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Archive for January, 2009

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“We’re there for you.”

Some of the most successful companies say it this way:

  • Nordstrom: We do everything possible (and more) to give you excellent customer service.
  • Apple computers: We provide in-person tech support and free workshops.
  • Les Schwab Tires: We run to your car to show how eager we are to help you. 

How you might say it to your customers:

  • A personal trainer develops individual workouts for each client.
  • An ecommerce site allows shoppers to filter results lots of ways for quick, easy shopping.
  • A graphic design firm speeds up their email response time based on a customer survey. 

How do you tell customers you’re there for them?

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istock-close-up-money11Who is this amazing group? Women. Turns out, we wield wallets and we’re not afraid to use them.

Women buy or influence the buying of 80% of all consumer goods. And we’re not just buying ho-hum stuff like groceries and household items, but big-ticket items in every category: homes, stocks, cars, computers, travel and so on.

There’s more. We start up businesses at 3 times the rate of men. If you earn our loyalty, we’re a 2-for-1 customer: Research shows the services and products we purchase for our personal lives, we also purchase for our businesses.

Clearly, crafting messages in a way that appeals to women is smart marketing. Yet does “marketing to women” mean merely swapping “she” for “he” on your website, blog or email campaigns?

No way. The key to tapping into this market is knowing who your individual female customer really is and what motivates her to buy. Here’s how.

Identify her specific needs

Women have one common trait: gender.

Other than that, we’re as diverse as they come. “Stereotypes are the single biggest reason why so many marketing-to-women efforts fail,” writes Holly Buchanan on Copyblogger.com.

You’ve seen the most common stereotype on TV: the thirty-something minivan-driving mom. Yet consider the needs of

  • A 23-year-old college graduate who just landed her first corporate job
  • A 30-year-old law-firm partner, pregnant with her second child.
  • A 52-year-old recently divorced woman whose last child recently left home
  • A 60-year-old retiree who has sold her house and belongings to travel to Africa

Ensure your marketing success by understanding your female customer. Speak to her in a way that says you know her and care about her concerns and needs.

Value her as a peer

We all know the illustration of climbing the ladder to get ahead. But often, competing with others–stepping on toes and knuckles on the way up—only alienates us.

Marti Barletta, author of Marketing to Women, writes on MarketingProfs.com, “Men aspire to be at the top of the heap, the King of the Road. Psychologists have found, however, that women generally don’t want to be looked up to, any more than they want to be looked down on. Female gender culture operates within the worldview of a peer group, and women like to look across, to feel a sense of bonds among equals.”

I saw an ad for a condo recently that showed a woman in a cozy home. “Free ego boost with purchase,” it said. Perfect messaging for men but not women.

Better? State Farm’s “We live where you live” campaign, which stresses a neighborly connection and peer relationships.

Respect her connections

In the last week, I asked a neighbor if she’d eaten at a nearby Thai restaurant, my vegetarian sister-in-law where to buy groceries for my daughter, who wants to be meat-free, and a friend if she liked the movie “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.”

Just casual conversation, right? Sure–but also classic female purchasing behavior: In general, we ask the opinions of others before showing the money.

“Word-of-mouth marketing is a perfect fit for marketing to women,” write Michele Miller and Holly Buchanan in The Soccer Mom Myth. “Why do women tell one another about products of services? Look at their deeper motivations. They want to enhance their relationships… they love to help their friends and turn them on to wonderful new companies, services and products.”

Offer a fantastic product or service and carefully build your brand. Then, when you earn woman’s loyalty, she’ll likely tell a friend–or ten.

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The Girl Effect, a nonprofit awareness campaign, creates marketing that rocks for a cause that counts. It takes a huge problem—the poverty of 600 million adolescent girls in the developing world—and creates a message that is:

  • Clear and compelling
  • Interactive, engaging viewers
  • Delivers a clear call to action

 

Got 30 minutes? That’s how long it takes to use the campaign as a springboard for your own creativity. From the  authors of Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die. 

Give to The Girl Effect and I’ll match everyone’s (collective) funds up to $100.

 

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More advice from
Biznik writers on how to grow your small business.

1. Deliver your message plainly in the language of your audience. –Molly Dee Anderson

2. Communicating what sets your business apart with clear, compelling web content is the service a writer can bring to small companies. –Russell Smith

3. When you’re writing your marketing materials, you’re really just having a conversation with one other person; so write in the first person and use the word “you” wherever possible to make a deeper, one-on-one connection. –Stacy Karacostas

 4. Approach your marketing copy with the energy, integrity and sincerity  you’d have with close friend. –Allison Ellis

5. Know what motivates your customers: It’s not your gadget, sorry to say, but something more instinctual–the desire to be noticed (think Tiffany’s diamonds), to be cool (Apple’s iPhones), to be special (Nordstrom’s customer service) or to be thrifty (Wal-Mart’s everything). Address that unconscious need, and the sale is yours. –Um, me. 

Add to the writing wealth; send your best writing tip. Thanks!

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I belong to the social network Biznik which goes by the motto “collaboration not competition.” Recently, I hit up my fellow Biznik writers for a single sentence on their best marketing tip. 

Each word of advice is as distinctive as its author but all are written with one purpose: to help you build your business through better writing.

1. It’s all about the headline; if you’re going to budget four hours to write your ad, spend 3 hours and 45 minutes on the headline and make sure it’s a bold promise that appeals to your niche. –Mike Schwagler
 

2. A single word: SPELLCHECK. –Brian M. Wise
 

3. Customers are the heart of your business–good writing connects you with them productively and profitably. –Jeffrey Lemkin
 

4. Write like you talk. –Chris Haddad
 

5. Proofread, proofread, proofread; spelling and grammar errors are the visible-viruses, the flies in the ointment, the red flags that shout out ‘AMATEUR!’ and lay waste to all that cash you’ve forked over to web designers, business consultants and branding experts. –Terance Pagard
 

6. Deliver your message plainly in the language of your audience. –Molly Dee Anderson
 

Add to the collective knowledge–send your best tip!

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Biz Bravo! highlights a business with rockin’ marketing. An occasional feature, it delves into a company’s web content, e-newsletters, blogs or social networking savvy as a way to inspire and teach you to better promote your own business.

Wuhoo Fitness Earns a Biz Bravo! for Creating a Consistent Core Message

I recently talked with Jennifer Malocha, owner of Wuhoo Fitness. Wow! What a vivacious woman, passionate about fitness and truly dedicated to her clients. Her company’s website reflects her personality and delivers a strong core message: Fitness is fun.

This statement defines how Wuhoo Fitness is different from other businesses, helping potential clients choose Jennifer as their coach. She delivers the message multiple ways on her website–never deviating from it–for a serious one-two punch of power.

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Creating a Consistent Core Message the Wuhoo Way

Home page
The content says, “Through my health, wellness, and fitness coaching (fitness), I specialize in helping inactive women become active so that they can enjoy life more and enjoy more life (fun).”

Jennifer features exercise resources (fitness) but puts them under the umbrella name Club Wuhoo (fun). 

Logo
Wuhoo’s logo incorporates activities like biking and weightlifting (fitness) yet its design is light and lively (fun).

Photos
Jennifer’s head shot shows her hefting a silvertone barbell (fitness), yet her expression is smiling, open and inviting (fun).

Images at the bottom of her home page show women engaged in sports (fitness) clearly having a ball (fun).

Way to go, Wuhoo Fitness! Keep up the great work.

Nominate a company for Biz Bravo! and it might be the next star of the show.

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