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Mature Marketing Links of the Week: Sixty and Social

Monday, June 29th, 2015

Happy short work week…I mean Monday.  Before the barbeques and fireworks that will take place this weekend as we celebrate our Independence, we want to first take a look back on the most notable mature marketing stories that had people talking and sharing.  We hope you’ll share (and comment) too.  Have a great week.

MOST CLICKED:  Bob Garfield’s reflections on turning 60 had many people clicking this past week.  In his June blog post Garfield reflected on the early passing of his father and penned a post to share all of the missed milestones, trials and triumphs with his dad.

Living is hard. Living is gorgeous.

This was how Garfield summed it up in his “update” to his dad – focusing mainly on the gorgeous parts of life.  From stories of time spent with grown daughters living hundreds of miles away and the teenage angst of his youngest, to world happenings including great TV shows and the fall of the Berlin Wall, the author’s piece perfectly captured a life lived to the fullest and the sadness of not being able to share it with his father.

Read the full post here.

MOST SHARED:  We work with many of our clients to effectively engage boomers and seniors through social media.  Recently we shared an article outlining tips for how to use social media to promote your organization and yourself.

Here are just a few of the tips within the article:

*  When using Twitter to engage with a person or group, create an initial interaction (comment on one of their tweets or retweet something they shared) and then follow them.

*  LinkedIn is a great way to network with industry professionals.  Through LinkedIn groups you can engage in conversation and network with a number of individuals at once.

*  Facebook groups function a lot like LinkedIn groups.  The platform will then suggest related groups that you can join to expand your reach even further.

While these are tips mainly focused on how to expand your personal network, many of the points hold true when promoting your organization and engaging senior prospects through social media.  Visit our website to discover how you can expand your social reach when you read a case study detailing how we worked with one developer of 55+ communities to reach their active adult prospects through social media.

 And be sure to check out more tips within the full article here.

WORTH REPEATING: Read the first in our new blog series of Marketing Engagement Stories, penned by our very own Beth Spohn.  The post includes insights from Larry Guengerich of Landis Communities on creative marketing engagement opportunities and take aways for senior living.  Read the full post here.

Marketing Engagement Stories — Landis Communities

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

Last week we had the privilege to speak at LeadingAge Pennsylvania’s annual conference on “The End of Advertising. The Advent of Engagement.” There was a lot of enthusiasm for Creating Results’ definition of engagement: “the act of turning people on to your brand in a way that improves business.”

Definition of marketing engagement - Creating Results

Many attendees asked for additional ideas and best practices, so we’re kicking off a new series of posts – the “Engagement Stories.”

Our co-presenter in Hershey was Larry Guengerich of Landis Communities. The perfect senior living provider to kick off this series! Here is their story of creative (and effective) marketing engagement.

Where would Landis recommend other senior living communities focus their initial marketing engagement efforts?

Who better to “turn people on to your brand” than your employees and others invested in your organization’s success?

Guengerich says that engagement goes beyond the responsibility of the marketing and communications department at Landis.  When you think about marketing engagement as “the act of turning people on to your brand in a way that improves business” … keeping employees, board members and the members of the Lancaster community engaged with the organization is key to meeting their business goals. In this case, Landis is better able to offer safe homes, good jobs, excellent care and ample opportunities for all to demonstrate joy, compassion, integrity, stewardship and community (Landis’ core values).

One of the best ways to be engaging in your marketing is through “experiences”. But Landis doesn’t limit “engaging experiences” to just selling to their prospects.

Larry Zook, President/CEO of Landis Communities routinely facilitates communication throughout the organization by hosting “conversations with the president” events. As he explained in a recent blog post, Landis Communities is very intentional about hiring employees who, as one employee’s put it wants “to see their job not as what they have to get done, but to be at Landis Homes to bless residents and co-workers.”

How can you emulate this in your organization?

Zook advises that servant leaders should listen intently to what team members are passionate about, and then be a conduit of vision and necessary resources to support the team as they carrying out their mission.

