While the digital age has greatly influenced Generation X – or those born post-baby boom – seniors and the elderly are also joining the crowd of those who use the Internet for everything from research, staying in touch with friends and family, and making purchases. In a 2013 study published by the Pew Research Internet Project, the group found that of all adults aged 65 or older, 59 percent use the Internet. And, as the majority of wealth in the United States is concentrated among older adults, reaching out to seniors through Internet marketing can be crucial in increasing your business’s profits. Additionally, seniors are the fastest growing population group in the U.S.
Content marketing to seniors needs to be tailored to their specific needs, which are much different than the needs of teenagers, young adults, or even middle-aged individuals. With the right content marketing strategy, you can reach more seniors than ever before, ultimately growing your customer base and your revenue.
Marketing for Teenagers vs. Seniors
The first thing that’s obviously noticeable in the (buying) personalities of teenagers vs. seniors is that teenagers tend to make decisions more impulsively. Seniors, on the other hand, tend to make purchases more slowly, and by using more discretion. For example, weighing the benefits of disadvantages of a product before saying “yes” to a sale, is a much more common practice among seniors.
Another big difference between teenagers and seniors is that teenagers like to get behind whatever’s trending. If the iPhone is what’s new and popular, you can bet that a teenager is going to want it. Seniors, on the other hand, are often more comfortable with what they know and what they’ve been using for years – something new can seem intimidating and might present too much of a learning curve.
Because the trends and preferences of seniors and teenagers are completely different, marketing to the different groups must also be approached completely differently. According to one study published by CNET, 49 percent of seniors who use Internet use Facebook. On the other hand, a study published by Daily Tech reveals that 94 percent of all teenagers use Facebook. With such staggering differences, it’s easy to see why marketing through Facebook would be key if your audience was teenagers, but slightly less important for an audience of seniors. Marketing to teenagers might also rely on using pop culture or celebrities, whereas applying the same strategy to marketing for seniors might be less effective. In fact, even the way that the Internet is accessed is different for seniors and teenagers, with more seniors using desktop computers, and more teenagers using smartphones. According to a study conducted by MarketingProfs, only 29 percent of baby boomers and seniors use smartphones regularly. However, of those who do, 40 percent have used a smartphone to make a purchase.
Keep in mind that the young-old seniors (those ages 65 to 74) and the old-old seniors (those above age 74) might also have different needs. Typically the young-old are more vibrant and healthy, while the old-old tend to be more sedentary. These factors can affect both browsing and buying preferences.
Marketing For Seniors: Keep Things Simple
The teenage and young adult brain is running at a million miles per hour, and is able to absorb content is a variety of forms quickly and efficiently. While a teenager may be able to post a Tweet, send a text message, watch a YouTube video, and update their status all at the same time, chances are, the average senior citizen can’t. As such, you need to make your content marketing efforts simple, straightforward, easy to absorb, and easy to navigate.
One of the biggest parts of keeping things simple for seniors is creating websites with text that is easy to read. If things are difficult to read, chances are they’ll be ignored. Choose basic fonts, basic colors, and simple layouts that don’t overwhelm. Using slightly bigger text is a great idea too, and is guaranteed to be appreciated by a senior audience.
Form a Personal Connection
Another big part of marketing to seniors is forming a personal connection and relationship that builds trust and confidence in your brand. Unlike teenagers, seniors require more time to win over and will require that you take the time to listen and understand their needs.
One way that you can build your brand name and build trust among the senior community is by reaching out to seniors in the form of nonprofit and charity events.
Know What Seniors Want
Seniors want completely different things than do other age groups. Teenagers may desire technology, young adults wedding and baby products, and the middle-aged household items. Seniors, on the other hand, already have all of those things. So, what exactly is it that seniors want?
According to an article in the small business section of Yahoo!, seniors are spending their money primarily on:
- Ongoing educational opportunities
- Skin treatments
- Cosmetic surgeries
- Exercise facilities
If the product that you’re trying to sell is one of the above, then lucky you-you already have what seniors want. If, however, the product you’re selling isn’t on the list, you need to figure out how to make your product more attractive. One way that you can increase brand recognition and drive traffic to your site is by link sharing with websites that are offering commonly purchased senior products. Link sharing is the process of posting another company’s link on your website and then asking the other company to do the same for you. Not only does link sharing show that you know what seniors want, but it also is a perfect (and free) marketing opportunity.
Summing it All Up
The biggest thing to remember when marketing to seniors is that seniors want personalized service, consistency, a great client-customer relationship, and products that meet their needs. Once you gain the trust of a senior audience, seniors are more likely to remain loyal to your brand than are other age groups and can be a great asset in meeting your business goals.