Ask, listen & respond before you get down to business
Target audience: Marketing professionals, PR pros, brand managers, women in marketing groups, SEO specialists, businesses, nonprofits, educators.
Post by Megan Totka
Chief Editor, ChamberofCommerce.com
When it comes to marketing, women have a natural advantage. We’re social creatures, and we understand human nature. To cut through the marketing noise and earn customers, we have to take our natural instincts to a whole new level.
With all the distractions online, it’s not easy to get and keep the attention of potential customers. If your offers don’t tap right into their collective psyche, you’ll lose them to a sinful dessert recipe, breaking news, or Trivia Crack before they even get to your email or Facebook post about your awesome new thing.
How do you compete with all that?
The answer is simple. Put your natural instincts to work. All you have to do is ask, listen, and respond.
Women know how to juggle
We are super busy, but we know how to organize our time, and one of the best ways to milk more from your day is with technology. Technology fits right into our agenda, because we know how to get the most bang for our buck. I can sense your wheels turning already.
In the social arena, you’ve got your Twitter profile. Your Facebook account. Don’t forget Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, and LinkedIn. You can spend more time logging in to a dozen sites than actually using them. But that’s so 2010. There’s no excuse to waste time on visiting every social media site when you have tools to manage all your social media accounts.
In business, it’s important to remember that the more your systems are integrated, the more time and effort you can save. For example, you can integrate your CRM with other business apps, like your email, calendar, and accounting software. You can do all your business management from a single dashboard and save a ton of time without letting anything fall through the cracks.
Women communicate well
Since you can’t take the time to talk to every individual customer in person (until they perfect cloning), you need to really hone in on what customers want by digging into your data. Keep track of buying habits, know what content resonates best with your customer, and you’ll know exactly what they’ll respond to and share.
Getting customers to engage is another thing. Building an active community means paying attention at every stage of the game, from attracting their attention to following up after a sale. Once you know what they want, you’ll know how to get a response.
When they respond, you can start a conversation, ask for their input, and identify your brand ambassadors — people with influence who will recommend your brand just because they like you. That’s the beauty of effective customer engagement. It’s virtually free advertising. What woman isn’t born knowing how to listen and respond? It’s in our genetic makeup.
Women are better at customer service
If there’s a single thing that makes a business stand out against the competition, it’s customer service. Consumers want a personal touch and plenty of attention, something we all know about.
Fortunately, there are plenty of businesses excelling at customer service we can learn from. That’s another thing women do well — learn by example. We’re very spongy that way.
Customer service is especially important if you’re on a tight marketing budget. Word of mouth is solid gold … as long as it’s positive. The White House Office of Consumer Affairs says an unhappy customer will tell at least nine people about a bad experience, and some of them will tell 20 people or more. Since 71% of consumers say they trust word-of-mouth for the skinny before making a purchase, it’s important to keep your customers happy.
They’ll tell far fewer about good experiences. It’s an uphill battle we’re all familiar with.
Women hate bait and switch
One of the most consistent consumer complaints centers on companies that don’t deliver on their promises. We’re promised one thing, and get something entirely different. We’ve all been there.
Because we’ve been there, we know better. The new rule of thumb in marketing is if you promise ice cream, deliver a sundae with hot fudge and nuts. Give your customers more than they ask for — never less.
Women understand cause and effect
Women often prefer to test the waters and see how deep they are, rather than just decide what’s going to work and dive in head first. In marketing, you can proceed cautiously with A/B testing. Break your lists into small segments and see if specific groups (women between 45 and 55 who live in a specific area, for example) respond better to one email subject line or the other. Or run a poll on your Facebook page, and ask customers whether they’d prefer 10% off or some other incentive. Testing the waters might just surprise you — and it will most certainly boost your profits.
Women are savvy marketers
And we don’t get nearly enough street cred. We know how to use our resources to best advantage and how to build a reputation by getting involved in the community (local or online). We know how the grapevine works. What’s social media marketing if not an exponential grapevine?
The funny thing is, the Web has turned businesses on to what we’ve known for years, the power of community. And that’s a good thing. In fact, it’s a great thing.
Our differences don’t matter
We’re all different, but some things are part of our nature. Instincts we’re born with. We are nurturers, communicators, and educators. While we’re not all super organized and focused, we know how to get things done and we don’t quit till the job is complete.
That’s marketing in a nutshell.
You have all the natural ability you need to be a stellar marketer. Time to take what you know and rev it up to business level. Treat your customers like the family members you’re excited about inviting to Christmas dinner. Or, treat them like a group of preschoolers. Feed them what they want to know, see to their needs, give them great advice, and above all, be kind and generous. In other words, stick with what you know and do what you do best.