Healthcare Marketing to Seniors

Practis Blog
older woman looking at mobile phone

As the number of Americans aged 65 and older is expected to swell from 58 million in 2022 to a staggering 82 million by 2050 – a remarkable 47% increase – healthcare marketers find themselves at a critical juncture. This demographic shift presents challenges and opportunities in marketing to the growing senior population.

Many advertisers miss the mark when marketing healthcare services to seniors. Campaigns that rely on outdated stereotypes or patronizing messaging can be ineffective and even insulting to the audience they’re trying to reach.

One of the biggest misconceptions is imagining a vast divide between seniors and younger generations, particularly regarding technology and digital media.

In truth, today’s seniors are increasingly tech-savvy, with many using smartphones, social media, and online platforms to stay connected. According to a report from the Pew Research Center for seniors aged 65+, 76% own a smartphone.

At Practis, we’ve had 25 years of marketing experience catering to all demographics, including the ever-growing senior population. Our team of experts understands the nuances and preferences of this valuable audience well.

Read on to discover our insights and best practices for successfully marketing healthcare services to seniors.

Defining Old Age and Its Subgroups

three senior women laughing

Old age is not a one-size-fits-all category, and There’s a big gap between 65 and 85. Much like you wouldn’t market a product designed for teenagers to a 30-year-old professional, you shouldn’t assume all seniors are under the same target audience banner.

A significant portion of today’s senior population consists of baby boomers – those born between 1946 and 1964. This generation has redefined what it means to age, with many remaining active, engaged, and tech-proficient well into their golden years.

Characteristics and Preferences of Each Subgroup

Let’s take a closer look at some of the common characteristics and preferences of each senior subgroup.

The Young-Old (ages 65-74)

  • Often still working or newly retired
  • More likely to be tech-savvy and active on social media
  • Interested in travel, leisure activities, and maintaining an active lifestyle
  • More focused on preventive healthcare and wellness

The Old-Old (ages 75-84)

  • May be dealing with more health concerns and mobility issues
  • Increasingly reliant on family members or caregivers for support
  • Interested in products and services that promote independence and safety
  • Responsive to messaging that emphasizes comfort, security, and peace of mind

The Oldest-Old (ages 85+)

  • Often facing significant health challenges and requiring more extensive care
  • May be living in assisted living facilities or with family members
  • Interested in products and services that improve quality of life and provide companionship
  • Responsive to messaging that shows empathy, respect, and understanding

The Importance of Segmentation in Senior Marketing

So, let’s address the elephant in the room – the stereotypes younger marketers might have about seniors.

Many complain that once they’ve celebrated their 60th birthday, their mailbox is flooded with ads for hearing aids, denture adhesives, and retirement homes. It’s as if the marketing world has collectively decided they’ve crossed some invisible threshold into old age and are now a prime target for every age-related product imaginable.

A lot of seniors aren’t going to appreciate being lumped into a single, homogeneous category. That’s why segmentation is essential. By recognizing the diversity within the senior demographic, healthcare marketers can avoid ageist stereotypes and create messaging that resonates with their target audience.

Effective Healthcare Marketing Strategies for Senior Audiences

doctor with senior patient

Ditch the Stereotypes – Seniors Don’t Want to “Act Their Age”

Is this the image that comes to mind when marketing to older adults? A group of silver-haired senior citizens sitting in rocking chairs, sipping tea and reminiscing about the good old days. If so, it’s time to think again!

Today’s seniors are a far cry from the stereotypical “old folks” often portrayed in marketing imagery and media. They don’t see themselves as wizened, frail, or past their prime. In fact, many seniors today are active, adventurous, and young at heart.

Instead of using imagery that reinforces outdated notions of aging, showcase seniors living life to the fullest. Avoid patronizing language or age-related puns that might come across as condescending. Speak to seniors as equals and leave the old age clichés behind.

The Power of Storytelling in Healthcare Marketing for Seniors

The power of a well-crafted narrative should never be underestimated, especially when marketing to seniors.

Seniors have a wealth of life experiences and cherished memories that shape their perspectives and preferences. By tapping into the art of storytelling, healthcare marketers can forge emotional connections with this audience and communicate their messages in a way that resonates on a deeper level.

Think about it – which would you find more engaging, a dry list of features or a heartwarming story about how a particular service improved the life of a real person? Chances are, you’d be drawn to the latter.

