How to Market to Baby Boomers
Baby boomers, born in two waves between 1946 and 1964, comprise 44 percent of the U.S. adult population, yet they control 70 percent of the country’s disposable income. They are the second-largest group of homebuyers (31 percent) after millennials (35 percent). Clearly, you need tools to market homes directly to baby boomers, but because boomers are independent and individualistic (remember, this is the generation that brought us Woodstock), you’ll need a variety of techniques and approaches to reach them.
1. Location is The Most Important Feature
There’s a hot debate happening in real estate circles: are baby boomers going to downsize when they retire, or will they continue to stay in their luxurious, paid-off, suburban nests? While they tend to have plenty of disposable income, many boomers are keenly aware that they could not afford to buy their current homes in today’s housing market, which can lead them to be leery of letting go of the homes they’ve worked to pay off.
If you want to tempt this demographic to sell their current homes and relocate, your best strategy is presenting options in truly outstanding locations. The biggest predictor of where (and if) baby boomers move is the quality of the neighborhood. While boomers might not be thrilled about downsizing to an 1,800 square-foot condo, if that beautiful new condo sets them up in a trendy neighborhood with a variety of indoor and outdoor recreation options, puts them near high-end shopping, and presents exciting and unique dining opportunities, they will be much more likely to take the plunge.
2. Don’t Skimp on Online Marketing
Unlike the seniors of previous generations, baby boomers are almost all online. They are savvy consumers who use the internet heavily to research their decisions. Having a strong online presence with keywords stressing location and new construction is just as important when targeting boomers as it is when you’re marketing to millennials. If they’re online searching, you need to be sure they are going to find you.
Skip the video footage for this demographic, though, and instead opt for plenty of professional photography of the neighborhood amenities in addition to the property. Remember to publish your ads in online newspapers and magazines, both of which are consumed disproportionately by baby boomers.
3. Get Social
It might surprise you to learn that for the most part, baby boomers are heavy users of social media, favoring traditional platforms like Facebook and Twitter. They might be posting pictures of their grandchildren instead of gym mirror selfies, but that’s no reason to skimp on social media advertising.
Additionally, join Facebook groups tailored to the boomer demographic as well as local real estate groups, and spend time compiling a list of Twitter hashtags that will put your posts in front of your intended audience.
4. Skip the “Senior” Speak
Baby boomers do not want to be reminded of their age. They see themselves as vibrant movers and shakers, and they aren’t going to give that up simply because they’re a bit older these days. It’s crucial that your ads do not contain references to “senior housing,” “retirement,” or any other phrasing that will make your intended audience self-conscious about their age; they prefer to focus on what they will be able to do in their new location! If you try to rely on the lingo that appealed to seniors twenty years ago, you’re likely to find that today’s senior demographic is insulted and turned off rather than drawn in.
5. Focus on The Individual
Baby boomers do not appreciate being labeled and categorized by their age. Part of the ethos of their generation is individualism, freedom of expression, and rebellion. They’re potentially more likely to ask about motorcycle parking rather than asking about Sunday golf opportunities, so don’t assume you know what they’re looking for in a neighborhood. Ask questions about their lifestyle, take notes, and remember the details that make them unique. This attention to detail is going to increase trust and respect between you and your client; when they feel heard and understood, they’re much more likely to respect your recommendations and opinions.