Email Marketing to Baby Boomers – a Complete Guide

email marketing to seniors

Have you looked at the results from the 2020 census? Notice the growth of folks in the cohort of baby boomers? And the number of baby boomers is expected to grow especially when you compare it to the growth of the population as a whole, as you can see in the graphic below. If you don’t already have one, you need a strategy for email marketing to baby boomers, marketing in general to this cohort, if you want to succeed due not only to their growth but the amount of wealth controlled by this group.

marketing to baby boomers
Image courtesy of Five Thirty-Eight

Picture this, folks: you’re in the marketing world, out to conquer the digital landscape, and armed with a weapon of mass persuasion – email marketing. Only, your aim’s gone a little awry. You’re firing into the crowd, hoping to hit your mark, but all you get are duds. Sounds like a nightmare, right?

Well, let’s turn that nightmare into a sweet dream. The secret sauce is that you gotta segment your subscriber list so your messaging resonates with them. And, you should adjust your sights to one generation in particular: Baby Boomers. Born between the years of 1946 and 1964, these folks are the cream of the consumer crop, the cherry on top of your marketing sundae, as you saw in the image above. Pew Research even claims they’re the highest spenders in the market. Your golden goose may be sitting on a nest of disposable income, ready to splurge on items that weren’t even on their shopping list. But their wants and needs differ from other cohort groups, partly due to maturation and partly due to cohort effects. These factors plus their experience means you must adjust your messaging to engage their desire.

So, how do you charm this influential bunch through the magic of email marketing? What makes their hearts tick, their pains ache, and their motivations soar? How do you whip up a tantalizing email that will have them clicking through your offers like there’s no tomorrow? In this guide, we’re spilling the beans on these questions and more. Stick around, and we’ll help you conjure email campaigns that strike the Baby Boomer bullseye, sending your conversions sky-high.

Why should we put our money on baby boomers?

marketing to baby boomersBefore we start cooking up that perfect email, let’s ponder why we’re targeting boomers. Here are some spicy ingredients to add to your thought stew:

Embracing the digital world

Let’s debunk the myth that Baby Boomers shy away from technology. In fact, many Baby Boomers are quite tech-savvy, especially those on the younger side who had to upgrade their tech skills for jobs. Even older ones engage actively with digital platforms as a means to keep up with family and this process was hastened by the pandemic, which hit seniors especially hard. They stepped up their game by embracing the online behaviors of younger generations, making them an ideal audience for online marketers.

Statistics show that they spend an average of 108 minutes daily on social platforms like Facebook and Instagram, demonstrating their fondness for social connectivity. Moreover, about 92% of Baby Boomers check their email at least once daily, a behavior pattern that further underscores their digital engagement. Not only do they utilize these platforms for social interaction, but they also capitalize on them to stay informed about news, promotions, and trends. So, yes, they are quite the connected group, and it’s high time we appreciate this aspect of their digital lives!

Loyalty is second nature

Baby Boomers aren’t fickle when it comes to brand loyalty. They’re 58% more likely to engage with branded content on social media than millennials and 19% more likely to share it. Their loyalty stems from the time when they were young adults in a world dominated by traditional loyalty programs, such as airline miles programs and punch cards. These experiences instilled in them a sense of commitment and loyalty towards brands that deliver on their promises and meet their expectations. This loyalty is often a gold mine for businesses, as it translates into repeat purchases, brand advocacy, and positive word-of-mouth marketing.

Varied interests and diverse lifestyles

Just like a colorful assortment of jelly beans, Baby Boomers have various interests, hobbies, and lifestyle preferences. Their interests aren’t confined to a single niche but span a wide spectrum, including food, fashion, health, travel, entertainment, education, finance, and luxury items, to name a few. This diversity provides marketers with ample opportunities to cater to their varied preferences and offer them a broad selection of products and services. The trick lies in understanding their specific interests and crafting personalized marketing messages that resonate with them. Moreover, their purchasing power enables them to explore their interests without being constrained by budget limitations, making them a lucrative market segment for businesses across many industries.

