Marketing to Seniors

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Best Practices - Marketing to Seniors

Two best practices for marketing to seniors are using multichannel campaigns and making advertisements simple and clear. Details of these best practices are below.

Multi-Channel

  • Experts suggest that multi-channel marketing works best for seniors because they turn to a variety of platforms for entertainment and news.
  • For example, 87% of seniors go on social media every day, 34% of seniors read a magazine at least once a day, and 25% use a radio streaming service such as Pandora.
  • Media time for a typical senior involves using the Internet followed by watching television.
  • Additionally, 40% of seniors own smartphones and this number will only continue to increase, so mobile marketing is critical. However, it should not be the only method.
  • Many seniors also still love getting mail, so direct mail campaigns are effective with this population. In fact, this generation is the "best mail-order buyer in terms of frequency."
  • Direct response television and radio are also effective with seniors because they feel like they are making the decision to purchase an item or service rather than having it forced on them.
  • With 93% of the seniors who are active on social media accessing Facebook every day, Facebook marketing is almost essential.
  • This is a best practice because it is mentioned by nearly all industry publications when discussing how to effectively market to seniors. In addition, seniors still hang on to many offline sources, but as people who are now in middle age get older, the number of people using online and mobile sources is going to increase dramatically.
  • Heritage Communities is an example of a company that is using multichannel marketing successfully for seniors. The senior living community uses Google My Business to track SEO and website traffic, creates branded videos to publish on social media, and distributes print media (a book) to visitors to the facility.
  • This multichannel approach for Heritage Communities "has been successful, earning the company plaudits like the recent “Best of the Best” award from Argentum."

Clear and Simple

  • Industry experts agree that older people "want information that is clear, honest and concise and makes them feel valued as people."
  • As such, they recommend that all advertising, but specifically digital advertising, that targets seniors be clear and simple.
  • Most senior citizens did not grow up with technology, so "everything from onboarding to check out should be uncomplicated and easy to use."
  • Since many seniors are used to engaging with people over the telephone, it is important for television and video ads to be conversational, yet informative.
  • Explainer videos are very popular with this age group because they are typically short and contain a significant number of visual aids.
  • Take care not to be condescending or patronizing, though, as seniors can sometimes feel as though society thinks they have less value now that they are older. Marketing approaches should not "portray the common weaknesses and inabilities that come with age as devaluing their importance."
  • Blogs and written content should be kept short as this generation prefers content that has no more than 300 words.
  • All copy must be clear and straightforward as "confusion kills response from seniors."
  • In older adults, "visual memory surpasses verbal memory," so it is important to keep the message of the advertisement simple and the images memorable.
  • This is a best practice because it is recommended by nearly all industry publications when discussing how to effectively market to seniors. In addition, because baby boomers did not grow up with technology, they are more likely to respond to simple messages and processes, particularly for online and mobile ads.
  • An example of a company that has been successful using simple ads that target seniors is Senior Helpers, a home healthcare agency. Its Homecare Assistance Funding video ad is just 1 minutes and 33 seconds long, contains many graphics, explains how a process works, and uses simple text. Additionally, contact information stays on the screen long enough for seniors to write it down or call.
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