Today, the senior market has an unprecedented amount of buying power. In fact, 77% of the wealth in the United States is controlled by senior citizens. But if you want to reach this unique demographic, you need to understand how and why they buy. Here are the six secrets you need to know to maximize the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.
First, build a personal relationship.
Seniors tend to make buying decisions based on relationships. That means they want to get to know you before they buy your product and, for many seniors, they are fostering these interactions through social media; according to a study by PEW 43% of senior Internet users utilize social media, up 13% from 2009. Connecting through social media sites like Facebook gives you an opportunity to show that you understand the needs of seniors and that you're dedicated to solving their problems.
To see this idea in action, you can check out Fall Alert and its Facebook page. Even though this company sells only medical alert devices, it has used its social media to become a knowledgeable resource for issues beyond mere physical injury and, as evident by the consistent likes and comments, seniors are responding and perhaps building a deeper connection with the company. As with other demographics, to market to seniors you don't have to let your product be the sole draw.
But don't forget about print advertising.
Even with the rise of mobile devices, ordinary print advertising continues to prove effective at reaching the senior audience. Among all age groups, seniors have the highest response rate to traditional marketing efforts, like direct mail. Consider including radio spots, TV commercials, and newspaper ads in your marketing strategy. Remember, even though online marketing is crucial to any business, you need offline marketing to effectively tap into the older baby boomer population.
Reach out to the senior community.
According to a recent AARP survey, 4 out of 5 seniors volunteer to help others. By contributing to various nonprofit events, this gives you the perfect opportunity to build your brand — and do a good deed, too.
When you sponsor charities and community events, you connect with seniors by helping them address the concerns that are important to them. Depending on the nature of the event, perhaps have staff members available at each event to offer free consultations, and set appointments for follow-up calls.
Offer educational seminars and workshops open to the public, specifically tailored to the needs of seniors. Invite your current clients to attend and bring guests.
Make your materials easy to read.
If your brochures, web pages, or any of your materials are difficult to read, they could be ignored. And that's a waste of marketing dollars.
Instead, design your marketing materials to be as easy to read as possible. Here are some simple guidelines:
– Avoid small print. Use at least 12 point type, keep font basic and keep spacing between lines generous.
– Keep your pages clean and uncluttered by using plenty of white space. This applies both to your printed materials and your website. Furthermore, as we all read left-to-right, make life simple by having the content aligned to the left rather than centered.
– Use down-to-earth language that delivers your message in a straightforward manner. Stay away from jargon and buzz-words. One website that has successfully made their page easy to navigate and adhere to the rules is Senior Homes.
Earn referrals through word of mouth.
Compared to other demographic groups, seniors are more likely to recommend your business to others when they're satisfied. Plus, seniors place a high value on personal recommendations from friends and family.
That makes a referral one of the most powerful marketing tools you can use to reach seniors.
Winning more business could be as simple as encouraging your existing clients to provide referrals. Ask them to spread the word about your company — and reward them when they do.
Offer rebates and cash incentives to clients who make referrals. If you don't already have a formal referral reward program, start one today.
Remember: every senior is unique.
Keep in mind that seniors all have unique needs, desires and problems.
If you can make it clear that you care about solving their problems … that you'll take the time to listen and understand … and that you're dedicated to their satisfaction, then you'll earn their business.
Laurence MacNaughton is an author and copywriter who helps business leaders get more customers — and keep them coming back — through content marketing. Get his free ebook, “Word of Mouth: 6 Web Content Sales Secrets that Really Work” at www.ImageBusinessWriting.com