If your target audience includes moms, you're probably pretty happy that you work in online media. There are more than 32 million of them online in the U.S. alone, a number that's expected to grow to nearly 37 million by 2010. They're taking advantage of the medium in every possible way and looking to the Web for things that have traditionally resulted from offline networking efforts. At the top of the list? Finding a sitter.
This super consumer is busy but savvy and knows what she wants: an experienced and reliable caregiver for her kids. This desire can result from new parenthood or relocation to a new city. Whatever the scenario, numerous sites are designed expressly to supply mom with the help she needs.
These properties -- and their related advertising opportunities -- go beyond the parenting resources and online magazines we all know to tap social and online community trends. They call on a networking savvy that transcends the playground and schoolyard and facilitate a chore that has plagued mothers for decades. They also provide advertisers with a highly targeted and attentive audience that's hungry for products and services that can simplify Mom's hectic lifestyle.
There's a downside to this hearty news. Unless you're a parent yourself, some of these sites and opportunities might be quite elusive. Since they're so niche and often cater to regional audiences, they can go unnoticed by advertisers for which they could be a perfect fit. So if you haven't experienced parenthood yet -- or are simply new to this market -- here are a couple good places to start connecting with moms online.
This networking site is like LinkedIn for moms, with a sitter-specific focus. It's designed to connect care seekers with local available caregivers like babysitters, nannies, and au pairs. Members pay a monthly or annual fee to subscribe and are offered access to additional tools and features, like background checks, blogs, and a monthly newsletter.
The site boasts over 25,000 care seekers (typically moms) and offers some interesting stats about them. Most moms (70 percent) are aged 31 to 40, and most (72 percent) have an annual household income of $100,000 or more.
Sittercity's ad placements can be found in its e-mail newsletters, which can include 100-word footers and advertiser links on a weekly or monthly basis. The site itself is banner free, but partnership and affiliate opportunities do exist (Target is currently offering a $15 gift card for members who refer a friend to the site).
I happened across this gem of a service while posting a nanny ad on craigslist, later to be contacted by a MommyMixer representative about events in my area. The site is home base for a mom-and-sitter matching service not unlike speed dating and dating services like "It's Just Lunch."
Moms pay to attend networking events in their local cities; babysitters can attend free of charge. Often held at nearby stores or boutiques, the hour-long meet-and-greet parties allow moms to meet a few dozen college-aged sitters while doing some shopping and connecting with other area moms.
On MommyMixer, moms can select their city to see a list of upcoming events. Advertisers can purchase e-mail advertising, deliver banners on a ROS (define) basis, buy a site sponsorship for more complete coverage, or sponsor geo-specific city pages for local targeting capabilities.
According to Mary Sullivan Cooper, "chief founding mama" of the site, MommyMixer attracts two kinds of moms: gen X/boomers and millennial moms. "Older moms tend to be open regarding banners, but our Gen Y moms are as digitally plugged in as most of our sitters! Their online behaviors are just more advanced, so we are pursuing more mobile and social channels to grow our relationship with them even more," she says.
Like with Sittercity, just over 70 percent of MommyMixer moms have a very high household income: $175,000 or more. Ninety-two percent are aged 29 to 41.
Moms want to find sitters online. Advertisers want to find moms online. Sites like these make it easy for the two of us to find each other and connect through some good old-fashioned online networking.
Meet Tessa at ClickZ Specifics: Online Video Advertising on July 22, at Millennium Broadway in New York City.
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Tessa Wegert is an interactive media strategist with Enlighten, one of the first full-service digital marketing strategy and services agencies, serving such brands as Bioré, Bratz, Food Network, illy, Hunter Douglas, Jergens, and Olympic Paints and Stains. An industry veteran, Tessa has worked in online media buying and planning, marketing, and online copywriting since 1999. She is an active freelance writer specializing in interactive marketing who has contributed to U.S. and Canadian publications, including "USA Weekend Magazine," "Marketing Magazine," "The Globe and Mail," and "The Montreal Gazette." She is frequently quoted as an industry expert and speaks regularly at industry conferences and events.