Source: Landis Communities

Source: Landis Communities

This is exactly what happened with Landis Communities “living green ” initiative. A humble recycling program has grown into a culture of “being good stewards of natural resources” for employees, current and future residents.

A recent Landis Homes Facebook post illustrates how this offline engagement translated into online, marketing engagement. The shareable content shows the passions of residents involved in the living green initiative and invites others to join them in eradicating invasive plant species from a small woods on the campus of Landis Homes.

Good for the environment and an illustration of how living at a Landis Community fosters a sense of purpose among residents, employees and others engaged with the organization.

What advice can you give for reaching people not yet involved with your organization?

Engage your greater community, says Zook.

When Landis Communities was planning to build Steeple View Lofts – urban loft-style 55+ apartments in walkable downtown Lancaster, Zook says they “connected with the local “village movement” group, the Lancaster Downtowners, and invited them to fill two of four focus groups.” The Lancaster Downtowners are persons age 62+ who live throughout Lancaster City. They engage with each other in social and educational activities, plus they have an on-call volunteer support coordinator to help each other as needs arise – the ideal folks to give Landis unique perspective on a new type of housing for their organization to sponsor.

The Downtowners shared insights that were ultimately incorporated into the design of Steeple View Lofts. One such suggestion was including community rooms, each with a unique purpose on every floor.

These rooms have been a significant contributor to the sense of community among the residents. For instance residents use them for pot lucks  they organize to get to know their neighbors from every floor. Those pot lucks demonstrate the vibrant community spirit, and have become a marketing point for Landis.

Please leave us a comment below with your creative marketing engagement stories! And subscribe to this blog for more inspiration on how to keep engaging ALL of your stakeholders.

Mature Marketing Links of the Week – Bills and Builders

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

Just when I’ve gotten into the swing of Sunday, Monday appears … Time for our weekly round-up of resources for mature marketing!

1. MOST CLICKED: Veteran journalist Bill Moyers has been looking closely at aging in America for some time on his site, billmoyers.com, and his readers have reacted by posting their own stories of concern. Paul Buchheit’s contribution to the conversation became the most clicked item of last week.

“It’s Time To Stop Discarding the Elderly,” Buchheit writes, labeling current economic and political attitudes a form of elder abuse.

“Financial exploitation comes from the banking industry; neglect emanates from the halls of Congress; and emotions are stirred through the stories of impoverished seniors …”

Read the post, which is chock full o’ links to stats and stories: http://bit.ly/1IZrPOL

US serviceman points at the G.I. Bill of RightsAnother Kind of Bill: We couldn’t let June 22 go by without marking a major anniversary. On June 22, 1944, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed into law a bill that would change America. The G.I. Bill would offer servicemen returning from World War II a range of support, from low-interest home loans to unemployment benefits to funds for higher education.

FDR was trying to prevent a repeat of the economic depression that happened after World War I. The G.I. Bill went on to drive a period of unrivaled prosperity, a 30-year economic expansion that benefited and shaped the Silent Generation and the Baby Boomers. It also completely changed the way higher education was viewed. Today’s Millennials, the most educated generation in history, have this 71-year-old legislation to thank for making college accessible beyond the nation’s wealthiest families.

RELATED: Marketing to Veterans as a Sub-Group of Mature Consumers

2. MOST SHARED: Builders — whether they’re offering age-qualified (55+ housing) communities or stand-alone homes — should be aware that baby boomers are not going to take an “off-the-shelf model.”

Tim McCarthy from Traditions of America (a Creating Results client) offered his thoughts on “The New American Home” for Yahoo! Finance. It’s a look at trends from pet suites to spa baths, many of which are trickling down from Boomers to Millennials.

