In case you haven’t noticed, feminism is not only loud and proud, it’s on the rise. With a surge in equality awareness and words like misogyny flying around a heated global political arena, you can barely help being affected by the reignited feminist movement.
Many of you believe that your business will be immune to this new state of affairs—that because you are a male business owner, or because your ideal customer is male, you can simply skate along as you have been, untouched.
Even if you’re working in a traditionally male-dominated industry, or in a market where the decision-maker has historically been male, I would suggest that you adjust your online marketing strategy to include the needs of women. They are not only moving into new roles, they are making more decisions and becoming more influential in the choices that their families, friends and colleagues make.
Long story made short: Even if you’re not intending to market to women, there’s a good chance a woman will be scrutinising your message and choosing to be either an advocate or an opponent of your brand.
This is important because, as many of you know, women have proven to be quite influential within their own circles (and beyond)…and to miss a brand advocacy opportunity this significant would be a crying shame.
Online Marketing, with Today's Women in Mind
Feminism is different this time around. It no longer seems to be a fight “for” women and “against” men. Now, it’s more like a fight FOR women and equality, with men working alongside women.
So what should this mean to you, as an online marketer?
It’s important to understand that just because your end user is male, doesn’t mean that the person influencing that man’s decision is male. Consider the fitness industry, for instance. Some gyms are filled with mostly men. In fact, many are reserved just for men. But here’s the real question: Who’s encouraging the men to get in shape? Who’s shopping for the best facilities? And who’s urging the men to go to the gym regularly? You could even take it a step further as ask, For whom are the men getting in shape?
The answer to many, or all, of these questions is women.
The automobile industry is another example. Historically, men have purchased cars for themselves and for their families. When a single woman wanted to purchase a car, she would take along a male friend…so he could “look under the hood” and so she wouldn’t be “eaten alive” by the “shark” salesman. All that has changed. Women are now conducting exhaustive research regarding the purchase of their next vehicle. They’re asking more [informed] questions and they’re doing all the negotiating for themselves.
So how can you tailor your online marketing strategy to this female-influenced market? Here are a few points that I suggest all brands consider:
- Avoid language that excludes women. No matter how masculine your product or how male-focussed your service, remember that men aren’t the only ones visiting your website. There’s no reason to change your content so that it’s directed to women; however, ensure that the language you’re using is not exclusionary.
- Understand that women are controlling the purse strings. Not only are single women far more independent than they once were, women are increasingly acting as heads of households…and that means they make spending decisions. In fact, Bloomberg tells us that women make 85% of all buying decisions today. They’re buying for themselves, for their partners, for their children, for their elderly parents, for their friends, for their co-workers and much more.
- Do not make income presumptions based on career. In some households, the woman has a fulltime career whilst the man takes care of things at home. In others, the woman will show no income, but have full access to her partner’s six-figure salary. Buying potential should never be determined by personal earnings, and now that family and household income dynamics are moving in many different directions, it’s even more important to understand your ideal customer before releasing online marketing campaigns.
- Represent women in your team. Believe it or not, people care about the gender balance that lies behind the logo, and they will go out of their ways to research gender representation in your team. Women want to know that they’re buying from a company that takes equality seriously. They want to see synergistic, diverse teams in action…and if they’re represented there, even better. More and more leadership roles are being filled by women because businesses are seeing their inherent abilities to handle the rigors of management positions. Should your brand promote based on gender? Absolutely not. Should it promote based on ability and belief in supporting your brand’s corporate values? Yes, yes, yes.
- Speak to the woman first, to the consumer second. Women are striving for equality, and they’re getting it; however, one thing will never change: They Are Women, and the innate qualities that make them masterful communicators and empathetic caregivers are not going away any time soon. Take the time to understand WHOM you’re talking to, not just WHAT you’re saying. Today’s consumer, and today’s woman, wants to know WHO is behind your brand, WHAT you believe, and HOW you plan on building a relationship with her.
Whether you’re passionate about the feminist movement or not, it’s important to understand that there are probably a fair number of feminists in your audience. For many of you, I would suggest that you audit your brand to make sure you’re appealing to women, who may be far more involved with your brand than you ever imagined.
Have questions about your ideal customer? Or about who’s actually buying from you? Or about how to improve your online marketing so you’re not inadvertently excluding a large portion of potential buyers? Check out the 3-day Master Your Message™ event. By the time it’s over, you’ll have a custom, branded message ready to attract the clients that you (and your competitors) have been dreaming of.