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Jane Reports on E-Tailing

Five Foolish Failings Jane Hopes You Don't Make This Year When Marketing to Women Online

(Jane apologizes for the long title...but it works. In fact, we think that perhaps we will win an award for having the longest, but most useful, blog title of the year...)

Marketing to women who shop online-- that's our focus at this blog. Not just marketing to women, not how to sell to women, not how to understand women-- no, our purpose is marketing to women who shop online.

That said, the success of marketing to women who shop online involves learning how to sell to women and how to understand them. Hence, we are going to discuss the idea of "female-friendly."

What does it all really mean?

1. It means knowing that with broadband becoming the norm these days, and with more women opening businesses (home-based or not), or working outside of the home, the web has become vital to women for gathering information, for researching shopping, and for connecting to other women. Using the blogosphere as an example, Jane hopes folks online are paying attention to the likes of Fortune Magazine (notice the picture accompanying this article), CNet and others, who are touting the increase in the creation of blogs but even more to the point, the rise in readership.

Why?

Because bloggers talk. Bloggers talk about politics, business, sales, marketing, each other, and...more importantly, they talk about the products and services we think many of YOU, dear reader, wish to offer your clients and prospects.

The question is: What are the bloggers saying about YOU? Just as importantly, WHO are these chatty bloggers connected to? We venture to guess it's women. All over the world.

Women -- who -- talk. Bloggers -- who -- talk. Pretty powerful stuff. Ignore them at your own risk.

2. Thinking you can attract women using the color pink. Pink is NOT the only color women like. Pink shoes, pink handbags, pink sweaters... too much pink will merely get you in trouble.

If pink suits your product or service, so be it. But-- if you're slapping pink on something just to get women to buy it -- you've lost a sale. We don't want pink for pink's sake. In the real world, women didn't choose to be associated with pink, anyway. It was chosen for us.

Give us reds, and purples, and blues, and greens. Better than that...give us choices! Let us pick our own color! Fantastic!

3. Trying to lure women to your website, blog, or sales' page using flowery language and false promises. We don't want a lot of features: "pretty shoes," "soft sweaters," "lovely purses." Those are YOUR descriptions. We already know what you think about them...they're your products, after all.

Check out the advice at the Women's Business Center and learn the difference between features and benefits. Try, "shoes that feel like slippers--built for comfort and attractiveness." Or, "sweaters that slip over your shoulders and caress your arms like a warm afternoon in June."

Once you get the wording right...get the sale right. Don't offer a two for one, if you're hiking up the price of the product.  Don't offer 10% off when it only means saving $1.00. We aren't interested in being cheap. Best bet? Offer free shipping. That's a gold mine.

4. Don't invite our input-- if you're going to ignore it. If you have a feedback form on your site, or, if you have comments open on your blog (and we certainly hope you do both of these things), expect some bad with the good, and respond to it! Let us know you're actually paying attention. We don't mind auto-responders...as long as they're a temporary stand-in for you. But, someone from your office or company should respond to our comment or quote, via email or on the actual site, to let us know you're actually listening.

Otherwise, we may get huffy and...delete you from our life! Remember...your competitor is just one click away.

5. The last, most important thing Jane hopes you will NOT do this year...if forget to update your website or blog. Please...we don't expect a complete redesign. We only ask that you keep up with new technology, especially when it comes to your shopping cart. Make our shopping experience simple and easy. Let us click on the item, view our shopping cart, and check-out securely by adding our payment-- complete with an offer to print the page. Then, email us with the details and a tracking number.

It's not that hard, anymore. If you're doing business online...it's essential.

Women are keen to shop online. We're even buying our groceries online, more and more. If you want 2005 to be better than 2004, court us properly. As a final note, one winning way to get our attention is by supporting a specific charity and asking for our help. Bear_friendship2_1

For instance, Lisa Haneberg at Management Craft, is using her blog to raise funds for the tsunami victims by offering her e-book for only $5 -- with all proceeds to go to the Red Cross and the Mercy Corps.

What's not to like about that?

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