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BFS Capital Blog

How to Market Your Spa to Men

May 17, 2016

If we’ve learned anything this year it’s that conventional wisdom is conventionally wrong.

For example, one might think spas are more or less a woman’s world – what with all the soft music and cucumber water – but one would be completely wrong.

According to the International Spa Association, nearly 47 percent of spa customers are now men, up from just 31 percent a few years ago. So if your spa is not marketing to men, you’re now missing out on half your market.

So how do you take a business model that’s been traditionally geared toward one group and market it to another? Here are ten useful tips to market your spa to men.

Educate Men on Spa Services
“Don’t take for granted guys understand this concept,” says Al Maulini, Brand Founder of The Well Groomed Gentleman in Coral Gables, Florida. “It’s an education process, many guys have never had a facial or a manicure, and even if they agree to do it they add something like ‘But don’t take my picture.’ But once they try it, they come back again and again.” Fighting the misconceptions of what spas do is your biggest key to marketing. So take every opportunity you can to explain what your spa does, and why it’s nothing to ever get embarrassed about.

Position Your Spa Where Guys Are
No, don’t go awkwardly stand outside a men’s room with discounted massage fliers for your spa. Not only will it be a waste of time, but it might get you arrested. Rather take a look at a calendar of local events like marathons, 3-on-3 basketball tournaments, fishing tournaments, beer festivals and other places males would otherwise congregate. Then invest in some table space, bring some masseurs for free shoulder massages, and convert those people into appointments.

Lure Men In to Your Spa with Massages
“Getting a massage” doesn’t have the same connotation as “going to get my nails done,” so most guys will have no qualms going into your spa for a little muscle rehabilitation. Once they’ve booked, offer introductory manicures or facials with the massage so they can see what they’re missing out on. “There’s an embarrassment associated with getting a manicure and pedicure,” says Maulini. “But once they try it, they’re hooked.”

Market Your Spa in Male-Dominated Workplaces
Much like you might with athletic events, try and partner with typically-male dominated workplaces like auto repair shops and offer free in-office mini massages. Bring materials about your spa with you and give introductory offers to anyone (women too!) who comes in from the office.

Write an Article for a Men’s Publication
A lot of men know about as much about spa services as they do about underwear shopping, so for many it’s really just a matter of having the right expert explain the services to them. Be that expert. Offer to write a piece for a local (or national) men’s lifestyle website or blog explaining the process. Maybe even offer up a discount for anyone who comes in and says they read the article.

Donate to Auctions
Men attend (and are often dragged to) charity auctions all the time. Donating some men’s spa services to the auction will not only help your profile in the community, it’ll net you a new male customer who probably has the means to make return visits.

Sell to the Women in Their Lives
With Father’s Day on the horizon, it’s an obvious time to market gifts to your female clientele. But it doesn’t need to stop there. Offer discounted couples’ packages – especially couples’ facials and other treatments men don’t traditionally get – and women will bring the men in their lives in with them. This can be especially effective if it’s tied in to a Valentine’s Day promotion. And as Maulini says, once they try it once, they’ll keep coming back.

Design Your Men’s Menu with Guys in Mind
Guys will admit to not knowing directions before they’ll ever admit to getting anything called a “Mani/Pedi.” A hand and foot massage, however? That’s a little more palatable. Same goes for things like facials. You think Clint Eastwood ever got anything described “Anti-Aging?” Heck no. But an “energizing skin peel?” That sounds more like it. So when putting together your specialized menu of men’s services, make sure the names sound like things men would publicly admit to doing.

Promote Men’s Nights at Your Spa
Many places, such as Maulini’s Well Groomed Gentleman, set up their entire business to cater to men: Big leather chairs, sports on TV, and bourbon behind the bar. But your spa may be more unisex, or even geared towards women. That doesn’t mean you can’t be a boys club once in a while. Once a month have a “Men’s Day” where your TVs show sports, and complimentary whiskey is served instead of cucumber water. If you’re legally allowed, set up an outdoor smoking area for cigars, and run specials on all men’s services. It’ll be a fun way to change things up without losing any of your regular clients

Hire Great Employees for Your Spa
The temptation when marketing to men might be to rely on the old adage of “sex sells,” and use professionals who look great for men’s services. But this plan will backfire. “It might work well the first time,” warns Maulini, “but bottom line you get a bad service and you’re never coming back.” The key, he says, is to be like a restaurant with great food. Start with the end product and build the experience around that. It’ll do a lot more for repeat business than a pretty face.

Implementing some of these ideas will allow you to market your spa to men and, in turn, take advantage of an untapped market to grow your clientele.