Read the article: http://yhoo.it/1QLUiie

 

“Fun Size” Sweet Somethings from Hershey – #15LeadingAgePA Conference

Friday, June 19th, 2015
T-shirt - I'm not short, I'm fun-sized. Photo Credit: BigNutTees.com

Photo Credit: BigNutTees.com

Today the Creating Results team is wrapping up its time in Hershey, Pennsylvania, after a wonderful week at the annual LeadingAge PA conference. Things I love about this meeting: the speakers, the inspiring conversations in the hallways, the chance to exchange ideas and resources with dedicated senior living professionals. Things I’m not crazy about: the temperature in the main hall (arctic), the lack of wifi or even cell reception in some of the breakout rooms … Because of the latter it was hard to share in real-time many of the great senior living marketing insights we gained.

So, here are some “fun size” take-aways from #15LeadingAgePA.

Session: “Adapting to Change: Defend your market position and growth mission”

Speakers Lisa McCracken of Ziegler and Perry Aycock of Retirement Dynamics focused on the various change signals being sent to non-profit CCRCs.

McCracken noted that some organizations assume that they’re set to capitalize on the increased numbers of American elders because they’re already in senior living. Her point was that even though the age wave is coming your way, the consumers within that wave may not want what you offer. She shared a Will Rogers quote: “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”

Demographic growth is obviously a major signal of change, as shown on this slide:

 

Demographic growth - Signals of change - LeadingAge PA 2015 conference

Some possible responses to these signals? The speakers touched on several ideas, including: shifting focus from nursing care to population health (which is more in line with the desires/demands of future younger residents); exploring continuing care at home; and “unbundling” services much like telecommunications companies have done.

Aycock pointed out that processes put in place for efficiency or quality or whatever reason can become bureaucracies that impede CCRC innovation. New competitors in Independent Living and Assisted Living are slipping in quietly because they’re smaller, require less start-up capital and less land. Some 100+ year old senior care organizations are too slow to react because their processes make them rigid.

RELATED: What senior living can learn from nimble innovators such as Southwest and Marriott – http://bit.ly/1K1L3oo

Session: “Solutions for Living Life to the Fullest”

The inimitable Diana Nyad held all the delegates in thrall with her personal story of challenges and triumphs, leading up to (but certainly not ending with!) her successful swim from Cuba to Key West.

Do you want to learn how to “just keep swimming” towards a goal in your personal or professional life? Or do you want a master class in storytelling?

Either reason will do for you to check out Diana Nyad’s TED Talk, which captures some of the magical story we enjoyed: http://bit.ly/1LjMJvu

Session: “Leading with Strengths to Create Engagement & Well-Being”

Speaker Tom Rath demonstrated how meaningful work leads to positive daily experiences which leads to true well-being. More importantly, he made the business case for leaders to care about and invest in the well-being of their team. Rath noted, however, that the idea of investment shouldn’t be a deterrent. “It doesn’t take a lot of money to have great days or make great days for other people,” he said.

What makes work meaningful? Rath noted three attributes — small wins, doing something others and the feedback loop between seeing meaning and creating more:

Tom Rath - attributes of meaningful work - LeadingAge PA 2015 Conference

The timing of the talk was wonderful, I must confess. Just the day before our entire Creating Results team had met for a bi-annual development workshop. A large section of the day was spent on the WHY of our agency. WHY do we do what we do? WHY do we celebrate and work to continually move mature marketing forward?

The consensus was that it’s because our team finds meaning in helping others get the benefits of new opportunities and new thinking provided by senior living, travel, 55+ housing and other clients. Our WHY is that it’s both fun and rewarding to be creating results together, collaboratively with those clients.

It was pretty fun and rewarding to hear Tom Rath reinforce Creating Results’ thinking! What do you think? How is your organization investing in/promoting well-being? Please share your thoughts below.

Session: “Spinning Your Organization’s Story into Marketing Gold”

Asbury Communities‘ Cathy Canning and Maura Richards spun some gold of their own with a lively and very transparent discussion of the what, why and how to of content marketing for senior living.

“Content has a cost. It takes time. It’s an investment,” said Canning. She encouraged senior living providers to be strategic about the stories they try to tell and then to repackage and repurpose content to maximize the ROI. Take a press release and cut it into pieces for the blog, tweak and put in your newsletter, and so on.

