As a result, they instinctively have something to teach the rest of us about customer engagement and retention. Here we'll examine some of the methods and tools mom-run businesses rely on to develop communities around their products and services, giving us all a better understanding of how to reach consumers making buying decisions.
1. Get Social with Social Media
For many women-run businesses, social media are more than just places to network, they are important business tools that help them create a space for women to communicate, share and learn. These communities engage mothers who return more often, thereby creating more selling and community-building opportunities.
By using today's technologies, like blogs, RSS and Twitter, to broaden their social networks, writers like Dooce and The Mommy Blog, often dubbed "mommy bloggers," are syndicating their content through social networking to reach their target audience. They have become so popular that they are even dominating mainstream media headlines. A mass constellation of smaller blogs such as A Thrifty Mom are building notable followings and reaching their audiences by distributing content through social networks.
As with any consumer facing property, communication is the key to success, which is why many mom-owned businesses, such as Twitter Moms, routinely rely on easy-to-use social media tools like Twitter to get their message out proactively. In less than a year, this popular site leveraged Twitter to build a following of 21,000+ moms who come to the site to socialize, get advice, and enter contests. Twitter Moms founder Megan Calhoun notes, "Women have an instinct to create community and naturally gravitate toward tools that foster more communication in a more efficient way."
2. Plug In
Mothers who also run their own businesses are pressed for time and resources. Video provides a way to give them information in small, digestible snapshots. Affordable, accessible and effective, video creates dynamic, visual vignettes that invite viewers into more community-like relationships.
By supplying content in a robust, visual manner through video, you can engage audiences on a whole new level. Momversation does this very well through a network of online influencers who contribute videos on topics of interest to moms, ranging from sick days to learning disabilities, to how to keep your kids healthy. The videos provide additional exposure for the influencers involved, and another forum for ad-based revenue.
For marketers, this is a reminder that today's video goes beyond the traditional 30-second spot. Production quality can vary, length of time can vary, and even tone can be modified, but as with social media, the voice and the content should be authentic and genuine.
3. Make the Most of the Browser
Every time a mother logs on to find information, she uses an Internet browser. The opportunity to grab her attention at that point is high; therefore, more than 750 women-owned businesses have added browser-based add-ons, or conduits, to engage their audience right from the browser.
For instance, The Mommybar is a conduit that links to mom blogs, shopping sites, resources, coupons, weather, Twitter, Facebook, Google search and more all from within the browser. Safe and secure, the Mommybar centralizes information and persistently keeps it in the browser window so that moms are routinely engaged. Add-ons enhance engagement by keeping your brand in front of your audience whenever they are online and reminding them to return for new content, merchandise, deals and more.
A Parting Word of Advice ...
The rate at which women-focused communities are getting online has increased rapidly, and mom-run businesses are particularly successful. Maybe it's "mother's intuition" or just plain good business sense, but these tech-savvy communities are quickly adopting tools that provide large distribution opportunities, are cost effective, and are easy to use.
For businesses looking to engage and retain consumers, considering the strategies and tools that mom-run businesses are using is a wise investment of time and resources.