It’s not uncommon to see digital marketing trends focused on how to appeal to Millenials. Often considered ‘elusive’ in terms of what appeals to them, members of this generation definitely get their share of the media spotlight. However, there is another segment that can be just as enigmatic when it comes to promoting your brand online.
In this article, we’ll take a look at how to appeal to an older online customer. We’ll review some of the data that’s been gathered on this demographic and provide a better understanding of how to more effectively reach the 55-and-over crowd. Let’s get started!
How Baby Boomers Are Spending Time Online and Why it Matters
While Baby Boomers might currently be gaining traction on social media thanks to the viral nature of memes, there are other reasons you might want to fix your gaze on the older generation. However, to really understand this demographic, you’ll first need to know what defines them and what they’re actually doing online.
While the years that define generations are sometimes hotly contested, it’s pretty widely accepted that ‘Baby Boomers’ were born between 1946 and 1964. The name references a post-World War II increase in births and the resulting generation of around 72.5 million people.
So, what are all these aging Boomers doing with their time? Many of them have reached retirement after being highly influential in shaping the technology we use every day. It might surprise you to find out that not only are the majority of them frequently using social media, but they also have distinct preferences when it comes to which platforms they use.
In fact, YouTube tops the charts in terms of the most used social media platform for this age group. However, trailing only two percentage points behind is Facebook. This has some positive implications in terms of marketing strategies, especially when you take the generation’s spending power into consideration:
Essentially, understanding Baby Boomers is important because they are much more likely to become paying customers. This is due to the fact that, as a generation, they possess over half of the household wealth in the U.S. and have the largest portion of disposable income.
4 Tips for Marketing to an Older Online Customer
In terms of appealing to older generations, it’s advisable not to jump to conclusions about their habits. For example, we’ve already mentioned how YouTube and Facebook are where they spend most of their time. Armed with that knowledge, let’s look at four tips for improving your approach to Boomer marketing.
1. Leverage the Popularity of Text-Based Articles
Older generations tend to read more text-based articles online. This might be due to the fact that they are used to receiving information this way. The Baby Boomer generation also shows a fondness for informative videos. In general, they prefer to use social media to gather knowledge, rather than purely for entertainment.
This means, as a digital marketer, there’s an opportunity for you to leverage content and content marketing techniques. Along these lines, older generations are also more likely to share articles they find informative. This can be quite a useful metric to base some of your promotional strategies on.
With that in mind, you’ll want to make sure your content is easy to distribute. This might mean placing social sharing icons and buttons in intuitive locations. You can also focus in on whether your site’s User Experience (UX) is optimized for this kind of interaction.
2. Provide Factual and Informative Marketing Content
It’s been shown that Boomers are adept at digging for the facts. Therefore, the more transparent you are about your content and how it’s created, the better. Another behavior to keep in mind is that they are far more influenced by advertising and sales reps than younger generations.
With this in mind, Affiliate marketing programs might be a smart way to generate revenue on your website. Since increased sharing by your older users will help bring more eyes to your content, your promotional links will get more attention, too:
Additionally, you can capitalize on this behavior by inviting knowledgeable guest writers to create content for your site. Presented with an expert, either in video or text format, Baby Boomers are more likely to share your posts or purchase your products.
3. Focus on Your SEO
Based on the available research, it has also been found that older internet users rely heavily on search engines as a source of content. This creates another opportunity for marketers. In this regard, focusing resources on improving your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is likely money well spent.
When it comes to SEO, Google remains the go-to provider of free, yet highly valuable, tools. For example, you can use Search Console to understand and improve your rankings, optimize your site based on sophisticated analytics, and test its mobile responsiveness.
If you’re using WordPress as your Content Management System (CMS), you can also take advantage of Google Site Kit:
This is Google’s official, and free, WordPress plugin. It helps fully integrate data from multiple platforms right into your dashboard for quicker access to meaningful insights.
4. Keep Your Email Lists Active
Perhaps not surprisingly, email remains a highly effective way to engage older generations. In fact, 95 percent of Baby Boomers use email regularly and 92 percent frequently shop online.
This means that segmenting your mailing lists by generation or age is worth your time. Many studies have found that there is a pretty significant Return on Investment (ROI) when you take the time to do so.
If you’ve already invested in developing your email list, now might be the time to initiate a segmentation strategy. For example, you can use an application like MailChimp:
Another useful tool for email marketing is Constant Contact. These options can provide you with tools for targeting certain groups in your subscriber list for a more personalized experience.
Understanding the most effective ways of reaching the Baby Boomer generation with your marketing campaigns has its challenges. Keeping in mind some of the elements we’ve shared—such as their affinity for text-based digital articles and a desire to interact with factual and informative marketing content—should get you started.
Do you have questions about marketing to older generations online? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!