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Email marketing consistently seems to be a hot topic around the water cooler at our agency. We talk frequently about leveraging email to reach boomers and seniors, especially for the best way to use it for our continuing care retirement community and 50+ housing clients.  We know it works because we’ve done extensive research on the topic and see great results with many of our clients.

While retail brands have the benefit of built-in special offers and deals they can use to engage, those brands that are selling something different, such as lifestyle and home, tend to face a few challenges in making their email programs as effective.  As an email expert people will ask me “but why does it work” or “what’s so special about email?”  To answer these inquiries I simply channel a response of super sleuth Mr. Sherlock Holmes: “It’s Loyalty, My Dear Marketer.”

What are some key elements that enter into the mix to create loyalty for boomers and beyond?

#1: We found through our Social Silver Surfers research that email is the #1 online activity among 50+ prospects.  The fact that they are using email makes it a viable channel (as long as marketers use it for good and not evil). Additionally, older boomers tend to view email as a social sharing tool.

#2: A recent article from eMarketer  reveals 47% of Internet users respond favorably to email – ranking this avenue as the most favorable online channel.

#3: The mature consumer relies heavily on referrals from friends when making decisions.  While they may act faster when the referral is for a product, the referral process is just as important for relaying positive referrals for CCRCs and active adult communities.

#4: Relevancy is the key currency when it comes to building a loyal email subscriber database. In a world where we are constantly bombarded by messaging, those that specifically address our interests are going to win out.

If you capture preferences of subscribers based on the type of news they want to receive for your community you have a powerful tool for creating relevancy, and thus loyalty.  This can be achieved by sending emails about new home models to subscribers BEFORE releasing online (relevant and exclusive) or extending an invitation to upcoming events to your database BEFORE you invite the general public (exclusive). Here you’ll see an example of some simple categories for subscribers to choose from.  Any of these can be turned into a segmented message to drive relevancy.

#5: Just this morning eMarketer reported on the reasons people subscribe to email programs. It confirmed what we heard when interviewing mature consumers for our Social Silver Surfer research: the primary motivator is discounts and special offers (our research of boomers and seniors found 21% of respondents saw this as the top benefit).

Reasons why people subscribe to emails - eMarketer

According to the eMarketer piece, 26% of people subscribe to gain access to exclusive content (see point #4- I told you so).

Check out the full article via eMarketer.

You can transform your news into a special offer.  This, combined with relevancy is the perfect mix for a loyal mature consumer who will subscribe to your email program (and stay).

What do you do to engage your silver surfers through email? Share your thoughts in the comments section, below.

About The Author

Beth Mickey

Beth has more than 15 years of marketing experience and 10+ years experience working with both 55+ and Senior Living as a Certified Aging In Place Specialist (CAPS), and serves as Client Services Director for Creating Results. As an expert in e-engagement, Beth applies her experience in strategic planning and execution of digital marketing efforts for her clients to identify opportunities to leverage online and offline marketing avenues as part of an integrated marketing approach. Her experience serving both in a client and agency capacity helps her gain an understanding for her client’s needs and goals to maximize program performance and return on investment.