I run into this conversation with many clients (so, if you’re one of them, don’t be offended, it wasn’t just you) when the topic leads to digital marketing to seniors; it starts with me explaining how digital marketing, web analytics, social media, or search engine optimization are all important to their business. They may say that’s all well and good or they may flat out say their business isn’t well marketed by digital.
“Really?” I will inevitably say, “please tell me more”. What comes next is usually a story about how either a part, perhaps a substantial part of their clientele is made up of seniors and they just don’t respond to digital marketing.
“Oh really?” I will inevitably say. Then I pull out the email.
Seniors Love the Web
The email in question came from a 90-year-old woman. In the email she explains her frustration with how the client made a mistake on her order. You see, the client made her fill out this form, she filled it out and they got her order wrong. She chose to use an email to complain about it and get it corrected.
Here you have a client that forced a bad workflow on a user and then she chose her preferred digital workflow to get it addressed (which it quickly was).
Don’t Make Assumptions
This is usually just the start of the conversation, next I’ll find a number of practices or workflows the client might have designed for seniors, immense fonts, horrible color schemes for legibility, manual processes because “seniors don’t get the web”. Hogwash, I will tell you, straight up hogwash.
Seniors, like anyone else, want great service the way they want it and when they want it. They don’t want a process that you think works for them, they want something that’s easy. A Pew Research Study showed in 2013 nearly 70% of seniors were online and growing at the same pace as other adults.
Mobile Is King For Seniors
In fact, while these clients were busy making bad changes to their website to help seniors use it they would find out that seniors aren’t using desktops much at all. In fact, whether it’s usability, physical limitations they may have or the brilliance of the simple form factor, seniors love mobile devices – specifically tablets.
I can tell you, these clients didn’t think of responsive design too much when they thought they were making their website senior-friendly.
Digital Marketing to Seniors
While it’s true there’s a drop-off after 75 (and you should spend your marketing budget on print marketing still) if you make assumptions about seniors before that or ignore them completely on digital you’re making a mistake. Seniors are just as connected as anyone else, if not more so as social media has given them a new way to socialize with limited mobility or loss of family and friends.
I always suggest to my clients working on digital marketing to seniors that they take the same steps they should for any other responsive site when considering seniors:
- Make sure your site integrates well with Facebook in particular with easy sharing options.
- Make sure your images and typography scales well on different screen sizes.
- Create forms that are simple and easy to complete (less is more).
- Concentrate on your calls to action with highly visible and scalable buttons.
- If you think your purchase or use flow is too difficult for a senior it’s probably too difficult for everyone and you need to update it to make it easier, not create a manual one for seniors.
Follow these steps and you’ll attract the senior audience you’re looking for and you might be surprised about how many of them you reach.