4 Direct Mail Tips for Reaching the Senior Segment
As the child of parents who are in their early 80s, I get to look at most of their direct mail. This is entirely their decision; they know that my job is to analyze mail (and email) and that I can offer them advice based on my expertise.
One of the exploding niches that I've seen in their mail over last few years is senior real estate. From continuing care facilities to independent living communities, older Americans have more housing options than ever. These choices presented vary widely. But how they are described and shown provide some tips on how to get prospects interested in taking that big first step toward moving: a tour of the facility or community.
1. Use The Magic Word
Offering something for "FREE" is a powerful incentive to drive response for just about anything, and senior communities are no exception. Lunches are the most commonly promoted draw, thanks to photos and descriptions of sumptuous feasts. Some mailings, though, appeal to fear, usually about finances, downsizing or health. Crane's Mill, part of the Lutheran Social Ministries of New Jersey, sent out a reassuring self-mailer with the teaser: "Take control of your retirement with this FREE lecture series!" (See the first image in the mediaplayer)
2. Focus on the Person, Not the Number
Gone are the days of thinking of seniors as old, or infirm. Smart copy and images help prospects understand that their new homes will keep them independent, as well as financially and emotionally secure. A brochure from Vi at Grayhawk of Scottsdale, Ariz. communicates this very well. It shows the many activities enjoyed by that community's residents, like golf, fitness and discussion classes, and parties. (See the second image in the mediaplayer)
3. Showcase Word-of-Mouth Marketing
Some seniors may feel that they've "seen and done it all," or that they know "marketese" when they hear it or read it. To counter their skepticism, include a testimonial or two from current residents. Shannondell, a premier senior community located outside Philadelphia, mailed a series of 8-page self-mailers that featured "Inspiring Stories" from its residents. (See the third image in the mediaplayer) Respondents can then schedule a tour or send away for the entire collection of "candid interviews."