Targeting the Ladies

This is not a “how to target female bass on their nests during the spawn,” but it should hopefully spawn new ideas on how you can target female anglers and the money they are bringing to our industry. Last year, female anglers accounted for 41 percent of new anglers, and an additional 46 percent voiced a desire to try fishing. In 2012, female anglers made up 33.2 percent of those who went freshwater fishing, and 31.9 percent of saltwater anglers were ladies as well. This is a large market that many have overlooked.

With more females entering fishing there are more female-oriented fishing clubs and tournaments. Lady Bass Angler Association is a great example of this. Do a Google search for “Women Anglers” or “Female Anglers” and look at the results that turn up.

In the last newsletter we touched on the female angler population (A Look at Who is Fishing). This time we are going to look into what is available for female anglers, how to market to them, and how to attract their business to your store.

Gearing Her Up
The industry has taken note of the increase in female anglers and has responded with not only specialized equipment and apparel meant for the female figure, but has also changed their color pallets to attract more women. While pink appears to be the dominating color to denote female-intended equipment, don’t think that women won’t buy what the men are already buying. Some companies are also moving away from pink and using other soft colors to market to women. Sometimes not having a pink rod or reel will help you stand out in a crowd oversaturated with pink. If you spent any time walking around ICAST or speaking to your dealer representatives you will know more manufacturers are targeting women with their fishing tackle. You should be stocking it and selling it as well.

While more fishing rods and reels are being designed for women, our industry’s apparel sector has also gotten on board by offering more clothing meant for a woman’s figure. We can all agree that women have a figure few men possess, and that calls for clothing cut and styled to her needs, not a man’s needs. The apparel for women ranges from specialty hats to shirts, waders, boots, pants, gloves and personal flotation devices. While most stores cannot stock all of the options for women, having a nice selection for her to browse will set you above the competition.

Marketing and Selling to Women
While women are shaped differently than men, most women also shop differently and need to be marketed to differently as well. First, women are smarter than many men and advertising agencies give them credit for that. Women know when they are being set up and screamed at with a watered-down male-oriented marketing campaign. Women are demographic, just like men are. Women are making more financial decisions and are more independent than they were just decades ago. Women are also heading up major corporations and are bringing home six figure salaries. They have the money and the power to spend it. When you market to them, instead of running a separate ad, include them in your advertising. Women want equality; give their products equal space in your advertising.

When women shop, they also shop differently than men do. Women tend to prefer to hear about product value instead of the various features a new reel offers. Instead of touting the gear ratio, explain to her why it is important and how it will help her present the lures. If she asks about the gear ratio, then go ahead and go into more detail, but do not focus on it. Women also do not enjoy to be treated like a less intelligent form of men. Talk down to a woman and see how the sale goes. If she doesn’t understand something you’re telling her, ask what she is missing and then explain it nicely. All of us were one day new to fishing; with such an increase in new female anglers you are sure to have more than one enter your shop who wants to fish but knows little about the sport. Work with her, and she will turn into a loyal customer.

Women also are more tuned in to social media and word-of-mouth advertising. Target them on your social media and you should see an increase in shopping activity. They also will quickly share where they were treated poorly or received great customer service.

The words “commitment” and “women” have gone hand-in-hand for centuries and it is still true when it comes to marketing and selling to them. Creating a space in your store for the female angler is not something you test – it takes commitment. It is reported that women are more brand-loyal than men are. When they find something that works for them, they tend to stay with it. The same is true on where they shop – when they find a store that meets their needs and treats them correctly they become loyal very quickly. The problem exists if that store is inconsistent with its offerings. Having something today and then nothing new for six months is a quick way to turn women off to shopping your store. If you run out of something, let your female shoppers know it is ordered and will be in stock soon. Show them you are committed to them and they will remain committed to you and your store.

Attracting Women
Figuring out the best way to attract women is something men have been battling for centuries. Some markets have discovered surefire ways to get women in the door, and as a retailer you can and should borrow from this. One of the more popular endeavors some retailers are finding success with is a ladies night in their store or on a local body of water. These ladies nights are a great way to not only introduce women to fishing, but also to your store and what products are available to them. If possible, see if you can have a few noncompeting representatives from your various distributors there to showcase their products. Invite a local all-ladies fishing group if there is one in your area as well. Send special invitations out to the local lady groups in your community, whether they are church groups or social groups, inviting their members to come take part in this special event. If the turnout is great, hold an event in your store and set a date for an additional event on a local lake or river to let them test their new equipment. Have your staff on hand to assist, especially any female staff members you currently employ. Contact the local newspaper as well and see if they would be interested in covering this event – stress the importance of women in fishing and how more women are taking up the sport.

Consider also creating a more female-friendly section of your store to showcase the various equipment you have in stock for the ladies. Do not hide it in the back of the store, but you also do not have to give up prime real estate for it either. Place it so it is easily seen and accessible. Ensure you have your staff members trained on how to approach and deal with the female customers shopping this section as well.

While the holidays are still months away, consider hosting a special ladies night in your store for them to come shop for the men and women on their list. This is a great time to showcase that new ladies section of equipment and apparel you have received.

The final piece of advice to attract women is to remember that every time one enters your store, she is a potential customer. She may be shopping for a gift for a man in her life, but why not ask her if she is interested in the sport for herself. The less barriers we remove and the more women we can invite onto the water, the better our industry will be, and the better your sales will be.

Have you already started to target female anglers in your store, or have you noticed an increase in interest from the ladies? What has your experience been so far? Share your comments and experiences with us all on our Facebook page and in our LinkedIn group.