New Q.A. Series – Boomers and the Internet

Posted by
Mike Lyon
Date
 November 17, 2008
Comments
10 comments

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.

  • Hi Mike
    I am an Internet Marketing Specialist and as of late I have had some challenges with convincing people in the building industry that the next generation of home builders are here. It seems to me that so many that I speak to are “stuck” in the traditional marketing methods and give no credence to the Generation X & Y buyers that are online looking for their new or first home. What is your advice on convincing them and in what ways would you suggest marketing to this new demographic?

  • Hi Mike
    I am an Internet Marketing Specialist and as of late I have had some challenges with convincing people in the building industry that the next generation of home builders are here. It seems to me that so many that I speak to are “stuck” in the traditional marketing methods and give no credence to the Generation X & Y buyers that are online looking for their new or first home. What is your advice on convincing them and in what ways would you suggest marketing to this new demographic?

  • It’s a challenge. Hopefully – the tough market is forcing some builders to shift their thinking. The best thing you can do is site specifics. Use the statistics from NAR studies, Pew Internet and more to show that the buyers are definitely online.

  • It’s a challenge. Hopefully – the tough market is forcing some builders to shift their thinking. The best thing you can do is site specifics. Use the statistics from NAR studies, Pew Internet and more to show that the buyers are definitely online.

  • One thing i am seeing is older folks aren’t using google, they use yahoo search engine to look for home. Something to think about.

  • One thing i am seeing is older folks aren’t using google, they use yahoo search engine to look for home. Something to think about.

  • As a comment towards online marketing to boomers: We are a single family home builder marketing to 50+ buyers. We have found that not only do we need to reach out to our buying demographic, we need to reach out to the adult children of those buyers. I, for one, am one of those adult children and I find myself constantly online looking for a place for my parents. When I find interesting places, I e-mail them the web address and they look for themselves. Hope this helps.

  • As a comment towards online marketing to boomers: We are a single family home builder marketing to 50+ buyers. We have found that not only do we need to reach out to our buying demographic, we need to reach out to the adult children of those buyers. I, for one, am one of those adult children and I find myself constantly online looking for a place for my parents. When I find interesting places, I e-mail them the web address and they look for themselves. Hope this helps.

  • Wow Carrie,

    You make an excellent point! It is not just the prospect – but the prospects friends and family who help. Brilliant! Good to see you are maximizing your presence. Awesome!

  • Wow Carrie,

    You make an excellent point! It is not just the prospect – but the prospects friends and family who help. Brilliant! Good to see you are maximizing your presence. Awesome!