Many active adult and senior living communities are marketed as 55+ or 65+ communities. And yet, when younger seniors (prospects ages 55-64) visit these communities in person, they may struggle to find residents as young as they are.
While industry professionals may have visions of communities where younger, more vibrant seniors make up the lion’s share of the population, making that transition is tough. But that doesn’t mean that your community shouldn’t try to attract youngers seniors — you just have to know what resonates with them. Here are four ways you can attract younger seniors through your marketing.
1. Adapt Your Product Offering Based on Their Wants
Many senior living communities struggle to attract younger seniors because their product hasn’t been adapted for prospective residents ages 55-64. For most of this demographic, it’s too early to entice them with promises of a full continuum of care.
Consider developing an active-adult community that appeals to younger seniors instead. That’s what Ecumen is doing with their co-op senior living communities under the Zvago brand. At Zvago communities, such as Glen Lake in Minnetonka, Minnesota, residents own their homes (meaning they can customize to their heart’s content) and have access to state-of-the-art amenities. This includes features you may find in a continuing care retirement community (CCRC), but without any of the continuum of care services.
This helps the community appeal to younger, more active seniors who may not be ready to move to a CCRC. Ecumen is betting on the notion that, once a resident reaches an age where their healthcare needs increase, they will then transition into one of Ecumen’s more care-focused community’s or pay for their home care services.
2. Lead with Lifestyle
There’s a reason active adults communities like to focus on lifestyle opportunities in their marketing. When marketing to younger seniors, it’s important to dispel any notions that a move to a senior living community will be the beginning of a listless daily routine in which significant time is spent in their rooms rather than out pursuing more active endeavors.
By leading with lifestyle, you can quickly quell these preconceived notions from prospective residents who may have them, as well as separate your community from the pack of competitors that are selling accommodations ahead of a lifestyle. Emphasize all the opportunities for social and cultural wellness, highlight all the attractions offered near your campus and show off your community’s amenities. The three most sought after amenities for adults looking at 55+ communities are swimming pools, fitness centers and walking/biking trails. If your community can boast one or all three of these, you’re already ahead of the game!
Just look at Kisco Senior Living’s La Posada community in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. The community recently completed a $35 million expansion, which includes a renovated clubhouse, 3,400 square-foot wellness center, pub, salon, dining venues and more. These are the types of features that complement the active lifestyle that adults ages 55+ desire and should be highlighted to appeal to them.
3. Choose Your Words Wisely
While society may use “elderly” as a catch-all term for adults over the age of 50, people that fall into this demographic, especially those younger than 65, may not see themselves as elders, nor do they want to be reminded of their advancing years.
Why turn off prospects with words such as “elderly” and “aged” when you can appeal to their ambitions using more aspirational language? Highlight the best parts of 55+ living in your messaging. Encourage younger prospects to “re-imagine 55+ living” and “pursue what matters most.” This type of language speaks more to what they want out of their lives, as opposed to the fact that they are “old.”
Take a look at Clark Retirement Community’s website, which was developed by Creating Results, and pay close attention to the language used on the homepage. Can you find words such as “elderly” and “old” on the page? Neither can we. Instead, we opted to use messaging that promotes all of the different lifestyle opportunities that will appeal to younger seniors.
4. Meet Them Where They Are: Online
If you’re still not convinced that online is the way to go when marketing to seniors (especially younger ones), here are some statistics for you:
- 51% of Boomers spend 15 hours per week online, compared to only 41% of Millennials who do the same. Eleven of those hours are spent on Facebook!
- Adults ages 55-64 purchase household goods, make travel arrangements, order groceries and read online more than 16-24 year olds do.
- 77% of adults ages 55-64 say they use the internet to research goods and services prior to purchase.
If you’re not dedicating the necessary resources to market to the younger seniors online, you’re missing opportunities to reach them through one of the mediums they frequent the most when making purchasing decisions.
According to direct marketing agency DMN3:
This older segment takes action based on what they see on social media, and most of the time it’s focused on finding more information. More than half of Leading-Edge Boomers will visit a company website or continue the search on a search engine after seeing something on a social networking site.
Invest in Facebook advertising (and other online and social platforms frequented by younger seniors). Make sure your targeting is set to show your ads to the younger seniors that you want to attract and that your creative really resonates with them to bring in more leads. That means referring back to the insights offered previously in this article such as leading with lifestyle and choosing the right words.
While the journey to independent living is still a lengthy one, keeping these insights in mind can help you attract younger prospects into your sales funnel.
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