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What Can The Profession Do To Attract More Male Clients?


Originally published in Massage Bodywork magazine, September/October 2010. Copyright 2010. Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals. All rights reserved.

I think it would be beneficial to emphasize health benefits/sports massage/postural correction, etc. to men (who don't respond to "touchy-feely" language like most women do). Many men won't go to a spa for a day of pampering, but they have no problem with going to a bodywork clinic for somatic therapy. And if we can emphasize its benefits in sports and on-the-job performance, so much the better.
Chris Lewis
Littleton, Colorado


Men respond better to clearly defined goals, purposeful processes, and results that can be measured. When massage, reflexology, and physical therapy are positioned as the right tools for the job, men will be attracted to bodywork.
Eric Saylor
Seattle, Washington


For me, attracting more male clients is not a problem. Here in Texas (cowboy country), I do mini-massages (fully clothed) at local equine events. We have a lot of team roping. This sport is usually dominated by men. They hurt just like everyone else and want to feel better. When I set up, the men are generally curious. After having them on my table for 7-10 minutes, I can show them how they can perform better. Once the first person gets started, the rest just line up.
Paula A. Cable
Liberty Hill, Texas


I think this is an interesting question. I happen to be very lucky and have a 50-50 split of men and women in my practice. I have gone out of my way to have this kind of diversity. I have found that men generally are not interested in spa-type massage or atmosphere. I work for myself and put a lot of thought into the decor of the office so it's appealing for anyone who comes in. I have talked to several of my clients about this topic and they felt that massage you get at a spa seems to be too froufrou for them. They like deep tissue, sports massage, Active Isolated Stretching, etc. They want to feel that their muscle tension has been worked out, not been pampered.
TJ
Sebring, Florida


My practice and I reside in a very industrial area, named the "Energy Capital of the World." Personally, my clientele is about 80 percent male. Although, I do firmly believe this has everything to do with the area and the industries here, I do realize it is highly unexpected and rare. On the other hand, with my boyfriend being employed in the realm of the mining/methane community, and our social life centered around it, I often get drilled on questions pertaining to males receiving massages. The basis of this seems to be that the majority of the "typical" male population is uneducated on what a massage is all about. Continuing to answer their questions and concerns briefly, yet in detail, has significantly turned the skeptics into my weekly repeats.
Brianna Dye
Gillette, Wyoming


My male clientele is at 40 percent and growing. I've found that more women are willing to try massage, but the men who get on the table tend to be the ones that re-book regularly. A lot of it is approach and learning how to read your client. I have firemen, marines, golfers, laborers, and a growing number of weekend warriors who are finding out that massage lets them climb that ladder a little faster, not tire as easily, and just generally be able to cope better with the daily grind in their job/home lives. Example: have your golf enthusiasts show you their swings. Tell them what their body is telling you. Treat them as needed, not factory line massage. And then after the session, have them do the same swing and let them tell you what they notice. Men are big into seeing-is-believing.
Marissa Macias
Via Massageprofessionals.com


From my vantage point, there are a lot of guys getting massage ... but it's important to look in the right places. For example, I do a lot of multi-sport events in summer: triathlons, biathlons, etc. At the longer events, particularly, it's almost impossible not to see a lot of guys flopping down on the mats or tables for 15-20 minute complimentary post-race massages. These are fantastic places for therapists to make contacts, because the audience is incredibly receptive to the work and the results. In fact, at most races I've been to, there's a bigger line for free massage than for free beer! So I think it's critical that more massage therapists show up at races in the summer, distribute business cards on car windshields, and/or provide free demo massage. Multi-sport athletes know about the importance of massage, or even if they don't, they are very receptive to trying massage. One more suggestion: contact the race organizer before showing up, and make sure he or she knows what you want to do ... most will welcome you ... especially at shorter races.
John Gelb
Via Massageprofessionals.com


It seems men are not quite as keen on having another man massage them. Yet, I've also found that this really isn't the biggest issue or resistance to receiving a massage from another male. What I've found is to get very specific in your marketing. First, target your marketing to specific needs of the target market you are going after. Do you work on back pain? Golfers elbow? Knee problems? Find something that the men in your target market want, match it to your skills, and compose your material dripping with benefits. Not features, benefits.

This leads to the critical point. Most MTs are just not going far enough in explaining benefits to men. You can't just say, "I relieve back pain." This doesn't say much. You have to write out exactly what men are thinking.

"Oh, Kris relieves back pain, so I can get back on my quad, so I can get back on the golf course." You mention (in your marketing material) exactly what massage is going to do for them. Make it personal.

Yes, the benefits of massage gets them going again, but that's not how they are thinking. If an MT says, "My massage relieves back pain," the client says, "So what? I can take a pill for that!"
For me, this is a process, not a procedure or just a massage. Get men in the door, get their info off your intake form so you can market to them in the future (their mailing address), listen to their concerns, give a great massage, talk to them afterward about signing up for another massage, or if not, mail them a postcard with a new massage package.
Kris Kelley
Via Massageprofessionals.com




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