Digital marketing campaigns that neglect their senior audiences can end up missing key opportunities to expand the brand’s audience and engagement.
This can leave older adults an untapped market in numerous ways.
In fact, there’s even senior growth across social media, including Pinterest, leading searches such as “nomad normal.”
The Pinterest user base continues to expand, and adults are using this platform to shop with an 85% growth in recent months.
Are your current campaigns on Pinterest and other social media platforms genuinely reaching older audiences?
If not, this should be an area of focus. Older generations, those 50 and older, make up 51% of consumer spending and include 45% of all adults.
They spend more money than younger generations, and marketing strategies should reflect these statistics.
Here, you’ll learn some best practices and methods to market to seniors. We’ll also dispel some outdated generalizations that may be impacting the methodology behind your current marketing strategy.
1. Senior Marketing Is More Than Just Influencer Targeting
It’s true that a large volume of influencer opportunities (family members, professional acquaintances, local news, offline thought leaders) present an added layer of marketing potential when looking at generating outcomes from senior campaigns.
However, the issue is that the attention should not exclude and move away from the intended 60+ aged group but enhance and support this focus as a result of enhancement.
According to the latest Ofcom findings in ‘Adults’ Media Use and Attitudes Report 2020/21′:
- 86% use a smartphone.
- 94% use the internet at home.
- 70% correctly identify advertising on Google.
- 73% have a social media profile.
- 55% use a smartphone.
- 77% use the internet at home.
- 58% correctly identify advertising on Google.
- 59% have a social media profile.
What this tells us, as marketers, is that there is direct access to older audiences through mobile, SMS, and smartphone marketing.
The older audience is growing for YouTube marketing and social media marketing, too.
While the reliance on mobile technology reduces with the audience’s targeted age (primarily those over 65), mobile phones, tablets, computers, and other technology are still high and growing every year.
As marketers, this increases the emphasis of marketing directly to the consumer (and prioritizing the end person over the influencer).
Practically speaking, this means that AMP content alternatives, mobile-first content mindsets, traditional mobile optimization, and related actions are as effective for senior marketing as they are for other demographics.
2. Seniors Are More Loyal & Less Likely To Explore
Ofcom’s report states that:
“Although internet users aged 55+ were the least likely to have a social media profile, or to use messaging sites or apps, a majority were using both, and more than three in four were using either.”
For marketers, this increases the need to be the first to educate and present brands, content, and insights to the senior population first.
The added incentive is that 90% of senior people will keep you as their digital ‘go-to,’ providing you help them with their informational needs first.
Seniors are willing to learn about brands to stay informed on new and important trends.
As you would expect, there are many ways to achieve this goal, and some of those I’ve seen most effective over the years include:
- Community resources and lifestyle hubs.
- Location-based and local biased content.
- Free tools, tips, and advice.
- Increased offline and online seamless user journeys.
- Digital simplification and joining the dots better between marketing channels.
- Added discount focus and telephone calls to action (CTA).
- Increased remarketing on educational and informational content.
3. Experiences Matter Most
Interestingly, some of the latest search trends, such as content personalization, bespoke user journeys, and tailoring the user experience, have some of the most significant potential to impact older audiences.
When you return the focus to what the targeted audience is looking for, it is easier to effectively reach those audiences.
Older audiences tend to consider customer service, personal contact, and traditional communication in higher esteem.
Once they feel they are heard and valued by the company, they are motivated more to share that experience and repeat it.
There are many effective approaches you can add to your marketing campaigns, such as:
- Bridging the gap between offline and online user journeys. Keeping marketing messaging consistent easy to digest with clear steps to take.
- Using CTAs such as single-click actions or incentivizing to call or message.
- Sharing feedback from customers who love your brand to help build trust.
- Making the benefits and message clear, plus the action taking specific should be kept in mind.
4. Increase Investment In The Education Process
Onsite and externally through content placement and promotion, the older audience requires added explanation, clarity, and general guidance throughout the information-seeking and buying process.
There are many time-saving concepts (consider online banking) that can positively assist and impact the 60+ demographic more than other age groups.
However, the added barriers in place (aversion to change, misconceptions about the safety of the internet, wanting to have the offline conversational experience) frequently prevent them from taking action.
Integrating online and offline user journeys help overcome this issue, as does added exposure in traditional offline print, such as:
- Local papers.
- Household information drops/flyers.
- Offline CTAs driving online and telephone action.
5. Target Seniors Through YouTube
Videos and YouTube can be excellent methods to reach older audiences. Google states that:
- One in three Boomers say they use YouTube to learn about a product or service.
- Similar to other generations, Baby Boomers are watching TV recaps, highlights, and their favorite shows on YouTube to stay in the know.
