Marketing to Seniors Online – Is It Worth Your Time?

The world of marketing to seniors is constantly evolving. New technologies emerge that allow savvy entrepreneurs to connect with customers whether they are surfing the web, using social media, or playing music and video games. However, with this change comes a lot of confusion. What technologies are worth exploring and which ones should you avoid? How can you effectively market to older consumers without annoying them? These are just some of the questions that surround digital marketing in general, and marketing to seniors in particular.

The Importance Of Personal Branding

According to HubSpot Blogs, “personal branding” is one of the key marketing strategies to follow in 2020.

Marketing to seniors is no different. Personal branding, or creating a unique identity for yourself, is essential to successfully marketing to this audience. This means branding yourself as a “senior” brand rather than a “retirement” or “boomer” brand. Create a brand identity that will make your customers feel as though you have personally identified with them. This will make them more receptive to your offering and much more likely to purchase what you are marketing.

Building a brand identity for yourself doesn’t mean you have to be a millionaire to do it. You just need to set your own unique selling proposition (USP) and identify a number of key unique behaviors that you will bring to the table. Your USP might be something as simple as “the best burger in town” if you are a restaurant brand, or “the most trusted advisor around” if you are a financial brand. Your unique selling proposition is essentially what will make you stand out amongst your competitors. Differentiate yourself from the competition and communicate your unique value proposition to potential customers. This will make them much more receptive to your marketing and help you to gain a foothold in a highly competitive market. You can also read more about USPs and how to come up with one in our blog post about creating a brand identity.

The Evolution Of Marketing To Seniors

The evolution of marketing to seniors has occurred in three distinct phases.

The first phase was from the 1900s to the 1930s, when direct mail was the only form of marketing available to marketers. During this time, magazines such as American Baby, Ladies’ Home Journal and others started creating special issues solely dedicated to seniors. Some of these magazines, such as American Baby, would encourage parents to buy “pro-life” baby products for older generations. The second phase occurred during World War II, when the Baby Boom generation started entering the workforce. It was also during this time that direct mail marketing evolved into mass marketing, which continues to this day. The third phase began in the 1950s and continued through most of the 1900s, when TV advertisements first started appearing in movie theaters and then on TV screens before the rise of social media. In the 1950s, the “Golden Years” were coined, and more and more marketers started marketing to seniors. These days, marketers can and do use all forms of digital marketing to connect with customers, whether they are playing chess online, shopping for clothes on social media, or booking travel online. However, mass marketing didn’t disappear and is still used extensively by marketers. Even modern innovations like online stores and social media platforms were designed with older generations in mind.

It’s important to keep in mind the differences between each of these phases when considering how to market to seniors. If you are a business owner or marketer and want to better understand how to market to this audience, how will you make your products and services stand out from your competitors’? To start, you can examine the differences between direct mail marketing, traditional mass marketing and how they compare to digital marketing today.

Direct Mail Marketing

Direct mail marketing is one of the more traditional forms of marketing. Basically, you are sending out mailers to people. There is no online questionnaire, nor is there any interaction with the customer required. You are just providing them with information.

The good thing about direct mail marketing is that it is very effective. Studies have shown that for every $100 spent on direct mail, you will get $7 back in sales. This may not sound like a lot, but given the average purchase size of a senior citizen is around $400, this means you will have generated a $300 profit. Pretty cool!

The bad thing about direct mail marketing is that it is very labor-intensive and takes a lot of resources to generate the same amount of sales as you would with digital marketing. It also doesn’t scale well. If you can pull in $100,000 a month in sales, you’ll be able to afford a small team of people to handle your direct mail marketing efforts. Otherwise, you’ll need to keep doing it yourself which requires a lot of time and effort. Plus, as we mentioned above, it doesn’t scale well. If you have a small business with limited resources, it might not be the best option to start with. For these reasons, direct mail marketing is considered “Boring” by some entrepreneurs who focus on digital marketing.

Mass Marketing

Traditional mass marketing is when businesses and organizations market to the general public using advertising, billboards, radio and TV shows, posters, magazines, etc. Companies will sometimes set up tables in malls and other crowded places where consumers are likely to be, such as a park or café. While these forms of marketing still exist, we have also seen the rise of digital marketing. With digital marketing, you are reaching potential customers via email, social media, mobile and web-based advertisements, and online stores.

The good thing about mass marketing is that it is one of the more affordable forms of marketing. You don’t need a large budget to start with, and you can always re-target consumers who have previously shown an interest in your product or service. Studies have shown that for every $100 spent on mass marketing, you will get $7 back in sales. This is because consumers have already shown an interest in what you are marketing, so it is easier for you to gain their trust and convince them to buy what you are selling.

The bad thing about mass marketing is that it is very inefficient. Depending on the nature of the product or service you are marketing, you can waste a lot of resources trying to persuade people who have no interest in your product or service to buy it. For example, if you are selling kitchen appliances, you might want to target households in affluent neighborhoods who have lots of money and can afford these expensive appliances. But, if you are trying to sell financial products or services, you should be marketing to lower income consumers who might not be able to pay for the financial products you are offering. It is also hard to measure the success of these forms of marketing. There isn’t always a clear metric for marketing success.

Digital Marketing

Nowadays, most companies rely on some form of digital marketing, which can be any combination of the above, especially since marketing to seniors has become a very versatile form of marketing.

Thanks to technology, marketers have many options when it comes to connecting with customers. You can target consumers via email, social media, text messaging, and websites. You can also use a combination of these methods to gain the most sales. If you want to gain a foothold in a highly competitive market, you need a strategy that will allow you to connect with customers effectively and efficiently without annoying them.

Email marketing is still one of the most trusted and effective forms of marketing. According to HubSpot Blogs, “the vast majority of consumers have an email address, and for those who do, they check it frequently.” Your email list is also a great place to re-target consumers who have previously shown interest in your product or service. While email marketing can be very effective, it doesn’t scale well. If you can pull in $100,000 a month in sales, you’ll be able to afford a small team of people to handle your email marketing efforts. Otherwise, you’ll need to keep doing it yourself, which requires a lot of time and effort. Plus, as we mentioned above, it doesn’t scale well. If you have a small business with limited resources, email marketing might not be the best option to start with.