Marketing to Seniors: Internet is a Must

Who actually buys on the internet may surprise you

Is the internet right for your customers?

Does your demographic audience use the internet?  Do you market products to audiences that you feel may not really use the internet to shop and make purchases?  There are a lot of assumptions made about who does and who does not use the internet but the actual data is probably going to be somewhat surprising.

The internet is the place to be — for almost everyone

What modern-day business would not present itself on the internet?  Well, there are a lot of them, but very few of them could probably give you a good reason why they are not.  Many people might tell you there are a lot of people who do not have computers at home.  In the United States, there are some but, by now, there are not likely many who do not.

Virtually everyone has access to a computer either at work, or at the library or other public places designed around internet access and research.  At least in this country, and most of the western world, pretty much anyone who wants to look up something on the internet is able to do so.

Not only do older users use the internet, they do it better and longer

Now, what about those audiences?  Many believe that the baby-boomers are not a good target for internet promotion. They are seen as too old and “too out of it” to do their buying through the internet.  Many of the younger generation feel that boomers still buy through the newspaper and yellow pages.  In fact, that is a rather common misconception.  At the very beginning of internet availability, or when it was just beginning to be a research tool in business, most baby-boomers then were aged 35 to 45 and entering their searches as command line entries—doing things the really hard way.  That was “the good-old days” when everyone worked at the command prompt.

Maybe they are a better internet audience because they have had more practice

Actually, older (age sixty-plus) internet users are now the fastest growing demographic in America’s internet market. Regardless of the prejudices toward older citizens and their use of the internet, these users access the internet more often, stay on longer, and visit more sites than their younger counterparts according to the media research company, Media Metrix.  The over-60 group will be growing from 17.7 million Internet users in 2006 to 25.3 million by 2011– 43% in two years notes the market surveys of eMarketer.  Moreover, according to the United States Census, adults over fifty will be the only growth age demographic between now and 2015. Your company could do a lot of effective selling in that time.

Practice makes perfect

A company whose focus is on the baby-boomer market has particular advantage marketing on the internet.  Why?  For the reason that many of the competitors are not competing in this arena — and it is the best one.  They are not always there because of the preconceived notions we have already mentioned.

Where your company’s focus wins, is that these older internet users are more apt to click on a sponsored link (you may know this as Pay-per-Click marketing). For people in their fifties, the click rate is 80%.  For people in their sixties, the average is actually over 90% are apt to click if they see the sponsored link as relevant (eMarketer).  It would be tough to train an audience to behave any better.  They are the perfect audience for marketing in the search engines, especially Pay-per-Click marketing.

What are the products that are well-suited to this segment?

Certainly all age-related and discretionary products and services such as cosmetic dentistry, cosmetic surgery, hair products and treatments, exercise equipment, hearing aids and amplifiers, medical products, convenience products for bath and garden, assistive products, finer clothing, and finer automobiles.  Use your own imagination and see if your products or product features fit this market.

Something for post-boomers to remember . . .

The post-boomer generations of Generation X, GEN-Y, and the iGeneration are still learning a lot from the boomers.  Remember this:  first, the internet sells your products 24/7/365 and the post-60 audiences are clicking more than you are; and second, remember who in this world still has most of the money and the willingness to spend it.

ThriveMarketing provides expertise in many of the products and markets mentioned and through their knowledge of Search Engine Optimization and automated marketing techniques can help drive your customers to your products and your websites’ shopping carts.