Historically, traditional women’s roles were limited to the kitchen and raising children, while men worked and provided for the family. However, this position has shifted as women now hold significant offices—for example, in governments and business enterprises. Many women have become more entrepreneurially minded, running profitable ventures.
As women make their presence in every economic sector, they leave their mark on business innovation. A recent case study indicates that in 2021, the number of women-owned businesses in the United States had risen to 31%, up from 27% in the previous year, even with the Covid-19 pandemic hitting. Despite these strides in entrepreneurship and corporate leadership, there are fewer women taking up roles in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.
These differences affect how women entrepreneurs use digital marketing and may reflect clients' perceptions of women in the field. The implication here is that for women to compete in a male-dominated industry, they must take measures that give them an edge.
Luckily, there are a few key ways women leaders and entrepreneurs can use their strengths to create a competitive advantage in digital marketing.
1. Understand the digital landscape and how it's changing.
While the number of women venturing into entrepreneurship is increasing, there is still a stark contrast in how many embrace technological resources.
By learning about new technologies and how they can benefit their business, women will be able to capitalize on opportunities they might otherwise have missed.
There's no doubt that the digital landscape is rapidly evolving, but women leaders and entrepreneurs shouldn't shy away from these changes—instead, they should embrace them.
So what can they do to stay ahead of the curve? First, make sure they keep up with industry news and developments. Spotting trends early on gives a better understanding of how to use these innovations to their advantage or how they may impact the business. One such example of change in the digital world right now is the metaverse and its implications for business.
As a female entrepreneur in digital marketing, my latest networking opportunities with tech gurus have shed light on how much potential exists in exploring those areas of the industry unknown to us.
2. Focus on customer service and creating a great user experience.
Women can achieve a competitive advantage in digital marketing by understanding the consumer better.
One way to do this is by leveraging empathy to create better user experiences. Some women are naturally in tune with the emotions of others, which can help in understanding how users are responding to their product or service.
Additionally, getting detailed and creative with communication can be beneficial in crafting targeted marketing messages and designing user-friendly interfaces. Ultimately, by tapping into their unique skill sets and perspectives, women can create more effective and successful digital marketing campaigns.
3. Create women-friendly e-commerce shops or websites.
Not as a gender bias but as a way to use their "insider knowledge," female business leaders can and should take advantage of their understanding of the female gender. Women who start businesses often venture into "female-themed" businesses, with hair/nail salons and pet care businesses as popular choices, but they may not understand or may fail to utilize their innate knowledge when marketing their products online. Those selling female-oriented products should design user-friendly websites and, even more importantly, women-friendly websites. They can make their websites women-friendly by avoiding generic or generalized content that does not connect at a personal level with women.
4. Leverage social media to grow business.
A female entrepreneur needs to envision herself as a leader even when building a business from scratch as a one-woman initiative. Thinking like a leader will empower them to utilize the numerous online tools to lead their targeted audience.
Women have to speak out, build brands and position themselves as leadership authorities of this era. I am a big fan of constant experimentation and improvement. One of the patterns I have observed in social media marketing is how gender often plays a role in the number of followers.
As women typically have larger social media followings than their male counterparts, this is an opportunity to grow their brands. Female entrepreneurs who leverage social media stand to accomplish more with their ventures. Moreover, social sites such as LinkedIn can help business leaders and entrepreneurs gain more confidence in their professional endeavors.
5. Connect with other business leaders and entrepreneurs online.
The value of networking in the digital business world cannot be overstated. By connecting with other entrepreneurs and business leaders online, business leaders can access a wealth of knowledge, resources and connections to take their business to the next level. For instance, mastermind groups are an ideal resource for support and advice to navigate business challenges.
Networking is another invaluable way for women to learn about digital marketing from tech communities and conventions.
One way to build a network is to find and actively participate in professional and business forums.
Other opportunities to connect involve actively seeking chances to contribute to industry-related and established publications and websites or to speak at highly impactful events.
The internet is flooded with content marketing materials daily. Female business leaders need to craft better digital marketing approaches to highlight their business and outshine the competition. The key takeaway is that despite the size of their companies, female entrepreneurs must optimize internet marketing strategies to amplify communication and ensure consistent growth. They can remain competitive when they fully utilize the existing potential in digital marketing and incorporate their strengths when implementing digital marketing plans that focus on the relevant aspects of their businesses.
Image credit: Getty
With so many competing companies in today's marketplace, customers have countless options when it comes to patronizing a business. To influence their decision making, customers look for companies that they believe will add value to their lives.
