Contrary to popular belief, older baby boomers and seniors are frequently online and accessing a variety of digital and social media platforms. In fact, 87 percent of seniors are on social media with 97 percent of those on Facebook every day. While social media use among younger generations has largely remained flat, social media adoption by baby boomers and seniors has increased 10 percent in the last year alone.
As a small business owner, you understand the importance of not overlooking key demographic groups, especially a segment that is expected to contribute 52 percent of the total gross domestic product (GDP) by 2032. To help you reach this growing audience, here are five considerations for marketing to boomers and seniors online.
Remember the old expression “you’re only as old as you feel?” Studies have shown cognitive “feel” age can be a more accurate predictor of consumer habits than chronological age. In fact, your customers with lower cognitive age are more likely to be confident and savvy shoppers. Based on this, you should develop marketing strategies tailored to these valuable customers.
Forget what you thought you knew about seniors – many notions are stereotypical and inaccurate. Think they are set in their ways and not open-minded? Over half of all consumers over 55 are open to switching from their favorite brands the next time they shop. Think they are a decreasing market segment? By 2023, 70% of disposable income will originate from senior citizen purchases. These seniors also tend to spend more on hobbies and non-essentials as compared to other demographics.
Baby boomers and seniors generally purchase the same things as younger consumers. However, they tend to conduct extensive product research before deciding where to spend their money. You need to earn their trust by providing outstanding customer service which is critical to getting repeat customers and enhancing brand loyalty.
Seniors tend to have a small circle of friends that values or shares their opinions. Once you get to know your customers, ask them to recommend your products or services to their friends. As a thank-you, offer them an incentive on a future purchase. Create additional trust with personal stories. Gather testimonials from your senior customers and use these in your marketing tactics whenever possible. Seniors are favorably influenced by the opinions of other seniors.
Most seniors are online today but they, like many people, are mostly not tech experts. Aim for a simple and easy to navigate website with larger font sizes and graphics. All your messaging should be clear, concise and straightforward. Just as you would do for audiences of all ages, be sure your site is intuitive, communicates the benefits of your business and separates your brand from the competition.
Whether you are building a new website or refreshing an existing one, this is your opportunity to take a fresh look at your messaging and marketing approaches. With seniors in mind, create or refine your web design and content to ensure it effectively reaches and appeals to your target market. More seniors are shopping online, too. Make it fast and easy for them to make purchases with an organized eCommerce store.
The popularity of social media with seniors continues to grow with 85 percent of people 65 and over accessing a social app or site daily. Consider placing ads on Facebook. Nearly 70 percent of Americans between 50 and 64 use this leading social channel and over half of the individuals 64 and over access it daily. Seniors also interact with (in order of popularity) YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.
Use appropriate language when posting to seniors. Avoid slang and jargon that only younger people will understand. Write simple descriptions that clearly spotlight the benefits of your business and keep seniors informed about any changes in your hours or service – especially important during the coronavirus pandemic. Finally, create social posts that offer discounts and incentives. Seniors traditionally react well to sale items and promotions.
For the older generation, direct mail is still a viable marketing option as of now, but this is beginning to change. Start implementing cross-marketing functionality with direct mail by directing seniors to your online presence. Add more credibility and get more website visitors by printing your web and email address on your direct mail pieces. To connect with the majority of your senior market, you will need to deploy a multi-channel marketing approach that targets them on and offline.
Include more offline media and traditional marketing such as discount codes, flyers, local papers and catalogs. A strong email campaign can also be effective with seniors, who still use email to share information. Generate specials and promotions tailored specifically to this demographic by promoting senior sales days or special senior discounts. By doing this, you'll show your older customers they are valued.
Impactful marketing starts with an assessment of your marketplace, and seniors can potentially comprise a large portion of it. This is a growing group, and following our tips will help ensure your business appeals to seniors for years to come.