Women: The Key to a High ROI

Follow these 10 proven marketing techniques to better communicate your message to female consumers.

You’ve heard it before: Women are the majority purchasers and influencers in the automotive industry today. This has been true for more than a decade now, and, according to Forbes magazine, 2015 and 2016 were watershed years in female-focused marketing efforts.

As we head into 2017, all of us in the automotive service and repair industry need to create our marketing efforts with the female consumer in mind. The statistics are clear: Women now account for 65 percent of all automotive sales, and they influence a whopping 85 percent of every automotive purchase decision. Not marketing directly to women means not marketing to the majority purchaser in North America, and that’s a huge missed opportunity to grow your business.

As you consider your marketing efforts, ask yourself a few questions to get a sense of how “female friendly” your marketing is. Do you communicate the exact same message to every potential customer when marketing? If so, you could be losing women customers.

“One size fits all” does not work best with women. Remember, they’re breadwinners, homemakers, moms, friends, neighbors and professionals. Shops need to consider all of these multiple roles of women and focus on their areas of interest – children, health, business, shopping, community or charities – when planning marketing-to-women campaigns. Similarly, baby-boomer and millennial women respond differently to different advertising methods. Understanding the demographic mix of women in your local market and creating laser-focused marketing that speaks directly to them can make all the difference.

Top 10 Marketing to Women Tips

1 Marketing to moms on mobile: Seventy percent of moms with a cellphone have it with them always or most of the time and 83 percent of smartphone-owning moms have it with them always or most of the time. On average, millennial moms have 3.4 social media accounts vs. 2.6 for moms in general. So, how do you ensure you’re reaching the mobile audience? The easiest way to test is to see if you can find your own business on your phone just as a consumer would. Make sure your search listings have accurate information and, if not, track down which ones are incorrect and update them. You might be surprised to see how many instances of your business exist on the internet.

Make sure you check through all the top sources – Google plus, Yahoo, review sites such as 4Square and Yelp, and any social media accounts you may have. Get those instances updated and consistent to ensure anyone who finds you on mobile will get good information, no matter which route they use. Finally, make sure your website is mobile-friendly to ensure you won’t lose consumers.

2 Marketing to baby boomer and senior women: The key to marketing to women, as I’ve mentioned, is to know your audience. This is because the female audience is complex. Fifty-plus American women are the healthiest, wealthiest and most active generation of women in history. In fact, according to She-conomy, senior women control a net worth of more than $19 trillion, owning more than three-quarters of the world’s wealth.

That’s a massive segment of the market you don’t want to miss out on. Boomer women tend to be less attached to their mobile devices than younger women, although they’re all certainly on social media. In terms of reaching them, cable TV is the most significant influence in getting boomers to search the web for your product or service.

3 Marketing to millennial women: Whereas baby-boomer women control a large amount of spending power, millennial women like convenience and love their tech. Millennial women own the largest group of smartphones, and many of them say their phone is more important than their television. Millennials spend a huge amount of their lives – 25 hours a week, on average – online. Seventy percent of millennial women consider shopping “entertainment.” Make sure your advertising campaigns are fun and use appropriate humor to engage these women online because this is where your attention to detail on mobile marketing will show results.

4 Social media and women: Women are embracing new platforms of social media. Instagram is now larger than Twitter, with more than 400 million users, with 59 percent of women using Instagram daily. Eighty percent of Pinterest users are female, and more than 90 percent of all pins are created and shared by women. Create an engaging presence on Instagram and Pinterest to attract these women, and don’t neglect traditional social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Post to these 2-3 times per week with meaningful, interesting and fun content.

5 Email: Email can be a powerful force in marketing to women, if they are mobile friendly and include a special offer, coupon or deal. But remember that the response rate on email is low, and the best results from email marketing only come through consistency and repetition.

6 Reviews: Women rely on reviews more than men as influences to purchase products and services. On average, women research 10 sources of information before buying a product (vs. two for men). Increasing and monitoring your reviews is extremely important for reaching women and positive “word-of-mouth” referrals.

7 Educate her: Hold workshops and clinics to educate women on car care, service and maintenance. Post educational tips and articles to help empower her on your social networks.

8 Be green and Earth-friendly: The Center for Women’s Business Research reveals that 77 percent of working women find “environmental friendliness” as either a major or moderate concern in their buying decisions. It ranks just below quality and price as an influence on purchasing decisions. The auto industry has a “dirty” reputation in terms of eco-friendliness, so supporting green initiatives, such as recycling drives, and promoting your shop’s green practices will go a long way to set yourself apart from the pack.

There are a growing number of websites on the internet that help consumers find green products. Greencars.org, for example, is dedicated to environmentally friendly vehicles and the auto industry. Tire makers also have jumped on the green or eco-friendly bandwagon by introducing more fuel-efficient tire choices. Educating your women consumers about these choices, as well as educating your customers on best practices for green and fuel-efficient driving are great ways to position yourself as an eco-expert.

9 Support causes she supports: Women are significantly more likely than men to put their purchasing power behind brands that are good corporate citizens, and they’re 78 percent more likely to buy products and services from companies that support local charities they trust and support. Nielsen reported that 55 percent of global consumers will pay more for products and services offered by companies that make a positive social and environmental impact, and a study by Cone Communications found that 90 percent of U.S. consumers would switch brands to one associated with a cause.

10 No “pinkwashing”: Unless it’s October, and you’re supporting a breast cancer awareness campaign that supports a respected charity or fundraiser, keep away from pink. Women are suspicious of “pinkwashing.”

Finally, don’t forget to say “Thank you!” Yes, it matters. Showing that you appreciate someone’s business can be a compelling reason for them to give you more of it, as well as refer you to others. Women want to give their business to someone whom they feel deserves it. However you do it – verbally or via email, text or handwritten note – works just fine, but personalize it as much as you can. Thanking and showing appreciation for your customer’s time and business is an important part of earning it.

If you implement the above steps, your shop can increase ROI by marketing and advertising to different segments of women at various stages of their lives. You’ll increase your market share by making sure your ad placements are where she is already spending her time and by being more relevant to her interests and concerns in your messaging. Now, go out there and wow some women consumers!