Before I founded Web.com, I watched as my wife faced many challenges as she launched and built her own business into a thriving company. The resources she needed to help her business grow online weren't either readily available or didn't exist, and it was a hard path to success. Her experience was a large part of what inspired me to found Web.com because I wanted to provide those resources to help entrepreneurs succeed.
Recently, Web.com commissioned a survey of 3,000 consumers and small business owners about how small businesses are building relationships with customers online and through social media. Forty percent of the small business owners surveyed were women, and it became apparent to me that the popular saying "Men are from Mars; women are from Venus" doesn't just apply to romantic relationships. It also holds true for business relationships, and how male and female business owners have notably different priorities for interacting with their customers online.
Men could learn a lot from women about building strong customer relationships. Here are three things we learned from women business owners that could help all entrepreneurs increase their success.
Women make business personal.
Ten percent or more women than men emphasize the importance of customer service, "being there when you need them," and building personal and intimate relationships are extremely important for women business owners. In contrast, men place greater emphasis on their business being well-managed and offering lower prices, deals and discounts.
And what do consumers care most about? More than eight out of ten of them say "easy to do business with;" "personal, intimate, human, face-to-face;" "customer-focused;" and "there when you need them most" are the most important reasons why they choose small businesses over larger chains. Women understand that making business personal builds long-term customer relationships and loyalty.
Women are wooed by the web and social media to grow their business.
Even though men and women are equally likely to have a business website, ten percent more women than men are using social media for their business. What's more, women are 16 percent more likely to recognize the value of social media for their business.
Looking at what consumers want, 83 percent say that having website and using social media is important to their consideration and choice of a small business. Once again, women are more aligned with consumers than men.
Women recognize the untapped potential of their business' web and social media strategy.
Women business owners are more realistic, than men, about how their business is meeting consumers' expectations in the digital arena. In this case, 67 percent of men believe they are meeting their customers' social media expectations versus only 48 percent of women. The reality is half of consumers say small businesses are meeting their social media expectations, meaning that women are actually more critical of themselves than their customers are of them!
Overall, women business owners value and use the web and social media to enhance and empower personal relationships in business. They also view relationship-building on today's "eMain Street" as an essential ingredient in reaching their company's full potential.
Women entrepreneurs have become a mainstay of our nation's economy. According to the Center for Women's Business Research, females are launching businesses at one and a half times the national average. Given women's leadership in building strong personal relationships online, their success is no surprise to me.
To learn more about the survey Web.com recently conducted, please click here.