Finding your target audience online can be almost as difficult as converting them. That task is even harder for busy senior living community marketers trying to help new residents find their communities. And while there are more than 284 million internet users in the U.S, the stereotype has always been that most of those users are young adults and working Americans, taking digital marketing off the table for seniors. In the last few years, though, the number of seniors going online has been growing steadily.
Keep in mind that the current generation of seniors did have about a decade of experience with internet and smartphone technology before retiring. As recently as 2019, research showed that nearly three-quarters (73%) of Americans aged 65 and over use the internet regularly. Since the emergence of COVID-19, this number has increased dramatically. According to an Ericsson ConsumerLab study, 81% of 65 to 74-year-olds browse the internet in the post-pandemic world every day. Yes, your grandma’s probably on TikTok!
What does this mean for you as a senior living digital marketing? Gone are the days when you could turn a blind eye to digital marketing because “seniors don’t use the internet.” Nothing could be further from the truth. So where do you find the seniors you want to reach? Better yet, how can you make sure they’re finding you? Where should you be focusing your digital ad budget to connect with your target audience?
Connection #1: Facebook
Nearly half (46%) of Americans over age 65 use Facebook with seniors accounting for around 11.5% of Facebook’s total U.S. user base. What’s even more impressive is that these numbers will continue to rise, because seniors are the fastest-growing age demographic on Facebook. The number of senior users has doubled since 2012.
Yes, the increase in older relatives commenting on your Facebook posts might be annoying. But this change in the online habits of seniors means getting your message to them is much easier!
Facebook presents a unique opportunity to personally reach your customers through organic posts or on a promotional level through ads. Seniors do place a high value on meaningful content and can be averse to shopping around once they’ve found something they like. Maximize your efforts and ad spend by creating a thoughtful social media strategy with high-quality, useful content that will connect and convert.
In addition to a well-curated business Page with engaging organic content, you should also use targeted advertising campaigns on Facebook. These campaigns are cost-effective, laser-focused and have measurable results.
An essential tip for both organic content and paid advertising is to always outline and incentivize the next step. Make your contact information obvious and accessible. Add in a coupon or special offer encouraging your target audience to take the next step. Everyone loves a good deal, but seniors especially want to feel they’re getting good value for their money. Starting from a point of generosity can only help your chances of bringing on a new customer.
Connection #2: YouTube
When asked what they do on the internet, 54% of those online seniors say they enjoy watching video content. And research shows YouTube is their preferred video streaming site. Creating videos for YouTube can help you educate your customer base and build trust in your services.
With decades of both positive and negative experiences influencing their buying habits, seniors can be skeptical of anything new. That means trust is critical with the over 65 demographic. A well-crafted story or testimonial, as opposed to cold hard statistics and numbers, can be a great motivator for older Americans.
YouTube offers a unique opportunity to walk seniors through the benefits of your programs and services while establishing your brand values. Make inspiring, exciting videos that specifically appeal to your audience, and they’ll be more likely to convert.
And what about conversion? One of the best aspects of seniors’ YouTube habits is that they don’t just watch videos. They follow through. Research shows that three out of four seniors have taken action after watching a video online. With the right digital marketing strategy, they could be calling you for more information about your services. Or better yet, signing up in the moment for a program you offer.
Connection #3: Local News Sites
When seniors go online, what do they search for? Research shows that 66% are looking for information about news and weather. But while they’re trying to figure out if they need a jacket today, you can take advantage of this behavior by sponsoring content on your local news outlets’ digital platforms.
Whether your local news stations or newspapers have a website, app or both, you should be engaging their advertising services in your senior living digital marketing campaign. Adding video content to these types of promotions is particularly useful!
Connection #4: Email
Many believe email isn’t part of a valid senior living digital marketing strategy anymore, but they’re wrong—especially in the case of seniors. More than half of adults aged 65 and older not only read, but also share emails regularly. Email is as robust as ever with seniors and shouldn’t be ignored.
Of course, we’re not suggesting you bombard new residents with constant e-marketing. Seniors are just as annoyed by excessive emails as the rest of us. Plan targeted, intuitive campaigns aimed at educating and activating your customer base. Send them an invitation to follow you on Facebook, a link to your latest testimonial video or an alert about a new article on your blog. Just don’t be annoying about it.
You should also take the time to create an automated campaign that features content they’ll find valuable. Make sure the email service you use informs you when a user begins to shift from discovery to potential conversion so you can follow up as needed and cultivate a new customer.
A truly effective digital marketing strategy requires recognizing each demographic’s nuances and how they consume media. Finding seniors online can be difficult if you don’t know where to look. But with the right data, you can create a genuinely transformative strategy to reach the seniors who need you.
Need help connecting with new residents? Dreamscape Marketing will create an effective senior living digital marketing strategy for your senior living community. Call us today at 888.307.7304.