Dale “DataDale” Filhaber is president of Dataman Group Direct. Filhaber can be reached at [email protected] or 800.771.3282.
Does your marketing resonate with women? Are you using the right messaging and the right marketing channels for success?
Women control more than 85% of all discretionary income in the U.S—more than $7 trillion. They are your audience. If your targeting and messaging is not on point, they will toss your direct mailer into the trash or delete your message from their inbox without even a glance.
Women are the decision makers in the household, especially when it comes to the health and wellness of their families. A mother’s goal is to protect her children at all costs, and the industry has traditionally—and appropriately—targeted the woman of the household when explaining some of the reasons to use a filtration system or softener.
With today’s segmentation technology, you can target images and copy to each person on your list differently within the same mailing, whether it be print or digital. Regardless of channel, your messaging needs to be seamless.
The following are nine items to consider when marketing to women.
Research has shown that women score higher on emotional intelligence or empathy tests than men, according to “Gender Differences in Emotion Perception and Self-Reported Emotional Intelligence” by
Agneta H. Fischer, Mariska E. Kret, and Joost Broekens. Because women often process incoming information with emotion, if your marketing message has no emotional component, it likely will be ignored.
While facts and statistics are important, they are not as well-remembered as emotion. The study also points out that disgust and fear are the emotions that have the highest reaction. Have you ever seen the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals TV ads showing emaciated dogs in terrible conditions? Those ads get the highest response of any fundraising ad on TV.
While we do not advocate marketing water filtration products using fear, there are ways you subtly tap into these two emotions.
An example would be to emphasize a mother’s concern about children absorbing contaminants from fertilizer runoff in the local water supply as her motivator for finding a solution for her household.
2. Focus on the Big Picture
Women typically take a more holistic approach to life. Emphasize why your filtration system will not only make life better, but also will help save our planet and make a brighter future for our children.
We know from the Water Quality Assn. (WQA) Consumer Opinion Study that focusing on the environment as a standalone reason to buy a system does not resonate with the public. However, using the environment as an adjunct reason will enhance the benefits your system provides.
Reach out to women with well-rounded messaging. Explain how your system helps improve her whole life by giving her more time, better health and a better future for her family.
Here is an example of this type of messaging: “Not only does using a water filtration system offer your family clean, clear water to drink, it also helps eliminate plastic bottles, offers 24/7 convenience, saves money and conserves energy. Not to mention, it also saves you from serious back pain lugging cases of water from the store to the car and into the house.”
There is a big difference in the way marketing is perceived between men and women. Women prefer a more nuanced and storied approach, where men prefer direct and to-the-point messages. Keep in mind that women buy the majority of all products and services, so how do you craft your messaging to resonate with them?
Women appreciate stories that offer a capacity for empathy. By using well-told stories, images and authentic characters, you can craft a compelling story that drives response.
Your story needs to captivate your readers by engrossing them in the challenge inherent in the story. There needs to be a clear sense of progress and contrast from the “before” state to the “after” state. Make sure to highlight your dealership’s role in this transformation—after all, you are selling your company’s ability to make a difference.
For example, you can show a hostess’ embarrassment at seeing ugly rust stains on her sidewalk when guests come to visit and her delight in welcoming friends into her home in front of a stain-free sidewalk after her new water softener was installed.
4. Safety & Security
Women need to feel comfortable with the people coming into their homes. Well-pressed uniforms with logos convey professionalism. Visible photo identification is a must. Women are more likely to trust someone who they know is licensed, bonded, insured and WQA certified.
One idea is to send a text with the technician’s name and photo before they arrive at the home. This type of message is reassuring. The customer now knows exactly who will be coming into her home, and can recognize them at the door and feel confident that this person is safe. This also acts as another level of confirmation for her in terms of timing. No one wants to hang around waiting for sales or service personnel to show up.
This also is the kind of great customer service that women will want to share with their friends.
5. Social Networking
Most women are extremely social. Look for ways you can tap into that with online strategies, including social media groups and other communities. This is where your posting and blogging skills will come in handy.
Portray your dealership as professional and efficient, and your staff as human and likeable. People want to do business with companies they admire and people they like.
Make sure you have a visible presence in the community. Participate in local events, sponsor a little league team, donate to the local church fundraiser, or speak at the PTA. Be visible during emergency situations. Hand out branded bottled water. Consider creating a rewarding referral program. Women can be your best brand ambassadors.
Women of all ages are equally likely to check online customer reviews and browse products online before making purchases.
Is the reviews section on your website current? We all know that a negative online review can seriously damage your reputation. Are you following best practices for handling reviews?
Women often have large networks of people with whom they discuss things. A negative experience will reverberate and be passed along to her offline network at work, car pool or at church. Remember the game “telephone”? By the time a bad experience gets passed along the network, it has morphed into something much worse than it was.
Make sure you deliver on what you promise. Take care of any issues promptly.
Thank your new customers quickly. A good thank you is remembered warmly. That is the buzz you want to create.
7. The Right Offer
Mose women love good deals. Make a potential customer’s decision easy to make by providing a good offer. This is not necessarily about discounting price; it is about providing something that will help clinch the appointment or close the sale.
Your offer cannot be lukewarm or boring. This is your call to action. People do not take action if they are not inspired.
Consider giving out a monogrammed water pitcher for the table or offering a “buy a system, get a designer drinking water faucet free” deal. Many dealers have done well offering a free family-sized laundry detergent. The word “free” is a powerful driver of response.
Price cannot be the product driver. It is easy to go online and compare prices to find the cheapest option. Fortunately, women do not always purchase on price; they purchase based on value.
To a woman customer, your dealership’s value stems from its sterling reputation, the attention to detail on your website and in your marketing materials, your excellent offer, and the quality of your in-home appointment. If you score well on all these points, your prospect will be willing to pay more to you than the other company whose representative showed up at her house an hour late in scruffy jeans.
When marketing to women, always remember that it is not about the system’s features. It is about the system’s benefits. Your goal is to show her how absolutely indispensable your system is to her family’s health and her quality of life. If you have made your case and truly presented the benefits of your system, price becomes a secondary conversation.
Women require authenticity. You must be honest and straightforward in all your marketing. Women are intuitive and can detect an imposter right away. A prospective client will avoid your product or service and tell others to, as well.
As far as marketing channels, direct mail is considered the most trustworthy form of marketing. Water quality dealerships who intelligently craft their images and messaging have been successfully using direct mail for a long time.
This year, consider including the U.S. Postal Service Informed Delivery program into your marketing mix. This not only increases your exposure, but raises your brand awareness.
With Informed Delivery, an image of your physical mail is emailed to your prospect.
Statistics show that 65% of users actively look at their daily Informed Delivery emails, which is well above the typical response rate for basic email. These emails also come from a trusted source, which adds credibility to your marketing campaign.
Today’s enhanced targeting ability gives you a new edge to reaching women with a message geared for them. Doing a better job engaging with women is the way to increase your marketing response and grow your dealership.