Stealable idea! To reward team members for their contributions to the blog and other communications, they invented the “Azzy Awards.” Instead of a thank you email, employees were recognized as the “Media Darling” or the “Eyes & Ears” of the effort. Definitely fun-sized!

Session: “Tapping the Independent Living Middle Income Market”

Steven Jeffrey of Ziegler set the stage for this terrific panel as follows: for most of the providers in the senior living industry, for most of the industry’s existence, the 90-10 rule has applied. Only 10% of older adults that could be served by CCRCs can afford this option. “What if we could find models that are more open to the other 90%?”

Steven Jeffrey, Ziegler - growth opportunities with middle income seniors

I connected this to the session above about signals for change, because the signal says there is a huge income gap coming along with the age wave. The middle income Boomer is one of the largest growing segments. While senior community living is a wonderful track to be on, if we can’t make it affordable we’ll be run over.

Jeffrey had recruited two fantastic speakers for frank discussions of how their organizations have risen to this challenge. Keith Frndak of Concordia Lutheran Ministries put it plainly: “If you want to serve the middle market, build a product FOR that market.” He said too many providers fail because they build Cadillacs for a market that truly desires (and can afford) Toyotas.

Concordia buys troubled properties and are extremely active in keeping construction costs to a minimum, all to reduce capital costs. Then it’s a heavy emphasis on aging in place and a la carte services, not providing support before it’s really needed. “Your goal is to keep them independent longer,” Frndak said, as it’s the mission AND it’s going to keep healthcare costs down.

Keeping costs down but expectations high was Concordia’s key to success. His team is not satisfied with 90% occupancy, the goal for many non-profit CCRCs. They aim for 97.7% occupancy; this keeps them from being overly cautious in approving applications and means more middle-income seniors can benefit from Concordia’s communities.

Jeff Davis of Presbyterian Senior Living said their organization discovered affordable housing for older adults in 2005. The organization has 29 MidAtlantic locations with a range of services from adult day to CCRCs. It’s a type of a Robin Hood mentality — they take from the Independent Living entry fee resources to support what they offer to low income and acute.

Two great quotes from Davis about why to even consider middle-income senior housing:

* “As non-profits we are organized in the public trust to meet an unmet need.”

* “If we [non-profit senior living] don’t adapt … somebody else is going to give our market what we couldn’t seem to do.”

 

What is your organization doing to adapt? Do these take-aways resonate with you? Please share your sweet somethings in the comments below.

Mature Marketing Links of the Week: Booze and Brands

Monday, June 15th, 2015

Happy Monday!  This week the mature marketing stories that generated the most interest are brought to you by the letter “B”. Have something to share?  Please be sure to note in the comment section – we’d love to hear from you.

MOST SHARED: An apple aKey to Longevity day keeps the doctor away.  Some say this is the secret to longevity, others say a cup of coffee a day.  But if you ask Pauline Spagnola, a Pennsylvania resident who just turned 100, what her secret is she will tell you something different.  According to a recent article Pauline shared that her secret to a long, happy life is… “a lot of booze”.  Happy Birthday Pauline.

Read the article.

MOST CLICKED: When it comes to brand loyalty, Gen X is the most loyal but Gen Y will soon position themselves as the biggest spenders.  This, according to an article in The Sydney Herald regarding how different age cohorts respond to brand marketing.

The boomers are entering retirement largely healthy, energetic and cashed-up. They are spending money on meaningfully connecting to themselves, their family and friends. Excited by travel and technology, they refuse to be defined by their years, creating the notion of agelessness.

The article highlights research by a British trend forecaster who noted consumer trends by generation.  Additional insights include:

*  Gen Y consumers are poised to overtake Boomers as the biggest spenders. They also expect brands to engage with them digitally.

*  Generation Jones is described as “cautious spenders” who gravitate towards brands and products that are sustainable.

* Gen Xers are the most brand loyal and place high importance on value for their money (meaning they are always looking for a deal).

