Marketing to Baby Boomers & Seniors: Creating a Website/Online Business Plan

According to a Google/Nielsen Boomer Survey August 2010, seventy one percent (71%) of Baby Boomers typically use the internet when making purchasing decisions. And, fifty percent (50%) of Boomers spend over $500 online annually. Creating your website to increase the satisfaction quotient and reduce the frustration quotient is essential. Your website is a key to success and creating a business website is no different than developing any business.

In Alice in Wonderland, the Cheshire Cat responded to Alice’s question “Which road do I take?”  stating “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” Completion of this handy worksheet will put you on the right road and help you capture your vision, direction and results expected. It is basic information you should compile and the more you include the better your resulting plan.

For specific design tips please visit Additional Design Tips for Baby Boomers and seniors and The Eyes Have It and be sure to make you website as user friendly as possible to Baby Boomers and seniors.

The Basics

  1. Include the name of your company, your website and the current/intended web address?
  2. Describe your company and the concept, product or service your site will provide.
  3. Identify the main contacts for this project? Who has final approval? What is the approval process?
  4. What is the timeframe to start and complete the project? Why? Ex: tradeshow, product launch, end of year budget, other.
  5. Identify regulatory or industry compliance needs that are required in the design of this website?

Your Objectives

  1. What are the top three business objectives for your website in order of importance?
    Ex: improve sales, increase customer satisfaction, reduce time spent searching for information, etc.
  2. How will you know if the site is a success?
    Ex: 20% increase in sales, 70% of surveyed users expressing satisfaction, 30% reduction in time spent searching for info. 

Current Site (if you have one)

  1. What aspects of your current site work well and why are they successful?
  2. What aspects of your current site are unsuccessful and why?
  3. How does your current website fit into your overall marketing strategy?
  4. Will you update your current site using a content management system? If so, describe the system and its main features. Are you happy with the system?

Your Audience

  1. How do you think Baby Boomers and seniors currently perceive your company/product/service?
  2. Describe the different types of Baby Boomer and seniors you expect will visit your website in as much detail as possible.
  3. Why will Baby Boomers and seniors use this kind of site?
  4. Why will Baby Boomers and seniors choose your site over others?
  5. What do you imagine Baby Boomers and seniors would want to do on your site?

Content and Design

  1. Describe how you would like Baby Boomers and seniors to perceive the website.
    Ex: experiential, interactive, modern, professional, friendly, edgy, fun etc.
  2. Consider the websites of competitors and organizations marketing products or services to Baby Boomers and seniors. What appears to work? What doesn’t?
  3. Identify websites targeting Baby Boomers and seniors and why you like the visual design.
  4. Outline any ideas you may have for your site. How would these features support your business goals and the goals of Baby Boomers and seniors?
    Ex: develop ways to make your site user friendly to help Baby Boomers and seniors find related items and promote up-selling.
  5. If you need a content management system, describe the features you would like.
    Ex: updatable news, multiple authors, stock control, user moderation, etc.
  6. How will you provide written content for the site? Timeline?
  7. What branding elements must be included? Ex: colors schemes, logo guidelines, taglines, etc.
  8. What items/elements should be avoided?
  9. Do you have photos/illustrations available for use, or is purchased stock photography an option?  Are the images you are considering in a high resolution format?

Technology

  1. Where do you plan to host the website?
  2. On what type of server will you be hosted the site (Windows, Linux)?
  3. Will there be any special technologies used on the site (database connection, form processor, etc.)?
  4. Is there, or will there be, a website analytics package installed on the website? If not, consider installing Google Analytics.

Finally, as you develop your website designed to attract Baby Boomer and senior customers remember as we age we experience changes in eyesight, motor control, and memory (visit Additional Design Tips for Baby Boomers and seniors and The Eyes Have It). For example, due to changing eyesight, many seniors experience difficulty when websites contain text that is small or has limited white space.  Baby Boomers and seniors overwhelmingly prefer websites they find easy to use. It isn’t surprising to learn that most other user groups feel the same way. This explains why usability studies often find an added benefit of making websites more older customer friendly:  It makes them easier for everyone else to use as well.

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