marketing to baby boomers

Marketing to Baby Boomers: Develop a Strong Value Proposition

When it comes to marketing to baby boomers, you must have a strong value proposition. OK, so what the heck is a value proposition anyway—and how do you create one? Keep reading. 

What is a value proposition? 

Oh, marketing! You got to love the jargon, right? Sometimes referred to as a unique selling proposition (or USP), a value proposition shows what’s in it for the prospect and why the prospect should choose you instead of your competitors. Because at the end of the day, that’s what prospects care about: How does your product or service benefit them?  

Your value prop shouldn’t be confused with a company mission statement. A mission statement is about your company’s goals and vision. A value proposition is focused on the prospect’s needs and pain points and how you address those pain points. It’s a true proposition—in essence, a proposal—about why the prospect should choose you. An effective value prop will get into the benefits you offer and how you’re different from your competitors.  

Is a value proposition a written statement?  

An effective value proposition is usually a short paragraph rather than one simple sentence. You need more space than a single sentence since a value prop gets into what’s in it for the customer, which includes their needs/pain points and how you solve for those better than your competitors. 

How is a value proposition used? 

Your senior living website home page is the best place for your value proposition since that’s your most trafficked website page and it sets the tone for what website visitors can expect. You might have your value prop “blurb” in the header area or just below it, depending on the headline. 

But that doesn’t mean you can’t have the value prop—or a version of it—appear on other pages. In fact, your value proposition will influence the messaging you use in all of your marketing materials, from your internal website pages to advertising to everything in between. 

What makes for a good value proposition? 

Here’s what to aim for when developing your value proposition.  

  • Be specific. Your value proposition should be incredibly specific about the benefits your prospects and customers receive compared to what your competitors offer. There’s no room for vagueness or generalizations. Be clear and direct. Avoid jargon. 
  • Be accurate. This is not the place to be aspirational. Don’t tout anything that’s not true today.  
  • Be authentic. Accuracy and authenticity are two sides of the same coin—they go hand in hand. Accuracy is about being truthful. Authenticity is about being genuine in your tone and how you present your value proposition. It should reflect your overall senior living brand identity 

An important caveat: Your value proposition won’t be all things to all people. Why? Because your senior living community isn’t for everyone. In some cases, your competitors might very well be the better option, and that’s OK.  

Why are value propositions so important? 

An effective value prop does the heavy lifting for you. It can help people self-identify whether your community sounds like the right fit for them—or not. The ones who aren’t the right fit can go elsewhere. The ones who are the right fit can continue their journey with you, downloading content and requesting tours. Ultimately, these “best fit” folks will be easier to convert into move-ins. 

Why do value propositions matter so much when marketing to baby boomers? 

Boomers are tech-savvy. The youngest Boomers are in their late fifties. The oldest are in their mid-70s. These folks do online research. They will visit your website. They will read online reviews. And they will look for a community that can serve their specific needs. Once you’re on their “pass” list, you might never get back on their “consideration” list. The better you are at clearly conveying the key benefit to your ideal boomer prospect, the easier it will be to keep the conversation moving forward. 

How do I write a value proposition? 

There’s no shortage of ways to go about it—and every marketing site has its own take and approach. Try not to overthink it too much. Instead, pretend you have one shot to communicate why someone should choose your senior living community instead of another community. What would you say? 

  • Work with your team on brainstorming answers to that “why.” Dig deep. All senior living communities are selling the same thing, more or less, so you have to go beyond the basics and figure out what makes your community special 
  • Interview your happiest residents. Ask them what they would write if they had one shot to convince someone to move into your community.  
  • Read your reviews—the good ones and the bad ones. Create a spreadsheet with words/phrases that people keep using.  
  • Audit competitors. Not just physical competitors in the area, but also competitors you compete with online. (They’re not always the same.) How are they positioning themselves? What’s their value proposition?  

Once you do this work, you’ll want to identify the focus of your value proposition, meaning the number one reason why someone should move into your community rather than a competitor’s.  

Take a step back. Challenge your own assumptions. Allow yourself to be persuaded by the evidence. For example, maybe you originally were thinking the community’s modern accommodations were the key selling point, but all the reviewers and residents keep talking about the warm staff that feels like family.  

