As an elder care marketer in the senior industry, I believe our profession is now recognizing the advantages of using the Internet and acknowledging that seniors are reachable “on line”. Those who market to seniors still have to be the face of their products. Yes, it may take less time to send out a bunch of emails and wait for a reply than to “hit the streets”. However, when in a field that relies so heavily on relationship building and word of mouth, you must be out in front of your potential referral sources.
With everyone on the Internet these days, it can be shocking to learn that some leading financial consultants are now warning businesses that they may be spending too much time in cyberspace–whether communicating with current customers, soliciting new ones, or working to maintain their company’s presence online. What may be even more surprising about this warning is that it applies to older members of the population as much as everyone else. Indeed, as seniors become just as savvy with their computers as their children and grandchildren, they too may be forgetting the importance of using face-to-face communication skills.
So what are some ways to enhance the “human” touch when doing business? Recently, Sunday Steinkirchner, a contributor to Forbes Magazine, listed several marketing tips for developing personal relationships with colleagues and customers. First, she says, dedicate one to two hours per week touching base with current customers even if this is time that you usually would spend reaching new customers. She also urges business representatives to attend trade shows, training seminars and conferences that allow you “to get out from behind the desk” and meet people face-to-face. For online-only and startup companies, Steinkirchner suggests posting some personal information about yourself on your website. This will allow customers to get to know you better–although she warns that you should refrain from printing anything too personal on the site.
The old adage about the importance of one-on-one interaction still holds true today despite the existence of smart phones, emails, social media and all of our technological savviness. This may sound like good old-fashioned advice, but it is something that we all need to remember–even those born in the first half of the Twentieth Century! Are you utilizing both methods when marketing to your seniors?
Marla Levie, BSW, MA, President and Founder of Focus on Aging, has successfully been providing marketing consulting, social media and recruiting services to the elder care market and to other service-related professions in the Chicago area for over 20 years. Use the contact tab to email Marla for additional information about her services.