Older Hoosier consumers are almost ignored by advertisers. This is a major strategic mistake. Everything in electronic and print media seems targeted at the younger customer.
Except the facts don’t support doing that.
In the most recent study available from November 2011, the Pew Research Center’s Pew Social & Demographic Trends report pointed out that the typical household headed by someone 65 and older had 47 times more net worth than a typical household headed by someone younger than 35 years old. You can see the full report at www.pewsocialtrends.org/risingagegroup.
Your Indiana business should not make the same mistake national advertisers are making.
We know that over 50% of senior Americans over 65 are using the Internet. That percentage will continue to increase.
Marketing to this age group online has some similarities to marketing to the younger population but, sometimes, things need to be approached in a different manner to achieve the desired results.
We’ve put together 10 tips to help your Indiana business use the Internet to sell to older Hoosiers. Here are the first 5; come back next week for the next 5!
5 Tips to Market Online to Older Hoosier Consumers
1. Show seniors in Photos: A well done photo showing a customer using your product or service can sell more of what your business is offering. Common sense tells us to show a senior in the photo instead of an under 30 year old if we want to attract the older customer. They will identify more with this type of ad. For example, if you own a restaurant show a photo of an older couple dining. If you have a women’s clothing store feature a baby boomer when highlighting your selections.
2. Make it easy to find information: The Internet is still new to many senior Hoosiers. They are using your website to learn more about how your business can solve a problem for them or fulfill a desire. Don’t make the home page too busy or they may go to a competitor who has a website that is easier to use. Make sure to link to other websites that can give your visitor more information. It will be appreciated and might be the difference in getting the sale. Stay away from popups and music playing on your website. That will be a turnoff. Also, keep your navigation bar at the top of the website simple and easy to use.
3. Take them to your website: Some marketing tips make sense for all age groups. This is one of them. Don’t forget to show your website address in all offline opportunities that your business has. That includes on company trucks, stationary, business cards, all signs, TV commercials, billboards, newspaper ads, and all forms of direct mail. Also, don’t forget to invite them to your website when running radio commercials. Don’t make it hard for the senior to find your online presence. Once they arrive at your website it will be an opportunity to show the older customer just how this local Indiana business of yours can uniquely serve them better than any other company.
4. Reach out with email marketing: There are some online marketing strategies that can deliver a high return on investment for a local Indiana business. Email marketing is a great strategy to stay in touch on a regular basis and increase the bond with your customer. Some caveats to remember: make sure you get permission before sending the first email. Just because you have their contact information in your database is not a green light to start sending emails to this person. Also, don’t overwhelm your older customer by sending too many emails or newsletters. Quality of content is more important than quantity of emails. Also, providers of email marketing have analysis reports that can show you data such as how many emails were actually opened by the recipient. Used correctly, this analysis can assist in identifying what topics, products or services are most important to your senior customer.
5. Use Pinterest: This happens to be one of the fastest growing social media sites on the Internet and is heavily used by women. It should be a part of your Internet strategy in attracting an older audience who I predict will be some of the fastest growing groups using Pinterest. Pinterest is simply a collection of photos, images, infographics and videos that are collected or “pinned” into a “board” that has a specific “theme” such as “kitchen designs”, “summer shoes”, “backyard ponds” or whatever you can imagine. It’s a great opportunity to attract new prospects and then link them back to your website. Learn more about Pinterest and sample viewing some boards. Small businesses such as florists, interior decorators, landscapers, bakeries and hair salons would be successful using this new marketing platform. Beware: viewing this website can become addictive.
And there you have it: the first 5 tips for using the Internet to market to an older demographic. None of these are too difficult, but following these tips can make a big difference in the how older customers view and use your business! Come back next week for the next 5 tips, and make your business fully baby boomer friendly!