July 21, 2014
How to use PR to reach older consumers
In business, everyone talks about reaching that ever-important demographic of 18- to 35-year-olds. They are tech-savvy, have disposable income and aren’t afraid to be trendsetters. But there may be millions of potential customers you aren’t reaching out to or are ignoring altogether: senior citizens.
Humans are now living longer than ever. Just a few generations ago, the average life expectancy for Americans was approximately 65. Today, it’s closer to 80. Those over 50 are not sitting at home in rocking chairs just waiting for the end; they are active, vibrant, highly engaged and, of particular relevance, spending money. If you’re not connecting with this key audience, you’re missing out.
Facts about those over 50
Numbering more than 42 million, senior citizens represent about 13 percent of the population.
Older women outnumber older men.
Almost 30 percent of those who are independent older adults live alone. A large majority are homeowners with a median home value of $150,000.
The median income for older adults ranges from approximately $20,000 to about $50,000, depending on marital status and household, with more than 20 percent reporting an income of $75,000 or more.
Approximately 18 percent of citizens over 65 are currently employed.
Between 50 and 80 percent of older Americans are high school graduates and about 25 percent have higher education degrees.
Learn how to reach senior citizens
Using traditional media as well as social media and online content is important when trying to engage senior citizens. Studies have demonstrated that they watch more television than their younger counterparts but have also increased their use of Internet sources for information.
Approximately 70 percent use the Internet, with a significant number using it to shop online. Additionally, more than 60 percent use social networking sites, with 11 percent on Twitter, and about 20 percent report accessing these sites from their cell phones.
Make the most of PR
As you cast your net into the sea of potential customers you may attract some older customers, but if you’re not targeting them directly, you’re likely missing most of them. There are PR strategies you can adopt that will turn more of them into buyers.
Conduct research on this demographic to discover what they want to hear from companies in your field. Create campaigns to make it more likely that they will turn to you for answers. Without research, you will just be spinning your wheels, hoping to get it right.
Work to establish trust. You can do this, in part, by managing your online reputation to ensure that what customers find online about your company is positive.
Make your website more user-friendly. This could include larger fonts, simpler navigation or incorporating an older person or two into photo representations. You may even want to create a separate site for this demographic and include direction on your main site on how to get there.
Actively seek opportunities to be a keynote speaker at events targeting senior citizens. The more they get to know your company, the easier it will be to engage them later.
Become a thought-leader in your field by developing exceptional content that addresses the concerns of the over-50 demographic and how your product or service is connected. For example, if you’re in the food services industry, you could post articles about ensuring the body receives proper nutrition at every stage in life and include a strong call to action describing how your company or products can help. In addition, you could offer this content to other sites where senior citizens are likely to see it, such as AARP, which is by far the largest outlet, boasting more than 22 million members.
At Axia, we will develop strategies to help you reach this untapped segment of the population. We are committed to delivering high-impact PR programs that will connect with your overall company goals and increase profitability. Register today for our 60-Second Impact program and let us show you how.
Lisa Goldsberry is a writer for Axia Public Relations with more than 15 years of public relations experience. She specializes in business, higher education and technology PR. Connect with Axia Public Relations on Twitter at @axiapr.
Topics: public relations