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Email Marketing to Grandparents During The Holidays

17th Dec 2018
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When it comes to online marketing, grandparents are often overlooked as a demographic. This could be a major mistake, especially since stats show that grandparents are adapting to technology quickly and spending more time -- and money -- online. On top of that, grandparents have huge buying power. If you want to tap into this buying power, here are tips on email marketing to grandparents during the holidays.


Why Market to Grandparents during Holidays?

When it comes to holiday marketing, most of the buzz is around Millennials and how to attract their constantly-wavering attention (especially now that many Millennials are parents).


While Millennials should certainly be targeted as of your holiday marketing strategy, they aren’t the only group buying holiday gifts.  Grandparents are a powerful demographic but don’t get nearly as much attention – but should because of these four reasons.


1. 37% of Americans Are Grandparents

The youngest baby boomers turned 50 in 2014. Since then, the percentage of adults over 50 has increased drastically.


With the population aging, the number of grandparents has also skyrocketed. A recent survey reported on in the NY Times found that 37% of American adults aged 30 and above are grandparents. If you are ignoring grandparents in your holiday email marketing campaigns, you are missing out on a huge demographic!


2. Grandparents Spend a Lot of Time Online

You might think of senior citizens as being in the dark ages when it comes to technology, but the stats show differently:

·      87% of Americans aged 50-64 are online

·      71% of older internet users go online nearly every day

·      91% of people 60+ use email


What’s even more impressive is that baby boomers spend an average of 27 hours per week online. That’s two MORE hours than those aged 16-34!


3. Baby Boomers Have Money to Spend during the Holidays

As talked about here, baby boomers have a lot of money to spend. They spend $400 billion more than all other generations each year. People 50+ are actually responsible for HALF of all money spent on consumer goods!

When it comes to holiday spending, seniors are especially likely to spend money. One recent survey found that seniors aged 65+ planned to spend an average of $2,388 on holiday gifts. This is drastically higher than the average holiday gift spending of $700.

It shouldn’t be too surprising that seniors are willing to fork out a lot of money for holiday gifts. As an AARP survey found, the majority of grandparents believe it is their role to give grandchildren special gifts.


4. Grandparents Are More Likely to Open their Emails

Whether it’s because they have more time on their hands or because they haven’t learned to ignore marketing emails yet, grandparents respond well to email.

As Marla Theodore writes, seniors are more likely to open and read their email than younger counterparts.

On top of this, seniors are also more likely to respond to email. As Nadia Hamdani says here, “They’re more likely to click through to your site vs. another method across the 65+ age group. Older prospects equals better open rates.” 


Tips Tailored to Grandparents

So, now you know that you should be marketing to grandparents… but how do you do it? Here are some simple tips to ensure you tap into the potential of seniors in your holiday email marketing campaign.



Segment Email Lists by Age

One of the most important strategies for email marketing success is list segmentation. As talked about here, segmentation works.

Segmented email lists get 60% more clicks and open rates increase by 14.64%. These aren’t small differences! During the holidays, segmented lists could mean the difference between a good or bad sales season.

In order to market specifically to grandparents, you’ll have to segment them into a list.

How can you figure out which subscribers are grandparents? One good method is to do an online survey. You can provide an incentive – such as a raffle – to get people to complete the survey.


Use the Right Language

Millennials might live on a heightened sense of drama and enjoy lingo like “BAE” and “Yasss,” but this won’t work with baby boomers.

When writing marketing emails to baby boomers, keep in mind that they’ve been around the block a few times. Business English HQ gives these tips for writing for baby boomers:

·      Take a personal and friendly approach.

·      Show the big picture.

·      Avoid manipulative and sexist language.

·      Proofread! Baby boomers don’t like grammatical mistakes.

·      Remember that they want to be acknowledged and respected for their experience and age.


Create a Holiday Gift Guide Specifically for Grandparents

Need a way to increase engagement during the holidays? Write a gift guide.

As retail expert and content strategist at Vend says, “A gift guide is one of the most powerful tools you can have during the holidays. It allows you to showcase your products, inspire shoppers, and stay top of mind throughout the season.” 


For email marketing to grandparents, you could make guides like the “Top Gifts Grandchildren Want this Holiday Season.” Take it a step further by making guides for different age brackets of kids. That way grandparents can go to the guides which are relevant for their grandchildren’s ages.  



Make It Easy for Seniors

Even though grandparents are using technology (more than you probably realize), they still aren’t as savvy as younger audiences. They might not understand design aspects like hamburger menus.

Baby boomers also aren’t used to the fast-paced content that appeals to younger generations. They need things to go slower. Also take into account that their eyesight might not be as good as younger subscribers. 

To effectively market to grandparents with email, you should:

·      Have very clear Calls to Action

·      Use a larger font

·      Pay attention to color contrast

·      Avoid flashy graphics which could be confusing

·      Video content should be a slower pace without too many visuals


Have Descriptive Landing Pages

Seniors buy the same things that everyone else is buying. But, compared to younger generations, older Americans do much more research before making a purchase.

Email marketing doesn’t lend itself to this sort of pre-purchase research. Generally, your emails should be no more than one page long – making sure to keep all the important info above the fold.

In order to convert grandparents, you should make sure your email CTAs take subscribers to landing pages where they can get more info about products. Depending on what you offer, you might also want to include an 800 number that they can call to get more info.


Focus On the Benefits for the Family

A good rule of marketing is to focus on the benefits that the product offers. When it comes to marketing to grandparents during the holidays though, those benefits should be for the grandchildren. 

Grandparents are very willing to spend money on their grandchildren during the holidays – and are often the ones buying big-ticket items.

Talk about how the gift will make their grandchildren happy this holiday season, about the meaningfulness of those gifts, and how they’ll help their cash-strapped children by helping with the holiday gifts. 



Don’t Focus on Cost

With younger generations, you might get conversions by focusing on deals and lower prices.

This approach doesn’t work well with grandparents. As Fishbat points out here, baby boomers have more disposable income. They don’t care about lower price – they care about quality.

Focus your email marketing campaigns and funnels on quality. Talk about how your products are:

·      Long-lasting

·      Dependable

·      Safe

·      Reliable


Getting Started

If you aren’t already segmenting subscribers by age, it might be too late to market to grandparents this holiday season.  However, this is something you should keep in mind going forward. Start segmenting your lists based on many factors, including age, so you can get better results by creating campaigns for each unique demographic. 

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