Targeting the hairier sex to grow your business
By Louis “The Laser Guy” Silberman
It has always been a commonly accepted fact that women have dominated the spa-going community for decades. According to the International Spa Association (ISPA), females account for nearly 75% of all spa guests in the United States. In the current economic climate, many business owners and industry professionals are finding that competing with every other spa over the same group of women is no longer a cost effective way to bring in more clients. In 2008, spa visits, health resort appointments and salon bookings by women leveled out, bringing about the need for a new approach to the business of beauty. Now, in 2009, spa professionals are trekking through undiscovered territory in search of a new prize. What are they chasing after? You guessed it, the mysterious and untouchable other half of the world’s population…men.
Tapping into the market of male spa-goers is easier said than done. The viewpoint of men in the United States and their attitudes toward spas are the exact opposite of men in almost every other country in the world. For example, in Hong Kong, successful businessmen frequent spas to maintain their status within elite social groups. In many parts of Europe, a trip to the day spa with other with other business professionals can hold as many networking opportunities as power lunches do in the U.S.
In order to appeal to male clients, a spa owner must not only battle the long-standing male perspective on spas, but also change the very basis in which they present their services.
Go Where The Guys Are
When given the option to watch football or get a pedicure, men tend to go with sports every time. This difference in interest is a prime example of why attracting men to a spa requires a completely different plan of attack, a transition that can be very difficult for many spa professionals. After years of experience working with women clients, it becomes a habit to create flowery marketing campaigns touting luxurious treatments that make a woman look gorgeous and young. As you can imagine, men do not respond well to this style of promotion.
The first step in effectively targeting men is to ask the question, “where are they all hiding?” It may sound stereotypical, the best locations to find men are at places such as gyms, golf courses, country clubs, arenas and sports bars. Using these locales as a place to market spa services to men is easy and inexpensive. Create small posters, flyers and referral cards and place them in high traffic areas. Be sure to use unique artwork and entertaining text that will stand out as people pass. If you are unsure if posting your materials is allowed, contact the facility manager for more details. Offering them a free treatment is a great way to get your foot in the door and make sure they give your materials prime placement in one of the common areas or locker rooms.
Create A Relaxing Environment
Ask any man to walk into a spa and he will most likely be greeted with a barrage of pastels, faux cloud murals and nail polish displays showcasing the latest fashion colors. Men like to feel secure in their masculinity. As a result, they often become anxious at the thought of strolling into a ‘girly’ salon to receive a treatment while being surrounded by a mostly-female clientele. It may seem silly to think they would be so worried about how and where they are seen, but even the slightest apprehension about a spa’s environment can cause a business to miss out on a client.
Revamping a spa to be friendly to both men and women can be a daunting task, but before stressful visions of expensive remodeling fill your head, realize that the big fix is often as cheap as a bucket of paint. Avoid overly-feminine colors such as pink, baby blue and lavender. Instead, try selecting a color scheme of seductive earth tones with rich chocolate accents. This will create a man-friendly space, while still exuding a feeling of opulence and luxury that women will love as well.
Most men say that they do not enjoy receiving a treatment with other clients watching. This why creating a private space for men to enjoy their spa experience is a must. For spas with an open layout, select a space on the floor and divide it from the rest of the treatment stations. This can be done for a minimal cost by setting up a unique Asian Shoji screen, contemporary curtain panels or room dividers. If treatments are provided in individual rooms, consider applying a special design motif to a specific room that is just for men. By combining a warm paint theme, darker colored fixtures and masculine aromatherapy scents, such as citrus or cinnamon instead of magnolia or freesia, spas can create the perfect retreat in which men can relax.
Behind every woman you treat is an entire family of men. Whether they are brothers, fathers, boyfriends or husbands, they represent a goldmine of opportunity of which very few spas are taking advantage. Just remember that even though these men might not visit your business, that does not mean you cannot get their attention.
The quickest way to a man’s wallet is through the women in their life. Every girl wants a fresh, clean and sexy looking man. Treat the issues that bug women the most by creating special “makeover your man” treatments to appeal to their desires. Advancements in medical aesthetics technology has given beauty practitioners the ability to correct conditions such as excessive body hair, scars or even ugly tattoos. This is a great way to get referral business, because once the woman sees the results she will always tell her friends.
