professionals of Jackson Hole.  For starters, we now have Tina Seay in our lives – and what a beautiful, nurturing person she is.  Rochelle and I are immediately better off for knowing her.  Tina runs The Connection – ‘A Place To Connect at All Levels’ – it’s a lovely, relaxing, quiet suite of rooms where different massage / body work / energy work professionals practice their professions.  Here’s how Tina describes The Connection:

It is a collective center where people meet to explore themselves, their place in the world, and how to reach their highest most exquisite Self.  Through bodywork, energy work, workshops, and products The Connection is a center created for the evolution of body, mind, and spirit.

Aside from creating the physical presence of ‘The Connection’, Tina’s own practice is Healing Touch Massage and Body Work.  The following few lines from her web site should tell it all:

Get out of exist mode; Move into the present moment, Become more optimistic, Allow yourself to move forward; Rebound from your extreme sports activities; Recover from your crippled posture after the long plane ride; Look good, feel good.  Become more flexible.

Also present in The Connection is Sheri Todd, NCMT (Nationally Certified Massage Therapist) with her business Teton Manual Therapy – Orthopedic Health Assessment and Wellness.

What is ‘Manual Therapy’? – Check it out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manual_therapy

Sheri’s qualifications, experience and expertise are just too great to go into here (so go check out her web site) – but let’s just say she’s another wonderful person to be ‘connected’ with and Rochelle and I look forward to working in unison with these two wonderful professionals.

Be well,

Hamish and Rochelle.

 

Organic is Organic

Organic Massage

Well, it would be a stretch to say that there is such a thing as Organic Massage, and there are of course organic massage oils such as Certified Organic Sunflower Oil, Certified Organic Safflower Oil, Certified Organic Olive Oil,Certified Jojoba Oil, and non-GMO (genetically modified organisms) Vitamin E,  but this is a column about organic eating and organic massage marketing.

 

In the last couple of years, more of our local Smith’s grocery Store in Jackson Hole has been given over to organic fruits and vegetables. This could be in direct response to therecent opening of a huge new Jackson Whole Grocer just up the street. Or it could be Safeway taking a genuine interest in their customers’ health and responding to market forces. But every time I go into a store and see the word ‘Organic’ I become the skeptic and remember the discussion in Michael Pollan’s book: ‘The Omnivore’s Dilemma”. He says that far too many food companies are getting on the ‘organic’ bandwagon – just to increase profits (markups on anything that says ‘organic’ are  many more times than non-organic) – when in fact there isn’t really that much of an organic nature to these foods. It’s a bit like ‘green-washing’ – when a company that pours millions of gallons of toxic waste into our rivers gets a ‘green’ award because it recycles its office paper!

 

Then there’s another kind of organic – which is how we’re growing our business at Massage Professionals of Jackson Hole. So maybe we’re getting closer to Organic Massage.

There’s organic in the way Massage Professionals of Jackson Hole is gaining positioning in the search engine rankings, and there’s organic in the way we’re slowly increasing our customer base. That is: we’re not spending money on link farms, buying Facebook ‘Likes’ or Twitter followers and so on. Those things can bring in vast numbers but it’s not a good way to go and is detected by the search engine crawlers as ‘underhanded’ and will cost  more than money in the end. It will cost of massage business credibility. Search engine rankings are being increased in three ways: 1) Rochelle is working hard (she started with one to two hours every day) participating in lively SM correspondence on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google Plus.  2) Our new web site www.massageprofessionalsJacksonHole.com is totally dialed-in, with ‘responsive’ capabilities to show up on mobile devices, and  3) The blog – such as this post. It’s important to keep it rich in keyword phrases and content – although you won’t see the word ‘Massage’ or ‘Jackson Hole’ written up too much in this week’s post. Another way we’re doing it organically is simply by growing the business slowly. We recently turned down the opportunity to take over an established massage business in Jackson Hole. There are beautiful premises with four nicely decorated rooms, inexpensive rent, a customer base and a very advanced responsive web site. We turned it down because we’d rather grow into that kind of positioning than purchase it all. It just seemed like the better way to go. We’ll grow by reputation one customer at a time – and that’s organic. And then, who knows, maybe one day we’ll discover Organic Massage as well – but if we do, it will be slowly – and organically.

 

Be well,

Hamish and Rochelle

Our Brand New Web Site

About Our Brand New Web Site.

Image showing http://www.

In case you missed it – the URL (Universal Resource Locator) of our spiffy new web site for Massage Professionals of Jackson Hole is http://www.MassageProfessionals. We have also kept the ‘pointer’ URL from our previous web site that we had through the Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP), which is www.jacksonhole.massagetherapy.com. We’re keeping this for three reasons: 1) Because we’ve put so much effort into building an organic following with this web site that it would be a shame to let that go and start over, 2) We are necessarily affiliated with the ABMP and their web site through massage insurance and membership – so there are numerous valuable links and associations that we maintain, and, 3) having strong ‘pointer’ web sites is important, where the landing page takes people directly to our own new web site.

 

The content for the ABMP web site had been working well for us – no need to write it again (thanks to Mariane Maffeo of www.MaffeoMedia.com) – so we saved some money by asking Shannon to export that content, with tweaking for SEO as she saw necessary, into the new web site. But it was very important that Google search bots not detect duplicate content – so the ABMP web site was stripped of all content and populated with essential, rich keywords that specifically directed viewers to our new web site.