What does this mean for mature marketers? It is  important to understand the desires and motivators of your target marketing, regardless of their generation.  This understanding will help you effectively foster brand loyalty and maximize your marketing dollars.

Read more insights here.

 

 

Mature Marketing Links of the Week – Tribes and Jibes

Monday, June 8th, 2015

Quote: Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength. Betty Friedan.

This week’s round-up of the top Mature Marketing links of the week illustrates the strength of (aging) tribes and the opportunities provided by originality. On with the links!

1. MOST CLICKED: Regardless of what age you’re marketing too, if you’re marketing online you keep one eye on your consumer and two on Google. When is it appropriate to stray from best practices and ignore Google? Mark Schaefer defines five situations when you can ignore the search engine and succeed through originality, including:

* When You’re Epic – “If you’re creating content so consistently compelling that you have become part of the conversation, you really can work outside the boundaries of Google, right?”

* When You’re Huge – and he’s not talking about being the biggest provider of assisted living in Tennessee …

* When It Doesn’t Matter Anymore – Schaefer points out “over time, Google has made its search results highly-tailored to your environment. Where are you? Who are you? Who are your friends? This has resulted in an ever-tightening bubble of personalized results.” In the future, he suggests, there might be new tools that find items with even greater relevance and push them to you.

That said, Creating Results’ research shows baby boomers and seniors are not yet those using new tools. As we wrote in Social, Silver Surfers:

“it’s Google’s world and we all live in it. 71% of all the recent movers in our study used Search Engines as part of their move decision.”

Chart: online tools used by recent movers, by age.

Source: Social, Silver Surfers ebook — http://bit.ly/SSS13blog

So perhaps it’s a bit early for most readers of this blog to stop jibing with Google.

Read the full post: http://bit.ly/1FL8wEx

2. MOST SHARED: How do Australia’s consumer “tribes” shop? A leading forecaster says it’s important to understand the differences between generations, as GenY is set to overtake baby boomers as the nation’s biggest spenders. According to an article in The Sydney Morning Herald,

“Baby Boomers, now mostly in their 60s, are being called “flat agers” because they do not want to be defined by their age. They are travel happy, meaningful spenders … Next are the “multi-tasking” Generation Jones-ers, now in their 50s, who are community-focused, cautious spenders. They prefer high-quality, sustainable products from brands with a strong back story.”

I’m not sure I’d agree with all of the forecaster’s assessments — especially with the creative labeling of a “cohort” born after 2003 as “phygitally active” — but it’s worth a read: http://bit.ly/1G6MoYo

3. Also of note:

Did you know that jibe can mean both to be compatible with and an insulting remark? You might be offended by those who jibe at older adults, as was Marc Agronin in the Wall Street Journal, who explored “Why is aging still a joke?”: http://on.wsj.com/1Kkrx6W

Or you might jibe with this cartoon, by the talented John Atkinson:

Cartoon - Vintage Social Networking - John Atkinson, WrongHands

Source: http://wronghands1.com/

Please share a comment and let us know which part of this post jibed with your tribe!

Mature Marketing Links of the Week: Aging in Place and Education

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

The mature marketing stories of the past week that drew the most interest focus on helping seniors successfully age in place and the connection between boomers and seniors and higher test scores in schools.  Have something to share?  We’d love to hear from you.

MOST CLICKED: LeadingAge, an association of not-for-profit organizations dedicated to helping seniors, recently shared insights regarding older adults and aging in place.  According to the article, lower-income seniors have the  greatest need for aging in place, as they typically have the greatest difficulty finding affordable senior living solutions that offer levels of additional assistance.

According to Robyn Stone, Executive Director for LeadingAge’s Center for Applied Research:

Onerous housing costs can swallow up a big chunk of an older person’s monthly budget, reducing the amount of money available for essentials like food and health care.

The article detailed how several states are examining what they can do to help financially challenged seniors age within their current homes, specifically by providing medical and other services.

