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5 Practical Ways to Effectively Target Seniors in Digital Marketing

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5 Practical Ways to Effectively Target Seniors in Digital Marketing

Older audiences are frequently removed from digital marketing focus with their potential business value excluded based on out of date assumptions and ineffective historical campaigns.

With a quarter of the 75+ audience using tablets, plus half of the 65-74-year-old adults having social media profiles, it’s time to rethink the senior population and start including the aging audiences into your next marketing campaigns.

In this post, you will learn:

  • Some of the common misconceptions about the aging marketing opportunity.
  • Real-world tactics to deploy for enhancing (and including) the 60+ demographics into your digital marketing projects.

1. Senior Marketing Is More Than Just Influencer Targeting

Yes, there are large volumes of influencer opportunities (son, daughter, other family members, professional acquaintances, local news, offline thought leaders) that present an added layer of marketing potential when looking at generating outcomes from senior campaigns.

The issue that exists, however, it that the attention should not exclude and move away from the intended 60+ aged person, but enhance and support this focus as a result enhancement.

According to the latest Ofcom findings ‘Adults: Media use and attitudes report 2019‘:

55-64s: 

  • 96% use a mobile phone
  • 43% watch on-demand / streamed content
  • 58% have a social media profile

65-74s:

  • 92% use a mobile phone
  • 34% watch on-demand / streamed content
  • 34% have a social media profile

75+:

  • 81% use a mobile phone
  • 22% watch on-demand / streamed content
  • 20% have a social media profile

What this tells us as marketers is that there is direct access to older audiences through:

  • Mobile/SMS and Smartphone marketing.
  • Other growing audience trends such as video/YouTube and Social Media Marketing (SMM).

While the reliance on mobile technology reduces as audiences targeted age (primarily through increased television use and reliance for the over 50/60s), the use of mobile phones, tablets, and other technology is still high and growing every year.

As marketers, this increases the emphasis of marketing directly to the consumer (and prioritizing the end person over the influencer).

Practically speaking this means that AMP content alternatives, mobile first content mindsets, traditional mobile optimization, and related actions are as effective for senior marketing as all other demographics.

2. Seniors Are More Loyal & Less Likely to Explore

Ofcom’s report also states that:

“The propensity to explore online decreases with age; 30% of internet users aged 16-24 say they have used lots of websites or apps they’ve not used before and this drops to 10% of those aged 55+.”

For marketers this increases the need to be the first to educate, inform, and present brands/content/insights to the senior population first.

The added incentive on offer is that 90% of senior people will keep you as their digital ‘go to’ providing you help them with their informational needs first.

As you would expect, there are many ways to achieve this goal, and some of those I’ve seen most effective over the years include:

  • Community resources and lifestyle hubs.
  • Location-based and local biased content.
  • Free tools, tips, and advice.
  • Increased offline/online seamless user journeys.
  • Digital simplification and joining the dots better between marketing channels.
  • Added discount focus and telephone calls to action.
  • Increased remarketing on educational and informational content.

3. Experiences Matter Most

Interestingly, some of the latest search trends such as content personalization, bespoke user journeys, and tailoring of user experience, have some of the biggest potential impact and association to older audiences.

Once you are able to put the focus back onto the person/persona being targeted, this makes total sense.

Older audiences tend to consider customer service, personal contact and traditional communication in higher esteem. Once they receive that feeling of personal care and contact, they are motivated more to share it and seek to repeat it.

There are lots of approaches that can be incorporated into your marketing campaigns to progress this, such as:

  • Bridging the gap between offline and online user journeys. Keeping marketing messaging consistent, easy to digest and simple for action taking
  • Using CTAs such as telephone, single click actions, and even footfall drivers
  • Including more offline media and traditional marketing (the likes of catalogs, local papers, flyers, and discount codes)
  • Making the benefits clear, plus the action taking specific – the KISS principle (keep it simple, stupid) should be kept in mind

4. Increase Investment in the Education Process

Onsite and externally through content placement and promotion, the older audience require added explanation, clarity, and general guidance throughout the information seeking and buying process.

There are many time and journey saving concepts (consider online banking) which can positively assist the 60+ demographic more than other age groups.

However, the added barriers that are in place (aversion to change, misconceptions about the safety of the Internet/online banking, wanting to have the offline conversational experience) frequently prevent them from taking action.

Integrating online and offline user journeys help overcome this issue, as does added exposure in traditional offline print, such as:

  • Local papers.
  • Household information drops/flyers.
  • Offline CTAs driving online and telephone action.

5. Target Seniors Through YouTube

And video generally.

Based on a study by iPropsect, silver surfers:

  • Do not see their age as a barrier for becoming more reliant on the Internet (a vast majority see their Internet use increasing with age).
  • Are surfing online more – 63% of the over 70s are spending 11-30 hours a week online (this higher than 60-69, 50-59 and 30-49 age groups).
  • Watch more online TV and YouTube.

In a quote from the same article:

“Online video steaming is also popular among ‘silver surfers’. Fifteen percent of those aged 50-59 watch a movie or a video on YouTube at least once a day, and 33 percent of those aged 60-69 watch videos on YouTube a few times a week – the same proportion as for the 30-49 year olds.”

So what does this mean to marketing teams?

Video can take on more of the heavy lifting when it comes to senior marketing activities.

The use of video content to explain concepts, demystify technology and drive intended user activity change.

Through the use of video, brands can build trust with older audiences, encourage herd mentality and bridge the gap between offline and online user journeys.

Conclusion

Aging populations and increasingly tech-savvy seniors present a huge (and relatively untapped) marketing opportunity. To maximize this, marketing teams need to target more than simply older audience influencers.

The fundamental tactics required and discussed in this article include increasing the need to appear first to seniors as they rarely change their mind after having good brand exposure.

Added to this is the prominence of educational and informational content – specifically the role this can play with steering seniors towards intended outcomes.

Other priority focus areas included extra video marketing, plus added offline experiences facilitated online.

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Lee Wilson

Head of SEO at Vertical Leap

Lee Wilson is Head of Services & SEO at Vertical Leap, and has led digital marketing departments since the early ... [Read full bio]

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