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This post started as something else completely. It was never meant to be the article that it turned into. It was started as research on selling products traditionally marketed towards women to men. My girlfriend is a doTERRA health advocate. Which in plain speak means that she educates people about and sells essential oils, among the many other things she does. I know about half of you tuned out as soon as I said essential oils, but stick with me. It’s because so many eye rolled at essential oils that this post is needed. What are you selling? Are you marketing your own “Make Millions Blogging” or “Quadruple Your Website Traffic in 3 Days” course? I know I roll my eyes every time I see someone offer a class like this. But why? Maybe because it wasn’t marketed for me. Or maybe because it wasn’t sold to me. How do you stop eye rolls at your product or service?
Differences in Marketing and Selling
It’s all too often that marketing and sales are lumped together, and while they depend on each other, they are quite different. Marketing turns cold leads into warm leads, and selling converts those leads into sales.
Marketing is a multilayered strategy designed to build trust in your brand, and promote products. It also creates prospects and drives them to your website or into your store. Some examples of marketing strategies would be television advertising, social media campaigns, brand marketing, and public relations campaigns. The one thing that truly sets marketing and selling apart is the relationship with customers. Marketing is one-on-many, targeting the general public.
That is the most basic definition of marketing. We are going a little more into depth about selling, since that is where my research started in the first place. We just can’t cover both too deeply in one post. There are entire books on both subjects, and one article will not do either justice, so we will be concentrating on a few key areas.
The basic definition of a sale is exchanging goods or services for currency. It has a one-on-one or one-on-small group relationship with the customer.
That’s it. Now anyone who has ever professionally sold things knows there is way more to it than that. Realtors, car salespeople, telemarketers, and the age old door-to-door salespeople all know that there are strategies and psychology involved in closing sales. There was a study published in “Psychology and Marketing” in 2014 that found the color red in your wardrobe makes you appear more persuasive and your statements more accurate. Selling is the art of turning a rebuttal, and is far more than exchanging goods for currency. But how do you translate that into a digital business? How do you “sell” to someone you cannot see, hear, or talk to? First you have to understand a little about the people you are selling to.
For example, in the U.S. 54.4% of people have made purchases from Amazon Prime. That market is mostly made up of the 30-39 age range with 65% of people within that demographic shopping on Amazon. Almost 6% more than the next closest age group which is 18-29. So if your main source of income is the Amazon Associate program you want to target the under 40 crowd for best results. The 30-39 demographic is also more likely to purchase items online then pick them up at the store, while the 18-29 age group is the opposite. They are more likely to examine an item in the store, then order it online to be delivered. If you advertise your product on social media 31.7% of your customers are likely to be 18-29, while only 11.4 % over 60. When it comes to digital shopping habits in the U.S. the largest participating age group is 18-29 with the numbers declining as the age range increases, except for examples cited above. Occasionally there is only a slight change in the 18-29 and 30-39 age groups, for example there is only a .6% difference when it comes to purchasing travel services/products digitally. All above statistics were found in various places on statista.com.
I know. What does this mean to you? How does this help you? All of this information is just a piece of the puzzle. Different groups of people will react to your content differently. Doing the research and finding out how will determine how you sell your services or products. Using trendy words from the times period and pop-culture references is one way to help connect with particular age groups.
Women are more emotional shoppers whereas men tend to be more mission or goal oriented shoppers. If a man needs to buy a pair of jeans, he will typically enter the store, go straight to the jeans, pick out his size, and ring out. The whole process usually takes about 30 minutes. A woman on the other hand realizes that what she actually needs is a pair of pants, not necessarily jeans, and will shop until she finds something comfortable that will suit her needs. Which from start to finish takes much more than 30 minutes. Selling to men and women is much the same.
Men want all the pertinent details upfront, then some time for quiet contemplation. Once they make a decision, men often remain fiercely loyal to “their brand”. Whether it’s the razors they shave with, beer they drink, kind of car they drive, or bbq sauce they use when cooking on the grill. Men pick a brand then stick with it. Changing their mind can take an act of God, or the opinion of someone they deeply respect. However, if a man chooses your brand, he will do his best to get his buddies to do the same.
