While modern culture and changing gender roles have closed the ranks to some degree and have made our differences less pronounced, they do still exist. Stereotyping the sexes proves to be a tricky line to walk, is sometimes offensive, and is never completely accurate for all individuals. There is no denying, however, that the genders are different. We look, think, act, and feel differently and our hearts and minds operate in a completely dissimilar manner much of the time.
Setting aside all other aspects of life, gender differences often make the shopping and purchasing processes of men and woman distinctly unalike. Men shop with a specific purpose, while women shop as an activity or as a social outlet. Men often decide to buy quickly, but women generally need to be exposed to a product or service numerous times before committing. Men need to digest information in a logical, concise order and will focus on facts and figures in making their selection. Women can receive information in any order and piece it together beautifully, but they focus on social influences more than on the hard data. Men rarely ask for help. Women need to ask questions. Men don’t usually consider price with routine purchases, but women regard it as very important. Most significantly, when men make a purchase it is generally to fill a basic need or as an investment, but women often buy to make themselves feel good emotionally.
Because the purchasing process is so dissimilar between the sexes, a website’s copy should take that into consideration. If your property caters primarily to business travelers, the copy should be aimed at the needs and wants of men (Men are still the majority in the business world, though this is changing.). If your business deals largely with spa weekends and family retreats, web copy catering to females might be more effective in converting lookers into bookers.
- Make sure contact information is prominent on each page for women, as they will be more apt to want to speak to a real person. Also make FAQs easily available to answer common questions that are often asked.
- Focus on the amenities that will fill a male’s vacation needs, while still writing about views, atmosphere, and environment which will help a woman make an emotional connection with the property.
- Write personal, conversational copy for women, but have bullet points and links to “more information” for men.
- In general, if you seek to improve a male’s standing or position while improving a woman’s feeling and emotion, your copy will “speak” to both effectively.
Chevrolet.com offers a great example of a company using copy to “speak” to customers on a gender level. The headline shown with the Silverado truck is a mere four words:
OUR COUNTRY. OUR TRUCK
It is short and sweet, but says so much. It’s offering men identity as well as status. It says that to own a Silverado is to be an American man. It is tying pride in vehicle ownership to National pride and patriotism. This is a powerful statement to men.
In contrast, the headline offered with the Uplander minivan reads:
THE FAMILY SPORT VAN
Minivans are driven primarily by women and it’s not uncommon to see them marketed with some sort of family focus. Relationships and the feelings that accompany them are powerful motivators for female purchasers.
In the SUV section of Chevrolet.com, the company continues to speak more to men by offering a rise in status with their headlines:
LIVE BETTER WITH ALL THIS, YOU’LL BE ALL THAT
Gender is central to identity and the way in which each of us thinks and sees the world. Companies and copywriters that understand this and consciously use the differences of the sexes to their advantage will meet with unmatched success.