Below, 11 members of Young Entrepreneur Council shared their thoughts on ways small business owners can consistently bring value to customers. They explain how these methods strengthen a business's connection with its customers and ultimately ensure the company's longevity.
1. Demonstrating A Constant Mission Of Improvement
There's rarely such a thing as a perfect product, but demonstrating a constant mission of improvement is something I've learned customers highly value. One way to ensure you're always bringing fresh value to new and existing customers is by not only taking their feedback, but implementing it. Your clients are the ones using and benefiting from your product or service every day, and they can be your best allies in improving it to their advantage. Ask questions, listen to your customers and apply their feedback in actionable ways they'll notice — and don't be shy about sharing these improvements. Letting your clients know what changes you've made and why reassures them that you're taking their input seriously. It also keeps you from staying stagnant down a long road of growth ahead. - Andrew Powell, Learn to Win
2. Building Strong Relationships With Customers
Customers are humans and there are people behind every successful business and huge brand name. Building a strong relationship with the customer builds trust and customer empathy. The customers really feel that you understand their problems and feelings. We are close to our peers (we do not call them customers because we feel like we are together on this journey), carefully listening to them and offering a high level of customization and support to cover their needs. At the same time, we are always curious to get to know people and we are always in for a virtual or face-to-face exchange with our peers. - Dave Hengartner, rready
3. Meet Their Changing Needs
The one way you can always bring value to your customers is to meet their changing needs. Customers change their lifestyles, and consequently their needs, over the years and you must recognize that to move into that flow. For instance, those selling bulk items to customers during the years when they are raising children should recognize there will come a day when the customer will be an empty nester. You could lose them if they feel all you are willing to sell them is bulk items. The key to keeping them is to know when that time approaches and offer to change their orders before they come to you. The same goes for any industry. Know and recognize changes your customers are making in their lives and learn how to add to them. How do you do that? You listen to them. - Baruch Labunski, Rank Secure
4. Get Their Feedback
It could be through an online survey or other methods, but find out what they like and don’t like about your business. They’ll be honest, especially your regulars, and they’ll normally also have some pretty intelligent commentary. From there, act on the feedback. Bonus points if you specifically recognize a customer who helped improve your business. For example, when Mr. Smith comes in saying you should do something and you do it, tell him about its impact and you’ll have a customer for life. - Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance
5. Support Them Through Hardships
Bringing value to your customers happens not only in the product or service you provide them, but in going beyond that. At the height of the pandemic, many of Metal Mafia's customers (tattoo and piercing studios across the country) were among the first to be shuttered. Those who were closed were not able to use our products for the time being, but we brought them value by providing them with intel and assistance in navigating the PPP loans and tracking down other grants to stay afloat. Customers were so appreciative that our company not only cared about them, but were also providing them with actionable assistance — and the value to them was priceless. - Vanessa Nornberg, Metal Mafia
6. Listen To Your Customers And Implement Their Feedback
Many companies tout that they listen to their customers, but that is only half the equation. Listening to your customers and implementing what they say into your offerings is the best way to add value. If you don't implement or respond to what is being said, you effectively communicate to your customers: Thanks, but no thanks. Pro tip: If you implement a change based on customer feedback, highlight the difference, why you made the change and reference that you listen to your customers. If you can put a face and name to the customers giving feedback, all that much better. This gives your customers the feeling that they are part of the innovation and helping to drive business offerings. And if you do it for one customer, others will believe you'll do it for them, too. - Jared Weitz, United Capital Source Inc.
