Alex R. Thiersch, JD, is a Chicago healthcare attorney who represents medical spas, plastic surgeons, and aesthetic medical professionals. He is the founder and director of the American Med Spa Association (AmSpa), which was created for the express purpose of providing comprehensive, relevant, and timely legal and business resources for medical spas and medical aesthetic physicians throughout the United States. Mr. Thiersch is also a partner at ByrdAdatto Law Firm. For more information about becoming a member or to learn about AmSpa's upcoming events, log on to www.americanmedspa.org. Alex can be contacted at email@example.com.
Since its inception, the medical aesthetic industry has catered primarily to women. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), 90.6 percent of the non-surgical procedures administered in 2015 were performed on women, as opposed to 9.4 percent on men. This disparity seems significant, but it's actually much less pronounced than it has been in the past.
“In 2001, the first year of my clinic, two percent of our revenue came from men,” says Matt Taranto, managing partner of AesthetiCare Medspa in Leawood, Kansas. “In 2016, this had risen to 18 percent. I expect to see it to continue to rise.”
Bryan Durocher, founder of Essentials Spa Consulting, LLC, agrees, saying: “Men are going to go from 10 percent of the market place to 30 percent in the next decade due to male millennials. This would never have happened in the Boomer or X'er generations. [It is] good news for the marketplace.”
However, medical aesthetic practice owners and medical spa owners and operators likely can't help but feel as though they are leaving a great deal of money on the table by not doing more now to cater to the needs and wants of 49.2 percent of the population (according to the 2010 US census). But how can a medical aesthetic practice or medical spa attract more male patients without alienating its existing female clientele?
It will likely be worth it in the long haul to shift some of your practice's marketing focus to attracting men. The men's aesthetic business might not seem to be particularly significant when compared to the women's, but, according to the ASAPS's statistics, the number of non-surgical aesthetic procedures administered to men increased by 59.4 percent from 2010 to 2015. That's a significant trend, and it indicates that, if you're willing to make an effort to cater to men, you may be on your way to improving your bottom line.
Perhaps the most obvious way to attract men to aesthetic services is to administer them in an environment that they find masculine—or, at least not too feminine. Some aesthetic practices are designing their entire business or certain areas of their facilities to appeal to men. In the spirit of salon chains, such as the hugely successful Sport Clips (which has more than 1,500 locations in the United States alone), some practices have chosen to create spaces that more closely resemble sports bars than traditional medical spas or medical aesthetic offices. With leather couches and flat-screen televisions on the walls, these spaces are designed to draw in the sort of customer who doesn't typically think that medical aesthetic treatments are for men.
In the very near future, some enterprising entrepreneurs likely will attempt to create a national chain of medical spas designed to cater specifically to men—a medical aesthetic version of Sport Clips, in other words. As that company has shown, whoever can make a name for themselves selling aesthetic treatments to men in a male-focused environment stands to reap immense profits, as the market is largely untapped.
However, if you don't have the space to dedicate to a more male-focused area of your practice or simply don't want to cover your walls with flat-screen TVs and sports knick-knacks, Taranto suggests making all your décor more welcoming to everybody.
“To make men comfortable, we try not to have our clinic too ‘feminine,'” he explains. “Our décor is very gender-neutral, so that it appeals to both men and women.”
But aside from making the medical spa environment less intimidating to their masculinity, how can a practice entice more men to come in? What sorts of treatments will get them through the door?
Retail experts will tell you that male shopping habits are much different than those of women. Men typically shop out of need—for example, when it's time to get a haircut, they get a haircut. Women, on the other hand, tend to get much greater pleasure out of the shopping experience. They might go to a medical spa as part of a shopping trip; men, however, typically don't take shopping trips or even really consider going somewhere unfamiliar unless they need something there and can't get it anywhere else.
So it stands to reason that you have to offer men something that they feel is truly useful to get them to take the time to come to your medical aesthetic facility or medical spa. One such treatment is hair restoration. Some medical aesthetic practices offer some combination of platelet-rich plasma (PRP), stem cells, and microneedling treatments to stimulate hair growth in men; some even offer hair transplants.
Men have also shown an affinity for body-sculpting treatments that either freeze or heat fat so that it exits the patient's body. For men, this type of treatment is often used to combat the effects of gynecomastia, which is an increase in fat deposits in male breasts (i.e., “man boobs”).
Another type of treatment that can attract men is hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which helps to boost the amount of testosterone in a person's system in order to combat the effects of aging. In addition, men have been known to seek out medical aesthetic offerings such as laser tattoo removal, laser hair removal, and sweat-reduction treatments, such as miraDry.
The key is getting these men through the door, because if you provide them a simple, satisfactory experience, they are very likely to return.
“Men are very loyal customers and are great to have, yet they are price-conscious and don't like to be confused with too many steps or products to use,” Durocher says. “Men like straightforward, no-nonsense facts and results explained. [Medical spas should] talk about how they are going to look better, be more competitive in the workforce [and be] more desirable.”
Catering to men often requires a much different mentality than catering to women; however, if you can provide exceptional service, you're likely to experience the same result—consistent business.
Marketing to Men
So how does a medical aesthetic practice get men to try them out? There are a number of ways to market to men, including some that involve becoming a more active part of your community.
“Gay men are very good clients,” Taranto says. “We have joined The Mid-America Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce in Kansas City and hosted the chamber for a Happy Hour in February. [As early as mid-January,] we already had 120 guests registered.”
Of course, you can also target women with offers that will have the collateral effect of allowing their husbands and boyfriends to sample your practice's offerings.
“One of the best ways to get men through the door is to entice their wives [and] girlfriends to bring them in,” Taranto continues. “We are introducing a new program that gives any women a $165 Hydrafacial at no charge if she brings her husband or boyfriend in for a consultation. We have found that women are very good at convincing men to come to our clinic.” (Author's note: Make sure you talk to your healthcare attorney regarding applicable anti-kickback and fee-splitting laws when using this approach.)
Aesthetic practices can also use their female customers to help create marketing opportunities.
“We do all sorts of marketing campaigns to attract male clients,” says Dori Soukup, founder and CEO of InSPAration Management. “One is to nominate your man for a [free] makeover. Get all the women to give their husband's or partner's information. Build a database of men only and create a series of emails to go out, [then] choose a winner. Videotape the entire transformation and then market the video.”
According to Soukup, many medical aesthetic practices fail to take advantage of the information they have at hand when considering how to market to men.
“Currently, most medical spas do not segment their email list,” she says. “They are sending the same marketing strategies to both [men and women]. If a business would like to gain more male clients, it's best to be specific and speak to them.”
Finally, Taranto suggests that simply providing representation for men will make it seem less strange for them to be at a medical spa and help illustrate the benefits of the practice's services.
“In our promotions, we are doing a better job of showing before and after photography of male clients,” he says. “Also, my manager is male and is very active in client interaction, which I believe helps.”
A New Day
The male market has traditionally been very difficult for medical spa owners and operators to conquer. The industry has been female-focused—both in terms of offerings and in how it is viewed by society at large—for a very long time, and altering the way it is perceived is not going to happen overnight. However, although there's a certain population of men that you're simply never going to reach, it will likely be worth it in the long haul to shift some of your practice's marketing focus to attracting men.
The men's aesthetic business might not seem to be particularly significant when compared to the women's, but, according to the ASAPS's statistics, the number of non-surgical aesthetic procedures administered to men increased by 59.4 percent from 2010 to 2015. That's a significant trend, and it indicates that, if you're willing to make an effort to cater to men, you may be on your way to improving your bottom line.