- 68% of Boomers say they watch YouTube videos to be entertained.
So what does this mean for marketing teams?
Video can take on more of the heavy lifting when it comes to senior marketing activities.
The use of video content to explain concepts, demystify technology, and drive intended user activity change should be a priority.
Through videos, brands can build trust with older audiences, encourage herd mentality, and bridge the gap between the offline and online user journeys.
6. Understand Generational Values
Now more than ever, it’s crucial to understand the values and interests of those you’re marketing to, including seniors.
When marketers take time to consider what would resonate most with their consumers, it helps to build trust and engagement with the brand.
It’s important to reach all generations in your marketing strategy and modify your message to each audience based on each campaign’s chosen social media platform and intended audience.
While this may seem difficult at first, there are some commonalities for brands to focus on for their marketing strategy.
Seniors hold the same values of honesty, authenticity, relationship, and working hard as other adults.
These are widely appreciated values that brands can align with and therefore reach wider audiences.
Older generations utilize the internet more than ever before and present a huge (and relatively untapped) marketing opportunity.
However, marketing teams need to target more than older audience influencers to maximize this.
More than half of adults over 65 with the internet have a social media profile, and over three-quarters actively use the internet at home, creating numerous marketing opportunities.
Social media and YouTube are great avenues to connect with and inform potential seniors customers about your brand
Simple opportunities are waiting for marketers, such as maximizing the marketing calendar; on August 25, for example, it’s Senior Citizens Day – the perfect time to reach your older audience.
Older audiences are an untapped and underutilized market that, with a little effort to understand how to connect to them and tailor the experience to meet their needs, can yield committed and loyal consumers.
Featured Image: adriaticfoto/Shutterstock
7 Ways To Improve Local SEO & Attract New Business
Not only is searcher intent likely different, the algorithms Google uses to show the map pack differs from the main organic algorithms.
In this article, I’ll be taking you through the ways you can win new customers and improve your visibility through local SEO.
Top Ways To Improve Your Local SEO
1. Keep An Eye On Your Competitors’ Google Business Profile Q&As
Google Business Profile (GBP) has a great function that can do wonders for growing new business – the questions and answers feature.
If you use it well for your own organization, it can help convert customers who are otherwise on the fence.
But don’t stop there. Spend time researching your competitors’ Q&As, too. See what your potential customers are asking others in your industry.
How GBP Q&A Works
On your Google Business Profile, you may notice an “Ask a Question” button. Once clicked, users are taken through to a screen that allows them to submit a question.
This next bit is key. The question does not get submitted to the owner of the profile. It gets submitted to the profile. That means it is visible to anyone who sees a Google Business Profile listing.
Once a question has been posted to your competitors’ Google Business Profile listing, you will be able to see it.
And once the question is answered, that information – and the engagement – is there for all in the future to see.
How Does This Help Build New Business?
These questions are a great way to encourage new business from local searchers. Questions are likely to be asked by people who have never visited that business before but are in your target market.
They are already engaging with the brand but need a bit more information before they commit to a visit.
For Your Own Listing
On your own GBP, you can use this opportunity to converse with a potential local consumer who is far down the conversion funnel.
If they are at the stage where they have found you and are considering you enough to ask some questions, a thoughtful response may be all it takes to see them walk through your doors.
On A Competitor’s Listing
Look at what questions your competitors’ customers and potential customers are asking. Use this to better fill out the information on your own profile and website.
If you are noticing a lot of questions being asked about the availability of gluten-free pizza from other pizza restaurants in your area, for example, you want to make sure you highlight your gluten-free products on your site and listing.
This type of research can keep you one step ahead of local competitors, especially if the questions they have been asked are slightly negative in tone.
Consider this question: “Do you still play loud music?”
If a potential restaurant-goer sees that question asked of another business, it immediately makes them consider the environment they will be eating their meal in.
It may make them wonder if they will really be able to enjoy the catch-up with their friends over a meal as they have planned.
Answer the questions being asked of your competitors on your own website and GBP before anyone asks. State in your description that customers will enjoy a meal accompanied by relaxing, ambient music.
This can put you at a significant advantage over your competitors for winning new business in your geography.
When you proactively answer a potential customer’s question before they even have to ask it, you demonstrate that you understand their needs and wants.
2. Tweak A Google Product Listing To Get More Exposure
Google allows businesses with GBP to upload details of the products they offer. This can be viewed by potential customers on both mobile and desktop search results.
The listings appear in the GBP in a carousel format on Maps and in both a carousel and under the Products tab in Search.
Both formats allow users to click on the product cards for more detail, to call, or visit the website.
