Johnnie Skiles

Senior Marketing

Part 2

No One-Size-Fits-All Solutions:

The “Senior,” demographic is huge with well over 39 million people. Avoid using a “one size- fits all” solution, niche it down and segment as much as possible.

Focus on Benefits:

Always focus on benefits over features. Providing “yard care” is what you might do, but it’s not the “benefit” you provide. Instead of lawn care, you give more time for golf. That is the “benefit” you are providing,

Expand on Longevity:

Seniors will buy things that have quality, that last a long time. They believe the things they buy, will be used by their children. So, if you can sell to them with the idea that their kids will get to use it, so much the better.

What Matters to Them:

It may work if you can incorporate stories into your marketing that resonates with them. Such as spending time with grandchildren, experiencing new freedom, traveling after retirement.

Don’t Downplay Word-of-Mouth Marketing:

The type of marketing experienced buyers like is good old-fashioned word-of-mouth. They like knowing their friends are using the same products that they use.

Be Positive:

Frame all your marketing in a positive light. A lot of seniors do have some issue that is not positive, but they do not like focusing on that. Instead, they like to concentrate on each new day as a gift. Approach your marketing with that in mind for seniors.

Where to Reach Your Senior Audience:

While many seniors aren't using computers, most are using some form of internet access, a smartphone, tablet. Therefore, once you segment your audience, you can identify where to reach them. Here are some ideas based on some of the audiences already identified.

Senior Magazines:

There are numerous magazines devoted to seniors and their issues. One that may come to mind is AARP if they are a member, but there are others that are both online and offline. Locate these magazines (paper), e-zines (electronic), and then you can market through them by placing advertisements or strategically publishing articles in the magazine about your niche subject.

Senior Center:

Most towns have a senior center of some sort that offers activities such as computer classes, painting lessons, things like that. Yours probably does too. Try volunteering with something that has to do with your business, to help spread the word about your offerings.

The Library:

Many seniors prefer paper books over e-books try volunteering at the library. Those that frequent a library, use the library as a source of information by reading the local and national newspapers, and books.

Hobby Clubs:

Seniors have more time to participate in hobby clubs like a garden club, golfing club, model airplane club, or a knitting club. Clubs are an excellent way to reach them.

Social Media:

Yes, seniors are using social media. They like Twitter, and Facebook the most. Facebook is very highly favored by seniors because it is an easy way for them to see pictures of their grandchildren and to interact with them. According to Pew Research, older people on social media is growing faster than any other segment.

Direct Mail:

Many seniors are getting a monthly coupon book in the mail, as well as other forms of advertising. They’re more likely to read this than their younger counterparts. They like to get mail because it’s familiar to them and they grew up when people still wrote letters. A nicely written sales letter personalized for your senior market can do wonders for your bottom line.

Combine Everything:

You want to use an integrated approach with seniors because sometimes it takes them a little longer to bite than your average customer. They like a lot of information before committing. Send emails, direct mail.

How to Engage the Senior Audience:

An important part of marketing, regardless of where you find your audience or which audience you’re marketing to, is engagement. Engagement is the means to communicate directly with your audience in a two-way communication.

Email:

Of the seniors who are online, most of them are using email to contact their family and friends. They also will sign up for email lists and groups using their email address.

When you email a senior, it’s important that you keep it simple, just do not underestimate their intelligence. Use a larger font and be personal. You don’t want the email to be too long and cover too much information at one time. Provide links to other types of media such as a video about the topic, and make sure they can email you directly back with their questions.

Use a personal name for your return email, and first names will go far in establishing trust. Do not use a "no reply" email addresses; you want them to engage with you in a personal way so that they develop and grow trust in you and your offerings.

Social Media:

Seniors that use email are usually savvy using social media. To engage seniors on social media, create a special group for your demographic that is very narrow.

For example, if your market is grandparents of school-age children, create a group such as A Grandparents Activity Ideas. Using Social Media will enable them to communicate with you and other grandparents about ideas of what to do with grandkids when they visit.

Influencers:

Seniors have certain people that they trust. If you can locate those trusted people and get them to drop your name, you can build engagement and rapport faster than if you had to do it all on your own.

You can find influencers by looking at senior centers and publications and websites. Look for popular senior and baby boomer blogs and take a page out of their book. If they have a large audience, then that’s where you want to be - right? If there is a blogger who is popular among your audience, offer a guest blog promoting your product or service.

When an influencer mentions your product or service to their audience, you automatically become part of the "in-crowd" when it comes to online marketing. You’ll be surprised at how well such a thing works. The reason is that it’s very much like word-of-mouth marketing except that the influencer is likely a stranger. But, because they’re so popular, your market feels as if they know them. Due to the trust, they’ve already developed, you get to walk away with that same trust.

Respond Fast:

When a senior sends an email, or calls customer service, or reaches out in some way (including on social media), they are expecting an answer. They want to get answers fast and can be impatient if they have to wait for to long. Ensure that you have systems set up that let them know when you’ll get back to them so that they don't get angry or worried as they wait.

All the marketing engagement activities that you’d do for any other audience work too. If they comment on a blog post, comment back to them. If they share and speak within the group, be sure to respond personally. The more you can interact with the outspoken few, the more the others who are quiet will also trust you.

Engagement requires you to understand who you’re talking to and how to explain things to them based on their level of understanding. You will need patience sometimes to teach a senior something about technology, to get them to where you want them to be. But, seniors today are a lot savvier than they’re often given credit for.

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