In 2013, I was approached by the owner of a massage centre in Manchester, who wanted to raise the profile of his business and set it apart from the stereotypical image of a Thai massage establishment. He had been looking for a copywriter with spa writing experience to create website copy and blog posts that showcased his business as a holistic therapy centre.

Mike Howard, owner of The One Thai said:

Sarah had a wealth of ideas and suggested using a wider approach with copy for the website that reflected a ‘spa’ image and she focused on the holistic therapies we offer, along with a blog that featured useful content and a social media presence.”

I originally worked with him on blog ideas and produced monthly updates for him along with website copy. I added social media with the same holistic slant, with the aim of attracting predominantly female clients who enjoyed spa treatments but were looking for an affordable option in central Manchester. Using words like ‘pampering’ and ‘relaxing’ and ‘indulgent’ was designed to appeal to the target audience and I added detail about the range of therapies available to reassure and inform clients.

In 2017, Mike Howard said,

Sarah is the voice of our brand and we have been complimented on how our Facebook page is packed with interesting ideas, tips and how it is fun. We conducted a survey twice and many people commented on how well it was written and how interesting it is.

Others commented on how much they loved the humour and others on how professional it is. We never employed Sarah to increase our traffic to the website or gain likes on Facebook and follows on Twitter, her sole purpose was to portray our brand as professionally as possible and to cement the name in Manchester.

Due to her hard work, we are now regarded by sites such as Facebook and Yelp as the best in Manchester. Due to her work, we saw an increase in visits from female clients. What we know is that due to the copy on the website and the blog female clients trust us to give their partners a great massage. And nothing else.”

In 2015, a new massage centre in Bolton was planned, but there was strong opposition from the council and from a few members of the public due to the perceived reputation of Thai massage. Mike Howard was asked to speak at a committee meeting, and asked me write a three-minute speech for him. He told me that he was in no doubt that the speech helped him to win planning permission for the centre which is now another successful business; Sala Thai Massage. He said, “I have no doubt that if it hadn’t been for our strong social presence on the internet and the professional image we portray thanks to Sarah we would never have obtained permission to open.” (see planning officer’s report excerpt below)

I have been working with the businesses since 2013 and at one point I managed six social media accounts and three blogs for them. This has had a measurable effect on traffic and profits as well as the image of the spa centres.

Sarah works hard to increase our online traffic; we do know that we get discovered on average about 50 times a day which is significantly greater than when we first started. These 50 people either visit the website or make calls.

We now rank in Google as number one which only changes occasionally due to their fair policy. Whilst this is very much a family run business my wife and I and of course all the staff know that Sarah is very much responsible for the success of the business. After all most people use the internet today before they walk into or buy from any shop.”

http://www.theonethaimassage.co.uk/

 

Excerpt from 2015 Planning Officer’s Report – Application Reference: 93535/15

 

“A previous application at this site was refused on the grounds of insufficient information –

it was simply an application for a change of use to a Thai massage parlour with no

supporting information whatsoever and Officers had concerns about the appropriateness

of the use and the possibility of it impacting harmfully on the reputation of Bolton town

centre.

 

“However, Officers have worked with the Applicant to provide more information on

the nature of the use and are convinced that it is in fact an appropriate use. It has not

been possible for Officers to visit the Manchester premises but it has been viewed on

Google Streetview and their website has been studied in detail.”

 

“Concerns about the appropriateness of the use are considered to be chiefly a matter of

semantics. Whilst moral concerns generally carry little weight in the planning system, it is

entirely understandable that Officers, neighbours and perhaps some Members might be

concerned about a use described as a “massage parlour”. However, Officers are now

convinced that these two words do not accurately reflect the nature of the proposed use.

“Instead, it is considered that the use consists of, in essence, simply the typical”

pampering” services offered at health spas and retreats.

 

Planning Officers are entirely convinced of the bona fide and appropriate nature of

the use proposed by the Applicant and consider that it will make a positive

contribution to the range of services and uses available in Bolton town centre.”