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Attracting the Senior Market

Intro by Skip Cohen

A day rarely goes by that I don’t stop by Sarah Petty’s blog, “Joy of Marketing.” I love the simplicity of her approach to business. It’s based on a foundation of understanding consumer behavior, listening to her target audience, and having outstanding communication skills. Excellent communication skills involve listening/observing just as much as talking or presenting, and Sarah’s one of the very best.

I pulled this post from her archives because first, the timing is so relevant, and second, her approach is about understanding the target audience, seniors. From a timing perspective, the kids are back in school, and a wealth of seniors are out there, whether they’re the upcoming graduating class of 2020 or the future, 2021. And, Marathon’s loaded with ways to help you expand your reach.

Second, in terms of understanding the needs of your audience – one of the number one rules of being a great blogger and developing strong content for your readership is to be helpful. That rule should ALWAYS extend into your business philosophy as well.

Sarah’s idea to create an event for seniors couldn’t be more in line with the concept. There’s a distinct purpose, to attract the target audience. It’s about helping you build a reputation of giving back, instead of being just another retailer looking for business.

Years ago, my good buddy, Tony Corbell and I were on the road teaching for Hasselblad University. A well-respected retailer called me after one of Tony’s workshops and screamed, “Not once did he mention Hasselblad! What’s wrong with you people?”

My response couldn’t have been easier to understand, even if he didn’t agree. “Every image Tony shared and talked about was taken with Hasselblad. We don’t need to tell them who we are; they already know that. But, if we can help them become better photographers, their business will grow, and we’ll get them into Hasselblad when they can afford us.”

Sarah’s post today is one more great idea to help you be so soft-sell with seniors that you’re really hard-sell without being in anybody’s face. It’s about showing support and building relationships that attract seniors who will later become clients.

Oh, and that retailer who yelled at me years ago…he’s out of business!

By Sarah Petty

Even the big guys with the huge marketing budgets are moving to social media to accomplish their sales goals and implement their marketing ideas. Just this week in Brandweek, Macy’s and Sears talked about their social marketing plans to attract prom dress shoppers.

Sears has a dedicated microsite for prom-goers where they can take a quiz to find their prom dress personality, get hair and makeup tips and learn the top 10 hottest trends in prom fashion this year.  What’s important to note about these plans is that these big mass-market retailers are attempting to move from only a provider of prom dresses to a partner in making the perfect dress selection. By giving hair and makeup tips, trend advice and more, they are positioning themselves as experts in all things prom! As small business owners, what can we take away from this?

One thing that high school students are never short on is time. So, this senior portrait season as you’re trying to attract high school seniors to choose you for their senior portraits, why not partner with a local clothing boutique, makeup artist, hair salon and accessories store for a ‘Make Your Senior Year Your Best Ever’ event.

Use your senior model ambassadors to spread the word, run Facebook ads, if you want to charge a small fee then donate the proceeds for the event to local schools.

The event should be an educational event, teaching seniors what colors, hairstyles and clothing options look best for senior portraits. It’s not about selling, it’s about giving advice. Serve refreshments, hire a DJ or at least have a Rockin iTunes playlist made by someone who knows what is hip right now. Give away prizes from each of the sponsors. The possibilities are endless! And remember, it doesn’t have to be expensive. It just has to be cool!