Digital Marketing For Successful Customer Acquisition in The DME Space

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Traditional DME marketing relies heavily on print collateral to reach new customers, but digital channels can be very beneficial in customer acquisition. Though the average DME customer may skew older than the general population it would be a mistake to assume that senior consumers aren’t on the internet! The PEW Research Center reports that 67% of seniors over 65 use the internet and 42% of seniors own smartphones (this number is much higher for more affluent seniors) – up from 18% only 6 years ago. By all indications seniors are using the internet in the same ways their children and grandchildren are: for social networking, watching videos, and uploading content to share.

Facebook may be your secret weapon in reaching senior consumers. According to Facebook’s demographics report, the platform has seen an 80% growth in users over 55 in the last several years. According to the Pew report, 62% of internet users aged 65+ use Facebook, as do 72% of 50 – 64 year olds. Facebook’s granular targeting options and older user’s preference for sharing useful content could make it a powerful asset to your business. Use Facebook’s targeting capabilities to build the ideal audience for your content. Start by building an audience in the AdCenter on your Facebook Business page made up of the age-group, zip codes, and income-ranges of your customer base. Include lifestyle information such as interest in personalities like Oprah, life events such as having recently moved, television programs like QVC, or affiliation with the VFW or Red Hat Society. Begin with a general audience to promote all your content to, and then develop different audiences for different types of content (ie: diabetic vs. mastectomy products) over time.

Once you have determined who your customer is and what their interests are, you must consider what content will resonate with them. Seniors are not and do not see themselves as a monolith. In fact, they rarely even see themselves as seniors! Seniors report that they feel between 10-20 years younger than their actual age, so use imagery and models that reflect their self-perception. The one commonality that most groups of seniors shared was a clear preference for ads that conveyed connectedness through people interacting with each other, and especially with grandchildren. Images of single seniors sometimes unintentionally conveyed loneliness, as could ads featuring images of a solitary couple.

The desire for connectedness carries over into real-world behavior. Seniors find the internet a convenient way to shop, but they do tend to be less confident about making purchases online. One study showed that 36% of internet shoppers over the age of 55 would prefer to speak with a representative before making an internet purchase, so putting a friendly face to your business is important for this group. Post pictures of your staff assisting customers, or even just a giving a big friendly hello as part of your digital campaign. Social proof is also key, so highlight positive reviews from Yelp or solicited directly from your customers to your Facebook page. Always come across as personable and helpful: someone who seniors would want to call on the phone. In fact, campaigns that encourage older consumers to call your business are likely to lead to more visits and higher purchase values. It is imperative that your phone number is prominent on all website and social pages, as well as in emails and display ads.

The “soft ask” goes hand-in-hand with senior’s desire for connection and level of confidence around online purchases. Research suggests that direct asks like “Buy Now” do not resonate with seniors. Drive engagement with softer calls to action directing your customer to content that answers common questions. Some soft asks that seniors have been shown to respond to are “learn more” or “share this post”. Video content can be especially useful in this regard.

Did you know that the second most popular search engine is YouTube, and seniors are especially receptive to it? Create YouTube videos that introduce staff, compare products, and educate. You can film great videos on your phone with an inexpensive tripod and lighting. In addition to fostering a personal connection and establishing your expertise, that element of customer service will make you stand out. Customers across all demographics – and especially those over 55 years of age – react favorably to brands that focus on customer service or provide useful advice in their marketing message. Think of YouTube as a platform to extend your company’s customer service to future customers. Remember, always include your company name and phone number in your videos, and ask customers to call you with questions!

The granular targeting and personal nature of Facebook advertising presents many opportunities to reach your customers. Once you’ve hit on the right message for your customers, you could see your digital presence sending new customers to your business for far less than print media. Reach out to your older adult customers online and your business can grow in ways you might not have anticipated!

Blog provided by Christina Padrón, Senior Medical Marketing Coordinator, Vionic Group LLC.


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