Digital marketing for seniors is a huge opportunity that can yield huge results in sales and growth for brands and businesses. But marketing to seniors can be challenging. Often, marketers assume seniors aren’t tech-savvy or won’t engage online, so they don’t spend much time investing in digital marketing to seniors and/or being creative in their digital campaigns. The truth is, seniors are online and a staggering number are using use social media and digital platforms–up to 75%, which equals around 30 million seniors in the US. But they use these platforms differently from younger demographics. The key to successful senior marketing is in tailoring your marketing to these differences. SN:D Agency has been successfully targeting senior citizens through digital marketing for over a decade and has identified 23 specific actions you can take in 2023 to ensure your business succeeds in marketing to seniors.
1. Understand Seniors’ Motivations
You shouldn’t expect to successfully market to a particular demographic without first identifying what motivates them. You can do this by figuring out what pain points seniors experience and how your product or service can provide solutions.
2. Don’t Treat All Seniors the Same
Seniors currently make up around 17% of the population, but the number of adults reaching retirement age is going to increase dramatically in the coming years. This is a massive demographic that spans decades (ages 50+), so don’t make the mistake of assuming everyone over a certain age shares the same traits or will react the same.
3. Use Relevant Language That Seniors Relate To
When drafting content, remember who you’re speaking to. Slang or pop culture references that Millennials or Gen Zers connect to may not appeal to Boomers. Work on crafting clear and respectful messaging that gets your point across and reflects aspects of the culture or language that seniors grew up with.
4. Keep It Personal and Speak Directly to Your Target Audience
No matter what group you are marketing to, personalization is key. Remember, seniors didn’t grow up with digital services or automated messages so you will need to approach them with a special touch. Consider making a personal customer service call to follow up, or reach out by crafting an original response on Facebook.
5. Emphasize Your Brand’s Usefulness To Seniors
Seniors are less likely to be impressed by bells and whistles in your advertising. Skip the gimmicks and emphasize your service or product’s practical use. If you can convince seniors of the substance and value in your product, they’re far more likely to become loyal customers.
6. Include Clear Calls to Action Directed to Seniors
When writing digital content or social media posts, be specific with exactly what you want seniors to do as a result of reading your posts. A post must have a clear call to action directing seniors to click a link, answer a question, or like a page. The clearer your instructions, the more likely you are to see engagement.
7. It’s All About Trust: Baby Boomers Will Make You Work
Seniors are often brand loyalists, so if you can win their trust, they are likely to stick with your brand. However, their trust isn’t easy to earn. Seniors are often more discerning of anyone requesting their information. You can support lead generation among seniors by explaining, with transparency, why you want their information, what you’ll do with it, and how you can help them.
8. Use Promotional Items That Retired People Find Useful
Everyone loves free stuff, and seniors are no exception. Promotional items can gain attention and encourage brand loyalty. Choose items that serve a practical purpose such as blankets, mugs, and hats. Use these items for giveaways, contests, or other marketing opportunities, and seniors will be reminded of your brand every time they use it!
9. Be Straightforward
While Millennials and Gen Z may live for internet drama and respond well to humor, Baby Boomers tend to respond to more direct and straightforward messaging. You can still be entertaining and engaging without beating around the bush.
10. Assume Seniors are Making Their Own Decisions
A lot of brands prioritize marketing to the children or caretakers of seniors rather than seniors themselves. Despite stereotypes and assumptions, most seniors have full control over their spending and purchasing decisions, so make sure to treat seniors with respect.
11. Make It Accessible for Seniors
Create digital content that is senior-friendly. You can do this by providing clear direction for clicking buttons and links, using a larger font size in your content and graphics to make your messaging easier to read, and adding closed captioning to your videos.
12. Make it Exclusive To Seniors
Everyone likes to feel special and seniors are no different. Providing exclusive deals specifically for seniors is a great way to accomplish this goal.
13. Take Time To Connect
Many seniors are on social media looking to simply find someone to connect with. Take the time to really respond to their inquiries with authenticity and consideration (not in a corporate boilerplate approach).
14. Choose Visuals that Reflect a Senior Audience
The images you use in your content and ads should reflect the audience you’re trying to reach. Your photos should reflect your target audience, but remember that people see themselves as about 5-10 years younger than they actually are! Keep visuals positive and realistic; choose images that show seniors living their lives richly, fully, and actively.
15. Don’t Rush Seniors
Older consumers tend to be slower to make purchases, so spend time helping your senior customers understand your product and how it’s used. Providing deadlines or other time pressures could scare them off.
16. Don’t Patronize
Don’t overwhelm your audience with words like “aging” or “elderly.” Don’t use messaging that portrays aging as a bad thing, and don’t make age the whole point and theme of your content. The key is to treat seniors like any other consumer, with additional consideration of their particular needs and pain points.
17. Prioritize Facebook
Though it’s important to have a presence on multiple social platforms, Facebook is the number one social media platform used by seniors. Around 70% of seniors are active on Facebook. If you’re looking to advertise to seniors, Facebook is a very effective platform to use.
18. Give Seniors Something Familiar
Spend time learning about what is familiar to your senior audience. Lean into seniors’ memories of cultural events, language and speech, and familiar styles of print advertising to create something that’s nostalgic but also fresh to seniors!
19. Use Success Stories
One of the most effective ways of earning seniors’ trust is by sharing others’ success stories (especially those from other seniors) with your product or service. Personal testimonials, client stories, reviews, recommendations, or event interviews are persuasive tools for converting senior customers.
20. Use Retargeting Tools
Seniors respond well to retargeting. Remember, seniors often will spend more time in the funnel before making a decision to purchase, so retargeting can be key to building trust and driving sales.
21. Avoid Fear-Based Tactics
Never try to peer pressure or use fear to motivate seniors into using your product or service. Seniors are often the victims of online scams, so don’t give them a reason to be skeptical of your intentions. Instead, emphasize your brand’s values and reliability, and the quality of your product or service.
22. Take Advantage of Video
Studies have shown that seniors are just as responsive to video marketing as younger generations, and they interact with video in a similar fashion. Incorporate video into your social media strategy through tools like Reels and Stories on Facebook, as well as regular posts.
23. Celebrate Aging
Perhaps most important of all–recognize age as something worth celebrating! Show aging as a positive thing and let your messaging tone reflect that fun and excitement. Even more importantly, show how your brand or service can help older adults live life to the fullest.
While there are many different strategies for marketing to seniors, we return to these 23 tips again and again. Whether it’s emphasizing the value of your product or making content accessible to seniors, we encourage your brand to treat aging as an exciting and positive part of life. By earning seniors’ trust through your digital marketing efforts, you can create loyal customers for life.
SN:D Agency has spent over a decade working with clients who sell products and services to seniors. We are experts in building successful digital marketing programs that cater to seniors and drive sales. If you’re looking for assistance in your senior marketing digital strategy in 2023, contact us today.