An Inside Look at Marketing to Women Ages 35-55 (Part 2)

Last week, I touched on some of the basics of marketing to women ages 35-55. This is a fairly wide age range, and includes both GenX and some of the younger Boomers. (Don’t worry; we’ll get to the Boomers on a later date!) This demographic includes: single moms, married moms, married women (no kids), and single women. These groups can be broken down even further into categories such as: socio-economic status, education level, ethnicity, and etc. If a campaign would be more successful in a specific state and/or locally, a demographic can be narrowed down to the exact location: country, state, or city. This article is going to focus namely on moms, due to the fact that their online networking and spending habits increase after having a child. Many aspects of this article, such as utilizing feminine ad copy and imagery is important to women as a whole – regardless of their marital and/or motherhood status.

momsonweb

Photo courtesy of eMarketer.com

Today, I’m going to go over the nitty-gritty of how to increase conversions with this group of powerful group of online spenders. How much strategy is really involved in their buying decisions? Read on my friends.

Below is a graph showing the influential power of women on the web. This data, compiled by the Marketing to Moms Coalition in a report entitled “State of the American Mom 2009” defines influence as: actively utilizing social media networks, reading and/or posting on blogs, purchasing products online, engaging in forum activity, status updates and sending emails. According to the results, approx. 42 million US women are online weekly doing some form of social media activity. Wow.

womensocialmedia

109 million women in the US ages 18-77 years.
US Internet Penetration = 72.5%
79 million women online in the US ages 18-77 years
42 million US women online weekly doing some form of social media activity; e.g., social networks (facebook, myspace), blogging, reading blogs, posting to blogs, message boards, forums, status updating (twitter)
Sources:
*U.S. National Census Data Projections, Feb. 2009
**A.C. Nielsen, Internet Net Statistics, Dec. 2008

Things to keep in mind when working on an amazing campaign. Joseph Carrabis, founder of NextStage Evolution, makes these 3 great points comparing gender marketing differences on the iMedia Connection blog. The points he makes are:

  • Women purchase strategically; men purchase immediately.
  • Women are cogno-emotionally placial; men are spatial. – In other words, women care about products that work today, tomorrow, and next year. Men tend to think about how a product/service will meet his needs now. (i.e. think “sex sells”)
  • Women consider other’s opinions as a guide to making their own decision; men consider others’ decisions as a guide to forming their own opinions.

So what does this tell us about the female consumer? She is strategic in her decisions, compares products, and actually uses her friend’s (or trusted online mommy networkers) opinions as the determining factor in whether she will buy into a product or not. According to a recent report, 2010 Marketing to Moms on Facebook Survey Results & Report, she is also wary of product offers that sound too good to be true. You may be asking, “Why market to this group when you could market to the uninformed, more spontaneous consumers?”

The answer is because she holds tremendous spending power (on average $75K yearly). She buys for the entire family, is increasingly doing her shopping online, and she is on the Web all the time (studies show the average mommy blogger/networker logs into her Facebook account more than 10 times daily). If you can learn how to gain her trust and complement her busy life, you’re golden. I like how Tessa Wegert put it in at article several years ago, “Marketing to Women: More Than a Media Buy.” The same rules apply today, if you treat her as just a media buy, she will not buy into you, your ad, or your brand. However, if you treat her with respect (show empathy to her feelings) and can have the patience for a sometimes longer sales process, you will learn how to dominate this market. (Is it just me or do the following selling strategies resemble the dating process almost TOO accurately?!)

Step 1: Spark her interest
First things first, we all know the first step to a successful campaign is in sparking the consumers interest. You’ve got mere seconds to do so and if you are unsuccessful either in your ad placement, design, copy, or in the landing page that the ad leads to – you have just lost $$$ and a potential commission.

Women of this age demographic have reported that they do not mind ads, as long as they are not “obtrusive.” To see if other affiliate marketers have followed this rule, I created a Facebook account as a married 38 year old female with 2 kids. I was pretty amazed that the ads and associated landing pages that I came across were NOT targeted. One ad entitled, “Increase Metabolism! Change your life!” led me to a landing page about a middle-aged man’s weight loss success story. The copy was printed in an oversized green font that made me want to run far away. If you are not naturally a designer, outsourcing this project may be well worth your time. If money is an issue, than your best bet is to keep your landing page design simple, clean, with quality photos (that again, relate to her) and clean, rounded serif fonts. When in doubt, WordPress (and practically every CMS platform) offers a plethora of free and easily customizable templates. Smashing Magazine has impressed me with their list of 100 Amazing Free WordPress Themes for 2009. Scrolling down the page, I can spot several clean, simple designs that would work well for a website and/or blog targeting this demographic.

Ad copy: Empathetic, creates an emotional connection, friendly, family-oriented.

Photos: A recent Facebook study shows that the best ways to relate to Moms are to depict her having fun with their kids (91%), laughing (87%) or multi-tasking (87%). Family oriented photos are an obvious one here as well.

Landing pages: Simplicity, Imagery of Women Smiling, Having Fun with Kids, Laughing, Empathetic and Engaging Ad Copy, Reviews at end of page a major plus, Call to Action is female friendly.

