Today's Senior Magazine
PO Box 391, Magalia, CA 95954
877-739-1022 toll free

From Evergreen Direct:

1. Know your market. In the same way that every automobile isn't a Ford, every member of the mature market isn't a "senior." Those over 50 are part of a multi-segmented group, each segment having its own wants and needs. What's more, each age segment can be defined further by income, ethnic status, health, discretionary time, and more. Is your target market in their early fifties, possibly with children still in college and likely still part of the working force? Are you talking to those in their early 60's who may well have impending retirement and health concerns?  The point is, when it comes to the mature market, one size does not fit all. It's important that you identify the segment to whom you are selling and take the time to incorporate that knowledge in everything from your copy and design to your choice of media.

2. Just the facts, please. "Been there, done that," may well be the battle cry of the over 50 set. The most effective sales messages to this group explains in a clear and straightforward way exactly why they should be interested in what you have to offer and exactly what benefits they will receive.

3. Build relationships. As a whole, this market values personal ties and will take the time to get to know you and your product or service. Experience tells them that few things require an instant decision. It's unlikely that they will respond well to pressure tactics.

4. Use lifestage marketing. Life-changing events (a child's marriage, retirement, moving, health problems, etc.) are defining moments for this market.
Use these events to create connections. For example, market fitness products by focusing on the parents' free time now that the kids are gone - or financial services products that provide enough post-retirement security for a dream vacation.

5. Educate the market. Some of the most successful campaigns educate the market on real-life concerns while subtly slipping the product message in between the lines. American Express, for example, built its pre-retirement base by sponsoring seminars on fraudulent telemarketing. Promotional events were low-key, but those attending knew the sponsor cared enough to help them protect their money.

6. Design with eyes in mind. No matter how young they may feel and act, diminished vision is a fact of life for most people over the age of 50. Set type in a readable size (12 point is recommended) and use plenty of white space, bold headlines and subheads to make copy a pleasure, rather than a chore to read.
Consider column width when designing. While long copy is acceptable to this group, which overall prefers a strong rationale for buying, shorter columns are easier to read than type set across an entire page width.  In photography and graphics, four color is preferable to black and white. Choose models with some sensitivity to your market. Clearly today's over-50 group is not confined to rocking chairs...or to the golf course. Use photography and art that reflect the lifestyle of the group to whom you are speaking.

7. Avoid Scare tactics. Scare tactics and discouraging news about aging won't motivate this group to act or buy. Consider this: Seven in ten people over 50 say they love to try new things; roughly 10 percent of those attending college are over 50; health club memberships by this group are up nearly 150 percent since 1988. Direct marketers who recognize the joys of aging stand a much better chance of reaching this market.

8. Don't call them names. Probably the quickest way to turn off the younger members of the over-50 group is by offering them "senior" discounts, or products designed for "seniors."
When speaking to those over 65, it pays to avoid labels such as "old" and "elderly". As one ad executive says, "the only label these people like is 'grandparent'."

9. Demonstrate your credibility. If your company has been in business for 25 years, say so. If you're new on the block, emphasize your commitment to customer service. Testimony from satisfied clients, research results, professional endorsements, documentations and evidence are all key copy elements.

10. Remove the risk. Offer a money-back guarantee, free trial period or lifetime warranty. Reassure the reader that there are real human beings at the other end of the correspondence.
Use names in your copy as you talk about the people who will be making the product, handling the account, or providing the service you offer.

This list was taken from Evergreen Direct experts in marketing to older adults.