What is the Best way to Market to Senior Citizens?

Posted on August 16, 2011 by - Elder Care Marketing, Marketing

Paving-the-Way-for-More-Senior-EngagementMany  in the senior marketing industry are asking what method is the best way to reach the senior market today.  Should they launch a direct mail campaign, concentrate on focused events, advertise locally, attend senior expos, use radio, continue with community outreach or develop  an  e-marketing strategy?

In my experience, the answer is yes to all of the above.  I find having many different organized tools in your marketing pocket, leads to success.  This blog will concentrate on direct mail and events. We will cover the other strategies in future posts.

Years ago, my father’s business was direct mail advertising. His company was extremely profitable and was built on the premise that your current customers are your best salespeople, and that returning clients are key.  Obviously, times have changed and having only a direct mail marketing plan isn’t enough anymore.  Direct mailings, which seem to do very well with independent living communities, must present some value, or they lose an important way to engage a key demographic.

As we all know, trust is very important when selling any product or service.  We also know that the decision to move into senior housing is not one that is reached lightly. When a senior decides to move from their current home into a senior community,  they want to be assured they will receive the amenities and social life they are lacking in their current living situation, and anything else they are promised.

When sending out direct mail pieces to seniors, especially active and engaged seniors, one of the best ways to reach them is to invite them to an event or a lecture series. Not only does it encourage the prospect to visit your community, but it places your organization on the map as an important resource.

Hosting a speaker series on a variety of different topics is an excellent way to draw your target audience to your community. One very well-received program is Making Life Easier with Gadgets and Gizmos”,  presented by a physical or occupational therapist. The therapist can provide easy but creative solutions to home safety.  Any well-known medical topic, including “Arthritis” or “Depression” is always popular. Seniors always appreciate lectures that are presented by physicians.

Seniors (we still have to agree on the correct term for “seniors”) love attending fun and well-organized events. We know they all enjoy having a free afternoon with plenty of food and giveaways.  The key is to capture the names of all the attendees, add them to your data base, and continue to keep in contact with them.  Follow-up, follow-up and more follow-up, but don’t be too pushy!

As people age and many become more isolated, it becomes increasingly important to give potential future clients, the opportunities to meet new people, have new experiences and continue learning.  Just because a group of people is considered “old” (which is another great topic) does not mean that they sit around all day and wait for their mail.  Direct mailings and event focused marketing to seniors are one of many important sales and marketing strategies.

Do you find direct mail or events useful when elder care marketing?

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.


6 Responses to “What is the Best way to Market to Senior Citizens?”

  1. Cynthia S, RN on

    Thanks, Marla. I am a registered nurse and I recently started a foot care service for seniors in my small community (about 7000). I’ve put ads in the local paper and have talked to MANY people, but the calls are not coming in like I had hoped. I will try to team up with a physical therapist to give talks at senior gatherings.

    • Marla on

      Cynthia: Good luck with your new service. I’m sure you have a marketing plan that includes many different avenues, including direct mail, ads, networking, free workshops, public speaking, etc.
      Great idea about teaming up; strategic relationships go a long way! Good luck!

  2. Penny Marken on

    I have opened a beauty salon in the Phenix Salon, we are in same shopping center with Best Buy. I have placed an ad on Facebook offering a free haircut with perm service. The ad is only shown in the area the salon is in. I also have an ad starting on Dec 6th for $20 off service with minimum $40 purchase. I fear there are no calls yet.

    • Marla on

      Penny, If you don’t have seniors following your FB page, you probably will not get any traffic on your posting. I would keep building your fans on your FB page so in the future you can effectively post coupons. An ad is a good option. You may want to consider a local coupon book mailer. Since you are located in the same mall as Best Buy and it is the holiday season, I would post your special in your window and print some flyers for anyone that strolls by. Try dropping some of those flyers with your specials off at the local retirement home, community center and gyms.

      Best of luck to you and happy holidays!

  3. Pur Essence Skin on

    Hi there! This post could not be written any better!
    Reading through this post reminds me of my old room mate!
    He always kept talking about this. I will forward this article to him.
    Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thanks
    for sharing!

    • Marla on

      Katie, I love to hear positive feedback. Thanks for taking the time to let me know and for forwarding my blog to your old room mate. Keep following!