Seven Strategies for Marketing to Women

Market size alone, and growing affluence, challenge traditional approaches

By Annette Bau, CFP

Ms. Bau is the founder of, a ‘mastermind performance community’ providing training and consulting services for advisors, agents and brokers. Connect with her by e-mail:

One of the biggest opportunities, and challenges, for advisors is marketing to women. There are fundamentals to approaching this market and to mastering strategies to achieve success.
In a survey of over 12,000 women from 22 different countries – one of the largest quantitative marketing studies ever conducted – it was concluded that:

Globally, [women] control about $20 trillion in annual consumer spending, and that figure could climb as high as $28 trillion in the next five years. Their $13 trillion in total yearly earnings could reach $18 trillion in the same period. In aggregate, women represent a growth market bigger than China and India combined—more than twice as big, in fact. Given those numbers, it would be foolish to ignore or underestimate the female consumer. And yet many companies do just that, even ones that are confident they have a winning strategy when it comes to women.

In that same study, across 33 various consumer categories, financial services ranked among the worst in terms of how women feel they are treated. (1) “More than 70% of all elderly persons with incomes below the poverty level are women. But what is perhaps even more significant is that more than half of elderly widows now living in poverty were not poor before the death of their husbands.”(2) According to the recent census, the average age of widowhood is 57, and the life expectancy for women is 78. That is 21 years where the woman is handling the family’s wealth.

Looking at these facts, it would seem that learning how to successfully market to women can be the opportunity of a lifetime!

Choosing Which Women’s Group to Serve

There are three main categories into which most women fall: Traditional, Non-Traditional, and Combination.

Traditional women (e.g., homemakers, wives, mothers, etc.) are most likely found at PTA meetings, school and sporting events for kids, as well as at churches. When investing, family is their number one concern. Traditional women generally will not ask for a financial plan, prefer hidden fees, and like commission-based plans. Relationship marketing is critical with this group.

Non-Traditional women (e.g., business owners, entrepreneurs, the women who are making bottom-line decisions, etc.) are found in corporate America, small businesses, spas, golf courses, Who’s Who, and Industry of Trade Related Organizations. Often risk-takers, this group prefers a fee-only investing strategy and are highly motivated by bottom-line results. Performance matters! If they feel you are not meeting their expectations, they will fire you in a heartbeat.

Combination women are not quite traditional, but they are not quite non-traditional either. These women fall somewhere in between the two groups. Family is important to these women and so is being successful in the business world. This type of woman can be found in groups that combine their responsibilities, professional organizations such as Business & Professional Women (BPW), and/or Women Professional groups. When it comes to investing, they are more flexible than non-traditional women, but they will want to see a clear financial plan that ensures their family’s security.

Top 7 Strategies for Working with Women

While there are a variety of strategies that can work effectively with women, today we will dive into 7 of the best.

1. Create an Attractor Model
Advisors either have an attractor model (where clients come to you) or a chaser model (where you go find them). Creating a model that gets them to come to you is the fastest and easiest method to fill up your funnel with women. Creating an attractor model requires that you take the time to find out what they want, how they want it and then consistently deliver it. When you make an effort to create a business that focuses on an attractor model, you will have a consistent stream of qualified clients lined up to do business with you.

But what is perhaps even more significant is that more than half of elderly widows now living in poverty were not poor before the death of their husbands.

2. Empathetic Listening
When we take the time to see the world through our clients’ and prospects’ lenses, we get a much clearer view of how they see the world, how they make decisions and how we can best serve them. Empathetic listening requires that we listen with our ears and our hearts. The result is that we understand them, connect with them, and empathize with them. Understanding the difference between sympathy and empathy is important. Empathy is when you feel WITH the person, and sympathy is when you feel FOR the person without being able to truly experience the feelings they are having. Empathy is a key ingredient to succeeding with this group.

3. Educational or Feeder Workshops
All types of feeder workshops including overviews, lunch–n-learns, series and introductions are effective with traditional and combination women. Prior to offering these workshops, it is best to take the time to find out what topics they are interested in so your presentation covers them. The secret to this strategy includes three components of the workshop: pre-planning (before the workshop), content delivery (strategy for delivering the message), and post-event follow-up (post-event options, as well as follow-up and follow-through).

4. Research with Clients and Prospects
Research is one of the most powerful tools to attract more ideal clients into your business. It is especially helpful for attracting women. When we take the time to find out what people want and then deliver it, we dramatically increase the likelihood of our success. The first step is to create your questionnaire. The questionnaire should provide you with the information you need to know who they are, what they want, where they are going, why they do what they do, and how you can best serve them. As you learn new information, revise your questionnaire until you are learning everything you can about your ideal prospect and client.

5. Master Your Delivery
As the saying goes, “Amateurs practice to get it right, masters practice until they can’t get it wrong.” It is critical that you master what you say, how you say it, and the timing for delivering it. The power of effective scripting cannot be denied. Practice your elevator speech, prepare relevant stories for common concerns, and handle objections before they come up. Once you have what you say down pat, video and practice it with someone you trust to give you a good, honest critique.

6. Incorporate a Relationship and Referral Marketing Strategy Into Your Plan
One of the simplest and most often overlooked strategies for attracting more women to your business includes relationship marketing. Women want to do business with someone they know, love and trust. They, as we all do, want to know you are interested in their well-being more than from a perspective of just money. When you do a great job of relationship marketing to them, you will know because the referrals will flow to you.

7. Leverage Connections
When it comes to their marketing plan, most advisors work from a 1-on-1 model. While this can work, there is a much easier and more effective strategy. It is 1 (you)-on-20, -50 or even -100 model. If you were sharing your winning message with 100 of your ideal clients instead of just one, you dramatically increase your odds of success. You will no longer be worrying if one of the people in your audience says no because you have 99 others that can say yes! Whatever strategies you are using, make sure to also add the principle of leveraging connections!


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