After you’ve identified the number one reason why someone should move into your community, you need to write the “blurb,” as we affectionately call it, which will include:  

  • A compelling headline that clearly communicates the key benefit you’re delivering to your ideal prospect 
  • A short paragraph that continues to make your case by building off the headline (you only have a few lines) 

Draft several versions. Ideally, work with a copywriter. Writing short persuasive copy isn’t as easy as it sounds. In fact, sometimes writing short copy is harder than writing longer missives. So it’s a worthwhile investment to work with a writer. If you need some inspiration, WordStream has a great article with seven examples of compelling value propositions 

 Once you have a few versions, you’ll want to discuss it internally with marketing and sales (and possibly the C-suite if they want to provide input). You might want to get feedback from some of the happy residents you talked to—simply ask which version captures how they would position your community. You can (and should) test your value props to see what resonates. 

Can Senior Living SMART help me develop a winning value proposition? 

You bet! We have a stable of talented copywriters and marketing strategists who can work with your team in uncovering the key differentiator you offer. From there, we can craft an engaging value proposition for your home page and use it to guide your overall messaging.  

Get in touch and let’s discuss what makes your community special. 

marketing to boomers

Marketing to Boomers: 4 Hot Tips

If you’re a senior living marketer and you haven’t created a strategy for marketing to boomers, you better hop to it—and quickly. Below are four hot tips to keep in mind. 

  1. Develop different marketing strategies for Boomers I and Boomers II.

Say what? Yes, you need to think of Baby Boomers in two distinct categories—and for good reason.  

As Beresford Research explains, “We occasionally break up Boomers into two different cohorts because the span is so large, and the oldest of the generation have different sensibilities than the younger. In the U.S., Boomers II are just young enough to have missed being drafted into war.” 

We added the emphasis in the above quote because it’s a key point. Your strategy for marketing to older Boomers should be different from how you talk to younger Boomers. 

As we write this post in 2022, the folks in “Boomers I” range from 68 to 76. The folks in “Boomers II” range from 58 to 67. You likely know what we’re going to say next . . . an almost 60-year-old Boomer is going to have vastly different needs than a 75-year-old Boomer. And how you market to them will need to be different as a result. 

  1. Focus on the right Boomers for your senior living community.

Not every Boomer is a candidate for what you’re selling. For example, not every 68-year-old will be a good match for your senior living community, and that’s OK. Your job as a senior living marketer is to focus on 68-year-olds who ARE a great match for your community.  

That’s why buyer persona research is so important. Here’s the thing, though. Sometimes it’s hard for people within the C-suite and even within senior living marketing and sales teams to understand how valuable this research is.  

See, buyer persona research doesn’t produce something tangible for your investment—it’s not like a website, white paper, or batch of social media posts. What persona research gives you is insights—insights into who your ideal buyer is based on what your community offers, its price points, its location, and so forth. If you’re operating a community in midland Texas, for example, your ideal buyer will be different from the ideal buyer who is looking for a beachside community in San Diego. 

  1. Be nimble with your messaging.

One of the most important pieces of advice we can offer is this: Prepare to pivot. A lot.  

Because there are two discrete Boomer cohorts, you’ll need to design different messages—messages that will need to evolve over time and as people age from one to the other.   

You should also get in the habit of regularly testing your messages—from email subject lines, to ad headlines, to landing page copy, to everything in between. Pay close attention to the results, and never assume results will remain static. You’ll need to adjust, refine, and possibly redevelop messaging much more often than you did when creating messaging for older generations. What works one year—or in one campaign—might not work in the next one. 

You’ll also need to adjust your marketing plans accordingly. For example, you might need to earmark more budget for ongoing persona work and messaging development.  

  1. Embrace experimentation.

Back in the “old days” of senior living marketing, plenty of tried-and-true marketing vehicles existed, like direct mailers, print ads, and even church bulletins. But some of the folks in the Boomer II cohort are only 58! They are incredibly tech savvy with their smartphones and social media. They conduct much of their daily lives online, from banking to buying a car to planning their retirement.  

Bottom line: Determining a sweet spot for marketing to younger Boomers won’t happen overnight—if it happens at all. That’s why you need to embrace experimentation and get creative with your marketing. Don’t be afraid to try new things, but also accept that not all marketing vehicles are going to give you the results you’re looking for.   

When test-driving new marketing vehicles, a) don’t over-invest and b) make sure you test, test, test. If you discover a marketing vehicle that delivers a solid ROI, wonderful. But never assume it will always deliver the same ROI.  

Marketing has changed dramatically over the last two decades—and more seismic shifts are bound to occur over the next ten years. Pay attention. Test all assumptions. Do more of what works. But always be prepared to abandon what’s stopped working. 

BONUS: Choose an agency partner who is equally nimble. 

If you decide to outsource your senior living marketing to an agency, make sure you choose a partner that understands the four tips above. Your agency partner should have expertise in persona development, analytics, and the latest marketing tactics. At Senior Living SMART, we can handle all of that—and more. Get in touch and let’s talk about marketing to boomers!