How GBP Product Listings Work
Uploading your products to a Google Business Profile has gotten simpler. Google has released a new way of doing this called “Pointy.” Pointy is a device that is plugged in between the barcode scanner and the point-of-sale device. As products are scanned in, Pointy adds them to Google.
This is a quick way of uploading your product inventory to your Google Business Profile. There are restrictions around this, however, as Pointy is only available in some countries and also isn’t suitable for products without barcodes (bunches of flowers, for instance).
It is still possible to upload products manually. Simply sign in to your profile and click Edit Profile > Products > Add Product.
How Does This Help Build New Business?
You may be looking to showcase some products over others for a variety of reasons. You may have a surplus of stock in one of your locations, for example.
Bringing that stock to the forefront of that location’s GBP listing will help alert local customers to it. It will allow you to target specific products more to relevant audiences, dependent on their location.
For instance, seasonal products may be better served first. Perhaps the geographic location of your car repair shop is set for an unseasonal snow flurry. Edit your snow tire listings to bring them to the beginning of the carousel.
This could enhance the visibility of your product at just the right time for a new customer in your target location to see them.
3. Use Google’s Business Messages While You Can
Google Business Profile can include functionality that allows businesses to correspond with customers straight from the SERPs.
When activated, GBP will display a Message button that users can click on to start direct messaging with the business.
How GBP Business Messages Work
This functionality has existed since 2017 in Google Business Profile and since 2018 in Google Maps. It has only recently made it onto the desktop, however.
If you are an owner of a GBP, you should see the option in your desktop dashboard to Turn on messaging under the Messages tab.
You can then set items like an initial auto-responder to be sent out when a visitor first messages you are using this service.
To make sure the service is a timely one, Google recommends you reply to all messages within 24 hours.
If you don’t, Google may deactivate the messaging service on your account. Your response times can also show in Google Search and Maps.
Google may display ‘Usually responds in a few minutes,’ ‘Usually responds in a few hours,’ ‘Usually responds in a day,’ or ‘Usually responds in a few days,’ depending on your average reply time.
How Does This Help Build New Business?
Not everyone has the time (or inclination) to call up a business they have yet to engage with. Allowing potential local customers to message you straight from your GBP is an excellent way of streamlining conversations with them.
If you respond quickly, your chances of that potential customer converting are greatly increased.
This is of particular use to local businesses that perhaps don’t use centralized call centers or messaging. It can be another touch point that shows the personalization of the business based on the location that the consumer is in.
Consider the offers, services, and tone of voice that might be most appropriate to your customers in that particular geography. This is your opportunity to highlight again how well you know your customers.
Make use of the local name for the area your business is in. Talk about the specific events and charities you support in the area.
Any additional indication that your business serves the local population specifically can help to reinforce your relevance to the potential customer who has contacted you.
Now that the functionality is available in such a wide range of places on the web, it would be a wasted opportunity not to engage with your potential customers in this way.
4. Update Your GBP With All Relevant Newly Available Attributes
Google keeps updating the features available through its Google Business Profile property. Make sure you keep your listing fully populated with the relevant attributes as they become available.
How Do New Attributes Work
Google frequently adds functionality to Google Business Profile that your business might be eligible to use. Not every new feature is available to all types of businesses, however.
Whether you can access new updates depends on what category is set as your primary in GBP.
To keep up to date with what new features are becoming available and who is eligible for them, visit Google’s GBP announcements page.
How Does This Help Build New Business?
With any new change to Google Business Profile, early adoption will put you ahead of the pack. Although these attributes will not necessarily affect your rankings in the map pack, they can make your business more attractive to prospective local customers.
For instance, attributes can include details of the business’s ownership. For example, it’s possible to include attributes like “women-owned” and “black-owned” to your Business profile.
Google also introduced the option to denote a business’s support for the LGBTQ+ community through “LGBTQ+ friendly” attributes.
A business showing that it is inclusive and supportive of minority groups can help members of those groups to feel welcomed. For some people, knowing they will be welcomed at a business can be the difference between them visiting there instead of a competitor whose support isn’t guaranteed.
5. Join Local Marketplaces And Forums
The key to marketing your local business well is understanding what your audience is looking for. A great way of understanding your target market is by spending time where they are.
This includes online.
Make sure you register your business in local directories and forums. This is not so much for the traditional citation benefit. It’s so you can be amongst your prospective customers, hearing what they are talking about.
How Local Marketplaces & Forums Work
Look on platforms like Facebook for marketplaces relevant to your location and products. You don’t necessarily need to be engaging with the audience to learn more about who they are and what they respond to.
For instance, if you sell locally created craft products in your store, you can get a feel for how much your audience is willing to pay for products by seeing what similar items are being sold for in your town’s Facebook Marketplace.
