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From Baby Boomers to Empty Nesters: Marketing to Seniors

Dec 07, 2012


Early-bird dinner specials, burial insurance, prescription medications. Those might be a few things that come to mind when you think of selling to seniors. But if you rely solely on these outdated stereotypes about what older adults are interested in, your direct mail marketing is likely to miss the mark. 


Today's seniors are different than the grandparents of yesterday. They have significant purchasing power and they often live active, on-the-go lifestyles. They're also typically more than willing to listen to your marketing pitches, provided you take the right approach. Plus, they're 40 million strong. Ignoring this huge demographic means losing out on people who could be your loyal customers for years to come.  


So, what works when it comes to direct mail marketing for seniors? In many ways, the principles are the same as for any direct mail campaign, though there are a few things you need to be aware of. 


Don't focus on age. Seniors may not think of themselves as old, which could mean that a mail piece with pictures of elderly-looking people may get tossed in the trash, since the recipient won't recognize him or herself as the target audience. You might even want to avoid using the word senior, since it sounds old, especially if you're targeting the perennially youthful baby boomer demographic.


Concentrate on value. Many seniors have significant discretionary income. But that doesn't mean that they aren't smart shoppers. Seniors are more likely than some other groups to shop around and ask questions about what they're really getting for their money. Build trust by clearly highlighting your unique product or offering and explaining how it will make the recipient's life better. 


Know who you're contacting. Many seniors live alone. Older women are especially likely to be single, since women tend to live longer than men. Sending direct mail featuring pictures of couples could trigger a negative reaction if the recipient is unattached. Fortunately, you can use Click2Mail's mailing list services to put together a list of people based on characteristics such as marital status or number of adults living in the household, so you can design a mailing that resonates with your targets. 


Finally, there's one big perk of targeting seniors: Your direct mail is more likely to get read. Older people are often more receptive to direct mail marketing than some other groups. 


How have some businesses effectively used direct mail to connect with seniors? Consider these examples:


  • A travel company specializing in package tours wanted to target single, older women. They put together a booklet with information about their different tours (to destinations like Italy, Ireland, and Greece), and included stories from women who'd gone on the tours in the past. Then, they created a mailing list of women older than 55 with a high net worth. After sending the mailer, inquiries about tour bookings increased by 20%. 


  • A local health department wanted to remind older adults of the importance of getting an annual flu shot. They designed an eye-catching postcard explaining the importance of getting vaccinated. On the flip side was a list of dates and locations where free flu shots would be offered. Then, they used Click2Mail's mailing list services to generate a list of area seniors. Attendance at the flu shot events was excellent, with many people noting that they came because they received a postcard. 


  • A boutique toy store wanted to send out a mailing advertising their holiday specials. The owners realized that older adults buy up to 25% of all toys (as gifts for grandchildren and other loved ones), so they decided to put together a special direct mail piece for this audience. They designed a booklet self-mailer that featured pictures of seniors with children as well as descriptions of some of the year's hottest toys. Then, they mailed it to older adults in certain zip codes; they also included a special coupon. Sales in the store rose, and the owners plan to do a similar mailing next year. 


You'll find success when it comes to mailing to seniors – if you understand who you're targeting and have a strong mailing list. By taking the time to think about what messages will resonate with older adults, and then building a list of prospects who are most likely to be interested in your offer, you'll be on your way to a successful direct mail campaign. 


Interested in using Click2Mail's mailing list services to create a highly targeted direct mail campaign? We'd be happy to help you evaluate your options and build a mailing campaign that helps you achieve your goals. Drop us a line at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or give us a call at 866-665-2787. We're here Mon-Fri, 9AM to 8PM Eastern Time, and we're always eager to answer your questions.