The biggest news on the Internet is women.
Some 40% of online users are women, according to "NetSmart III--What Makes Women Click," a survey released last week.
These female online users are prime advertising prospects, given that women account for 70% of retail sales. The average woman online is 41 years old with a household income of $63,000. Some 64% work full-time; 54% have children; and the average woman is online at least 6 hours a week.
What makes women click? New products are the primary motivation for clicking on banners (74%) and visiting new Web sites (79%). These women are both early adopters and more important, opinion leaders.
What are they looking for?
The deceptively simple answer is relationships. Men focus on transactions while women thrive on making personal contacts.
Based on a phone survey of 500 female users, NetSmart created six strategies for marketers to reach women with their sites.
Use value-added extras like contests to enhance the interest on low involvement sites or entertainment sites. Women, more so than men, like contests (51% vs. 23%) and they are much more interested in new products (79%). Only 21% are interested in games--use them as a last resort.
And by promising to post results online, you will motivate many to return and compare their responses with others.
Marketers can maintain ongoing contact with customers by e-mailing or faxing customized information after they've left the site.
This is a great way to extend the relationship and maintain top of mind awareness. This content can be pertinent news about new products or ad-sponsored content from a third party. Some 68% of women are interested in self-selected push content. But you must first make sure to get permission from users. And then select the content carefully.
As many sites for women prepare to launch this fall, advertisers are just beginning to understand the media. Sites without interactive involvement will fall flat. On the Internet, if content is king, relationships are the trump card.
Ms. Tracy is president of NetSmart Research, New York, which specializes in surveys with strategies and tactics for Web sites. She can be reached at via email.
Copyright September 1997, Crain Communications Inc.