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How to connect with seniors using direct mail

Updated: Apr 19, 2022

We don’t need to tell you the effectiveness of Direct mail when it comes to connecting with your customers, whether its traditional direct mail, Royal Mail door to door leaflet drops or using a hybrid mail portal as an alternative to franked mail - Direct Mail works.

In one particular age demographic though, Direct Mail performs above all other channels.

Whether you refer to them as Seniors, older demographics or OAP's - Consumers aged over 55 respond to direct mail.

Direct mail marketing to older people

Communicating with this selective & discerning group isn’t just about making your font size bigger though. Using a Direct mail campaign to engage with an older demographic requires a slightly different approach than you would with other age groups.

How we communicate is ever changing, as different factors come into play and they become familiar with other channels, however Direct mail remains a constant, cost-effective and highly responsive channel if done correctly.

Two seniors playing around like children with colourful water toys

Know your audience

Did you know mature consumers tend to view themselves as 10 years younger?

Find out the best way to talk to older consumers by speaking to them directly and gain insightful feedback. Using a communication specialist like Let’s Talk Ageing can help you gain vital insights by offering best practice advice on how older consumers perceive themselves and how that should be reflected in the way you communicate with them. Let’s Talk Ageing can even go a stage further if you need deeper analysis by pulling together targeted focus groups to sense check & discuss your previous campaigns to understand what appealed to them and what didn’t.

"94% of UK advertising personnel are aged under 50, with an average age of 34."

Source: IPA 2020 Agency Census

Keep your message clear

A well-structured, correctly formatted direct mail piece with clear headings and your key messages laid out well, will be much more engaging to your audience than an over-the-top, pushy call to action. Use Serif fonts like Minion Pro, Times New Roman and Georgia for easier reading.

Make sure your type appears on a lighter coloured background.

Font size should be a minimum of 12 points.

Although you might have a lot of information that you wish to share, be cautious on how much you put on the communication. Reducing the number of key points you mention – keep it focussed on the benefits to the customer, leaving industry specific (jargon) language out and ensuring you use Plain English so each item reads simple & clear, and is easy to understand, could make your direct mail more effective.

Senior elderly lady smiling reading direct mail

Stick to what they know

Don’t try to push an older consumer down a particular route. Offer traditional telephone or return mail options for them to get in touch along with digital responses. Although this is changing as we enter a time where the older generation of today grew up with more digital technology, many older consumers still avoid the internet where they can. Direct Mail brings with it an inherit trust that instils confidence in the recipient.

Instead of offering a link to a digital map on a smartphone, try a simple map showing your location in relation to other well-known landmarks. If you plan on offering a special offer for redemption, why not try a physical coupon to redeem. Printed materials instantly give a feeling of value which consumers attach to them. Left in wallets/purses or stuck to the fridge they become a constant reminder of your business and its products when the consumer sees them. By offering a choice of channels the consumer is comfortable with, the likelihood of further engagement will increase.

Sometimes, less is more

Reducing the amount of key points you mention, keeping industry specific terms out of it and ensuring it reads simple & clear could make your direct mail more effective.

Just by using charts, illustrations and graphics you can easily convey important information and cut down on text. Don’t make the visuals too complex though as they can turn off readers. Make sure your information is well-formatted and spaced out with sub-headers, allowing the reader to break up the information into manageable chunks to digest. Finding relevant information for future re-reads also becomes easier when the recipient looks back for reference.

"85% of mature consumers feel that advertising is not relevant to them."

Source = Lets talk ageing, 2021

Get personal

If you have a database of customers, use it to its full potential by using segmentation and targeting. Older mature consumers love the personal touch. Speaking to the recipient as an individual, relating the content with information tailored to them brings a much higher response rate and customers are much more engaged as a result. We’re all programmed to recognise our own names and seeing information that relates directly to us, shows recipients that they are valued by the sender and more likely to continue the conversation. For more help and advice on your next Direct Mail campaign, speak to the the experts

e | solutions@edwps.co.uk

t | 01159 399 797