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Marketing to women: tapping into a goldmine

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Women account for the majority of all consumer purchases, and more than $20 trillion in global spending, writes social media expert, Mel Kettle*

As Beyonce sings,’Who runs the world? Girls!’–and she isn’t wrong! In fact, in Australia women own more than a third of all businesses and the number is rising. Also, Australian women are becoming more educated. In 2014, almost 45,000 more women graduated with tertiary qualifications than men.

Women are the biggest contributor to GDP, making purchasing decisions for themselves, and often also for the children and the men in their lives. Yet despite this, many women feel they are misunderstood when it comes to marketing undertaken by many brands and businesses.

Key to creating a successful marketing campaign targeting women is to understand the current trends that drive demand, purchase behaviour and brand loyalty. Understanding these insights, while remembering that people do business with people they know, like and trust, will help your marketing efforts succeed.

  1. Technology and social media

Technology is changing rapidly, with the advent of the smartphone one of the biggest game changers in recent years. Women are increasingly adopting new technology, regardless of whether they are employees, business owners or stay-at-home mums. We use our phones for shopping, social media, searching for information (often about what we want to buy), listening to music and more.

Think about how you can tap into this love of technology – can you provide free wifi? Can you provide an in-store phone charging station? Do you have an online shop? If you do, make sure your website is optimised for mobile (it should be anyway…).

While women today are juggling more and more responsibilities – from work to family to friends to volunteering and everything in between – we are still finding the time to use social media – up to ten hours a week on Facebook alone.

The latest Sensis Social Media Report shows that 79% of Australian women use social media, with 60% of these using social networking sites at least once a day. The most popular platform is Facebook (97%), followed by Instagram (41%), however if you’re targeting 18-29 year olds, 81% are on Instagram and 77% are on Snapchat.

What this means is that if you are wanting to do business with women, you need to be on Facebook. If you are one of the 52 per cent of Australian small businesses NOT using any form of social media, can I please suggest you rectify that immediately.

Facebook – as well as other social media platforms – provides an excellent opportunity for you to gain insights about what women like and dislike, as well as the problems they are trying to solve. Take the time to listen to what we are saying, and provide useful and practical solutions to the problems we are trying to solve.

Share useful content – did you know women are far more likely than men to look up health or medical information? Don’t just schedule it during your business hours – the most popular times for women to use social media are in the evening and when they first wake up.

Women like to use social media to engage. Community is important to us, so have a conversation. Ask questions, share your stories and your experiences – the funny, the silly, the embarrassing. Authentic experiences help others relate to you, which will help increase the trust factor.

  1. Social proof

Women have always liked to talk – in fact, women speak 10,000 – 12,000 more words a day than men. As well as face to face conversations, today these conversations are happening on social media and in online forums and communities.

Word-of-mouth in both offline and online communities is a major influence in women’s buying habits. Generating and sharing social proof through social networks can exponentially increase the influence of your brand.

People are far more likely to trust their peers than they are to trust advertising, with word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family being extremely influential in decision making. Research by Nielsen shows that 4 in 5 Australians trust recommendations from someone they already know, and 3 in 5 trust comments from other online consumers.

So how can you generate some social proof? Below are four effective ways:

  • collect testimonials and share them on your website and your Facebook page – don’t just ask for written testimonials, ask for video testimonials too
  • customer ratings and reviews – ask for ratings on your Facebook page and on Google
  • use influencers – look at who the main influencer mums are in your community and work with them to promote your pharmacy (note, you will probably need to pay them, which they must disclose)
  • social proof works better with pictures – if you are including customer testimonials on your website, ask if you can also use their photo.
  1. A sense of community

Women have a strong sense of wanting to feel connected to their local community, with 63% of Australian women participating in social community groups. Women like to feel needed, as well as have a connection to their local community. This includes:

  • knowing where to find what they want and need locally
  • feeling safe
  • knowing what opportunities are available locally – for themselves and their families
  • knowing people in the local neighbourhood
  • knowing where to get the best deals.

More and more women also have a need for knowledge and a healthy fear of missing out (FOMO). What’s going on in your community? What’s happening in terms of local events, shopping and specials, health and fitness, food and cooking and local people? How can you share information about these topics in store in your pharmacy, as well as on your website and on your social media channels?

  1. Lifestyle triggers

Women tend to be affected by lifestyle – and often hormonally driven – changes more than men. From entering puberty and getting our first periods, to having children, to going through menopause and everything in between and beyond. It’s important to remember that people do business with people they know, like and trust, so show empathy, interest, care and compassion when these life changes are occurring. Also, look at the opportunities these changes can provide for you. Can you provide a quiet room in your pharmacy for women who need to breastfeed their child? Or as a respite (with a cold glass of water and a fan) for the menopausal woman who is suddenly overcome by a hot flush – not to mention the exhaustion that often follows the hot flush!

Finally, it’s important to remember there is no such thing as a typical woman. We are different depending on our generation, our family status, our interests, our education and so much more. Talk to us individually rather than as a homogenous group. Empathising with our differences, and acknowledge we are not all the same, and you will have a far greater opportunity to connect with us. Listen to us more than you talk. Engage with us on social media, take advantage of new technology, and please, please, please ensure your website is optimised for mobile as we will probably buy online from someone else if it’s not.

Don’t miss Mel’s presentation Marketing to Women – From Tweens to Baby Boomers at PA2017

The conference takes place 26-28 October, 2017, Gold Coast.