Best Direct Mail Campaign for Older Adults?

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I have a future farming area that is full of 1970's ranch homes with original owner occupants. There is high equity with many of the properties simply because of the time they have been occupied. I want to start direct mail, but am curious about what the best media would be for an older audience...the main motivation to sell is likely that they will be transitioning to long-term care...thoughts?


There are many good books specifically on marketing to seniors that will give more in depth advice. Here are observations and experiences using direct mail for older prospects.

They must trust you before they will engage with your company. They need to feel they are in an equal relationship. The are cautious about being taken advantage of, particularly by younger, faster talking “sales” people.

They have plenty of time and will use it to find out all they can about you. Use multi page letters to not only tell them how they benefit working with you but build your story and why they can trust you to work for a win/win solution for them. A 3 page letter costs minimally more than a 1 page letter. Some will search for you on the internet.

You will likely need 3 or 4 letters before reaching the tipping point where you will receive a good response rate. Each letter should have the same look and conversational style as you build your “relationship” with them. Change your message to so far as why they would want to sell.

Motivations of older people in general:

  • 60s to 70: Retire, downsize, travel, spend time with grandkids/kids, buy new toys
  • 70s to 80: Leave a legacy to loved ones, protect their nest egg, maintain health.
  • 80s plus: Simply their estate, leave legacy so loved ones will remember them, slow decline in heath, stay out of nursing home or being a burden on family.

I have a couple of sources where you can get the age of your prospect if you want to tailor a message to each age group. Just PM me.

Keep your sentences simple and at a easy reading level. Use large fonts (size 12 or 14) so they can easily read your message. Images of other happy seniors help. Many prefer to be addressed as Mr. or Mrs./Ms. until you have spoken with them and entered their circle of trust.

@rene martinez  @brandon sturgill

Two books that comprehensively cover the 55 to 80 year age groups are Marketing to Leading-Edge Baby Boomers by Brent Green and the No BS Guide to Marketing Boomers & Seniors by Dan Kennedy.   Dan Kennedy's No BS series of marketing books in general offer some interesting and unconventional marketing tips.

Another really insightful book for understanding the mindset of older seniors who are making decisions contemplating how to handle assets near the end of their life is How to Say It to Seniors by David Solie. This book is written for children of aging parents to understand aging issues from the parent's point of view. Some of the reading can be dry but gems on creating win-win transactions with this group are spread throughout the book.

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