I'm a fond reader of stories. Anyone who's anyone these days is reporting on the power of story-telling, but few people really seem to understand what that means.
Using stories to promote a business is not the, "Once upon a time..." way to a woman's heart. Nor is the, "Frankie and Johnny" type of story the way to go about using stories to appeal to women.
Here's how you do it: you be honest. You get personal. You show a little heart.
For example: this blog is normally written by 'Jane'...as representative of all women, young and not necessarily young. This year I decided to give 'Jane' a rest...primarily because I've concluded, over the last two years, that 'Jane' is representative of ME...more than anyone else. She tries to represent her sisters and daughters...but, the truth is - how can one woman be the voice of millions? The only way is by showing readers who I really am, and telling stories they can relate to.
That's not to say that I don't represent a whole lotta ladies, dear readers. (and yes, you're dear readers to me, also; where do you think 'Jane' got that from?)
My hope is that I can bring some light to an otherwise fuzzy world - the world of marketing to women...online. Marketing to women includes girls, by the way. Girls, ladies, women, Jane, Sally, Stephanie, Brittany, Carla, Maryanne, Kelly, Barbara, Betsy, Carmen, Rose, whatever. We all share the same body parts and we all have similar mindsets.
Similar, mind you. Not the same...that's key to learning how to market to women: understanding that we're all different, even though we like to go to the bathroom in twos. That's for the 'chatter'... of course.
Like other marketing professionals, I often refer to certain demographics when talking about how to market successfully to women. But, those labels are just that - labels. They represent a figurative view of women - they try to categorize us into groups - and, though they are sometimes relevant - in the long haul, they are just words put on paper. Reality dictates that you look at each of us as unique and separate - if you would have us buy from you.
Here's an interesting factoid that I uncovered in a recent search online, from Lucid Marketing, a company that helps folks reach the Mom market- one that 'Jane' will tell you is well worth your time. Lucid says, "Her Salary Does NOT Matter -- Mom Manages the Money." The story says, "We already know that moms are making 80% of household purchase decisions, but not it is also clear the dominant role moms play in how money is managed and invested."
This is great insight into women, from the Mom angle. Understand that even women who do not have children, fit this category. Because - their friends and relatives have children. Because they, like all of us, interact with children on a daily basis.
Let me end with a story, to show you what I mean. About how women are the same but different, and how we're all Moms at heart.
My company is growing. Old news, I know. Applause all around...thank you, thank you (obviously, I'm a frustrated Academy Award winner). The growth of the publishing business set my mind to thinking...of ways to help improve business, of ways to bring my local community in to the business - since I believe that books are the bastions of communication, and communication is the foundation of all human interaction.
This led me to think I should be investigating funding for expansion. Expansion that would allow employees to work from home - especially if they have children at home - and, expansion that would also allow employees to have flexible work schedules, the better to attend children's school functions. [my hope is to be able to attend some of my two nieces' school functions, something I have not been able to do before this].
Hence, over the last few weeks, I've been exploring property in and around Upstate, NY. It's a lot of fun, even if I don't ever get the funding to purchase any of it. But, best of all, scouring the real estate section of the local paper (online and off), and trapsing about on weekends, has introduced me to a whole lot of new faces. Faces I wouldn't otherwise have had chance to meet, let alone carry on a conversation with.
Faces of -- women.
Women of differing experiences, differing ages, differing viewpoints...women who, while eager to close a real estate deal, are also interested in Me...in the person poking around these big buildings.
The men...and there have been a few men...are not nearly as chatty or interested in ME. They size me up quickly, make a determination of whether or not I'm serious, whether or not I can afford to pay, and they either court me [the buyer of the property, not the lady] or dismiss me. Not one of them has ventured into more than polite conversation. In fact, for the most part, I they pay more attention to Tom, who is usually with me, than to me. As if HE is the prospective client, not I.
The women, however, ask dozens of questions. They encourage me to stay and talk. They usually know someone who's writing a book or they, themselves, reveal that they've been thinking of writing a book. They are eager to hear more -- more about me, about the business, and more about how I plan on using the building. More than once, I've heard them say, "That's fascinating."
I don't know whether or not I'll be successful in my quest for a new location. This year. But, I do know that in the last few weeks, I've met dozens of women who are now actively spreading the word about my business all over the Upstate, NY region. Word of mouth marketing at work.
And, if and when the opportunity materializes...one of them will get my business.
Funny, I don't much remember the male real estate agents we met. I wonder why?