If your site markets “male” oriented products, then you want to be very straightforward and upfront about the benefits of using your products or services. No beating around the bush. If your product is better simply state how and why it’s better. If there is some science behind what makes it better, state that too. In general men don’t have to completely understand the science behind everything, or how everything works, but it is very important that they know you understand what you’re talking about. Show them the value in your product. How does it solve their problem? How often will it need to be replaced? Why should they choose yours over other similar products? What do past purchasers have to say about it?
Women want to build a relationship, and talk their way through a decision, usually by asking questions. They are rarely loyal to a brand, but are often loyal to an experience. If they are treated well, and their many questions answered patiently and informatively with respect, women will loyally shop at that store or with that particular salesperson. Women will often follow a salesperson that treated them well through multiple jobs. Like a car salesperson to another dealership, or a hair stylist to another salon. It is more about the relationship with that individual then it is about the product. Women will tell everyone about their experience in a particular store or with a particular salesperson.
What’s more important to women is who they buy from. If your site markets more towards women then you need more content that tells the story of the product or service. Something that helps form a genuine connection. In general women want to understand everything about the product or service and make an informed decision. The “why” behind a product is also very important to them. Women want to know why someone else may have bought your product /service and compare if the situation applies to them.
The statements above are generalities. The truth is everyone is different. You can’t boil people down to their basic category and expect the same results from all of them. We are the sum of our experiences, and we tend to remember bad ones much longer then the good. Because of this, as consumers we tend to be naturally suspicious.
“You cannot underestimate people’s ability to spot a soulless, bureaucratic tactic a million miles away. It’s a big reason why so many companies that have dipped a toe in social media waters have failed miserably.” -Gary Vaynerchuk
Whether you are an affiliate marketer or you are selling your own products you face the same hurdles and difficulties. In 1936 Dale Carnegie said “Dealing with people is probably the biggest problem you face”, and that statement is no less true today. Knowing what we discussed earlier it is more important than ever you treat people honestly and fairly. Not only is it more likely to result in a sale, but not doing so means greater consequences. Long gone are the days when the tale of a misogynistic salesman doesn’t make it any further then the immediate neighborhood. If you treat someone poorly, the world will be informed. If your site appears to be “talking down” to a particular group, Facebook and Twitter will hear about it. If it is unnecessarily difficult to return an item or correct a mistaken order, your reputation can be ruined in short order. And without the social cues of facial expression and body language you are far more likely to be misinterpreted than ever before.
The original book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” is considered one of the best self-help books of all time. Carnegie believed that your greatest influence comes from genuinely wanting to help others, and that in all interactions you should leave the person you interacted with better then you found them. Now consider that today you have dozens if not tens of dozens interactions every day though the wonder of the internet. The adapted “How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age” discusses how to execute Carnegie’s principles through online exchanges. Some of which I’m sure you already practice unknowingly. “He [Carnegie] taught principles that flowed from an underlying delight in helping others succeed.” –NY Times. By publishing helpful and entertaining information on your blogs at no cost to your audience you are already producing interactions beneficial to your readers.
Where Carnegie discusses people in a manner that translates to sales, Robert Cialdini discusses sales in a manner that can also translate to human interactions. In “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” Cialdini lists the six principles of persuasion and teaches you how to wield them ethically in order to make sales. The first principle is Reciprocity used in sales to persuade someone to make a purchase by offering them something for free. Like BOGO deals or a free gift for “ordering now”. Because when someone gives us something we feel obliged to give them something in return. Which can be applied to personal dealing by the simple, treat others as we wish to be treated. If you hold honest dealings than you will receive honesty in return. The video below describes the principals in a way only a video can.
Through the research required for this post the most important and amazing piece of information I discovered is that the ideals and practices behind being a good salesperson, are the same ideals and practices behind being a good person. Being a good and responsible businessperson requires being a good and responsible human being. Help others succeed and thrive and they will reciprocate.
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