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Extending Your Welcome

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Businesses have a tendency to focus on their standard demographic. If they typically serve a specific age, gender, orientation, or interest group, it is natural to sometimes narrowly define that group when creating a marketing plan. It is important, however, to expand the scope to include other growing markets whenever possible.

As the senior citizen internet user population increases, how should your website respond? The good news is that the 'rules' are largely the same, with a few minor tweaks.

Begin with a straightforward approach
It should not take more than a few seconds of viewing your website to discern what your company does and what goods/services you offer. Use easy-to-find headers, tabs, and links, and do not get overly wordy. Just because a mature user may have some extra leisure time does not mean he wants to waste it reading pointless or repetitive details in your content.

Establish credibility
The essential qualities of honesty, integrity, reliability, and value are, perhaps, more important in the senior market than in any other. Seniors are savvy and experienced enough to know if you are just trying to grab a quick sale. Be sure you can back up any claims you make.

Adopt a multigenerational design
Unless it is specifically suited to your business, avoid using slang or culturally-limiting verbiage. The same principle applies to images. Ask yourself if your design would be equally tolerable to a 25-year-old, a 45-year-old, and a 65-year-old. If you use photos of people, do they represent only one age bracket, or is there variety? Do your visual images of seniors depict them as needy and weak or vibrant and confident?

Highlight your offerings
If you have not done so already, determine if any goods/services you provide might particularly appeal to a more mature faction. If so, highlight them in a separate section or page that recognizes and values your senior clients. Then consider adding any features that would make the search even more efficient.

The recent increase in people over the age of 55 using the internet is a win-win situation, if approached correctly. As seniors fight outdated stereotypes, welcome them to your business. You will gain a solid client base, and they will recognize your quality product or service. Soon word of mouth recommendations will spread among this crucial demographic.

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