I am beginning a new question and answer series here on the blog. I receive some great questions and hope the answers shared here will be a benefit to the homebuilding community. If you have something to add or experience that will help, please post a comment.

Q:

Mike, 
I am a manager for a sales team. We sell retirement homes. I have just starting digging into your book and I was wondering if you believe that the baby boomers are inclined to jump on the internet to search for homes? We have not had a powerful online presence because we have just been involved in the old traditional marketing methods. I hope to change this and I am going to use your methods but I would hate to direct our attention to an area where our customers are not spending their time.  Can you enlighten me any? 
 
Thanks, C.A.

A:

Thank you for the great question. There are 2 things to consider:
 
1st  – Consider your product and the boomer buying cycle. It is my assumption that the buying cycle will last longer for your customers. They may not need to move immediately or have the sense of urgency that younger buyers will have. Most likely, their research process will be extended; which means your follow-up process will need to match.  Some of the best tools you can use to effectively manage their experience is your internet presence and consistent email follow-up.
 
2nd – Internet usage among boomers and seniors is one of the fast growing segments of the market. The number of U.S. adults online over age 50 will soar over the next ten years. In 2008 73.7% of those aged 50-64 and 34.1% of those 65 and above will use Internet. My grandma is in her 80’s and puts her Mac to good use sending email, making home videos, Googling… That doesn’t mean you forgo traditional marketing altogether, it just means that you need to create a balanced program that encompasses the internet to attract and assist with your sales/marketing process for your specific demographic. Plus, if you give your boomer customers enough compelling reasons, they will “spend their time” online.
 
The internet is continually evolving and we need to always improve our offerings to keep up with customer expectations.

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