Chick Magnet

How can you attract women to your business?

Women control America's purse strings. In fact, nine out of 10 women identify themselves as the primary shopper for their household, and that includes purchasing or influencing sales of more than half of all consumer electronics and 75 percent of all over-the-counter drugs, as well as 80 percent of overall consumer goods, including vehicle purchases. In the past five years, the number of women-owned businesses increased at twice the rate of firms overall. And according to the Center for Women's Business Research, women entrepreneurs use many of the same brands in their businesses as they do at home. So chances are, whether you target businesses or consumers, improving the way you market to women can have a tremendous impact on your company's success.

Women customers buy quite differently than men. For women, price and availability are just the beginning. They approach a purchase as if they're entering into a relationship, evaluating it based on in-depth information about the product or service and the company behind it. An effective public relations program that communicates who you are and what you stand for is essential to wooing female consumers. And advertising success comes from eliminating the hard-sell approach and supplying the information women require to make educated decisions. As a result, it may take longer for you to win a new female customer, but once you do she's more likely to remain loyal.

Whether they're entrepreneurs, employees or stay-at-home moms, women make buying decisions based on vastly different criteria.

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Kim Gordon is the owner of National Marketing Federation and is a multifaceted marketing expert, speaker, author and media spokesperson. Her latest book is Maximum Marketing, Minimum Dollars.

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This article was originally published in the March 2002 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Chick Magnet.

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