Wealth and health

Erase the notion of baby boomers sitting on the porch in a rocking chair drooling into their pudding. Here’s something you should know:

  • Baby boomers control over 53% of the US wealth
  • They control 10X the wealth of Millennials and 2X the wealth of Gen X
  • While facing similar health conditions as prior generations of seniors, today’s baby boomers live longer

How to market to baby boomers: 9 email marketing strategies

email marketing to seniors

So, you now understand why Baby Boomers are a lucrative target audience. Now let’s dive into the “how.” Here’s an extended 9-step guide to effectively market to Baby Boomers using email marketing:

Know your onions – segmentation is king

It’s essential to know your audience, especially when it comes to the diverse Baby Boomer generation. By segmenting your email list based on demographics and behaviors, you can offer a more personalized, and thus effective, marketing experience. You can even consider further subdivisions based on buying habits, preferences, or lifestyle. In this way, you can truly tailor your content, offering each recipient a unique marketing journey that closely aligns with their individual interests and needs. Sending mass email messages indiscriminately produces far less return for your investment than using a targeted strategy, although there are time when this might work.

Keep it simple, sunshine – clarity over creativity

While it’s tempting to get creative with subject lines, Baby Boomers appreciate straightforward, concise messaging. They are active individuals with little time or patience for clickbait or ambiguous headlines. Prioritize clear, informative subject lines that instantly convey the value your email offers. And most importantly, maintain an honest and transparent communication style.

Chat, don’t lecture – conversational tone

Your email tone plays a vital role in engaging Baby Boomers. Strive for a friendly, positive tone, akin to having a casual conversation with a friend. Utilize language tools such as contractions, idioms, transitional phrases, interjections, dangling modifiers, and colloquialisms to keep the interaction light and relatable.

Inform, don’t bore – actionable information

Baby Boomers appreciate emails that offer value and actionable information. Whether it’s a new product, a how-to guide, or an informative article, ensure your content serves a clear purpose. Most importantly, highlight this purpose in your call to action, so the reader understands the next steps or what’s expected of them.

Show off your stripes – social proof and testimonials

Baby Boomers tend to trust brands that have proven their worth. Incorporating social proof elements like customer testimonials, success stories, or endorsements in your emails can go a long way in boosting credibility. This generation values peers’ experiences, so showcasing such examples can reinforce their trust in your brand.

Touch the heart – emotional engagement

Baby Boomers are known to make decisions based on emotions and values, just like other consumers. Use this knowledge to your advantage by incorporating storytelling elements and emotional triggers in your emails. This could involve sharing a heartwarming story related to your brand, appealing to shared values, or using emotion-evoking language. Creating this personal, emotional connection can increase engagement and drive action. Just be sure your stories relate to them not younger cohorts or make blatantly wrong assumptions about what their lives are like.

Sweeten the deal – discounts and incentives

Baby Boomers, like most consumers, love a good deal. Offering discounts, incentives, or special offers is an effective way to attract this generation. However, remember to maintain relevancy in your offers and incorporate a time limit to invoke a sense of urgency, leading to prompt action.

Mobile-friendly is the way to go – optimize for mobile devices

Even though Baby Boomers weren’t raised on technology, many are tech-savvy and use their mobile devices for various tasks, including checking emails. Therefore, optimizing your emails for mobile viewing is critical. This includes ensuring that formatting, image sizes, and navigation are all mobile-friendly, resulting in a seamless user experience across devices. Test your email messages on various devices to ensure they look great wherever subscribers open them.

Measure success – performance tracking

The last but crucial step in any email marketing campaign is tracking and measuring performance. Using analytics tools such as Google Analytics or Mailchimp, keep tabs on metrics like open rates, click-through rates, conversions, etc. These insights can help you understand what’s working, what needs improvement, and how to adjust your strategy for continued success with Baby Boomer email marketing.

Email marketing examples for baby boomers

Here’s a look at some successful strategies that brands have used in their email marketing campaigns for Baby Boomers:

