The latest report out of Direct Marketing News shows an increase in the U.S. population online. They're showing numbers that should make anyone doing ecommerce drool. For instance, 204 million Americans, out of 272.8 million, have Internet access at home. This according to Nielsen/NetRatings, New York.
Take a minute to reflect on this tremendous progress. The Internet has accomplished the amazing feat of gaining attention, serious attention, in a mere handful of years. Traditional media--think TV, print, radio--spent years introducing themselves to the American public. If you're a baby boomer, or a senior, you may remember the skepticism our parents had when television first appeared in the home. There were predictions of brain damage from sitting too close to the screen; talk of mind-control by the government, and more. Nonsense. All of it. The TV became a necessity and begat Soap Operas, of which we will speak some other time, and today, many Americans have a TV in every room of their house.
Let's dig deeper into the online population growth. The report mentioned here showed that this increase in online use is made up of more women than men; 77% to 75.6%. Ken Cassar, a former Jupiter Research analy, now director of strategic analysis at Nielsen/NetRatings commented on that stat by saying, "Women make the majority of purchases and household decisions. It's no surprise they are utilizing the Internet as a TOOL (my caps) for daily living."
A tool, folks. What do people ususally do with tools? We use them to build things, fix things, enhance things. I belong to a very successful networking group that uses the word "tools" to describe their marketing support system. Our tools are not the kind you would use to build a tree-house, fix a broken hinge, or repair a broken toaster. Our tools are CDs, tapes, inspirational books, and easy access to our upline for advice and support. One of our tools is the Internet. We can do web-casts to show the business to others in another city or state, without leaving the comfort of our own home!
This is what women use the Internet as: a tool. A tool to help them with family issues; a tool to buy groceries, clothing, toys, books, electronics, cars, the list is endless. And when they are using it as a tool to buy something, it's more often for SOMEONE ELSE than for themselves.
Patricia Aburdene & John Naisbitt, authors of the book "Megatrends for Women" (NY, Villard Books: 1992), showed that women were emerging as hot prospects for sporting goods all the way back to those olden Dick and Jane days of the 1990s. Their prediction that in 1993 the U.S. would see approximately 8 million women playing golf has a loud ring of truth to it. Fast forward to 2004--think of Michelle Wie, the current 14 year old golf prodigy who became the first female teenager to play in a PGA Tour event in January of this year. She missed the cut by one stroke. She is indicative of women who don't let their "femininity" prevent them from participating in sports -- even those sports traditionally relegated to men, only.
Get it through your head now. Women are active in all sports. Ignoring their buying power could cost you some pretty pennies. Aburdene's and Naisbitt's book quotes Sally Edwards, founder of the successful sporting goods chain, Fleet Feet, saying, "Women are starting to think of themselves as strong and capable. Women want ads to deliver that message. Often, they do not."
Sad to say, that quote was made in 1994, but it still resonates with truth today. Don't buy into it. Women are active in business, in sports, at home, and in the non-profit sector. Women love the Internet because it enables them to shop from the convenience of their own home, to research information on products and services they are interested in, and to keep in touch with friends and relatives. You can attract them using an emotional tug that grabs their interest, but if you want to make sales, treat them seriously, with the same respect you would give a man.
Advancing Women Network , a business site for women, puts it like this, "Women today are using the Net to route around the power structure, transcend traditional and historic barriers and, finally, liberate themselves by talking and networking with each other." To get them talking about you, first you have to recognize they exist.
That's a win-win situation. Try it, you'll like it!