Reaching out to senior citizens isn’t all about increasing the size of the font and speaking in loud voices. They aren’t always helpless individuals who need their families to make their decisions for them. Additionally, not all of them are inept at technology. Senior citizens are people too, they are just a slightly different demographic.
Here are 10 unique ways to reach out to senior citizens:
- Social events with food and/or drink
- Local news sources
- Libraries and clinics
- Going straight to them
- Churches of different faith traditions
- Make some things free
- Personalize the experience
- Simplify whenever possible
- Adult learning centers
Senior citizens should still be treated with honesty and respect just like any other demographic should be. The only thing is that in order to reach out to them, chances are it’s going to be more effort getting to them than the reverse. Though no matter what, it’s important to remember their humanity when trying to reach out to them. Keep reading for some ideas on reaching out to senior citizens.
Social Events with Food and/or Drink
Now more than ever people are wanting to get out and experience things. That includes the senior population who now has time for them, even if the trend is not exponential. Something that everyone likes is the opportunity to get food and drink, so hosting a social event is a good way to get people to flock.
Some ideas that will appeal to an older audience include:
- Wine tastings
- Bourbon tastings
- Beer tastings
- Community potlucks
Senior citizens are the ones who have time and resources to finally go to things like the fancy alcohol tastings, make something for the community potluck, or check out the new restaurants. Not everyone is stuck in their old ways, so don’t assume that about everyone. Many people want to try something new, and these sorts of social events are almost always hits with the senior population. Additionally, they want to spend time with their families too, so hitting an all-ages social event is not to be excluded either.
Don’t Knock the Local News
It might be a funny joke that old people watch the news, but senior citizens aren’t the only ones who care about local happenings, weather, and events. Chances are, that is just what they are more used to. Reaching out via local news sources is an effective way to at least plant the seeds and get people seeing what is trying to be advertised.
Here are some local news locations to advertise with:
- Television stations
- Community/City webpages
- Including Facebook
- Radio Stations
Even if the exact demographic isn’t getting to the information, someone they know might bring it to them. Also remember that most people will get their news from the radio as they are commuting to and from work, so don’t forget that crucial avenue. It’s often more effective in spreading information than any other resource out there, not to mention, usually pretty cheap compared to some other means.
Libraries and Clinics Often Cross-Represent each Other
If there is one place everyone is going to have to be, it’s at a doctor’s office. Many local clinics will have information about local events that people can read while waiting. Additionally, many of them have agreements with local libraries where they cross-represent each other so it’s not unusual to talk to some of them too. Even just leaving cards or a stack of pamphlets with a clinic can help get the word out effectively.
On the other side of the token, libraries are often misunderstood as just a place to borrow books. In reality they are pillars of social assistance and community support. Therefore, it’s a good place to find and participate in local events, learn about things, and even get help finding out about them. Library staff are information and public service professionals, so if they are made aware of something, that information is going to get passed to the community.
Both clinics and libraries are places where a heavy population of seniors are going to be looking for information regarding their health, interests, or needs, so they are definitely not places to miss informing when trying to reach out to the senior community.
Go Straight to the Source
There are a few places where senior citizens are definitely going to be, so it would be silly to try and get clever when all that needs done is to go directly to the source. Just keeping resources near the desired demographic— in this case senior citizens— is enough to get people noticing and talking about it.
Here are some places to definitely find seniors:
- Senior Centers
- Rest Homes
- Retirement Homes
- Senior Communities
- Grocery Stores
- Their House
It doesn’t hurt to send fliers or small cards into the mail to get straight to the source. Doing so in envelopes risks it getting tossed without even being looked at, but something like a postcard with only to-the-point and pertinent information on it at least will have people looking at it. Remember that nobody wants to be standing around struggling to read a ton of text. Make them short, to-the-point, and easy to read. That will help not only the seniors in the demographic, but also their families who may be looking out for them.
There’s Nothing Like a Good Fundraiser
One thing that appeals to most people is a good fundraiser for something they care about. People want to help out and want to feel like what they do is appreciated, going to a good cause, and going to have quantifiable results. That’s why fundraisers are amazing. People know exactly what their time, money, and effort is going to: raising funds. Therefore, it’s a perfect place to try and reach seniors.
