Q: "Our company sells a consumer product used mainly by professional women. I am currently bidding on some keywords in Google AdWords (cost per click ads), but am wondering what other sources I can use to drive web traffic and sales?"
Excellent question! Too often I hear from marketers who think that the only place to advertise is Google. Google plays a gigantic role within search, but there are other options.
Here are a few channels and targeting options that could work to reach your objectives:
LinkedIn Direct Ads are small text ads that appear only to your targeted audience. They are a great way to reach professionals as they traverse thorough LinkedIn and visit LinkedIn Partner sites. Here you can target by many different criteria including geo-location, job function, company size, and you guessed it — gender. So in LinkedIn you can reach exactly who you want — female professionals!
Sure you can specifically target women in Facebook, but if you're not engaged in the channel and have a commitment to having some fun (no one wants to friend a blender, unless you systematically destroy cool stuff with it – WillItBlend has 9,946 likes on Facebook and over 350,000 subscribers on YouTube), you may be wasting your time. Facebook offers targeting by gender, location, age group, interests and more. So even if your corporate culture isn't loose enough to create viral blender videos; if you have good psychographic data on your customers, you can still selecting targeting options that will put you in front of your prospects.
Bing & Google
Wait a second. We started with AdWords so why are we talking about search again? Well the answer is quite simple. Both Google and Bing offer demographic targeting options.
Bing is really the place to be when you want to do search advertising to a specific demographic. With Bing you can specify age groups and gender. You'll still have to choose relevant keywords, but you won't have to worry about impressions wasted on men!
Google also allows you to target demographically; however, this only applies to campaigns on the Google Display Network. Of course you could increase your chances for success by using the Google / DoubleClick Ad Planner. This tool allows you to select sites that have a heavy female audience. Remember your ads will only appear when there is relevant content on the site, so make sure you select a smart group of your core keywords for these content campaigns.
If your budget allows, Google TV campaigns are another option that would allow you to specify your target audience and select the cable networks most likely to have a large female viewership. The new Oprah Winfrey Network, Lifetime or any other outlet that runs anything with Meredith Baxter-Birney might make sense. If you don't have a commercial ready to go, you can create on through the Google interface or find a partner to do it for you!
Believe it or not, these options just scratch the surface; there are thousands of others to consider. It's important to start testing right away, code all your campaigns for Google Analytics and see which works the best for you!