Knowing your audience is one of the key tenets in stand-up comedy — and in marketing. Both are intense, risky endeavors. You might even argue that the similarities don’t stop there! But today, we’re talking about marketing. And if you have a specialty medical practice with one or more locations, we’re talking to you.
Your Audience Is Changing
With the Greatest Generation, the Silent Generation, and a good portion of the Baby Boomers now over 65, this aging population will reach 77 million by 2030; and since we’re all living longer, you’re going to see a larger influx of older patients for a very long time. If your practice isn’t making a concerted effort to woo and attract this group, you are missing out on a big piece of the patient pie. So how do you attract this desirable demographic?
When targeting seniors (adults 65+ in age) as a group, there are marketing strategies that may seem like common sense, along with some that might surprise you.
Attract and Retain Older Patients
1. Wow Your Current Patients
We all know the power of word-of-mouth, and how your happy customers will tell their friends, who will tell their friends, in an upward spiral of better business. Focusing on your current patients pays dividends in other ways too - retaining loyal patients is far more cost-effective than trying to bring in more.
2. Leverage Multi-Channel Marketing
As of 2019, approximately 53% of adults over 65 owned a smartphone. While they are currently one of the biggest adopters of social media (more on that in a minute), this means that many still also get their news and information from traditional advertising sources (e.g., television, radio, outdoor, newspapers, and magazines). These are comfortable, trusted media sources for them. And since screen size can be an issue for those with declining eyesight, many appreciate print items, which they can hold in their hands. A well-rounded marketing strategy will reach these prospects — and it’s always smart, no matter what age you’re targeting.
3. List Your Practice Where They’re Searching
When people seek out medical offices, there are several go-to’s. Referrals are a strong method, but listings in well-known directories are also important. Consider purchasing advertising, such as Google AdWords, to drive people there. And make sure that your listing information is accurate and that you’re monitoring reviews to keep your patients happy!
4. Embrace Their Favorite Social Media
Many people don’t realize that one of the fastest growing segments of social media users is indeed seniors, comprising almost one third of all social media users and logging more time online than Millennials (as many seniors enjoy a retired lifestyle where they can spend the time online). The Pew Research Center tells us that 46% of those 65+ use Facebook and prefer it to other platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. The bottom line? Make sure your practice has an updated Facebook page, and consider targeted advertising to draw people in.
5. Retarget for Results
Older Americans have been shown to respond well to retargeted ads. So retargeting them with ads once they’ve been on your landing pages, or shown interest without taking action, could reap valuable returns.
6. Speak Their Language
Keep it simple. Clear, straightforward messaging makes sense for any age group, and for those who may struggle with sight or hearing issues, it’s critical. Use larger fonts where they make sense, but don’t go overboard here. Many in this age group might be offended by overly amplified text. Avoid using the terms “senior citizen” or “elderly” when speaking to this audience. No one likes these words! And, as you’ll see in a moment, no one actually feels 75 (unless maybe they’re 95!)
7. Do Not Address Their Caregivers or Children
The senior generations are known for their vitality and independence. The majority are strong, healthy, and self-sufficient, and do not appreciate when marketers speak to others instead of talking to them. They may welcome the input of their children or caregiver, but they still want to be part of the decision-making process.
8. Include Aspirational Photos
Most older people see themselves as at least 5-10 years younger than they actually are. It’s why we all always feel 25 inside. So when you’re selecting photos for an email, ad, newsletter, or other vehicle, try to feature people between the ages of 60 and 70 to build a connection with your prospects. And favor action shots rather than sedentary ones where it makes sense - these are not the “rocking chair” grannies of the past!
9. Harness the Power of Personalization
Even as members of a cohesive generation with common cultural touchstones, it’s important to remember that each person is unique. No matter what age they are, people respond favorably to personalized communications, whether it’s addressing them by name or communicating with them through emails, direct mail, texts, or other venues. For example, personalized emails deliver 6x higher transaction rates.
10. Give Them More Value
Who doesn’t like free things? Whether it’s a thoughtfully created eBook on your site that addresses common ailments associated with aging, wellness brochures in the waiting room, or a free pad of paper, aging patients appreciate the gesture and also subconsciously want to reciprocate by supporting you. You can also advertise these items in your online or direct mail pieces to attract them to your practice.
These are all relatively easy to implement. Do you see strategies that you can adopt right away? Are there other ways that have worked for you? Incorporating just a few can help you welcome a larger portion of this lucrative demographic to your medical practice. We welcome your thoughts here too.