The blogosphere is humming with discussion on blogs and business and the changing face of the Internet. Jane knows most of our readers are part of that scintillating discussion, including all of our devoted blog friends and writers, as well as those involved journal writers who have taken to blogging so readily.
This blog exists to discuss marketing to women -- specifically, marketing to women who shop online. The reason we write (usually every day -- this week got away from us, somehow!) about the women's market, is because women are a powerful force in the business world today. Marketing and PR managers all over the country are openly courting the women's market today. Far more aggressively than ever before...using emotional bonds and relationship building, as well as transparent marketing, as noted in our good friends Andrea Learned's and Michle Miller's blogs.
Jane would like to talk a little bit about the women's market. About how to make your Web site "female-friendly." We go into detail about how to do this in Chapter 3, "Making Friends with the F-Word," of our book -- with F meaning FEMALE, of course. We embellish on that idea here...in an attempt to help small businesses online better understand and relate to the female of the species.
Last week, Jane took her marketing message on the road, all the way to Augusta, MI, for the Lake to Lake Bed & Breakfast state conference. We were fortunate enough to stay at the Brook Lodge Hotel and Conference Resort located on the Michigan State University campus. One blog will not suffice to give readers a report on our delightful experience at the conference, which included the marvelous hospitality of the staff at Broof Lodge, the fun of meeting dozens of B&B owners from across Michigan, and the warmth with which we were welcomed into this group of experienced business owners.
We must, of course, thank Angela Carrier of the Carriage House Inn, who invited us to speak at the conference, and we can't forget to say hello to our good friend AJ, from the White Rabbit Inn, who introduced us (via email) to Angela and came to hear us speak.
But, the dozens of other innkeepers and B&B owners deserve mention, also. Over the next few weeks we will highlight many of them, with links to their websites, partly in thanks to the warm welcome they gave us, but also to highlight our main message: that women are a force to reckon with in the business world, and this industry is so wedded to that idea, they could write books and books about it!
The hospitality industry, especially B&Bs, has known for years that women are the decision makers when it comes to travel issues. They have learned over the years -- many innkeepers boasted 30+ years of being in business -- that how they approach FEMALES influences how full their inn is, at any given time. Jane felt she was preaching to the choir -- and we learned a few things during our short stay with these energetic folks, we can tell you that!
The most important thing that came out of our enjoyable visit at Brook Lodge was the fact that we were able to introduce blogging to these interested men and women. It was clear to Jane that most of the people attending the conference came in couples. Have we not told you, dear reader, over and over, that this is the decade of the couple? Men and women, working together, building exciting businesses, each one contributing a specific talent or managing specific tasks, to ensure success? That was so evident at the conference, it made Jane smile with satisfaction! Oh, not because we're right in our estimation of where business is going during this first decade of the new millennium -- no, we smiled because is was refreshing and encouraging.
We also smiled because when we got to the part of our presentation that talked about blogging, with much thanks to our good friend Dave Young and the excellent streaming video on his blog (Dave will be a Smart Man Online interview very soon)... eyes lit up, faces became animated, and hands shot up all across the room. We fielded the questions as best we could...questions that many experienced bloggers, such as yourself, dear reader, are attempting to answer on a daily basis, questions Jane hears humming all through the blogosphere:
- what is a blog?
- how does it work?
- why should I have one?
- what does it take to have one?
- is it better than pay-per-click?
- but, I have a website...why do I need a blog?
While this unique group of people -- part of an industry that is feeling the pinch of a slow economy, but has hopes for next year and the innate desire in most of us to travel and stay at fun, comfortable, luxurious, pampering, or adventurous places -- wanted more information than Jane had time to give them, they one and all agreed that their market is a female market. Even when Mr. Customer is calling to book a weekend, it's understood that he is doing so to please a significant other -- usually a wife or girlfriend.
Jane plans on following up with many of the participants to help them understand blogging better -- perhaps to build blogs of their own -- but more importantly, to educate ourselves on the success stories so apparent at the conference. Stories of couples working together to make an idea evolve into a profitable business-- knowing success is female-driven -- because the F-word is alive and well in the hospitality industry. (pic is of Carriage House Inn)
What's not to like about that?