During our start-up months with the ABMP web site, it had become obvious that our customers were coming to us via internet search, and that our dollars spent on print advertising could be converted into internet advertising dollars. The ABMP web site, though a great way to start, was not the forward-thinking ‘progressive’ type of web site that we needed. Our customers search on mobile devices and ‘responsive’ web sites make that possible. I did have a few conversations with the web gurus and management at ABMP to see if there was anything like this on the horizon – but that was not to be. Still – it was a superb start-up site that I would recommend to any massage-business start-up (free with membership). It helped to send us on our way and proved that the internet was to be our main source of customers. Therefore it made sense to have the latest in progressive web sites built for us – and for this, we chose Shannon and Jimmy Sbarra of Skyfire Studios in Montana – http://www.skyfirestudio.com/

Image Showing Web SIte Under Construction

It’s not really my purpose here to ‘sell’ SkyFire Studios to you. I don’t have to – just look at our new web site and you’ll see what I mean. Shannon and Jimmy are a young couple who seem to me to be not just ‘sharp’ and at the cutting edge of web site technologies, SEO marketing, and design- but they also have a pleasant, yet professional business ethic. They do what they say they’ll do, on time, and at the agreed price. No shenanigans. If more work is to be done – the price is outlined fairly and agreed upon. Their price is reasonable in this industry and good for the quality of work they produce. All through the process communication has been open and at no time are we made to feel stupid when our knowledge of web sites and ‘internet na-na land’ is lacking (Jimmy is the guru). They explain it all very well. Now that the web site is built, there’s obviously some tweaking to do and on-going SEO to monitor – their associate, Caitlin, is going to come on board. So far, our early conversations with her have sounded very encouraging, and I’ll comment on that in a later post.

 

The new web site is built on www.Word-Press.org – as is this blog – moved over from www.Blogger.com. As with moving the web site – all previous content from Blogger has been deleted and that Blog deleted completely. Google web crawlers don’t report well upon seeing duplicate content.  I’m writing directly into the WordPress blog page right now – and it sure does make things easier, although it’s a significantly more robust platform with many more, and more complex options. Another thing we have had to do is change our e-mail server from www.GoDaddy.com, to www.Dreamhost.com. I’m still not sure why that was a good move – but it’s the hosting service that SkyFire Studio works with. Moving e-mail platforms has, I admit, been a bit of a pain so far – but Shannon is helping us get that together and I’m sure it will all be for the good in the long run.

Altogether, this is an exciting and significant phase in the growth of Massage Professionals of Jackson Hole. After just eight months in business, we have moved on from a start-up, free web site with ABMP into a much more aggressive, flexible and SEO-friendly web site that available to travelers on I-phones and tablet computers.

Be well,

 

Hamish and Rochelle.

 

Marketing Your Massage Business in Jackson Hole

This blog is about the adventures, trials, tribulations, emotions, pleasures, fears, frustrations and joys of starting a new out-call massage business in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The blog is written by T. Hamish Tear, one of the two owner / partners of Massage Professionals of Jackson Hole – which is then carried forward into the Social Media sphere by Rochelle Ganoe – the other owner / Partner.

Our most recent ‘test of faith’ in Massage Professionals of Jackson Hole has been to continue to commit funds to consistent, repeated advertising over long periods of time when this is quickly becoming a negative cash-flow situation. The big decision has been whether or not to continue with advertising in the Jackson Hole News and Guide (and now we are considering the Jackson Hole Daily News) – in addition to the various other advertising mediums we have going on at the moment – not to mention the ‘Big-Gulp’ of a whole new custom web site. From previous blog posts, readers may recall that those other advertising mediums are:

1) Rack Cards. These were published by Vista Print. We ordered 2,500 and they have been distributed around Jackson Hole by the brochure delivery company “Pony Express”. We are having them delivered to rack card locations in hotels and public places frequented by tourists all over Jackson. Rack cards have provided us with two inquiries and one sale over a period of three months.

2) Jackson Hole Attraction Menu. This map and calendar of events carries advertising within it and is distributed alongside rack cards and is also found in many hotel rooms and lobbies. This has brought in three inquiries so far and has resulted in one sale.

3) The Jackson Hole News and Guide. We started with a 1/4 page ad and are now running a slightly smaller ad. for six weeks – the total contract being for thirteen weeks. This has brought in one inquiry, which led to one sale.

Those are our current advertising efforts and on-going expenses. In the past we have also advertised in the half-off special section of JH Weekly (aka Planet Jackson Hole). Yes it seems steep and scary and the question is…do we have faith in Massage Professionals of Jackson Hole to keep it going with that kind of negative cash-flow? Fortunately, we have our contract massage work at Spring Creek Ranch, and at Sena Spa in Teton Village, and at Olga’s Day Spa at Snow King Resort to keep us going. Rochelle also has a handful of fairly regular local massage clients from the past couple of years that keep her cash coming as well – although those are well discounted prices.

But what we also have to thank for cash coming in – by far our most efficient advertising medium (although we’re still talking small numbers) is the internet – yes – our web site, its SEO and Rochelle’s SM work – are performing. Usually when the Massage Professionals phone rings it is a request for a massage from having been found on the internet. And those customers have been mostly un-phased by our basic one hour massage price of $130 – and they leave extremely generous gratuities. This is why we have decided to go for the big splash of having a new custom web site built for us. We consider that the previous web site, a free template web site that comes with membership of the American Bodywork and Massage Professionals, to be ‘adequate’ but no more because it is not a ‘responsive’ web site – and other reasons. (Although it is a really good place to start with a brand new massage business with little start-up capital – and it has already gained a very respectable organic Google placement.)

This blog Post will continue next week with details of how we have decided to construct our new web site, who we hired to do so and why – and how expenses being poured into the web site can be justified and balanced against or with those other advertising mediums in Jackson Hole.

Be well,

Hamish and Rochelle.