25/09/2012 – Paris
Hi Siobhan, could you tell us a little bit about Netmums?
Founded in 2000 Netmums is the UK’s largest women’s website. Twice the size of any other parenting site, Netmums is the only one with more than a million unique users each week.
The site hosts over 150 local websites, 1,500 bloggers and 500 national meet-up groups for mums, making it the UK’s top place for connecting parents. And Netmums is the also only parenting site to provide round the clock care. Each year over three and a half million parents are supported by Netmums specially trained teams of parenting experts, including staff from Relate, Women’s Aid and the Family Rights Group. The site also provides one-to-one support for more than 30,000 of the?UK’s most vulnerable mums each year
Who are the ‘Netmums’ that use your site?
Netmums is aimed at online mums, that is all online mums, and we believe our success is based on the fact that when a woman becomes a Mother, she has a bond with all other women who are mothers too. Becoming a mother breaks down all barriers so you don’t just connect with mums in your area, or your income bracket, or who like the same fashion as you, but all other mothers too.
By not targeting a specific TYPE of mum or a demographic, we now find ourselves with a website where the users mirror the national demographic breakdown – we have approximately; 1/3 from lower income families; 1/3 from middle income and 1/3 from high income families. We have mums who stay at home, those who work full time and those who work part time.
We also have mums from all over the country, roughly proportional to the national statistics. So we can truly say we represent “mums” not just “some” mums or a “type “of mum. This has been very important to our success not just with our users but with main stream brands such as Kellogg’s.
What are your Netmums looking for when using your site?
Our Netmums look for a variety of things when using our site. It might be that they want inspiration on what to do with children; activities, games etc. They may be looking for recipe ideas or ways to keep their children healthy. They may also be looking for advice from other mums or even professional support. We aim to offer an environment where whatever your question/problem/ interest may be you can feel confident that there will be information available for you.
What brands do you work with and what do the Netmums want from them?
We work with a number of brands such as Kellogg’s, Bepanthen, Panasonic, Dell, Colgate, Disney, Amazon and Huggies to name but a few. When brands work with us, we lead them through our best practice guide. It is all about having a conversation with mums and not just advertising AT them. We found that our mums want brands to ask them what they think, to give something back and to be honest and transparent.
For example, our relationship with Kellogg’s started with the Managing Director coming in and chatting to our mums on our forums. They now have a wonderful relationship with Netmums and our mums and very month we have new Kellogg’s content on site – we even have a Kellogg’s/Netmums logo!
Have you thought about the male market at all? Is there any room for Netdads on the internet?
We have always tried to include dads and, since the beginning, made it clear that whilst the site was started by mums, dads (and grandparents, childminders etc) were welcome too. We started a “dads corner” once too – but whatever we did, we found that very few dads participated. In fact the UK government paid to set up a site for dads to help them feel included as parents but it got very little traffic. Dads are still welcome of course but because of this we don’t do anything specifically targeted at them.
We conclude that men simply use the internet in a different way to women. Women like to talk, (a lot!) share their problems, ask for emotional support and advice; maybe most men don’t do that.
We also know that women (mums) are the gatekeeper to the family – mums generally decide the food the family buy, the clothes the children wear, the holidays they go on, the toys the children play with and the medical products they buy.
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