When creating a menu of services and promotional materials to give your female clients, use taglines like “Is your man’s back as hairy as his chest?” or “Does his tattoo say Jane but your name is Jenny? Erase the ex today with laser tattoo removal.” Not only are they funny, but they call attention to men’s skin concerns that your clients might not know are treatable.
Men’s birthdays and anniversaries are also the perfect time to recommend your just-for-men treatments. After all, what does a woman get for the man who already has a pile Fathers Day ties and a world’s greatest dad hat? Help your clients alleviate their shopping worries by suggesting the gift of a spa experience. Find out what dates are special to them and promote the spa packages that best fit their needs. The men in their lives are sure to enjoy it and it is guaranteed to not collect dust in the back of a closet.
Reinvent Your Services
Instead of overhauling your entire spa menu to bring in more male clientele, consider giving your existing services a makeover. With the right phraseology and selling points, traditional and medical aesthetic spa treatments can be just as popular among men as they are with women. Here are some examples of the hottest treatments on the market and how you can give them a unique twist to make them more appealing to men:
This ancient form of relaxation has been a long-time favorite among the tired and overworked. Make your spa’s treatment selection stand out by crafting new, masculine-driven massages, such as “The Golfer’s Massage” that focuses on the shoulders and arms, or “The Muscle Massage” for the physical sportsman. Building distinctive relationships between massages, men’s health and athleticism makes the treatments much more desirable.
Cleansing, sunscreen application and the occasional toner…that’s as far as men used to go when it came to skincare regimens. However, men are now becoming more educated about the benefits of newly developed skin treatments. Rejuvenating photofacials and facial masks can do wonders for men’s skin, especially for those who work outdoors, suffer from acne or have sun damage. To cash in on the male market, establish facials with masculine ingredients and exfoliants like maple, beer hops, barley and even organic root and bark extracts. The word ‘facial’ is mostly associated with women, so replace it with treatment names like “The Beer Enzyme Pack,” or “The Gentlemen’s 20-Minute Fix.”
Laser Hair Removal
This advanced hair treatment is only as gender-specific as your spa makes them. The truth is, countless numbers of body-conscious men choose to shave their arms and chest for a sleek and smooth look that accentuates their muscle and skin tone. Athletes in particular opt for hairless bodies to enhance their performance.
Unfortunately, along with shaving comes a long list of unpleasant side effect such as razor burn, cuts and ingrown hairs. Tap into the demand by creating affordable packages that advertise the convenience of ditching the razor and how it can improve the look of their physique, making them more attractive to women. With so much demand for this procedure and a price point much higher than that of waxing, adding this service to your lineup is a quick way to boost revenue and make your clients happy.
Manicures and Pedicures
For most men, the thought of scheduling a pedicure in a luxury spa or nail salon is not the first thing on their minds. However, they are highly aware of the corporate world’s demand for well-polished and groomed employees. Introduce an “Executive Manicure” for the sharp businessperson, and incorporate a deep tissue hand massage so that men will not consider it as “getting their nails done.”
In addition to re-branding some of the procedures above, consider designing a new version of your treatment menu, made especially for men. Get rid of the lengthy descriptions that detail each step of the service and replace them with shorter titles that can be quickly read at a glance. When designing a layout, create the menu with a masculine color scheme and choose a size that discretely fits into a man’s wallet. This lets them keep your information close at hand without screaming to the world that they are a “spa man.”
Don’t be afraid to try new things. Research is key, so before you begin marketing to men, ask the men in your life if your revamped services and advertising would appeal to them. There is an entire world of men out and they are ready to spend their money. All they need is a little push in the right direction and they will soon become some of your most loyal clients.
Louis Silberman is president and founder of National Laser Institute, the largest cosmetic laser and medical aesthetic training center in North America. As an expert in medical aesthetics, a medical spa owner and nationally recognized author, marketing speaker and business consultant, Silberman has been a driving force behind the organization of advanced laser safety and clinical practice courses for professionals entering the cosmetic laser field. Contact Silberman at (800) 982-6817 or firstname.lastname@example.org.