  • AARP (American Association of Retired Persons): AARP is a non-profit organization catering to the needs of those aged 50 and above. They mastered the art of email marketing by focusing on personalization, segmentation, social proof, and incentives. Their newsletters are not only filled with engaging content but are also tailored to meet the diverse interests of their audience, ranging from health and wellness to travel and entertainment. By segmenting its audience, AARP is able to deliver targeted content that resonates strongly with its recipients. They’ve also leveraged social proof, featuring stories from real members and testimonials to instill trust in their readers. And, to sweeten the deal, they regularly offer incentives such as discounts or exclusive benefits for their members.
  • Stitch Fix: This online personal styling service truly understands its audience and it made email marketing a seamless part of its service. Their emails are customized based on each customer’s style profile and preferences, making the content more relevant and building a sense of connection with the brand. It understands that today’s baby boomers aren’t like their parents in terms of setting for old-fashioned styles. The result? A more engaged audience that keeps coming back for more.
  • Audible: As the leading provider of audiobooks, Audible has a vast array of content to offer its customers. To effectively showcase this, they utilize email marketing to highlight their expansive library, recommend personalized titles based on the customer’s past listening history, and offer enticing incentives such as discounts or free trials. They artfully employ storytelling techniques and emotional triggers, like suggesting audiobooks that evoke nostalgia, and pair this with a personalized approach to keep their Baby Boomer audience engaged.
  • Walgreens: As a popular pharmacy store chain, Walgreens uses email marketing to keep its Baby Boomer customers informed about health-related products, services, and tips. They use segmentation based on purchase history and health needs to send personalized recommendations, reminders for prescription refills, or wellness tips. The easy-to-understand, actionable content in their emails greatly resonates with this audience.
  • SilverSneakers: This fitness program for older adults uses their emails to motivate and engage their audience. With uplifting stories of members’ fitness journeys, workout tips, and nutrition advice, they create content that not only interests but also benefits their audience. The brand’s use of emotional triggers, like the joy of accomplishing fitness goals, greatly connects with the Baby Boomers, keen on maintaining an active lifestyle.

Wrap up

In conclusion, an effective email marketing strategy for Baby Boomers combines multiple elements. These include segmentation for targeted messaging, clear subject lines, a conversational tone, providing valuable information, leveraging social proof for trust-building, eliciting emotional responses, offering incentives, and optimizing for mobile viewing. But above all, it’s about understanding and respecting your audience’s needs, values, and preferences, and delivering content that aligns with them.

Just to reiterate:

  • Segmentation and personalization: Baby Boomers are not a monolithic group, so your email marketing shouldn’t treat them as such.
  • Clarity and simplicity: Remember, Boomers grew up in an era of straightforward communication. They appreciate clear, concise messaging that doesn’t require reading between the lines.
  • Friendly and positive tone: Baby Boomers, like everyone else, enjoy engaging and friendly conversations. A warm, conversational tone in your emails can help establish a connection with your audience.
  • Actionable information: Boomers value content that is practical and useful. Emails offering tips, advice, or solutions to problems will appeal more than those filled with fluff.
  • Social proof: Testimonials, reviews, and endorsements from fellow Boomers can go a long way in establishing trust and credibility for your brand. Boomers trust their peers, so showing them that others have had a positive experience with your brand can influence their purchasing decisions.
  • Emotional appeal: Storytelling techniques that elicit emotions are very effective. Baby Boomers are often guided by values and emotions, so content that tugs at their heartstrings or evokes a sense of nostalgia can increase engagement.
  • Incentives and urgency: Baby Boomers appreciate value for money and good deals. Offering discounts, promotions, or exclusive offers can incentivize them to take action. Creating a sense of urgency with time-limited offers can also encourage them to act sooner rather than later.
  • Mobile-friendly emails: With many Boomers using smartphones and tablets, it’s crucial to ensure your emails display correctly on all devices. The easier for them to read your email and click on your call-to-action, the more effective your campaign will be.
  • Measure performance: Finally, always monitor and measure your campaign’s performance. Tools like Google Analytics, Mailchimp, or Hubspot can provide valuable insights.

Remember, Baby Boomers are an important demographic with unique preferences and significant buying power. By tailoring your email marketing strategies to cater to their needs, you can foster stronger relationships, improve customer retention, and drive growth for your business. And always remember – respect and understanding are at the core of successful marketing. By demonstrating that you understand and value your Boomer audience, you’ll be well on your way to successful email marketing.

If you need help creating or improving your email marketing campaigns for baby boomers, you can check out CodeCrew. This digital marketing agency specializes in email marketing for small businesses. They can help you with everything from strategy, design, copywriting, automation, and analytics. They can also help you integrate email marketing with other tools and platforms, such as your website, social media, or e-commerce store.

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Author: Alexandra Marin, Co-founder and Director of Design at codecrew.us, Alex has been designing websites and improving the way people interact with emails for over a decade, working with brands all across the web and helping generate email marketing revenue that’s worth building into case studies.