5 Critical Website Considerations When Selling to Seniors

Date Posted: September 10, 2019 by Michael McCall

Identifying as heavy internet users, the over-50 population are tech savvy and command over $7 trillion in spending power—with shopping being their second most popular online activity.

Baby boomers love researching information on the internet before making purchasing decisions. Because the first objective in their buyer journey focuses on garnering more trust with a company, simply a poor website experience creates enough doubt to scare this group away. Within seconds.

According to Tyton Media, over 94 percent of people admitted they determine whether or not to trust a company based on website design. Meaning simple considerations—such as font size, ease of navigation, and layout—can be the key between a high sales rate or high bounce rate.

For this reason, above any other form of marketing, a strong, high-performing website should be the cornerstone of businesses looking to connect with this crowd. Especially one built around the requirements and needs of these particular individuals. Here’s how to meet seniors on their terms.

1.Choose the Right Platform
Whether looking to revamp a current site or start from scratch, your first decision concerns platform. This sets the function and appearance parameters, which ultimately determine accessibility and adaptability as the business grows. Depending on a number of factors, including budget, company size, technical ability, you have the option between three website platforms:

Basic (e.g., Wix, Squarespace, or Weebly) These tend to provide a super-simple design with intuitive navigation, clean appearance, and low-cost setup and maintenance without any coding knowledge. The design options and functionality are restrictive and don’t offer much scope to grow with your business.

Intermediate (e.g., WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal) Expect greater functionality that scales with your business—to a point. The setup, maintenance, and updates or amendments to content might require a professional coder.

Expert (Site coded from scratch) Working with a design team allows for a fully bespoke system with myriad options for functionality and design. This more complicated, expensive solution requires a professional coder from the start and all changes thereafter.

2. Make It Modern and Simple to Use

People develop lasting impressions based on the first seven seconds of any interaction. A professional, visually appealing, and user-friendly site establishes the customer’s opinion about your company. Before they even read a word.

Build trust immediately by:
• Opting for a modern design, heavy on images and infographics
• Keeping the word count minimal, but descriptive
• Using clean, intuitive CTA buttons that stand out
• Making your service descriptions easily accessible
• Keeping navigation standard, intuitive, and familiar
• Collecting customer feedback with forms, instead of email hyperlinks
• Using simple, clean transitions between pages
• Considering a large or changeable font
• Ensuring a high contrast between the text and the background
• Limiting the text overlaid on images or graphics
• Choosing plain backgrounds to avoid distraction

3. Optimize for A Seamless Experience
Slow sites are frustrating, confusing, and ultimately lead to people leaving for a competitor’s. Ensuring that nothing slows down their natural flow through your website will lead to greater sales. When optimizing, keep the following in mind:
• Design intuitive navigation by:
o Keeping buttons and processes consistent with current trends and standards
o Using breadcrumbs (hyperlinks that help the user identify their location on the site)
o Clarifying how to return to the home page
o Using internal links within the content to allow for clear navigation between sections
• Limit distraction on the screen (i.e., don’t have a lot going on)
• Use subtitles for any voiceover and video content
• Be explicit about your offerings and clearly describe how the user will benefit from your CTAs
• Ensure page-load speeds and downloads are fast
• Provide a secure browsing experience and communicate their privacy as being your number one priority.

4. Ensure Your Site Is Responsive
Our seniors aren’t just using desktops at home in their slippers. Seven out of 10 Americans over 50 own a smartphone, and 46 percent of them use it to access the web.

Econsultancy reports that 62 percent of companies that designed a website specifically for mobile saw increased sales.

Therefore, not only do you need to consider this for future efforts, but understand the limitations the small device could have on how users experience your site. Not only should the website respond to the various screen sizes, but the content should react to individual changes the user makes to the screen size, text, or image size.

5. Write Content to Help and Inform
Given inbound marketing is such an effective, attention-grabbing tool, much of the content being written places a high priority on SEO and Google rankings. Often failing to provide sufficient information beyond the needs of traffic spiders. Leaving would-be customers confused and dissatisfied.

Ranking on the first page means nothing if visitors don’t convert to customers. Therefore, the focus needs to be on providing quality material that educates and informs.

That and presenting your content in such a way that aligns with your users’ preferences. Here are a few tips from the Institute for Aging on how to best present your content for older audiences:
• Write in the active voice, putting the focus on people and actions
• Use a positive, concise, direct tone
• Limit key points to five per section, number any lists, and summarize when possible
• Keep Google happy with regularly published, fresh and engaging content of 2,000 words or more
• Diversify the media you use to include blogs, videos, podcasts, and infographics.

What’s the Key Takeaway?

While design plays a crucial role across all demographics, the over-50 crowd has a particularly high requirement for quality, informative, easy-to-use sites. They expect a welcoming space that presents ideas logically, with a thoughtful progression that’s not overwhelming.

As the population ages, our online practices must evolve to meet the specific needs of an older user. Considering this group when developing or changing your website will help ensure that your first point of contact with seniors isn’t your last.

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