How to use digital to appeal to an older audience

Posted on

When it comes to marketing, it’s very important to know the demographic you are trying to reach. Having said that, this is just the first step, as it should inform your ongoing decisions, taking your desired audience into consideration, without falling into a number of common traps.

Digital for older demographic.jpg
Photo credit: iStock/Ridofranz

 

These pitfalls include stereotyping your chosen persona and targeting your marketing at it so blinkedly that it forsakes all other potential audiences. This is particularly easy to end up doing when it is an older demographic you are aiming at.

Why market to an older audience?

Many companies find using digital to market their products to a younger audience relatively straightforward, but skip out on the older generation as it seems like too much of a challenge. This is a mistake for many reasons, the first of which is that this demographic has money to spend.

They have benefitted from social mobility opportunities, rising house prices and a time when savvy investment meant good returns on their savings. Now is the time that they can reap the rewards and companies with something to sell to this demographic should tap into these opportunities.

The travel industry

In the travel industry, which is where my expertise lies, this is particularly pertinent. The older demographic has the money to spend on holidays and often the time as well. 

Try not to stereotype

That leads me onto the danger of stereotyping and the problems with underestimating a mature audience. Just because they’re older doesn’t mean they want a sedate life and fewer challenges than before. Many people are using their retirement to do the things they’ve always wanted to and far from slowing down, are busier than ever. Firms seen to be encouraging this are far more likely to make a sale than those who pander to an old-fashioned image of life past 50.

Where does digital fit in?

If you think that digital is solely the domain of young folk, then you’re wrong. Everyone’s mum and dad are on Facebook these days. The internet is a useful tool for research no matter your age, and purchasing products online is becoming more and more commonplace for all ages. Ignoring such platforms in relation to an older audience only goes to reinforce beliefs by this demographic that they are often patronised and expected not to be tech savvy.

Strategies for conquering digital for the older demographic

Take these factors into consideration when compiling a digital strategy targeted at a mature audience.

  • When optimising a site, think about the search terms older users are likely to employ. They tend to be more blunt and direct, such as “Holiday to Croatia”, as opposed to “activity holiday on the Dalmatian coast”, which a younger audience might opt for.
     
  • Ensure your website is easy to use, as an older demographic is less likely to be au fait with the latest technology. This means sleek and simple styling and a clear user journey to direct them to the information they need and through the purchasing process.
     
  • Do your research and find out when your audience will be online and where they are coming from. The older demographic is a large group so don’t count them as just one entity. 
     
  • Make your products relatable in their descriptions and the images that accompany any text. Nobody wants to feel invisible, so photos of the age range you are targeting is a must.
     
  • Present the facts about your product without being too pushy, as much of the older generation is put off by the hard sell.
     
  • Seek peer reviews, as trust can be gained through seemingly similar people offering positive experiences of the product or service.
     
  • Ensure contact information is visible on the site. A mature audience may fall back on a medium they feel more comfortable with if they don’t achieve their aim on a website. By having a phone number that can be easily seen, you can convert the traffic that way, as opposed to losing it altogether.
Interested in improving your content offering? Take a look at our content creation services here.