Marketing to Seniors: How and Why You Should Market to the Golden Agers

Move over millennials, there’s a new demographic in town. When we think of typical marketing groups, the most talked about and researched are millennials. Almost every marketing article or research piece aims to decode the secret of how to reach, inspire, engage, and connect with this younger group (ages 18-34 years old). Although millennials are the largest population group (75.3 million), companies that only concern themselves with reaching one specific audience miss out on another equally important demographic.

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Why you shouldn’t forget the senior class

One of those untapped and often forgotten demographics is our sweet, golden baby boomers (population born between 1946-1965) and senior citizens (65+). The majority of brands (approximately 65%) overlook the 65+ age group. This is a big mistake. According to a recent study, roughly 70% of all the disposable income in the United States will come from this expanding group of seniors within the next five years. According to AARP, nearly 10,000 adults turn 65 every day. This age group has roughly 47x the net worth of their younger counterparts and an eagerness to participate with technologies. According to the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, “the 74-plus demographic is the fastest growing demographic among social networks.”

How to market to seniors

When it comes to marketing to the senior class, one of the best channels is mobile. It’s easy to assume that mobile is for the tech-obsessed millennials. However, seniors value their phones as much as the younger people – they simply use it in a different way. While it’s true that year-over-year mobile usage by seniors slows with age, the reason for this is not that they are disinterested in mobile, but because mobile gets more and more complicated each year. Seniors say that the number one motivation for using a mobile device is keeping in touch with family. The second most important reason is shopping and finding bargains. Disposable income, ample time, and shopping as a motivator are all obvious reasons why mobile marketing to seniors makes sense.

One channel that resonates particularly well with senior citizens is mobile messaging or texting – and it’s no surprise why. Mobile messaging is simple, ubiquitous, versatile and effective. It’s one of the only marketing channels that has become second nature to us. A recent survey found that 77% of seniors use a basic phone that can’t run apps, and the seniors that do have a smartphone aren’t interested in downloading the latest apps. Senior citizens understand texting. It’s easy to use and makes sense. Here are a few important tips to keep in mind to ensure that you get your message heard – loud and clear.

1. Keep it relevant

All marketing communication should be relevant to the person receiving it, but even more so when marketing to seniors. People over 65 are more likely to be influenced by straightforward messages that get to the point rather than obscure ads and games. Keep your text clear and use relevant, plain language. Stay away from using trendy words or references that younger people propagate. If it’s listed in Urban Dictionary, it’s probably not the best phrase for this audience. Use the simple and clean approach with imagery and video, too. Instead of creating an elaborate collage, use a single image on a contrasting background that clearly demonstrates what you’re trying to say.

2. Keep it simple

When thinking through every step of your marketing program, ask yourself how simple it is. Does it require extensive explanation or (gulp) a demonstration? The more complex something is to understand or let alone purchase, the more that complexity and lack of understanding will emphasize the loss of independence seniors often incur as they age. This means that everything from onboarding to check out must be incredibly simple, straightforward and easy to use. The over 65 years of age audience did not grow up with a smartphone in their hand. Many processes that make sense to younger audiences are very challenging for an older audience. Make sure you simplify the onboarding process by asking the bare minimum for them to get signed up.

Seniors want to understand how to do things on their own without needing to ask someone to explain how or why. If your program is not intuitive and easy to understand, you run the risk of that person giving up and moving on to something less complicated, ultimately losing that person as a loyal member of your program.

3. Make them feel special

Create special promotions and offers, such as buy one get one free deals, special gifts on their birthday, senior citizen sale days, free deliveries, etc. You can, of course, use these promotions for all of your customers, not only seniors. The point is to create campaigns that make them feel special and valued. Help your senior customers share discounts with their friends and family by making sharing capabilities seamless and simple.

4. Establish trust – early and often

When connecting with new customers, it’s important to establish trust from the beginning. While asking for any personal information, explain why you need that piece of information and how it’s going to improve their overall experience. Throughout the buying process, use every opportunity to strengthen their trust in your brand. Ensure that you’ll never spam them and that their private information is safe and secure. Provide testimonials from other customers when possible and offer money-back guarantees as part of the buying process. Don’t surprise your customer with atypical communication. If you say you will message them 1x per week in the morning, don’t start messaging them every day at midnight. Consistent behavior is key to establishing trust with not only your senior customers but all of your customers.

5. Personalize your messages

Don’t assume all of your customers are similar because they’re part of the same demographic. Not everyone aged 55-95 likes and cares about the same things. Just like not everyone aged 18-34 likes and cares about the same things. Define and customize your market and communication strategy by education, cultural upbringing, location, employment status, and so on. Avoid stereotyping, and don’t assume one message will work for all. Try out a myriad of messages and see which resonates best.

6. Be supportive throughout every step

Stay in touch with your customer even after they’ve made a purchase. The majority want to feel connected and supported by you, and by acting as a trusted brand, you’re showing them that you personally care about them and their wellbeing. Be responsive and helpful regarding support issues and ensure that their issue won’t sidetrack them again in the future.

It’s clear that the senior audience should not be overlooked. By following these 6 tips, you’ll be well on your way to getting in touch with this very special and promising group of potential customers. To learn more about creating mobile messaging your customers love, let’s chat.

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