7. Pay Attention To Customer Complaints
Pay close attention to what your customers complain about. Even the most successful business has customers who are dissatisfied some of the time. It's never pleasant to focus on things like negative reviews or critical social media posts, but these can be very helpful in pointing out areas where you need to improve. You can also learn about potential issues by polling your customers. Be as specific as possible in your questions. Aside from multiple-choice questions, it's good to ask open-ended questions, such as, "What's one feature you'd like to see that we don't currently offer?" - Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting
8. Get On The Phone With Customers
Pick up the phone to check in. Don't wait until the end of an engagement to get feedback — seek out your customers' insights proactively so you can adapt to address them before the relationship is complete. Ask what is going well and what can be going better. Then, rally your team to address any suggestions for improvement, both for that client and for others who might also benefit from those real time adjustments. - Lindsay Tanne, LogicPrep
9. Integrate Question-Based Customer Service
Are you not asking your customers how they are doing? Are you leaving it to Survey Monkey for them to answer 1 to 10? Bad idea. Open-ended questions asked by real team members and having real conversations is the way to put your customers first. You bring value by listening as well. Take notes, follow up on concerns and show that you are really paying attention to what your business is offering them and how you are helping. All of this is tantamount to two-sided communication. It’s not shouting platitudes via social platforms or canned email responses, but one-to-one customer service. You can automate a lot these days, but the key to longevity is keeping one-to-one communication personal. - Matthew Capala, Alphametic
10. Use Data To Demonstrate Success
To consistently bring value to your customers, you can show them how you compare to your competitors and give them a reason to choose you instead. Using data and numbers will demonstrate why your brand is the better option. For example, you could compare the costs of products to show that yours is the better deal. Whatever you choose to compare, it'll allow your audience to conclude that your business is the way to go so it feels like a no-brainer. - Jared Atchison, WPForms
11. Nurture Your Relationships With Customers
In business, the relationship you have with your customers can die if you don't nurture it. And many entrepreneurs make the mistake of starving the relationship they have with their customers by reducing it to the transactions of their current products or services. Sales, revenue, profit or whatever metric you hold sacrosanct is a lagging indicator of the value you bring to the market. Value is the core of business activity and to maintain focus on the value, you have to pay attention to these parts of your business. One would be the buying process. I prefer to see it as the customer's experience of your company. Make the transfer of value substantial and fast. From the top of the funnel down to the checkout button, meet your customer where they are and provide contextual value. - Samuel Thimothy, OneIMS - Integrated Marketing Solutions
Any business that aims to compete in 2022 needs an online marketing strategy. If your efforts aren’t getting your desired results, it may be time to adjust. Members of the online small business community have experience trying new platforms and increasing their reach. Read their top tips below.
Grow Your Online Business with These Resources
There are more resources than ever to grow an online business. So how can you find the ones that are best suited to your company’s needs? In this Take It Personelly post, Chantal Bechervaise details some popular options for small businesses.
Get Higher Rankings with These SEO Hacks
SEO is one of the top strategies for improving online business reach. In this Wishpond post, Nikola Roza goes over some hacks that may kickstart your strategy. And members of the BizSugar community chimed in here.
Increase Engagement with These Social Media Content Ideas
Social media marketing is only effective if you can actually get customers to engage with your content. But how can you kickstart conversations or increase likes if your audience isn’t especially active? Jigar Agarwal offers ideas in this Neal Schaffer blog post.
Use Social Media for Customer Care
Social media isn’t just about marketing. You can also use it to improve customer service. And in doing so, your customers may be more likely to engage with you and support you online. Learn more in this Platter of Gold post by Adeyemi Adisa.
Build Brand and Customer Loyalty on Social Media
In fact, social media provides an ideal channel for creating loyalty among your customers. The connections you form on these platforms can go a long way for your brand. Read this Lion Blogger post by Trevor Michael for more on the subject.
Step Up Your TikTok Marketing Efforts
TikTok is an emerging social media platform that can help you reach lots of potential customers quickly. But if you’ve never signed up for an account, you may not know exactly where to start. Mary Kyamko of Crowdspring shares a guide in this post.
Learn How to Outsource Your Marketing to an Agency or Freelancer
If you want to improve your marketing efforts quickly, bringing in an expert may be the best option. Some companies work with an agency, while others outsource to a freelancer. Anand Srinivasan explores both options in this Codeless post.
Compare the Top Podcast Posting Sites
Podcasting can be a powerful marketing platform. Or you can even build your entire brand around a podcast. But finding the best platform can make a huge difference in how successful your show can be. Christopher Benitez shares some options in this Startup Bonsai post. And BizSugar members commented further here.
Write Clearer Using Plain Language
Written content is often a powerful component of online marketing. But you need to learn how to write clearly and in a way that your customers will resonate with. David Leonhardt provides tips for doing just that in this Moss Media post.
Learn Which Blogging Rules to Break and Which to Follow
Blogging looks different to every business. There are some general rules that help this strategy work for many marketers. But sometimes, those rules are made to be broken. Ryan Biddulph of Blogging From Paradise discusses which rules to follow and which to ignore in this blog post.
If you’d like to suggest your favorite small business content to be considered for an upcoming community roundup, please send your news tips to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image credit: Depositphotos
With technologies, knowledge and events constantly advancing, consumer values and behaviors naturally shift over time as well. In order to keep pace, businesses small and large must evolve alongside their audiences if they want to ensure they don’t become irrelevant in the market.