By watching what your local audience is saying about prices, quality, shipping, and sourcing of products, you can begin to understand more about your audience’s preferences.
If you are a local pizza restaurant, you would do well to join Reddit subreddits for your city and read the threads that talk about restaurants in your area.
What is your local audience saying about your competition? Are they sick of pizza restaurants and really want someone to bring something new to the area?
Perhaps they are enthusiastic about local independent shops and want to support them more.
How Does This Help Build New Business?
This kind of information can help you to tailor your search marketing strategy, tone of voice, and more.
Go to places where your target audience members are talking freely about your local area. Find out what they want from their local businesses.
If you are feeling brave, you can even interact with your audience on these platforms. This has to be done sensitively and authentically.
Most people don’t want to be mined for information without their consent. Be open and honest when reaching out for feedback on these sites.
The more you can watch and learn from your audience, the more likely you are to be able to offer products and services they will respond well to.
6. Don’t Neglect Bing, DuckDuckGo, And Others
Google is not the only search engine you need to be concerned with. There are others, too, that might be the first port of call for users looking for information on local businesses.
How Other Search Engines Work
You may see the vast majority of the organic traffic going to your site coming from Google. Don’t forget that you might not be tracking all of the ways customers discover you through search.
Your profile showing in the SERPs might not generate a click. As a result, it will not show up in your web analytics program.
So, unless you are measuring impressions across different search engines, you will not know that your business has been seen on the likes of Bing or DuckDuckGo.
DuckDuckGo’s maps are powered by Apple Maps. Therefore, if you want your business to appear in the DuckDuckGo local map pack, you will need to have your business set up with an Apple Maps Connect profile.
Similarly, Bing uses Bing Places to power their local map functionality. Setting up and optimizing a Google Business Profile listing will not help you with increasing organic visibility on Bing.
We are seeing an increase in the popularity of other search engines over time, and for some locations, Google is not the primary search engine used.
If you have physical stores or business locations outside of the U.S., you should look at which search engines are also popular in those regions.
Make sure you utilize the local map functionality of these other search engines.
How Does This Help Build New Business?
Yet again, being where your competitors are not will put you in good stead.
If your competitors are not appearing in the Apple Maps results in DuckDuckGo, you are going to be far more likely to win the business of local searchers using that platform.
7. Keep An Eye On Your Reputation
You may be keeping a close eye on the reviews left on sites like TripAdvisor. You even check your own Google Business Profile listing regularly.
But are you keeping on top of some of the other places in the SERPs which might be giving potential customers an outsider’s view of your business?
How Reputation Monitoring Works
Top and middle-of-the-funnel local search queries, such as [car mechanic telford], can bring back a variety of features in the SERPs.
Prominently Featured Review And Directory Sites
Take a look at this SERP result:
The top carousel lists large directories, social media sites, and niche directories. This gives potential customers access to information about your company – and potentially even reviews – on sites you may not even be checking.
Aside from the inaccurate data about your company that these sites may contain, what have customers, former employees, or even competitors said about you?
Given that links to these sites appear as the first feature in the Google SERPs for this query, it would stand to reason they may get a lot of visibility from your potential customers.
People Also Ask
If customers are in the process of narrowing down their choice of business, they might start searching for specific information about those businesses. That can often trigger a “People Also Ask” feature to appear.
When searching for [is (name of a mechanic) in Telford any good], the following PAA box appeared, talking specifically about that brand.
That first “People Also Ask” question is, “why is [brand] so expensive?” That does not inspire much confidence in the value for money of this particular mechanic.
Although there is not much you can do to control what questions appear in the “People Also Ask” section, it is important to try to influence the perception of those who may click on this question.
Write a page addressing this question and try to get it ranking. That way, when someone interested in your local business clicks on this question, they at least will see your response around “the quality service,” “not compromising by using cheap parts,” and “highly-skilled technicians who you pay well for their expertise.”
How Does This Help Build New Business?
It is crucial to remember that what a potential customer sees about you may not just be the information you are writing on your website or Google Business Profile listings.
It might not even be the reviews left on sites you are closely monitoring and responding to.
A potential customer will be influenced heavily by others’ opinions and experiences of your business. Local businesses tend to attract a lot of reviews because they are promoted by sites that encourage them to be left.
A negative perception of your business will likely be the difference between you winning or losing a new customer.
Always monitor the SERPs around your core lead-generating search terms. Identify where negative perceptions of your business could be formed.
There are many aspects of SEO that you need to consider if you want your business to do well with your local audience.
How your website appears for searches with local intent in Google Maps and the standard SERPs can make or break your business.
If you want your brick-and-mortar business to succeed online, make sure you develop a robust local SEO strategy.
Featured Image: Rido/Shutterstock