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… Or, Why Trust Is Critical When Emailing Seniors

As an email marketer I work with our clients on how to build and nurture trust among their Boomer and Senior email subscribers.  This is an integral part of developing a relationship that results in engagement and action (and an important step before you attempt to ask for the world from older people).

A recent eMarketer report detailed current concerns about digital privacy among consumers. “The degree of such concern is not terribly high.  And while voicing worry about privacy, they often compromise that privacy in their behavior,” the authors noted. The  report graph at the right illustrates that the majority of US Internet users might have some worries, but aren’t considered “serious worriers” when it comes to online privacy. The report didn’t note age groups, but Creating Results’ proprietary research shows that many if not most elders are serious worriers.

When conducting our 2010 Social Silver Surfers research, we asked boomers and seniors what they liked and loathed about the web and social media. (Email is a top online and social activity for 50+ers.)  We found that privacy is taken very seriously among mature consumers and, in some cases, will cause them to resist subscribing to your email program all together.

Social Silver Surfers Privacy Concerns

In this video, for example, you’ll hear a senior named Bob speak about his privacy fears and concerns in reference to forms, the Internet and Facebook.

Here are 4 ways to develop trust among your subscribers in email marketing seniors:

1. Do What You Say You Will: You set expectations with your subscribers from the minute they sign up for your program.  If you say you will be sending a newsletter each month, honor that promise.

2. Don’t Abuse Information: Safety of personal information and how it will be used was a chief concern among those 65-74 that we interviewed for Social, Silver Surfers. Those marketing to seniors must keep this in mind.  Just as you don’t want to purchase a list for emailing,  you don’t want to sell the information of your subscribers (the old “sign up for one magazine and then receive a slew of them” trick).

3. Get Close But Not Creepy: I’m an analytics nut – just ask any of my colleagues.  The beauty of email analytics is that you can track essentially every move your subscribers take, including how they engage with an email, what pages on your website they visit after reading your message, etc.  While that information is great to know internally and can help you segment your message for relevancy, calling it out could be a little too in your face for your senior subscribers. Again, they see it as a violation of their privacy.

4. Reward Your Subscribers: Show your appreciation by saying thanks and rewarding these loyal brand enthusiasts with special gifts or contests. Being nice really does go a long way with seniors!


What do Older People Do Online?

It’s Loyalty, My Dear Boomer…Email Loyalty

Social Silver Surfers 2010 ebook

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.