Guess what….! Men and women are different….! Now, who would have thought that? Well, looking at many websites you might think men and women are the same. In fact if you look at a random selection of websites you might think that the Internet is only for men. Web design is often “blocky” which is preferred by men more than women. Many sites are rather aggressive in tone – “Buy NOW” for instance – which is a more male approach than female.
Having said that, there are plenty of sites which emphasise sharing for sharing sake – such as Pinterest – which get a massive female following. Sharing and helping others without any return is predominant female characteristic.
Many website owners, of course, may well be basing design choices and functionality of their pages depending on the gender which they are targeting. However, several websites also appear to be targeting “just anyone” without focusing on elements such as gender, cultural preferences, and other factors which could make a website more appealing to specific targets.
One of the issues with the Internet is the need to more precisely focus on individual preferences than in “old fashioned” marketing. In the “old way” you could produce some more generic marketing collateral but by talking with customers and potential clients you could focus them in towards the elements which were best suited to them. In doing so sales staff would subconsciously take into account factors like gender when sorting out what marketing materials to provide their prospects.
Nowadays, some businesses just lump it all together and hope that the hapless website visitor can sort it all out themselves and spot anything that is gender specific or relevant to their cultural situation. Essentially, instead of sorting things out in advance on behalf of our customers, nowadays we expect them to sort it out for themselves.
The importance of gender considerations is made clear in new economic research which shows that given the choice men and women want different things when it comes to money. Women want more money. But men want more money than other men. In other words women want more money for everyone, according to the study, but men add in a competitive element to the desire for increased income – they want to beat others who get more money.
This has an important influence in the choice of words you might use on your website. If your company helps other firms increase their profits and your target market are men, then you might want to add in the competitive element. But if you are aiming at women business owners, you might want to tone down the competition implications.
Once again, knowing EXACTLY who your website visitors are going to be helps you focus your material much more closely to their needs.
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+