4 Ways to Use Digital Marketing to Reach Older Generations

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Digital marketing is often associated with the younger, tech-savvy generation but the truth is that older generations are adopting digital technology 20 times faster than younger generations.

When you think about it, that makes a lot of sense. After all, the generation aged 35 and up was the pioneers of the technology revolution that saw us progress from VHS to DVD, from vinyl to MP3.

So, what’s the best way to use digital marketing to reach the generation that has seen it all before?

Analyze your Social Audience

As digital marketing guru Lori Ruff said, “Be where your customers are: in social media.”

There is a misconception among marketers that social media is the realm of young people exclusively, but the truth is that “older” people are not only interested in social media, they’re using it a lot more than people seem to think.

If your business is using social media as a digital marketing tool – you really should be – then it’s essential that you get a thorough breakdown of your community. Go beyond basic analytics and do a deep dive into who they are.

Once you know more about your audience, you’ll see that there is an older demographic to be considered. Then it’s a case of targeting and adjusting your messaging according to who you’re speaking to.

Tactical Targeting

While there are still certain demographics that cling to print, the fact is that over 35’s are far more comfortable with all forms of digital marketing.

Unlike digital natives, “older” users still view the internet as a resource platform, and their search behavior is very different. They don’t just scroll through social media feeds randomly – they review, information and opinions.

This is the last generation that remembers how to find a book in a library.

To ensure that your digital marketing efforts reach these online researchers, you need to use this inquisitive approach to your targeting. Instead of simply investing in the standard display offering, use your audience insights and provide tailored messaging per website.

Here’s an example. Trying to sell luxury cars to men over 40? Target your digital marketing on travel websites, doctors’ websites, and men’s’ magazines. But also consider university websites, because their children might be going to college. Insurance company websites might be viable. Cast a wider net.

And don’t forget about remarketing. Older users are more focused and likely to remember your initial digital marketing communication. A follow up message will be appreciated and might be enough to stop them on their quest and take them to your site.

Don’t Underestimate Them

As digital marketers, we’ve all come across trolls and frustrated people who take to social media to voice their frustrations. It’s a common practice – some brands even structure their social media pages as complaints and query channels.

In general, it is digital natives who use the internet to complain. Older people are more likely to follow traditional complaint processes. They will write letters, ask to see the manager, and tell their friends.

While all of that seems laughable, you underestimate the impact of the older generation at your peril. They have the spending power, and as much as they connect on social, their circle of acquaintances is personal and loyal.

You need to respect users of all ages and realize that your digital marketing material forms part of a broader brand experience. You need to use online avenues to enrich the brand’s reputation. Create an atmosphere of open, caring communication that mirrors the real world to ensure that the older generation starts to embrace your brand both above and below the line.

Focus on the Familiar

As much as the older generation is embracing the possibilities of digital, there is still a distinct difference in the way different generations consume content.

Younger users are happy digesting brief videos and engaging on social. Older users are still more comfortable with long-format content, direct email, and reading reviews.

If your brand is trying to reach a split audience, it might be worthwhile focusing on different channels for each market segment to ensure that you’re giving people branded content on their terms.

Just because you are a specialist in digital marketing, it doesn’t mean that you should forget about established channels in favor of trendier options like Snapchat. It’s a lot less jarring to receive marketing in a way you still recognize.

Reach out to your entire audience in a way that appeals to them. That they can relate to. And you will find that your digital marketing efforts exceed normal age segmentation and lead to success.

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