Doing business online doesn’t always mean you’re doing business with people your age. When you’re under 30, an older generation won’t always “get” you. For example, the senior market isn’t always receptive to doing business with a very young crowd. This is especially true when it comes to retirement planning or any kind of banking or budgeting services. Seniors generally trust those closer to their age or those who are older, in general. When you’re under 30, many times, you have to find a new way to appeal to older customers
Make Your Website Intuitive
One of the reasons you’re losing sales with older customers is because your website is too difficult to navigate. According to usability expert Jakob Nielson, websites that are difficult to navigate have a high bounce rate. Difficult to navigate websites are especially frustrating with seniors and older customers because they aren’t as technically savvy as younger folks.
Think Apple.com. You don’t have to copy its design, but the tech giant is an expert at making things simple for customers. Apple sells to older, younger, and every demographic in-between. The secret lies in reducing choices for users. Nielson recommends limiting landing page choices to just a few – perhaps just 3 or 4 things. In other words, don’t give users too many things to do on the site. Make the navigation menu easy to understand. If you’re going to have more than, say, five different links then consider a drop down menu that uses a quick-loading script.
Speak Their Language
Older customers tend to be a bit more conservative than younger folks. Keep that in mind when writing your ad copy. You can’t expect seniors, or even those over 50, to use the same kind of language as teens, 20-year-olds, or even 30-year-olds. Keep industry, and technical, jargon to a minimum.
Keep in mind that any email correspondence you have with older folks needs to be kept short. Younger folks have short attention spans, but older folks might not have time to read long emails either. You should also consider using plain-text emails rather than fancy HTML.
Build On Existing Reputation
One thing that’s going to help you a lot is to build on an existing reputation. If you inherited the business from your parents, or grandparents, this is ideal. If you’re creating the business from scratch, an older partner or even just a manager who is older than you, will be a great asset when working with older clientele. It shows you have experience on your team. Even when you’re young, and just starting out, you can demonstrate that your collective experience spans more than just one lifetime.
A Model Example
Lenstore is an example of a company that understands how to use technology to sell to older customers. Lenstore.co.uk sells lenses – arguably a good product for older folks, especially seniors. Even though the owner, Mitesh Patel, set up the company when he was 24 (just four short years ago), he was able to secure the trust of an older clientele by intelligently using technology to make it easy for users to do business with him. His website is easy to navigate, and his customer service options are pretty diverse for an online company. For example, Lenstore offers customer service via Skype – something that even seasoned businesses don’t offer. This kind of transparency allows the company to sit face to face with customers without having to be in the same room with them. This is a prime example where being young is an advantage – most older entrepreneurs never think to use technology this way. In a way, Patel is the kind of owner that – ironically – older companies need to reach out and connect with an aging customer base.
Guy Ascher is a business website marketing consultant. He is always researching the latest innovations in website marketing. He enjoys sharing his insights on various business blogs.
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