The Top 5 Strategies for Reaching Seniors with Direct Mail

Seniors play a significant role as consumers in today’s market [1]. However, this older demographic can be harder to reach via online channels due to their reduced presence online. While this challenge may deter companies purely focused on digital marketing to reach customers, there is ample opportunity to reach senior audiences through direct mail.

 

Direct mail is a channel that many senior consumers know and appreciate as an integral part of their buying decisions [2]. A direct mail piece helps them learn about and discover new products and services. While many of the same principles for delivering response-oriented direct mail campaigns apply to senior audiences as they do for younger audiences, it’s important to know that senior audiences have different ways of consuming marketing materials. In this article, we’ll outline the best tips for reaching senior audiences through direct mail in order to maximize response rates.

 

Tip #1: Keep Direct Mail Clear and Readable

 

Unless your direct mail is readable, there’s no chance of it being effective with senior audiences. This means that flashy, over-the-top direct mailers crammed with information won’t be as effective as a well formatted, well-structured piece delivered in a conversational tone with clear headings and points outlined. Large font is preferable due to seniors often needing glasses because of reduced or impaired eyesight. This means that font 12 point or larger is optimal. Design also plays a valuable role in communicating clarity and evoking emotions in direct mail. Often, warm colors such as reds, yellows and oranges evoke more emotional tones, whereas cooler colors such as blues and greens can denote more intellectual tones. Be sure to divide sections with clear headings and include bullet points with the key items you’re trying to communicate.

 

Tip #2: Focus on Traditional Channels

 

For direct mail targeted to seniors, it’s often better to focus on traditional sales channels rather than newer digital sales channels. It’s essential to offer telephone or mail as ways to respond rather than trying to drive older consumers to an online source to place an order. Many senior consumers still don’t use the internet or don’t feel comfortable placing orders over the internet [3]. While this trend will change in the future as “digital natives”, (consumers who grew up with technology), grow older, currently it’s best to focus on channels of communication with which seniors are more comfortable.  If you’re a local business, including a small map with the exact location of where seniors can find your business, can be helpful. It’s also best to promote offers that are non-digital. For example, if you normally send out coupons in the form of printed QR codes that can be presented at point of sale, perhaps you could present a simple cut-out coupon that is more familiar to seniors.

 

Tip #3: Promote a Special Offer

 

With any direct mail campaign, it’s critical to drive a response of some kind from the recipient. A direct mail campaign targeted at seniors should be no different. While an immediate purchase may not always be possible, a key is to motivate the senior target market to take action through incentives. These incentives can be offers such as:

 

  • Free trial membership

  •  Two-for-one or discounted offers

  • Free gift upon sign up

 

It can be effective to offer something of tangible benefit to senior consumers as this will drive sales in a powerful way. Ensure that the barriers to claim the free incentive are as low as possible to maximize conversion rates.

 

Tip #4: Highlight Product/Service Benefits instead of Hard Selling

 

Marketing to consumers that are older requires a greater focus on what benefits your product or service provide in relation to the needs of their life stage. Older consumers don’t react well to hard sells and high-pressure sales offers via direct mail [4]. Rather, it’s recommended to have a more nurturing conversation, stressing the benefits of your products or services in terms of their sense of safety, security, life longevity, self-fulfilment and wellness. For example, if you’re a gym who would like to target local seniors to sign up for a membership or attend classes to help with mobility and staying fit, it’s helpful to feature images of seniors in active settings and also to communicate the benefits of staying fit for longevity and preventing illness.

 

Tip #5: Segment and Personalize

 

Seniors appreciate the personal touch [5]. Where possible, personalizing your piece, segmenting by specific needs or interest, and tailoring the message and offer to the individual can help boost response.  If you have a database or mailing list of consumers with their ages, segment the list by age range and address the needs of the different groups, delivering different messages and offers to the different groups.

 

A lot of what is considered good practice for direct mail campaigns applies to a senior audience. This includes best in class practices of segmentation, personalization, offering incentives and making your message easy to understand. With seniors, you can make a bigger impact and maximize your sales by tailoring your campaigns to have a clear message, well typed, easy to read content, avoiding digital channels as a means of driving engagement and appealing to their priorities of safety, security, longevity and personal fulfilment. Those who are willing to utilize these effective direct mail techniques to target seniors have the opportunity to reach this valuable and loyal audience.

 

Genesis Direct has nearly 25 years of experience in direct mail marketing.  For a free consultation and to learn how we can help your business grow, call or email Mike McNally.

 

Mike McNally

Senior Account Executive

tel: (813) 855-4274 x1265 | mobile: (813) 610-5931

email: mmcnally@genesisdirect.com

 

  1. https://smallbiztrends.com/2011/10/small-retailers-dont-ignore-senior-consumers.html
  2. http://www.directmarketingcenter.net/dra/la_20InsightsMatureMarket.html
  3. https://www.v12data.com/blog/50-statistics-about-retail-marketing-and-consumer-shopping-trends/
  4. http://www.changingthewayweage.com/Media-and-Marketers-support/Articles/directmarketingtoolderadults.pdf
  5. https://uplandsoftware.com/mobile-messaging/resources/blog/marketing-to-seniors-how-and-why/

 



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