But how can business leaders predict or discern what their customers will do or think next? Below, a panel of Young Entrepreneur Council experts offer their advice on what entrepreneurs can do to keep up with customer behaviors and opinions and ensure their brands are shifting to meet changing needs.
1. Listen To Customer Feedback
In order to get and stay ahead, we must always learn about our audience and shift our way of thinking and our way of doing business to fit those changes. I strongly believe that we are only as good as the way we are able to adapt to the ever-changing world around us. We value customer feedback and take what our customers have to say to heart. This is a direct insight into how customers are thinking, which, in turn, is a pointer in the direction we should be shifting. Companies that are adapting to changes can oftentimes leverage their innovative solutions to stay ahead of the curve. - Roman Smolevskiy, A+ Construction Pro
2. Stay Updated On The Latest Social Research
Value-based media is more important than ever, and polling data indicates that this is especially true among Gen Zers. I recommend staying abreast of polling data and social research from companies such as Gallup, The Harris Poll and Pew, to find out what your core demographic audience believes in—not in order to pander to them, but to make sure they're heard. Find the values that your organization has in common with your core demographic and amplify those values in your messaging. Let it be known, unapologetically, what your company stands for. You're more likely to leave a positive and memorable impression with your audience this way. Those who you alienate will likely pale in comparison to those you attract. - Amine Rahal, IronMonk Solutions
3. Aim For Transparency
Transparency in brands is heavily respected and appreciated. We all know that a company that starts on day one will evolve as it goes through years of business. The company will receive feedback, gain knowledge of what's working, be more aware of its customer base and consumer needs and make changes to cater to that. Transparency allows the brand to show that it is changing and evolving and invites the consumer to be a part of the process instead of the company showing up one day with a rebrand and confusing everyone. Modern-day consumers respect brands that are transparent by allowing the consumer to take the journey with them. - Mary Harcourt, CosmoGlo
4. Get Involved On Social Media
It’s tougher and tougher these days to stay on top of the shifting social trends that can impact both the public perception and ultimately bottom lines of companies. The speed of information is nearly instant now, which means the decision-making processes of public-facing companies must be equally speedy in their willingness to adapt to what’s trending. Building brand stories that resonate with the target audience comes down to listening to what the conversations are all about in their social circles. Getting involved in groups on social platforms like Facebook can make a major difference in the understanding of what your customers really want (not just what you think they want), so these tools are invaluable for any business. - Richard Fong, Bliss Drive
5. Pay Attention To Trends
Look at what the platforms are promoting and doubling down in, and then re-create your story for that form of media. Right now, for example, TikTok and Instagram Reels are huge! If the platforms are doubling down, then you know you need that style of content. By simply following the trends of what you see from platforms and consumers, you can evolve your brand story to be most relevant for that end user, even if the overarching message is the same. - Ethan Kramer, EK Creative
6. Focus On Timelessness
It all starts with having a timeless brand from the beginning. If you can, during the early days of your company, you should really reflect on where you want your brand to be five, 10 and even 20 years down the road. This type of planning isn't just good for figuring out your brand identity, but it's a compass for the direction you want to take the company in the future. A truly timeless brand will be as relevant 10 years from now as it is today, so don't get too stuck on what's trendy today when you're developing your brand. - Andy Karuza, Base64.ai
7. Perform Frequent Brand Messaging Audits
From the home page of your website, to your social media content, audit your messaging to keep users engaged and keep your content authentic. As entrepreneurs, we design our messaging once at the outset, but many of us do not craft a dynamic story with our brand values, so it needs to be audited frequently. If you are just starting out, consider drafting a dynamic brand storyline that can be easily adjusted, so you can avoid potentially embarrassing insensitivity in your messaging. Current events play a major role in buyer decisions and perceptions. If your messaging is not responding to these, you are missing out on building brand loyalty and connecting with your audience in meaningful ways. - Matthew Capala, Alphametic
8. Ask Customers Directly
For your brand to evolve with its customers, you must stay informed about what they're into currently. You can stay in tune with the latest trends to keep up with your audience's needs and interests so you can give them exactly what they want every time. You can send customer surveys, run a poll or simply ask customers on social media how to keep up with what they need. There are a lot of ways to collect this information so you can continue catering to your audience and giving them what they need. - Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
Image Credit: ravirocks010 from Pixabay
Membership is open to businesses and organizations interested in increasing visibility and brand awareness in Westchester County and surrounding areas.