The Luxury Letter Blog

Are You Maximizing Your Opportunities Online With High Net Worth Buyers?
January 7, 2009, 3:10 pm
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By Susan Adams, President of Fractional Sales Solutions

I was on an interesting webinar a few months ago that was sponsored by Google. The topic was how the affluent use the internet. I’m of the opinion that the internet is the least understood of the marketing mediums for those companies that actively sell to high net worth buyers.
The most interesting statistic from their survey was that millionaire earners are the most prolific shoppers on the internet. The reason I found this so compelling was that many wealthy shoppers are given exceptional service experiences from the retail stores they visit. So, why would they abandon these stores that cater to their needs to go shop on the internet?
It’s simple. The internet is fast and anonymous. One of the things I learned in my years of selling to multi millionaires is that they prefer to be anonymous. Most of my contact with these clients was over the phone. They rarely wanted to meet in person, and instead, preferred to speak with me over the phone.
It only makes sense that they would be attracted to the internet because of the anonymity they find using this medium. They can research a product or service from the comfort of their home or office without ever having to get on the phone and talk to a sales person. In fact, one gentleman in the survey found a $15,000 watch he wanted to buy and was completely annoyed that he couldn’t purchase it online. Instead, he had to call and speak with a sales person.

Money to Spend, But No Time to Spend It

The second interesting fact concerned the amount of time (or lack thereof) they discovered among the various groups of ‘affluents’. The more money a person has, the less time they have to spend it. This is a point I make repeatedly with my clients trying to market online to the affluent. We know they lead busy lives and have very little personal time. So, it makes sense that their first stop for any major purchase is the internet.
It’s important to remember that the average consumer spends 7 seconds on a website before they click away. While there are no statistics of this kind for the affluent niche, you can assume 7 seconds may be generous. With that in mind, take a look at your online presence. Does your home page immediately connect with a high net worth individual?
For example, if you’re a luxury resort, are you talking about family experiences, or are you highlighting the spa or the golf course? The affluent are more family-oriented than other demographic groups, so lifestyle experiences that speak to connecting with family are more likely to resonate than a description of the ‘world class spa’. If you’re wealthy, you have world class accommodations everywhere you vacation.
There were a few other important findings for marketers:

  • The affluent believe that those companies NOT FOUND online have cheapened their brand
  • The wealthier you are, the more likely you’ll be annoyed if you CAN’T find and purchase something online
  • Brand awareness isn’t enough…you must have data to support the prospects’ need for due diligence
  • Peer recommendations (testimonials) are a powerful tool among the wealthy. They all want to know, ‘Why are other people like myself buying this or looking at buying’?

Companies also need to think beyond their websites and look into other, more nonconventional, areas for advertising. I frequently remind clients that their online presence needs to go beyond websites and pay-per-click advertising.
For example, have you ever considered some of the places wealthy buyers are likely to go on the internet? Places like social networking sites, blogs and charity sites? What better place to get acquainted than a blog on a specific charity?
There are also many ‘cause-oriented’ sites like the green movement or political sites.
As with any marketing or advertising, it all goes back to understanding WHO your client is and how WHO they are helps you effectively market to them. Your marketing message shouldn’t be telling the prospect what you think they need to know, but rather finding out what they need to know about you and then crafting a message that resonates.

Why not attract the affluent with a message that says, ‘We understand who you are and why people like you purchase this product or service’.
Different? Yes.
Effective? Definitely!


1 Comment so far
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Thank you so much for your insight to the affluent. You have given me a couple of ideas.

Comment by Bernard Coffey

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