Is there really a difference in the way men and women shop? Yes. And in most cases they aren’t just subtle differences – they can be extreme. Enough so that entire companies are now devoted to studying sales and spending habits of the two sexes, and have come to distinct patterns to both. If you intend to market predominantly to women (which is probably the case in a variety of photographic niches) don’t just study marketing and sales; study marketing and sales strategies for women. Here are some distinct differences in how women buy.
Sell With Emotions
Even the title says it all. Women are simply more emotional than men, and tie their purchasing decisions to things that feed their emotions. Women love stories and happy endings. They love to be led along a storyline, and be kept in waiting to find out how situations will play out. Old Spice ads? You bet. We couldn’t wait to see the next one in the series and find out what crazy thing would happen next. Stories give us a few seconds to step away from our busy lives, and focus in on something that is completely irrelevant to our current situations, yet has impact on what we are thinking and doing.
Ask For Opinions
What do women like doing more than hearing a great story? Talking about it of course. We like to tell our friends, mention it in a group we belong to, share it on Facebook, and leave our comments on a blog post. When we don’t have time to chat with our best friends every day, logging into our Facebook accounts at 10 pm before we turn in can be just as rewarding. Don’t just leave it to chance; make the request. Tell people exactly what you want them to do and they will more likely follow through.
Build Time Into Your Sales Process
Women typically take a longer period of time to settle in on a purchase. They do more research, ask more questions, and spend more time thinking about the purchase before they actually sign on the dotted line. Build that into your sales process. Don’t expect an immediate sale; instead add in techniques that build up confidence in your relationship. Send thank you notes. Build an FAQ page online to address any concerns she may have. Direct her to that page on a follow up email. Mail out additional support for your products and services, such as testimonials and more in-depth descriptions. It may take a little more time and effort, but having a raving fan to help you sell on the other end is worth it.
Make The Process Effortless
Think of the little ways you can make the process effortless for your customers. One of the reasons Amazon has done an amazing job is they’ve implemented the 1-click process. When you find a product and put it into the shopping cart, you can buy it with just one click. And if you use Kindle, you know its easier than that. There isn’t time for regret because you think it, buy it, and have it almost immediately. While photography can’t work that quickly, you can still provide the little extras that make the process easy. Focus in on those, and put the emphasis there during the sales process. Once she knows you’ll do most of the work – she just has to show up – it becomes an easy decision.
Show Your Authenticity
A woman has less concern for your immediate appearance, and will more likely spend the time doing research to find out who you are and what you are all about. The want to read your About Us page to find out your story. They want to browse through client after client to see if they see themselves in your photography. They want to know why you got into photography, and how you approach it with every new client. They also want to know that who you say you are is truly who you are. They want to know that you’ve treated customers the same from month to month, and they won’t have a “surprise” side to you somewhere along the way.
Quality Is More Important Over Time
Once again, relationships win over time. If you’re in it for the quick sale, business will be more difficult in the long run. Women like to research and find a great resource, then use it and talk about it again and again. Understand that you may not be able to build a six figure business in weeks, and it might takes months or even years. But if you have the finally destiny in your mind, and you stay true to your vision – and promote that vision to your ideal clients – they will jump on board and stay with you for the long ride. Because purchasing is emotional – especially photography – a woman will always prefer to share her stories with a friend, and utilize their services over the course of their lives.
Women Are The Gatekeepers To The Family
Women do it all, and have their pulses on every aspect of family life. From knowing schedules, to getting the kids to the appropriate appointments, to planning future activities and events, women are the gatekeepers to family life. They don’t want to be scared into a decision, or feel like they’ve been led astray. They make the decisions that will leave them feeling good about the job they’ve accomplished today. And they will share that feeling with other women in their families.
Have any more ideas on how to market your photography to women? I’d love to hear them in the comments below.