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6 Ways To Target Seniors More Effectively In Digital Marketing

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6 Ways To Target Seniors More Effectively In Digital Marketing


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.

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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 We’ll also dispel some outdated generalizations that may be impacting the methodology behind your current marketing strategy.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′:

Of 55-64s:

  • 86% use a smartphone.
  • 94% use the internet at home.
  • 70% correctly identify advertising on Google.
  • 73% have a social media profile.

Of 65+:

  • 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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

Conclusion

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.

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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.

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Featured Image: adriaticfoto/Shutterstock

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How To Use Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper

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How To Use Google's Structured Data Markup Helper

If you drill down to the very core, every search engine optimization (SEO) strategy has the same aim: convincing Google your webpage is the best answer to a user’s query.

There are a lot of tactics you can and should employ to achieve this, but that’s the goal.

And, as the Google brain has grown more complex, it’s able to display increasingly more detailed and helpful answers.

For example, if you’re looking to book a flight from Chicago O’Hare to LAX, Google can now show you options in rich snippets on search results pages.

Likewise, if you run a concert venue, you can add code known as structured data to your website that will encourage Google to display your events when they’re relevant to web searchers.

If you’re not familiar with the term “structured data,” don’t fret – there are a lot of SEO professionals and web marketers who aren’t.

In this article, we’ll set that right, plus give you tips on using the Structured Data Markup Helper to easily add it to your site.

What Is Structured Data?

As defined in this post, structured data is information (data) that is organized (structured). Organized information is basically what structured data is.

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For SEO purposes, structured data is a specific type of formatting that gives Google information about the meaning of a page.

Following a standardized vocabulary outlined by Schema.org, it is used across several search engines, including Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Yandex.

Structured data can use syntax like JSON-LD, RDFa, and Microdata, among others.

Why Is Structured Data Important?

There are several reasons why webpages use structured data.

For one thing, it makes navigation easier for both search engine crawlers and human users.

This is because it provides the information that can then be displayed on search engine results pages (SERPs) in the form of rich snippets, video carousels, and other special search result features and enhancements.

This leads to faster indexing by search spiders and enhances your site’s search visibility. This can also help improve your click-through rate, increase conversions, and grab more voice search traffic.

In an article for Search Engine Journal, Winston Burton, Senior Vice President of SEO at global search and marketing agency Acronym, detailed the results of adding structured data to the client’s website.

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With no other optimization strategies employed, the client saw a 400% net growth in rich result organic traffic and a 140% growth in impressions for the company’s answer center.

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Even if this is a statistical outlier, it still highlights the massive potential of using structured data.

What Is Structured Data Used For?

Now that we’ve covered what structured data is and why it’s important, let’s look into some of the ways it can be used.

In an April 2022 Google Search Central SEO office-hours hangout, Google Search Advocate John Mueller dove into structured data and its uses.

If you have 30 minutes to spare, it’s well worth the watch. If you’re in a hurry, the part that’s relevant to the current topic begins at 27:19. Or better yet, read Roger Montti’s coverage of it here.

In this hangout, Mueller was asked a question about how to choose the best format for structured data.

His answer was that it’s not so much about what format a page uses, but rather what kind of rich result is available for the page.

Structured data is very versatile and provides a lot of opportunities for businesses to use it to drive clicks. Some of these you may wish to take advantage of include:

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Knowledge Panels

Used for things that are part of the Google Knowledge Graph, they provide a quick overview of information about a topic.

Screenshot from search, Google, June 2022

As a business, you can use knowledge panels to give users at-a-glance information about your brand name, logo, and phone number, among other things.

Rich Snippets

Sometimes referred to as rich results, this is the additional data Google shows users in addition to normal search results. This may include things like music, events, or recipes.

Rich Snippets ExampleScreenshot from search, Google, June 2022

For commercial purposes, this is where reviews can be shown. It can also highlight things like products, addresses, and special offers.

Hosted Carousels

Common on mobile devices, this shows multiple “cards” from the same site.

Not to be confused with ordinary carousels, which can include images, video, and other data pulled from multiple sites, hosted carousels use content from only one “host” site.

Google currently supports the following types of hosted carousels:

  • Educational Course.
  • Movie.
  • Recipe.
  • Restaurant.
Carousel exampleScreenshot from search, Google, June 2022

AdWords

If you’re using Google’s automated ads as part of your PPC strategy, you can use structured snippets to give more information to customers.

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For example, you could use them to provide information about a line of products, included features or services offered.

AdWords exampleScreenshot from search, Google, June 2022

But, before you go inserting structured snippets into your webpages willy-nilly, you should know these are subject to standard Google Ads policies and must meet a number of requirements, a full list of which can be found here.

Getting Started With Structured Data

By now you should see the benefits structured data can offer, so let’s look at how to add it to your website.

The simplest way to add structured data to your webpage is by using Google’s Data Highlighter tool.

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To use this, simply open the tool and highlight data like name, date, location, etc. with your mouse.

Google will note this information the next time it crawls your site and present the data in rich snippets on search results pages.

You can also manually markup elements on HTML webpages. Sound intimidating? It’s not. You just have to have a small working knowledge of coding.

For your convenience, we’ve provided a step-by-step guide to help you through the process:

  1.   Open Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper.
  2.   Click the “Website” tab.
  3.   Select the type of page you’re marking up (e.g., job postings, restaurants, Q&A page, local businesses, etc.)
  4.   Enter the URL of an existing page or raw page HTML.
  5.   Click “Start Tagging.”
  6.   Highlight the parts of the page you want to be included in rich snippets and identify them in the dropdown that appears.
  7.   Fill in the required information. For an event, this includes the event name, location, and date.
  8.   After you have finished tagging, click the “Create HTML” button and choose an output format. JSON-LD is Google’s preferred format, though you can also choose Microdata.
  9.   Copy the code or download it. If you are using JSON-LD, paste the generated code into the body of the existing page. If you choose Microdata, replace your page with the generated HTML.
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Some other things to note:

  • To test the generated code, copy and paste it into the Rich Result test, which will show you any missing fields you need to fill in.
  • You can have multiple items on one page, but Google recommends that they are all the same type, e.g., all movies or all job postings.
  • All pages you want to display rich snippets for should be available to the public and not hidden behind login screens.
  • It may take a few weeks for Google to crawl your new page, but once it does it can be shown in rich snippets.

Is Structured Data A Ranking Signal?

Now for the $10,000 question: Will structured data markup help your site appear higher in search rankings?

Unfortunately, no.

In a deep dive into the topic, Search Engine Journal found that while it offers many benefits, there is no direct evidence schema markup is used by Google to determine search ranking.

That said, because it helps search engines more easily understand the content of your website, it can help you show up in relevant queries you may have been excluded from in the past.

Key Takeaways

Traffic is always the name of the game in digital marketing. And leveraging structured data on your website is a great way to help attract visitors.

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Not only does it enhance the appearance of your content in search results, but it can help your site get indexed faster.

Rich results (particularly positive product reviews) can also significantly improve your click-through rate and average time on the page.

If your page is used in a featured snippet, it will show at the top of SERPs.

In addition to the increase in visibility that provides, featured snippets are used to answer voice search queries. That means you’ll be the only result for anyone who uses Siri or Alexa for a query.

The final reason you should use structured data on your website is that it gives you more control over your information.

You determine how Google understands your brand and allows you to control how your information is defined.

Structured data is a useful tool in your toolbox. It doesn’t work for every site and every type of content, but if you’re in a field where it is useful, it’s something you need to be using.


Featured Image: NicoElNino/Shutterstock

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