Here are some good fundraiser ideas:
- Silent Auctions
- Art Shows
- Trade Shows
- Car Shows
- Alcohol Tastings
- Bake Sales
- Rummage Sales
- Music Nights
- Couples’ Nights
- Donation Collections
Not only can this be done to promote whatever is trying to be sold, it can also give the target demographic an idea about what ideals lay behind it. A lot of focus on charity such as using the fundraiser to get supplies or money for organizations helps tell people about some of the ideals behind it. Going to the community tells people that they haven’t been forgotten. Going to churches lets people know that there might be a call to spiritualism and/or community there.
Churches are Community Gatherings
There are tons of churches in almost every town with a wide range of faith traditions behind them. Finding churches willing to post fliers or have a stack of cards for the community engagements are always a plus. Besides, there’s definitely going to be senior citizens and community gatherings as a whole at a church so it’s definitely not a place to overlook.
Also remember that not every faith tradition has to be of the same one. Cast a wide net and be diverse. Find churches such as a Unitarian Universalist where they have a strong focus on helping the community and if nothing else, they might be able to find more churches to pinpoint in the area. Additionally, some churches will even allow a few moments for a guest speaker to talk about their work which is a perfect opportunity for senior engagement.
Hit that Free Button
The only thing better than cheap is free. People love free things. Free shipping, free resources, free gifts, free events. People will gravitate towards something that is labeled as free much faster than something with a price tag on it. If something can be offered for free, even just once in a while, do it. It is sure to gain interest.
Also note that shipping costs can be included in the material cost for goods. Therefore, it can be marketed as free shipping, even if the shipping cost has already been accounted for in the overall cost. It’s a clever method passed down in many advertising classes that actually holds true in practice. People are more willing to go for something if it has free shipping, even if the costs are only barely different overall.
Make it Personal
While sometimes automated things and impersonal marketing is more budget-friendly, not everyone is good with that sort of relaying of information. Older audiences especially relate well to things being more directly targeted at them in a personal manner. They want to be able to talk to someone, feel like they are heard, and that their needs are being considered. Go out there where people can tell that there is a real human behind it, and the reception is going to be much better than strictly by impersonal marketing means.
Let people talk about their experiences. Show people that others like them are interested and doing well. Have access to reviews, both positive and negative. Nothing seems more suspicious than only positivity, so let people be honest. Then take any applicable negativity and use it to improve. People will notice.
Simplify Whenever Possible
Everyone can benefit from things being a little simpler. Put only the most pertinent information in an easily accessible means and it’s going to have a much better reception than a ton of fine text and things hidden behind icons. This also means that the thoughts behind everything can be simplified as well. They don’t need to be these grand schemes with a thousand moving parts.
Here are some ways to simplify materials for an older audience:
- Keep messaging consistent
- Make required actions simple
- Single-click actions
- Be specific
- Ensure it is clear
People are going to misread things a thousand times no matter how simplified it’s made but making it too simplistic will also make people assume that they’re being perceived as stupid themselves. There’s a fine line between concise and insulting, and it’s important to find it.
Adult Learning Centers are Perfect Places to Pick Up Interested Individuals
There are plenty of places within the community where adults can go for extra learning, and that includes adults who have made it to seniority. These are places where people are purposefully going in order to learn new things, so it’s a perfect place to squeak in and make it something beneficial to everyone involved.
Some places where adult learning can easily be found include:
- Local Adult Learning Centers
- Library programs
- Community Centers
- Colleges and Universities with quick-paced programs meant for adults going back to school
- Specialized Groups
Additionally, there are often groups and guilds dedicated to certain interests that can help be a source of marketing, such as the EGA for embroidery enthusiasts. Just because people assume that seniors are stuck in their ways and there’s some evidence to suggest that they don’t often go out looking for new things doesn’t mean that nobody is ever receptive to learning new things. In fact, the opposite is almost certainly true, it’s just that a little more effort needs to go to them to get the information there instead of them coming to the information.
Senior citizens aren’t some special class of citizens just because they’ve reach an old age. They aren’t feeble people unable to make any decisions for themselves and need to be constantly taken care of in all situations. They are people too, just a different demographic. As with any other demographic, their needs and wants need to be thought about when trying to market and reach out to them.
Go straight to the source with personalized, simple information that is to the point. Find the demographic where they are likely to be, such as at church, local events, partaking in programs, or even trying to enjoy the later years of their life relaxing at home. Then be honest and caring and surely it will open the receptiveness of the audience.