Marketing to women on the World Wide Web |

Marketing to women on the World Wide Web

By Libby Chivers / August 4, 2009

Females aged between 35 and 49 are the fastest-growing group within social networks and blogging sites, according to recent research by Neilson. So how can marketers ensure they are effectively selling to women?

Image Credit: Freyja, Flickr

Before I begin this post, let’s get a few things straight. I do not believe that women are completely different and need entirely separate promotional tactics. I recognise that many aspects of marketing relate to both genders and I think I could easily write a piece on tactics for selling specifically to men.

However, I do believe that a great many blokes work in search engine optimisation (SEO) and so end up overseeing other marketing campaigns, like social media work.

They may be excellent at selling to men, particularly those in their own demographic, but what women want may not be that obvious to them.

So, here are a few things it is important to remember. As always, please feel free to add your own comments below.

Don’t miss women out

It is sometimes easy to assume that a woman will not be interested in your product – especially if you’re selling a service like SEO; many people you work with will be male IT consultants.

But, while the majority of the techies you interact with will be men, the people commissioning your work, assessing your work and paying for your work are as likely to be female as they are male.

So, make sure your marketing is inclusive. Don’t just use blokey language, bear women in mind whatever the product. Even if it’s men’s clothing, partners, mothers and daughters could be buying it.

Increase onsite socialising

As the Nielson stats and other research shows – women tend to enjoy socialising online more than men. They also (generally) interact differently – confrontational forum debates are out and supportive social networking is in.

So, facilitate that and personalise your platform. Allow personalised avatars, create a space for off-topic chat, encourage the sharing of ideas and support, and watch your online community thrive.

Create attractive pages

Men tend to appreciate functionality in websites. Clear lines, bold language, impeccable internal search, that sort of thing.

Of course, women need all that stuff too. A site that functions badly won’t appeal to anyone, no matter how aesthetically pleasing. However, female visitors appreciate attractive pages much much more.

Depending on your product, sites should be attractive, colourful, textured. Go beyond good basic design and create a pleasant space. Men won’t mind and women will enjoy it.

Grow your user-generated content

If you look at the success of websites that are hugely popular with various female demographics, they have a wealth of user-generated content.

Websites for mums, websites for women in IT, websites promoting stitch-n-bitches – whatever it is, if it is predominantly female and successful, the chances are it has reviews and articles submitted by the community.

Peer reviews of products and services is important for many women and should be catered for. A female reader will prefer to trust their fellow consumers rather than the company message, no matter how many statistics, blueprints and facts the firm has provided.

Don’t generalise

Okay, so this article itself is a generalisation but don’t assume you can apply these rules and instantly work magic with your female consumers.

You need to tailor any effort much further – a website selling to vets will need a considerably different approach to a website selling baking goods.

Also, most products and services are on offer to men and women, so keep everyone in mind when building the site. Marketing to males is not the opposite of marketing to females – you need to ensure your website caters and appeals to all.

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