The generation of people born between 1946 and 1964 are known as the Baby Boomers. There are around 74.9 billion boomers, which represents almost 40% of the American population.
Boomers are frequently overlooked by digital marketers because they are not as technologically savvy as younger generations. They didn’t grow up with the Internet or mobile phones and are notoriously late adopters of new technologies. However, boomers are statistically the wealthiest age group around and are becoming more-and-more digitally savvy as tech becomes easier to use.
According to an article in Forbes:
- 96% of boomers use search engines
- 95% use email
- 92% shop online
The boomer generation is currently sitting between the ages of 55 and 73, meaning many are reaching retirement age or have already entered it. This generation has both the time to research new products and services and the money to purchase the ones they deem worthy.
In fact, according to the latest research from KPMG, boomers are not just as likely to shop online as Millennials, but they spend more.
Since we know boomers use the Internet to research and shop for new products, and that 95% of them have email, it makes sense to use email marketing to reach them.
Email Marketing for Baby Boomers
When it comes to emailing the boomer generation, you’ll want to tailor your message for them. While the Millennial generation likes short and to-the-point emails, boomers like to read long form content.
Members of this generation are more likely than any other to read eBooks, whitepapers, blog posts, reviews, and you guessed it, longer emails.
If you want to win the attention and dollars from the boomer generation, use email to help them:
- Learn a new skill
- Make better decisions
- Solve problems
- Inform and educate
Other tips for your email promotions to boomers include:
- Using a large enough font size that is easily readable on smartphones
- Avoid abbreviations and pop-culture references that may not be understood
- Trade clickbait subject lines and headlines for economical and relevant ones
- Don’t talk down to them or over-explain the latest trends
- Make sure the call-to-action is clear
Just like with any other email marketing campaign, your messages to boomers should be a/b tested for maximum results.
Top Baby Boomer Brands
In need of a little inspiration for your email campaigns?
Judann Pollack, Managing Editor of Ad Age, put together her list of the top brands that the boomer generation loves:
- Harley Davidson
- Club Med
- The Beatles
- Absolut Vodka
- Saturday Night Live
If we look at what all of these brands have in common one thing is obvious: they are all trustworthy brands. Each has been established near the top of its industry for many years, and boomers, therefore, associate it with a good quality product.
If you want to market to boomers and your brand isn’t yet established, you’ll need to include many trust elements in your marketing campaigns.
Trust Elements in Email Marketing
What are trust elements? They are little snippets of information that persuade the user that an unknown brand is trustworthy enough to buy from.
Common trust elements include:
- Case studies
- Partnerships with established brands
- Endorsements from celebrities
- Certifications from trusted associations
- Award badges
Testimonials and Case Studies
Testimonials and case studies are something that can be sourced from your existing customer base. If you don’t have existing customers, you can gift free products to people who fit your target market and ask them to provide feedback. You can then use any positive feedback as a testimonial or turn it into a case study that can be linked to from an email campaign.
Brand Partnerships and Celebrity Endorsements
Partnering with established brands is one easy way to increase trust through the halo effect. Basically, in this scenario, the trust from the bigger, established brand will rub off on the smaller brand through association. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy for small companies to earn a partnership with the bigger brand; most big companies will ask, “what’s in it for me?”
To get around this smaller companies can start by establishing partnerships with well known nonprofit organizations. By donating a portion of sales from a particular product (or all products for a specific period of time), the nonprofit gets the money it needs, and the brand benefits from the halo effect of working with a large and established organization. This is often a win-win for both sides.
Another way for a small company to earn trust via the halo effect is by seeking a celebrity endorsement. A company can do this by sending free products to the celebrity’s management team and hoping the celebrity sees it, uses it, and then talks about it. However, a more straight-forward way to guarantee an endorsement (in a timely manner) is to pay for it.
Depending on the celebrity, an endorsement can cost anywhere from a few thousand dollars to millions of dollars. A cost-effective approach is to look for someone who is very popular in your niche and not necessarily an A-lister that everyone knows. For example, a new running shoe company might work with an Olympic runner instead of George Clooney.
Once the partnership is established either with a brand or with a celebrity, this can be announced and used in email communications to increase trust and boost sales.
Guarantees, Certifications, and Awards
Other avenues for earning trust include leveraging certifications, awards, and customer guarantees.
Let’s talk about guarantees first since these can be used without any outside help. Telling consumers you have a 100% money back guarantee shows that you stand behind your products and service. It can go a long way in helping to earn the trust of someone nervous about purchasing from a new brand. Mention this guarantee every chance you get, and especially in every email you send.
Showcasing certification and award badges in emails (and other marketing materials) can also go a long way in establishing trust. Similar to the halo effect from partnerships and endorsements, certifications and awards allow small companies to leverage the reputation of other organizations for their own benefit.
While awards may be hard for new companies to win, certifications can be much easier to obtain. For example, most companies can get a McAfree Secure badge, PayPal Verified badge, TRUSTe badge, Symantec, and even a Better Business Bureau badge by paying a small fee and being in compliance with fairly simple standards.
According to research compiled by Monetize Pros, Blue Fountain Media saw a 42% increase in sales after adding the Verisign badge. Similarly, the Central Reservation Service saw a 30% increase in conversations after adding the Verisign badge.
These badges are great for use on company websites and also in email campaigns.
Email Marketing to Boomers
When it comes to marketing to boomers, email is one of the best ways to reach them. Boomers love to research companies and products before they purchase. They want to confirm that they are making a good decision rather than a rash one.
To help them along the purchase path, you should email them information about how to use your product and what makes it superior to competitor products. Support your claims with testimonials, case studies, how-to documentation, and trust elements to earn the sale.
Boomers have the resources to buy your products, and they are more than happy to try new things. They simply must first be convinced you company is a safe bet.