Millennials might have taken the first swing at the print advertising industry, but the growing trend of senior citizens using online resources for news and entertainment might lead print-only marketing to the gallows.

Despite the rise of the internet and social media, marketers have demanded that the only way to reach older audiences is through print advertising. In the last 5 years, these audiences have pushed marketers to a tipping point, forcing them to choose between the uncharted waters of digital advertising and slowly fading print alternatives.

Younger marketing professionals having to learn to craft messages and content that will appeal to their seasoned consumers creates an additional wrinkle. Companies looking to bridge that gap can turn to the Your Business Marketer team. Trust us: this is a good story.

The Tipping Point

Baby boomers are the ones most likely to still read the paper each morning or subscribe to a print publication, so why abandon those channels? The truth is, those ad spaces might do very well for your company, especially if you are in a hyper-local market, but even that can change quickly. Where many companies fall short is in only devoting resources to this declining medium.

According to the Hussman School of Journalism, more than 300 newspapers shut their doors in 2020. In fact, newspaper subscriptions have not been this low since 1940. Smaller publications that have survived might only publish once or twice per week. The 24-hour news cycle that is available online has pushed loyal consumers to new alternatives, a trend that shows no signs of slowing. 

Newspapers are failing, that is not an earth-shattering revelation. What might be is the fact that the percentage of seniors that use social media daily has surpassed 65%, a statistic that once seemed unfathomable. So, if older audiences are moving online what can you do to stay in front of them?

4 Ways to Reach Older Consumers Online

Those new to the digital marketing world, will find that there are a wide variety of tools at their disposal. Data drives the bus, while consumers provide the fuel. Being able to navigate through the noise will allow companies to pinpoint their marketing efforts, increase their pipeline, and find new customers. Here are 4 ways to reach older consumers online.

1. Leverage Demographic Targeting

Google Adwords and Facebook advertising are the first place companies will get their feet wet when entering the digital marketing space. Both platforms track user data that opens the door for marketers to create highly specialized advertising campaigns, and are among the easiest to use out the gate.

The demographic data include age, sex, location, marital status, and more. Each of these should be leveraged to build campaigns that reach very specific consumers. Marketers will have security in knowing that any advertising spend is going directly to the consumers who are most likely to buy their product, and no one else. In sales, this is referred to as a rifled approach, as opposed to a shotgun approach.

2. Take Advantage of Video

In a world where content dominates the conversation, the biggest resource that many companies fail to tap into is video. The average attention span is around 8 seconds. Only two things can happen in 8 seconds: you can become a world class bull rider or connect with a consumer, driving traffic to your website. And the truth is that we are only the experts in one of these fields. 

Video maximizes these short windows of opportunity and helps to draw in consumers, regardless of age. Viral content is rarely a static post, or image. Use this vessel for product demonstrations or walk-throughs. This can be particularly helpful for retirement communities that are looking to provide a sneak-peek into a day in the life of their residents. Consider your audience: which is easier to consume, a video or a page of copy that requires them to put on their “readers”?

3. Optimize Your Website for Seniors

Speaking of “readers,” when was the last time that you looked at your website through your consumers’ bifocals? Once the ad has done its job, how easy is it for your audience to navigate through your website and actually buy your product?

Using easy to read fonts that are no smaller than 12 points should be the first step. You don’t have to go over the top, but make sure that any consumer that lands on your website doesn’t have to hold their phone or tablet at arms length, like a Cracker Barrel menu. Additionally, clearly visible call-to-actions will help make it easier for site visitors to reach out, contact, or otherwise connect.

4. Dedicate Resources to SEO

Whether you like it or not, your digital marketing strategy will inevitably be impacted by search engine optimization, or SEO. Whereas print advertising might direct the consumer to a local store to buy the latest and greatest product, digital marketing frequently starts with a Google search. Consumers might have seen your product in an ad, but with the ability to quickly search for the best deal, companies that rank poorly on search engine results pages can miss the mark.

Only a short time ago, this could be as simple as including some keywords into your website pages or content being distributed. Google, however, likes to keep marketers in the dark as to the specifics of how the rankings work. Recent changes to their algorithm focus on mobile-friendliness and speed. Those that do not devote resources to keeping their website optimized can quickly fall behind in rankings.

Finding a Digital Marketing Partner

Adopting new advertising strategies can be filled with unknowns. The first step is to acknowledge that consumers that were once only reachable via print advertising are following the younger generations’ lead and following the digital path. Rather than tackle this new challenge alone, partner with a trusted agency that can help craft a strategy to get the best of both worlds.

The Your Business Marketer team has been helping clients transition to digital advertising for years and we know the pitfalls associated. Call our experts today at 800-499-1996 or visit the YBM website to learn more.