One retirement community, Sanborn Place in Reading MA, was noted in the article as a “pioneer” in this effort. The community has set aside 73 of their apartments for residents who may need some assistance in remaining independent and prefer to remain within their homes.

According to the author, providing the best options for independence, either within a community or an existing home requires a new way of approaching senior living.  At Creating Results, we’ve found that organizations who embrace this new reality can successfully reach a wider audience and help even more seniors live well.  We’d love to hear your thoughts – be sure to comment below.

Read the full article.

MOST SHARED: Seniors and kids need each other, according to a recent blog post within the HuffPost.  The piece chronicled the journey of The Intergenerational School in Cleveland, which pairs students within low-income areas and seniors to make a difference academically. The result? Higher test scores among all participants.

The author notes the reason for the success is the student’s strong need for “emotional and academic support” and the desire of local seniors to play a part in the success of younger generations. Additionally, the ability of seniors to form closer relationships with younger generations and their desire to help people succeed.

The author concludes the post by noting:

With 10,000 boomers a day turning 65, it’s time for society to mirror biology and itself “flow downhill,” to encourage and enable connections that mine this vast human capital of older people in ways that contribute to a better futures for future generations. To be sure, an aging America will bring challenges and tradeoffs as well as opportunities, but this is all the more reason to make the most of what we have.

 Read the full piece here.

Mature Marketing Links of the Week: Previews of Aging, Post-Demographic Travelers

Monday, May 18th, 2015

Happy Monday! Let’s get right to the top links of the week.

(Though newer subscribers may wonder … What makes a top link? It’s the amount of attention that post got from followers, fans & friends on Creating Results’ various social channels.)

1. MOST CLICKED: Take a pair of soon-to-be-newlyweds in their 20s. Have professional make-up artists age them to appear as they might in their 50s, 70s … right through to their 90s. The result is a surprisingly touching video.

 

(Can’t play the above? Click here: http://bit.ly/1FjGtyJ.)

2. MOST COMMENTED: Road Scholar (aka Elderhostel) continues to attract senior travelers, as the Sacramento Bee recently reported —  http://bit.ly/1Ldwjlx.

“For its first 35 years, the nonprofit was known by the name Elderhostel, modeled on Scandinavian folk schools by two American academics. But in 2010, the organization underwent the marketing equivalent of an aging diva getting plastic surgery – a total branding makeover. Its name was changed to Road Scholar, which certainly seemed to better reflect the true nature of the program’s evolution, giving it an almost Kerouacian romantic sheen, coupled with high intellectual purpose.”

And, while Creating Results has been familiar with and a fan of this program for years, it seems our tweet is leading quite a number of folks to check it out for the first time!

tweets-re-elderhostel-road-scholar

3. Also of note:

* Consumers aren’t behaving “as they should.” Is it time to market to the post-demographic traveler? http://bit.ly/1Hngjfn

* Generational Warfare Is a Media Myth: Seniors and Kids Need Each Other http://huff.to/1B7iAXm

Mature Marketing Links of the Week – Muddled, Mobile Middle Age

Monday, May 4th, 2015

“As you grow older you will discover you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.”

- Audrey Hepburn (born this day in 1929)

Every Monday, we round-up the mature marketing items that got the most engagement across our various social channels and deliver them directly to you. Read on for last week’s top attention-getters!

Quote on aging from NBC TODAY Show

NBC TODAY Show http://on.today.com/1DZGTYh

1. MOST CLICKED: People are aging more slowly than we think. That’s the conclusion reached by researchers from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIAS) in Austria and Stony Brook University in New York. Per NBC Health contributor Joan Raymond,

“In this new study, researchers looked at the population composition of 39 European countries. They then compared the proportion of the population that was categorized as “old” by virtue of chronology alone — being age 65 — to the proportion based on a newer measure of age that they developed, which includes changes in life expectancy.”

In other words, longer life spans have meant that concepts such as “middle age” are shifting and changing. A TODAY Show piece looks at the research and adds a little of what Creating Results calls “me-search” — anecdotes and personal takes on the topic.

