Marketing Massage to Men

“…men would get a massage more often if they were approached in the manner that massage is part of treatment for specific conditions such as stress reduction or diabetes, and not an indulgence.” – Massage Therapist Pete Whitridge in MTJ, Spring 2008

Do you need to work harder at marketing to men than women?

If you want more men in your practice, the answer may be yes. Women are still receiving massage more than men (although it is getting slightly better). According to the American Massage Therapy Association’s (AMTA) 2016 consumer survey, 22 percent of women and 16 percent of men reported having a massage within the year.

Why do men get massage?

What motivates men to schedule massage? Since I’m not one, I decided to ask some guys who get massage their reasons. Reducing aches and pains, and recovery from injuries topped the list. They also gave injury prevention, relaxation, and stress reduction high marks. Here’s how they answered the question, “Why do you get massage?”.

The captain in the armed services (formerly in Iraq): I got my first massage after a particularly difficult field exercise. I was sore in places I didn’t know I could be sore in! Although I don’t have any facts to back this up I think it could curb any symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder many service members get when they return home, and I fully intend to get one.

The civil engineer: I get massage if I get injured or something gets really tight, and I can’t work it out myself.

The small business owner: I get regular massage because when I take care of any aches and pains right away they don’t usually turn into something bigger. Massage helps keep me from getting injured, and if I do get injured it gets treated right away.

The attorney: Number one, I get massage because it’s a great way to deal with stress, and number two, it helps me recover from injuries.

Do men have special concerns?

Two of my interviewees said that not knowing what to expect was a concern before they went in. This may not be particular to men, but for massage therapists it can be easy to forget that a new client is entering an unknown world that can challenge his comfort levels with intimacy. New clients need to know they will be draped, whether they can keep any clothes on, what the therapist needs to know about them, and what they should do during the session. Relieving the concerns of a new client extends to the moment you meet your new male client for the first time. Shake hands firmly and communicate clearly and non-flirtatiously to establish a sense of professionalism and security.

How to get guys into your practice?

As you may have guessed, it was their wives or female partners that convinced the interviewees to try massage. These women have experienced the benefits and pleasures of massage and wanted to have the men they love give it a try, too. Studies also show that women are more likely to research problems and make healthcare decisions in families. You can help reach out to men by educating your female clients about how massage works. Many massage therapists have found that they also reach men through female clients with gift certificates and targeted promotions.

What are some other ways to reach men?

  • Chair massage in the workplace or at events is a fantastic, safe way for men to experience their first massage, clothes on.
  • Offer couple’s massage. Schedule time in your clinic, gym, or spa for side-by-side treatments, or sell packages that include one-half hour massage plus time for a warm tub or foot soak, for example, so partners can trade off.
  • Target promotional messages to men’s concerns! Let your community know what your special contribution is. This doesn’t mean that you advertise the modality you do, at least not primarily. What it does mean is that if you are skilled at helping active people prevent injuries and maintain their bodies, then that should be said on all your marketing supplies such as business cards, flyers, and brochures. If you focus on stress reduction with all the corresponding benefits of fewer headaches, reduced tension, and better sleep, advertise that!

As one of my interviewees said, “Massage works! My muscles are continually tight, so I use massage and yoga to stay loose and more flexible.” He’s stating a benefit (flexibility) that matters to him, and you can bet he’s not the only guy that raves about massage after experiencing the results. So keep helping to relieve pain, reduce stress, and increase relaxation. And let men know that through your education and marketing. Once they come in for massage, experience great results, and find they feel safe with you, men may become your most loyal clients.