Moms are wary of offers that sound too good to be true and want marketers to respect their boundaries by not overloading them with updates. They welcome coupons and other ways to save money, and they are open to sharing their opinions and ideas with the companies they like.

Step 2: Increase her desire and trust in the product
After sparking mom’s interest, you will have to hold her attention and increase her trust. Capture her attention by providing some sort of proof, evidence, or transparency that other moms approve of this product and see it as something that makes their lives easier. This can be done in number of ways; video, engaging surveys/questions, product reviews, involving community (i.e. social networks), and customer testimonials.

According to a survey of online moms by review site EXPO and highlighted by eMarketer, 92% of moms trust the description provided by consumer reviews over manufacturer descriptions. The product and/or offer you are promoting should have sufficient satisfaction and/or legitimate reviews to back it. Because this group of women are research savvy and know what a real review looks like (having been exposed to affiliate sites for a long enough time now) a WordPress Review plugin that auto-generates responses isn’t going to be all that effective. Real reviews, testimonials, and stories that measure-up are definitely are an added bonus!

Continue to keep her emotional nature at the forefront of your mind. Check out how Dove has managed to effectively engage their audience by inviting them into conversation.

dove

This is a great example of how Dove creates an emotional connection with women on Facebook. This message ignites a reaction in the hearts of women by getting them to recollect about their past.

One of the general trends of 2010 is a migration towards utilizing video more frequently in online advertising. Another great aspect of video is that it is possibly the easiest way to create an emotional impact on an individual. Since women are both analytical and empathetic, this is one of many ways to increase her desire in a product/service. According to a recent FB study, 64% of respondents (moms) had watched a user-generated video review, and more than three-quarters of that group said it helped them make a purchase decision. Nearly 50% of respondents had uploaded user-generated videos, and 35% of those were about products and brands — and of those who hadn’t, 90% said they would do so. This type of review is powerful and speaks to the heart of moms!

Step 3: Close the sale – Make sure the Shopping Cart Experience is EASY
After she has made the decision to make a purchase, there is one final step that is very important in this process. The shopping cart. Take careful time to review offers and the shopping cart experience. Are there tabs that create confusion and/or distraction? The shopping cart experience and/or act of filling out a form should be extremely EASY and STAIGHT FORWARD. Anything that is confusing or could set off red alarms (such as scripting errors/text).
On a side note, make it EASY for her to get back to your landing page. Add social bookmarking icons to allow for easy content sharing or utilize a script that makes it easy to share the page with all her email contacts (OpenInviter is a free import contacts script that does just that). Create a Twitter page and send followers relevant, useful, and fun info regarding news highlights from your niche market (i.e. dieting, food, fashion, dating, biz opps, etc) Increase the chances that FREE traffic will land on your website. There is a chance that she’ll go do some research even after checking out your highly optimized page targeted specifically to her so be sure to make it easy to get back to.

Recap
In short, the more important elements when marketing to women ages 35-55 include: the use of empathetic, feminine copy, quality creatives (imagery that relates to her), incorporate either reviews and/or a community component to increase trust, and ensure that the shopping cart experience is seamless. (Easier said than done, right?!)
Lastly, keep in mind that though this demographic of women is largely on both Facebook and MySpace – there are ENDLESS social networking sites so finding your audience should not be a problem. Check out the more popular Ning groups that accept advertising, iVillage, WorkItMom, the Mommies Network, endless female oriented charity sites, religious based networking groups, green specific sites, various news channels online, fitness blogs and communities, etc. The potential to connect with this group on the Web is endless. Think of creative highlights of the product and/or service you are promoting and then Google those key terms with the words network, community, or online magazine. Once the results come up, compare your top five potential advertising options in Compete and Alexa and see which ones are truly the best bet for your money. You could also check out Nielsen’s Online’s Power Mom 50, a pretty awesome list of highly influential sites.

Having said that, I would absolutely love to hear your success stories and/or challenges of marketing to this demographic. I hope that this detailed information and research helps you to create a highly targeted, super-high converting campaign geared specifically to women in this age group.

Due to increased interest in these types of articles, we have decided to create a series of Niche Marketing and Research articles that explore more of these demographics. Your feedback means the world to us :-) Thanks guys!

References
2010 Marketing to Moms on Facebook Survey Results & Report
http://momreports.com/fbm2mom2010/fbm2momsexecsumm.pdf

Marketing to Moms Coalition State of the American Mom 2009 Highlights

http://www.marketingtomoms.org/doc/SOAM_2009_Highlights_November_2009.pdf

2009 Women and Social Media Study by BlogHer, iVillage, and Compass Partners

http://www.blogher.com/files/2009_Compass_BlogHer_Social_Media_Study_042709_FINAL.pdf

Social Media and Moms, a Report by Lucid Marketing

http://www.lucidmarketing.com/filedownloads/Social%20Media%20and%20Moms%20-%20ONLINE%20SOCIAL%20NETWORKS%20edition.pdf

Word of Mouth Research: Moms trust strangers 12 times more than advertising

http://gaspedal.com/blog/wom-research/word-of-mouth-research-moms-trust-strangers-12-times-more-than-advertising/

Gender Marketing Web Design Differences, Joseph Carrabis http://www.imediaconnection.com//content//11359.asp

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