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Reaching the senior audience

A short time back, I received notification that I would no longer be covered by my insurance company. I would soon be covered by Medicare. That’s when I realized that I was “officially” old. Like most senior citizens, I don’t think of myself as an “old person.” In my own mind, I’m still that virile young man of 40. When I look in a mirror, I see me just what I’ve always been… with just a touch of grey around the temples.

So, what’s the big deal about being “older?” Actually, when it comes to websites and blogs on the Internet, we’re talking a “BIG” deal since nearly 30% of the population of the world is over fifty. But that 30% holds well over 60% of the world’s wealth. If you want your business to survive or grow larger, then you need to get in touch with the seniors in your market. They alone could significantly boost your sales, visits, contacts, “clicks,” etc.

Your next question should be, “How do I reach the older audience with my blog?” I have a few suggestions that my help. But let me start with a simple warning: “Don’t think of seniors as a niche audience; they constitute too large a portion of the population. We’re talking major economic power.

So, my first suggestion is approach the older citizens with respect for their experience and maturity. If I go past the first two sentences of a blog and see the writer assumes I’m pretty ignorant, then I stop reading. I may BE ignorant of the specifics of what that person is writing about, but to have a twenty-something give me the attitude that he knows more than I do is extremely disrespectful. Most seniors are not as clueless as young people think we are. Like many of my friends, I’m eager to learn new things, but not from someone who fails to express just a little humility.

A second suggestion about writing for an older audience is to reference issues important to their generation. Never assume that seniors are not interested in things that are important today. Yet, a writer can help seniors see that the past they have experienced may be connected to today. I was impressed with one news analyst who referred to the attack on the World Trade Center as the JFK assassination of the Millennium generation. That really connected with me. Whereas, a politician said recently that the recession of 2009 was worse than the Great Depression. What an absurd and arrogant thing to say! History seems to indicate the statement is totally false. But, beyond that, very few people alive today have any memory of the Great Depression. Be smart. Seniors memories go back to the forties and fifties, not the twenties and thirties.

Another suggestion is to remember that seniors tend to be less familiar with computers and the Internet than other age groups. That does not make them dumb or stupid. But, it means that you should never make your web pages an exercise in difficulty for anyone other than the true Geeks! Invite seniors to your website by making everything there easy to find, preferably with one click. If a senior feels comfortable with your site, he’ll return.

Finally, the suggestion that I believe is far greater than the other two is treat seniors simply as people, not like they have some sort of contagious disease. In other words, don’t go out of your way to pander to seniors! No matter their age, they’re still simply people with needs, wants, and desires just like everyone else. The one thing we might actually have over the younger members of society is a deeper and greater appreciation for honesty, clarity, and simplicity. Remember that and your writing will reach a larger audience.

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