As a reader of this magazine, you know that with age comes an increased risk for varicose veins. And as new treatments come on to the market at a time when people seem to be aging in reverse, many of you are seeing more patients over the age of 65 than ever before. Just like their younger counterparts, today’s new young-older person is an Internet-browsing, online-shopping, Facebooking, information-hungry super-consumer.
Here are some useful tips for capturing the older adult market and remain competitive.
Tip 1: Use Key Messaging that Resonates with Today’s Older Adults
When it comes to marketing, ignoring the over 65 crowd is a mistake, but coming off as condescending or ageist is even worse. From tai chi to health-conscious diets, today’s older adults are always looking for ways to enjoy a healthy lifestyle. To resonate with modern mature adults, focus your communication on wellness and education. Try emphasizing some of these topics in your materials for this campaign:
- Treatment benefits that impact an active lifestyle, like legs feeling lighter, less achy, and improved circulation, as well as activities that may be made easier after treatment (gardening, air travel, etc.)
- Information about and images illustrating the cosmetic benefits of treatment, particularly for individuals in their age group.
- Education about health issues like venous ulcers and clots, and how treatment can help.
- Educational information about what older adults can to do to promote vein health, such as wearing compression stockings and avoiding sitting for extended periods of time.
- Cost information, particularly the fact that treatment may be at least partially covered by medical insurance, including Medicare.
- Details about the minimally invasive nature of today’s vein treatments. The landscape of vein treatment has changed dramatically in the past 10 years, which may have been when some in this demographic last looked into varicose and spider vein treatment.
In addition to creating marketing materials, building website content around some of the above topics may be worthwhile. This content could be shared on your social media accounts and may generate interest among potential patients.
Tip 2: Be Persuasive with Strong Imagery and Wording
Once you’ve chosen what you want to emphasize, give careful thought to design and text details so your message is received in a clear, powerful way.
- Inviting Imagery. Everyone responds well to seeing themselves in marketing communications and advertising. If most of the images in your current marketing pieces and website are of sexy ingénues, try incorporating images that feature models who appear around age 50-60, who boomers may better identify with. If done well, it’s the first cue that demonstrates that your practice thoroughly understands the senior demographic.
- Concise Phrasing. Make sure your message doesn’t get lost by simplifying the text as much as possible. Medical jargon is hard to understand for any age group. Pique reader’s interest and include a strong call-to-action to prompt them to learn more.
- Sensitive Language. While individual preferences may vary, some terms should be avoided when addressing older adults. “Elderly,” “senior citizens,” and “aged” may have negative connotations among those who feel young and vibrant, so opt for neutral terms like “older adults” (everyone’s older than someone, so it’s more inclusive), or “mature,” for example.
- Legible Fonts. From a purely practical standpoint, make sure the font size on your printed materials is large enough to easily read without having to grab reading glasses.
- Relatable Testimonials. When developing your campaign, don’t forget to utilize your patients in the 65+ age group who have already experienced great results. Try to gather testimonials and photos with full-use permission. These are powerful tools that utilize relatable images and strong messages, and speak directly to your excellent work.
Tip 3: Consider All Communication Channels
There are plenty of options when it comes to choosing the right medium to reach the 65+ demographic—including digital channels.
- Take the internet by the reins. When it comes to the web, challenge your prejudices around older adults and technology, because Pew Internet research found that 70% of those over 65 use the Internet on a typical day. There are currently 39 million people aged 65 and older using Facebook, Twitter and Skype, making them the fastest growing age demographic on these sites. Your marketing campaign should include digital channels, like paid online advertising (including Facebook and rich media), website content and email marketing.
- Hybridize your marketing approach. Going beyond digital, traditional marketing is still valuable to this demographic, but don’t be afraid to try an updated version. Dense information packets may have traditionally been used by companies like Medicare and AARP to communicate value to mature adults, but we are beginning to see more concise marketing packages from companies like these in the form of postcards and low-cost mailers. These lighter, eye-catching pieces are more easily read by today’s older person who is busy.
- Don't forget interpersonal interaction. Communicating face-to-face goes a long way regardless of the age demographic you’re trying to reach. Look for opportunities to attend local events at retirement centers or charity organizations with large 65+ populations. Go with the goal to educate and let your targeted materials leave a lasting impression.
Top Reasons to Market to Older Adults
- Their numbers are growing! According to the US Census Bureau, by 2030 (just 15 years from now!) over 72 million Americans will be 65 or older—more than double the number in this demographic in the year 2000.
- Venous disease poses health risks. Life expectancy in the US has increased to 78 years, as have the number of chronic health conditions. Over 45% of older adults manage two or more conditions, an 8% increase from 2000. Issues like venous ulcers and blood clots can manifest in patients with varicose veins, and these problems may complicate chronic conditions even further. Educating older people about these risks and treatment options is important.
- They can still see great results. Not only are the health risks mitigated, but treatment of varicose and even spider veins can provide improvement in symptoms like leg aching and heaviness. Cosmetic results can be significant and have a positive impact on the active lifestyle today’s older adults enjoy.
- They can afford treatment. Income of those over 65 is only 60% of the US median household income, due to the fact that many of them are retired. While that fact may lead some to dismiss the 65+ demographic when it comes to marketing, it doesn’t speak to overall wealth. Households headed by older adults have 47 times the net worth of households headed by those under 35. Pew Research Center reports that the gap has widened in recent decades—in 1984, the ratio was 10 to 1.
Regardless of the specific messages and mediums you choose, if you create your campaign with a mind to educate and respect the modern 65+ demographic, you can have confidence that your marketing will resonate with this vibrant group. Get ready to help the “golden years” look and feel better than ever!