You may be surprised to learn that the 50-plus age demographic is one of the fastest growing online. Aside from shopping, they search for insurance, health, and investment information and stay in touch with family and friends. So how do you market your business to these Internet shoppers?
According to the Pew Research Center for the Internet & American Life Project, 56 percent of Internet users age 64 to 72, and 47 percent of Internet users age 73 and older purchase products online. To win their business, follow these tips.
Web Site Tips
- Make it easy to read: Many seniors may have health concerns, such as eyesight problems, that you should take into consideration when you create your Web content. Make sure your typefaces and fonts are easy to read; don’t use novelty fonts or type that is too small. Include a way for your visitors to make the text bigger and easier to read, and use high contrast colors that are easy on the eyes.
- Make it easy to navigate: Your site should present information in a straightforward manner. Make sure everything matches throughout the site. For example, make the links all blue, or all the same color, and make them big, so they are easy to see and click on.
- Cut out the Internet slang: Many older users don’t know all the terminology, so spell out information that might trip them up, such as “instant messaging” (not IM) or Facebook (not FB). Younger users may be savvy, but older users can be tentative when using the Internet, so make it easy for them to understand everything on your site.
- Keep it consistent: Don’t make drastic changes to your site. Keep it steady and implement changes slowly over time, so users can get used to them gradually.
- Test it: Make sure you have a group of seniors test your Web site before it goes live. Your testers can tell you what works and what doesn’t work for them and give you valuable insight into the design and information on your site.
Where do you advertise to find these 50-plus shoppers? You can try sites such as Eons.com or ThirdAge.com, which cater to this demographic, and you can use search engine optimization keyword marketing for specific products. The Pew study shows that Internet shopping drops off after the age of 70; but it’s interesting to note that when older Americans drop off, their children often begin searching the Internet for their parents, adding another dimension to online marketing to older people. Design a campaign that will appeal to their adult children and you still can corner the 70-plus market.
Another avenue to explore is e-mail. Older Internet users rely on e-mail to keep in touch with friends and family, while younger users think e-mail is so Web 1.0. To appeal to older users, develop e-mail marketing campaigns that attract their attention, and you could get some surprisingly good results. An e-mail newsletter is a great way to keep contact with this demographic, which might be less inclined to read a blog.
So fine-tune your online presence if you’re marketing to people over the age of 50. Keep it simple, keep in touch, and know your users’ limitations so you can provide the best Web marketing to attract this older audience.