How to attract more men into the salon space
By Guest Writer | 22 February 2022 | Expert Advice, Feature
Do you struggle to target a male client base? Are you offering enough treatments for male need in the beauty space? Here, Patrick Barry, GM of Small Business at salon software company, Zenoti, shares his views & how you can market your wellness service towards men…
Why might men be reluctant to visit a salon or spa?
Unfortunately, I think there is still a bit of a stigma for men around beauty and wellness services. Hair colour appointments, facials, manicures, and more have largely been stereotyped by society as feminine. Barbershops have traditionally been male-dominated spaces, making salons and spas the opposite. This means that making an appointment for something that has been seen as traditionally feminine can be incredibly difficult, especially when they might be the only man at the nail salon. But this is changing!
Wellness and feeling your best should be available to everyone. It can be a daunting task to make that first step, but the reward is high for taking the initiative and helping break down these self-care barriers. Most importantly, service providers can make it a point to help men feel more comfortable and less reluctant to embark on their own self-care journey.
How can these businesses entice such clients through the door?
It starts with the environment – both physical and virtual. Creating a website and interior space that is gender neutral goes a long way with helping a broader clientele feel more comfortable. Many men that are curious about wellness treatments might start with a quick Google search, or by word of mouth. Your existing customers will be key to bringing in new male clients as well – even if your business currently serves a small number of male clients.
Refreshing your environment will go a long way for client recommendations as people will be more likely to refer the men in their lives if they know they’ll feel comfortable in your space.
Creating a website that provides clear visual and written descriptions for the services you provide will give them more control. Providing educational content for potential customers can go a long way for men that are just starting out. Doing this can make the entire experience less intimidating.
I also think it’s incredibly empowering to see people just like you in the provider role. Do your providers and services reflect a diversity that various customers can relate to? Just as customers might see the salon and spa space as traditionally female, so do aspiring beauty professionals. Creating a more diverse and welcoming environment should be a two-way street between providers and their clients.
What should be considered when marketing to these clients?
Start from the basics and rethink your strategy by taking a closer look at who it is you are marketing to. It’s easy to overlook the ways that various aspects of the beauty and wellness industry are feminised or catered more toward women. So, consider marketing services in a way that is more gender neutral. I think a great example of this is Pharrell William’s new beauty line, Humanrace, which was designed specifically to thwart ideas of strictly feminine (or masculine) products. The packaging comes in Kelly green and even includes signage in Braille. Salons and spas can mimic this by offering treatments not based on gender. Instead of, for example, a male or female haircut, offer services based on hair length or type.
The goal here is to reverse any invisible barriers that might keep potential clients out. Keep this in mind when marketing new offerings as well as in day-to-day practice.
Similarly, your services menu should be reviewed to ensure things like ‘women’s manicure’ vs ‘men’s manicure’ are replaced with verbiage that reflects the type of service rather than gender. It is OK to have certain services that are more male-focused (female as well). Just ensure your salon isn’t creating that divide with every single service and in turn, its description.
A great way to communicate your services to a male audience is to explain the benefit. Yes, a lot of men might come strictly for self-care and relaxation. However, a lot of those males who might be ‘on the fence’ want to know what they get out of it. Less hangnails (ouch!), split or cracked feet, as well as long-term health benefits might be the deciding factor for trying out your salon.
How can salons/spas create a ‘male-friendly’ salon environment? What should/shouldn’t they do?
Creating a male-friendly environment starts with the basics. Providers and businesses looking to do this should start small and work toward larger changes. Consider hanging gender-neutral art or having images of both men and women in the salon or on the website. Turn the television to a variety of different channels – or better yet, ask them what they’d like to watch (hello personalised experience!). Some salons and spas have turned to iPads to allow customers to peruse the content that they’re most interested in.
Regardless of gender, making the customer feel seen and welcome is incredibly powerful when creating a friendly atmosphere.
Another way to accomplish a male-friendly vibe is by creating spaces for extra privacy. The openness of the spa for newcomers might make them feel watched or uncomfortable – reducing this stress can increase the likelihood of a repeat visit.
For any new customers, including male, I recommend explaining each step of the process to them so they feel in control of the situation. Address their specific needs. It’s important to ask them questions about their own grooming routine or what they are looking to get out of the experience.
For example, Zenoti enables business owners to implement microtargeting in regards to marketing – that way you won’t waste men’s time sending them promotions on services they aren’t likely to be interested in. Instead, our software helps you send the right messaging to the right targets so the offers can really land.
What circumstances might prevent a male client from returning following a salon/spa experience?
I think it really boils down to comfort. The converse of these recommendations for creating an inclusive and welcoming experience would be an experience that is difficult to navigate or ostracises your client. This could mean any variety of circumstances: confusing or sparse service descriptions, a hyper-feminine environment, or the types of communication coming from providers can all contribute to isolating male clients.
What’s important is letting your expertise and the experience itself shine. It can be incredibly relieving to experience a manicure, massage, or facial for the first time – making it easy to keep your new male client coming back. Removing any roadblocks that would make him feel uncomfortable can prevent a negative first experience.
What salon/spa services are proving popular with men – and why do you think this is the case?
The past few years have been hard on all of us, both mentally and physically. Self-care is becoming even more important to everyone as we try to manage burnout and alleviate the lasting effects of difficult times. Salon and spa services provide an incredibly powerful outlet for mental and physical issues. In fact, feeling good on the outside has proven mental health benefits.
So, it makes sense that they would prove to be more popular with men! Coupled with a lessening stigma around self-care, wellness, and men, I think that the silver lining of the pandemic has certainly been the increase in people trying new experiences and seeking out opportunities to improve their well-being.
The salon and spa services where we’re seeing an increase in male clients range from manicures and pedicures to massages and hair salon appointments. These services might be the easiest route to opening the door to men – I think it’ll still take some time to see the same influx in other areas such as medspas or other preventative services.
Have attitudes to male self-care changed over time? If so, how?
I think they certainly have! We have multiple customers that have changed their offerings or have created a business model that really indicates a change in self-care for men. Our customer, Hammer and Nails, specifically provides haircare and foot care services to men in a space they call ‘Relaxed Man Care Nirvana.’
The pandemic has sped up and ushered in new attitudes around self-care, since we all need a little TLC in our lives these days – something that I think will continue to improve in the future. Asides from salons and spas changing their format or marketing strategies, I’ve also seen a more general opening up of men to beauty and wellness experiences. There’s a trend on TikTok right now where female partners give their male counterparts facials and other beauty treatments – their partners look incredibly content to be openly relaxing in front of a virtual audience. At Zenoti, our mission is to make everyone feel good so that they can find their greatness – and that means men, too.