Thursday, March 5, 2015

Promote with seniors

      Free daily tips, information, advice, and ideas
      to help you better manage your small business.

     Seniors are a good source of referrals. And they are a formidable market themselves for your products and services.

     Many seniors are now retired, and more retire every week. They're also living longer than previous generations. They have disposable income--but they've learned to live on budgets. They have many friends, relatives, and associates who trust their judgement. 

     Small businesses typically serve local communities. Tap into the seniors demographic for some surprising promotional opportunities.

     Example: Peter's small computer business needed more customers. He noticed that he got some referrals after giving free computer workshops at a senior center. He would take all comers, showing them how the basics, how to access and use social media, and more advanced demonstrations for those who already used computers. Peter realized that all those grandmothers and grandfathers were spreading the word. He expanded his free demonstrations to other senior centers, and today it is his only promotional activity. Many referrals keep him busy in his business.

     Example: Ellen used to own a small tea shop with only four tables. The shelves were lined with teas of all descriptions. Customers stopped in to have a cup of tea and purchase tea to take home or to give as gifts. At a town street fair, Ellen set up a table offering free cups of tea. Se noticed that her teas were a hit with all age groups--but especially seniors. Later, she began offering tea demonstrations and talks at clubs, group meetings, and senior centers. Today, Ellen has expanded her tea shop into the space next door. She still serves tea and pastries to a loyal clientele, but her business really took off when she began using social media to drive customers to her web page. Seniors have referred people from all over the country to Ellen. They order and Ellen now is spending lots of time daily packaging and shipping teas. 

     Example: Bill runs a small home improvement business. He and his two helpers take care of the odd jobs around the house--painting, replacing a window, cleaning gutters, repairing sheetrock, and other needs. Bill takes a two-pronged approach--especially with seniors. (1) He takes time on his initial visit to listen to the customer's concerns and he homes in on what they want done. He always suggests that he begin with only one job. If they are satisfied, he tells them, he will estimate the next job and tackle it. This puts the client at ease, and it stretches out payments--a real concern with seniors. (2) Bill always asks for referrals and leaves a handful of business cards with the homeowner to give out to friends and neighbors. It's working well to get referrals for upcoming jobs.

     Seniors are a good source of new business and referrals. You can tap into this rich vein of referrals and repeat business if you are sensitive to the concerns of this big market. 

     Businesses are built one customer/client at a time. Working with seniors to get referrals is a good way to extend your reach. Seniors are loyal and they will refer others to you.