Remember to focus on the human element. Share tales of seniors who have overcome challenges. Highlight your products or services’ role in their journeys, but keep the spotlight on the people themselves.

Here’s the key – make sure your stories are authentic and relatable. Seniors can spot a phony tale from a mile away, so avoid exaggeration or manipulation. Instead, seek out genuine experiences.

Nurturing Long-Term Relationships for Senior Loyalty

Relationships are the foundation of any successful marketing strategy, and building long-term connections with seniors is especially important. Seniors tend to value stability, trust, and familiarity. They’re looking for a long-term commitment – a healthcare provider that will be there for them through thick and thin.

So, how can healthcare marketers build these lasting relationships? It all starts with empathetic communication. Seniors want to feel heard and seen as individuals.

Take the time to listen to their concerns, answer their questions, and provide personalized support. Show genuine interest in their well-being and go above and beyond to meet their needs. Remember, a little extra effort can go a long way in building trust and loyalty.

But nurturing long-term relationships isn’t just about the big gestures. It’s also about the small, consistent touches that show you care. Keep in touch with seniors through regular newsletters, personalized emails, or good old-fashioned phone calls. Share helpful resources, offer exclusive perks, and celebrate their milestones and achievements.

Lastly, don’t forget the power of human connection. Encourage your team to build rapport with senior patients and learn their names and stories. A friendly smile, a warm greeting, or a sincere “thank you” can work wonders in strengthening those long-term bonds.

Adapting Strategies Based on Data-Driven Insights

As a wise Chinese sage once said, “Change is the only constant.” What works today might not work tomorrow, and what resonates with one group of seniors might fall flat with another. That’s why staying agile and continuously adapting strategies based on data-driven insights is the path to success.

By collecting and analyzing data from various sources – website analytics, customer feedback, market research, and more – healthcare marketers can gain valuable insights into what’s working and what’s not.

Did a particular blog post resonate with seniors? Double down on that topic and explore related themes. Did a specific ad campaign fall flat? Dig deeper to understand why and make tweaks for next time. Did a new competitor enter the market? Analyze their approach and find ways to differentiate your service.

But data alone isn’t enough – it’s what you do with it that counts. Use those insights to inform your strategy, test new ideas, and continuously optimize your approach. And don’t be afraid to experiment. Sometimes, the biggest breakthroughs come from taking calculated risks and trying something new.

Choosing the Right Channels and Tactics

Digital Marketing Channels

Website – Your website is often the first impression seniors have of your brand. Design your website to be easily navigable and optimized for search engines and mobile. And don’t forget about accessibility – seniors are more likely to experience vision, hearing, or coordination issues, so keep things simple and well-explained.

Content Marketing – Seniors are hungry for information, especially regarding their health. Keep your website relevant with valuable, engaging content that educates and inspires. Think patient explainer videos, lifestyle blogs, and informative guides.

Social Media – There’s no end to social media channels for marketing, but Facebook is probably the safest bet for seniors. Facebook will turn 20 in 2024, and many seniors have used the platform for years to stay connected with family and friends. Take advantage of that familiarity by creating targeted ads and posts that engage.

Email Marketing – Email is still an excellent way to reach seniors, especially if you segment your list and personalize your messages. Just make sure your emails are easy to read and mobile-friendly – nobody wants to squint at tiny text on their smartphone.

PPCPay-per-click advertising can be a great way to reach seniors actively searching for healthcare solutions online. But be careful not to blow your budget on broad keywords – focus on long-tail, specific phrases that are more likely to convert.

Traditional Marketing Channels

Traditional marketing channels can be effective, but they can also be more expensive and harder to track than digital channels. Still, that doesn’t mean you should abandon them altogether. Sometimes, a well-timed postcard or print ad can be just the thing to capture a senior’s attention.

Wrapping Up

With a demographic spanning 20 years or more, knowing how to market to seniors is a valuable asset to healthcare providers. As we’ve seen, seniors are a diverse group, and one-size-fits-all marketing campaigns will fall flat.

Creating marketing campaigns that resonate with seniors is a challenge, but that’s where a skilled healthcare marketing agency can step in and lend a hand.

At Practis, we have a proven track record of developing successful marketing strategies for healthcare organizations targeting all demographics. Our team of experts can communicate your message to seniors, adults, and young audiences alike.

If you’re looking to grow your healthcare marketing efforts and connect with your target audience on a deeper level, Practis is here to help. Contact us today to learn more about our comprehensive healthcare marketing solutions.

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