Most small business owners and marketing managers have an intuitive idea on why and how to market to women today, but few actually understand the nuances of how women want to be marketed to and the data driven strategy around that.

Here are some data that will surprise you based on surveyed marketing messages to women: 73% of women using the Internet in the US say that they have received women specific marketing messages directly. But nearly three quarters of the women surveyed preferred gender neutral messages over specialized woman focused marketing messages that are relatable only to women.

Does this number surprise you?

Why do you suppose most women tend to lean toward a more gender neutral market message rather than one that is gender-specific? We will dive into this specific question in the latter section of this post, however we think it’s important to first delve deeper into how women say they want to be marketed to.

How Women Want To Be Marketed To

Many small businesses that sell products or services that are specifically women oriented tend to focus their messaging, design and content completely inclined toward a feminine intonation. Does this actually turn off your female target audience? We have uncovered some data that will make you think twice about doubling down on your hyper-female marketing messages.

In this same group of surveyed women it was reported that they are very active prior to their purchase. In other words, women are doing their homework online way before their actual purchase.

  • 35% – 38% of women say they are reviewing similar products online in advance of actually making an in-store purchase. This group of women crosses all age groups, even the less internet savvy 45-65 year old women expressed having the same activity.

It is fair to say women are smart shoppers that don’t want to be pigeonholed into typical categories and most women want their own unique experience represented. So perhaps crafting a message that speaks along those unique lines will result in higher conversion rates, rather than just slugging out the same old stereotypical female marketing rhetoric that has been whitewashed across vast advertising mediums for years.

In other words, tell the story about the product you sell and the results it gives your female customer, instead of focusing on messaging that invokes women and their gender. That’s the kind of marketing message that women respond to more favorably.

Of course, we can’t discredit any variances in age demographics. Age demographics does matter in results driven marketing strategies and the millennials (18 – 29) take center stage when it comes to being loyal brand supporters online. This can alter how you select your words or the tone of your marketing to women buyers.

  • Millennial women are most willing to follow social channels and sign up for email marketing materials and are fiercely community based with more invested in being part of the brand voice. That baton passing of empowerment from brand to customer lies heaviest with millennial women than in any other female segment. Being aware of this and adjusting your female focused marketing toward this end is incredibly important when addressing the millennial female buyer.

Why do women have a non gender-specific marketing message preference?

Why are more and more women asking to be treated or engaged with a less feminine hand and a higher acknowledgement of their interests, lifestyles and human experiences? Perhaps this report conducted by The Dove Global Beauty and Confidence Report can give us more insight in order to draw a sound conclusion. In the report the most compelling insight revealed was that many women want to see a new definition for beauty! Many women expressed that they feel a deep loss of self esteem due to what they believed was an unachievable accepted level of appearance.

Does this have a direct factor in the data regarding women wanting to be engaged in a gender neutral marketing message?

The concept that a woman oriented product or service should revolve feminine terminology is no longer resonating with the female customer. So brands need to step outside of what traditionally has been used and address women through marketing in a way they now prefer.

Women are looking for ways to identify in a positive, confident and powerful way with a small business on multiple levels and outside of their obvious gender roles. This points to the personalization women are expecting around the benefits of a product to them, rather than them being a gender for a specific product. Women are basically telling brands that they are people, not women exclusively and therefore want to be addressed uniquely through the marketing message that speaks to their needs and wants as an individual, not their gender.

Marketing That Draws Women In

If your business is specifically suited for a female audience, you will want to focus your marketing to women on these tactical attributes:

Messaging – Keep your message gender neutral with a nod to women, their unique characteristics, lifestyle pursuits and career objectives combined with the benefits you deliver. Do not utilize stereotypical ideals or personas of women, instead try to direct your messaging to the personal solutions that your product or service solves, and create an environment that your female target audience can see themselves being a part of based on their own individual story.

Channel Selection and Integration – Social media is one of the primary channels that you must tap into in order to connect with your female prospects. Be conscious that they are looking to build relationships and tend to react negatively to a direct brand assault. Just as in life, women tend to build loyalty and trust within a relationship first, followed by a shift to brand, product and service loyalty once you have won them over with a meaningful bond.

Next, you will need to consider women in the content your generate and how that connects to what they are searching for as well. Selecting the right content topics, terms and search phrases that women witin your category will most frequently search for is paramount in getting that organic traffic to your conversion page (page on the web that you are transforming into a purchase). Follow it up with a substantial campaign well executed and include an email channel.

These four foundational building blocks will assist you in creating a kinship with your female customers and result in an integrated marketing approach that addresses the appropriate channels required for your female customer.

Customized Sales Funnel – Developing a custom sales funnel for your female market is critical in not only attracting first time sales but earning repeat business that establishes an recurring revenue cycle. Utilize the data detailed within this post as a starting point to understand how women respond to marketing, then drill down with more granular statistics based on the precise female age and categories your product or service address.

Final Conversion Procedure – Everything can be won or lost in the last stroke! In other words, your female audience has a particular way in which they need to be moved to their final purchase. Offer them a slight degree of choices rather than a one and done offering. Women demand to have a certain degree of input, so accounting for that need and providing options within the conversion funnel is critical. Lead your female customer to solutions that fit her situation rather than forcing women into a corner with a limited selection of bounce or buy will make a difference!

We hope this begins to lay out an initial game plan for you to successfully market to women with your small business, brand or women targeted service. The foremost takeaway here is that women are no longer boxed into the female characteristics and personas that used to garner results.

Women are asking for something more now. Women are asking for businesses, products or services to consider them as an individual with their own personal needs and wants. It is here that the vote of gender-neutral presides as winner over direct female messaging. Your female target customer is waiting for you to communicate with her on her terms, not yours. Armed with a few tips from this post you can make significant adjustments that will speak to her in a way that she responds to best.