By Tonika Bruce, CEO of Lead Nicely, who helps startups, nonprofits and leaders win with unique and innovative marketing and business strategies.
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.