Watch the video: http://on.today.com/1DZGTYh

2. MOST SHARED: CR’s Sally O’Donnell took a look at Google’s recent algorithm changes, and offered insights for mature marketing.

Should you panic or prepare?

We recommend you read the post, then share with your team: http://bit.ly/1JLqA8A

3. Also of note

* The World’s Oldest Nations by Population and the Implications. While Japan keeps its hold on the #1 spot, Europe claims the rest of the spots on a top 10 list of the oldest countries.

“Demographic experts suggest that the world as a whole has been aging rapidly over the last two decades: UN population projections for 1999 showed, for example, that more than half the global population was older than 26.4 years of age.” http://bit.ly/1JkDVRK

* Professional experience as a remote programmer and personal experience as a caregiver led one man to focus his company on aging-in-place technology. An interesting look at some of the new health tech. http://bit.ly/1GUiZ3N

* Could artificial intelligence technology begin to impact 50+ communities? Senior Housing News suggests IBM’s Watson could be “The Brains Behind Smarter Senior Living.” http://bit.ly/1F1jifC

* I often feel chained to my mobile phone. Apparently, that attitude shifts with age, as seniors are the age group most likely to say a smartphone is “a liberating experience.” http://pewrsr.ch/1FKqsng

seniors smartphones liberating.Pew

We hope you’ll feel free to tell us how you feel about this post, or any mature marketing topic! Please use the comments tool, below.

“Mobilegeddon”: Should Websites Targeting Older Adults Panic or Prepare?

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

April 21st marked the launch of Google’s latest algorithm update that is making significant waves for many businesses and their websites. The change positions mobile-friendly sites at the top of online searches conducted from mobile devices, making non-mobile friendly sites more difficult to find.

For the many businesses targeting older adults that rely on organic (unpaid) search as a primary driver of website traffic, this could mean a major negative impact on their results; hence the creatively-coined term, “Mobilegeddon.” As you’ll read below, the use of mobile devices continues to increase across all ages, so your website should be responsively designed to effectively reach the growing number of mobile users.

What Exactly Is A Mobile-Friendly Site?

According to Google’s John Mueller, “A mobile-friendly site is one that you can easily read and use on a smartphone, by only having to scroll up or down. Swiping left or right to search for content, zooming in to read text, or not being able to see the content at all make a site harder for users on mobile phones.”

Google’s Mobile-FriendlyTest makes it easy to see how your site stacks up to this new algorithm. Hopefully you see a message like the one:Websites for older adults must be mobile friendly. Google message showing mobile friendly.

 

If you don’t get a mobile-friendly diagnosis, you’ll see this:

Message that appears if a website for older adults is not mobile friendly, per Google.

This ‘not-mobile-friendly’ ranking means that it’s time to look at your website and identify how you can adjust  your site design to comply with this change.

Do Older Adults Even Use Mobile Devices?

There is a silver lining: if your audience is the mature consumer, you can take a breath and not panic (yet). At this stage in the game, Nielson reports that 46% of 65+ers own a smartphone. But only 19% of them  use their smartphones for internet use.

Similarly, Pew reports 25% of those aged 65+ now own a tablet (a 38% increase in just a year), and that number is on the rise. Therefore most organic traffic for websites targeting older adults comes from desktop searches – and this algorithm update will not affect those searches.

While the world is going mobile fast, the realm of mature consumers is moving at a different pace. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider a mobile-friendly site, as the number of smartphone and tablet users for those aged 50+ is rising (and rising quickly).

What To Do Now

Getting ahead of the game and going responsive is your best bet to ensure your website renders the best across all devices – desktop, mobile and tablet – so that when your prospects do catch up to the younger population, your site is ready.

When you check your site and find that it is “not mobile-friendly” – don’t panic. But DO make a near-term plan for converting your site to a responsive design platform to give your prospective residents an optimal user experience, no matter what device they view it on.

If you want some guidance on where to start – drop us a line.

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