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3 Step Share Strategy for Marketing to #Boomers Online

In a few weeks, several of us at Immersion Active will head to Nashville for one of my favorite industry events, the WOMMA Summit. WOMMA is an association focused solely on word of mouth and social media marketing. Frankly, “word of mouth” and “social media” are just the buzzwords to lure us marketers; what it’s really about is inspiring humans.

What does it mean to, as Immersion Active’s tag line suggests, “inspire influence”? Well, that’s an extremely cool but bigger topic that we’re going to tackle in an upcoming webinar. But for today, I want to share just a few tactical tips on, well – sharing.A little known fact from our friends at Boomer Project:

Every year, boomers are asked for their opinion an average of 90 times. Not so surprising, 90 percent of the time they offer their opinion. Now here’s the part that may surprise you – almost half of the time that boomers offered their opinion, they offered it online.

In the webinar, we’ll talk more broadly about how, where, and why, but for today, let me give you one approach to move toward a true share strategy that inspires boomers and seniors to engage with your brand.

Developing a 3-part Share Strategy

In Dot Boom, we talk about developing a three-part share strategy as one aspect of our MOE (Meaningful Online Engagement) approach to developing advertising campaigns targeting boomers and seniors. So here’s a condensed version with a few examples:

  1. Simply Shareworthy The first level of sharing is basic. What can we bring to the table for the brand we’re representing that is share worthy for sharing’s sake? For a senior meal delivery brand it may be recipes. For senior care, it may be an emergency checklist for the family caregiver.For our client, Trappist Caskets, we quickly learned that this company, run by monks (average age in their 80’s), had an amazing story to tell. This share worthy content can take many forms but let me suggest one strong one that you can see used in the Trappist campaign, long form video.

    Time and again, long form video craft for an older consumer has tested a winner for our clients and consumers.

  2. The Soft Share The next level of sharing is the “soft share.” The soft share typically meets a behavioral need.Before we start working with any client we always make sure we’ve considered what core human needs their brand fulfills and how it meets those needs based on their target consumers’ season of life (Note: this second part is critical and what distinguishes a campaign targeting millennials from one targeting boomers).

    This assessment and alignment is important but not difficult.

    For example, if our client is offering meal delivery, we may look to include an offer that meets an Energy need. If our client is selling smart phones for older adults, it may be a Relationship need.

    In the Trappist example, it was an Identity need. The monastery behind Trappist Caskets is Catholic, and so we tested and found that offering an MP3 of their chants was something that not only resonated with Catholics, but was something they were willing to share because it speaks to who they are.

  3. The Hard Share Finally, the hard share. This is probably the one that will be most familiar to marketers, but one that, done wrong, can be expensive and even problematic. The most distinguishing factor of the hard share is that it usually has some monetary value. We’ve all seen the offer for a baseball cap or mug from some member association or publication.In our work with a nonprofit charged with protecting Social Security, it was a booklet we developed. In our work with Home Instead Senior Care, it was a free app for family caregivers to use on their smart phones. In our work with Trappist, it was a little wooden “keepsake” cross.

    The hard share is both easy and, well, hard, to execute on. If your offer is too rich it can affect the ROI of your campaign. Likewise, if your offer is too rich or compelling, it can go viral via one of the hundreds of “daily deals” websites for which the people taking you up on your offer are neither interested in your product or service, nor connected to the audience you’re looking to attract.

    My advice here is to:

    1. Make it meaningful for the mature marketing segment you’re targeting,
    2. Go into your campaign with a couple of hard share options, and
    3. Test, test, test.

Beyond share tools:

A successful share strategy requires more than placing share tools next to all of your content. But a successful share strategy, such as the approach we just outlined, does require a clear connection between the offer, your call to action, and the ability to share.

Don’t forget to include share tools that are most relevant to your audience in close physical proximity to your share incentive. Obvious, right?

The bottom line:

Having an integrated, thoughtful share strategy should not be considered “nice to have” or “if we have time.” At Immersion Active, sharing and word of mouth play a big role in the ROI we’re able to deliver.

The first campaign we developed for Trappist (developed over 3 years ago) saw 20% of our traffic and an even greater percentage of our leads come from word of mouth in the form of sharing. The bottom line was a $14 dollar return on every dollar they invested in that campaign. Since then, through testing and further building on what we’ve learned this client now realizes an average $20 return on their campaigns.

A closing quote and thought on sharing:

“There’s a great joy in my giving. It’s thrilling. It’s exhilarating. It’s important to be a part of sharing. It is my love. It is my joy.”

– W. Clement Stone (Successful salesman turned businessman and philanthropist who penned that quote in a book during the second of half of his life)

Our job as marketers – especially online and especially in this day of social media – is not to coerce action, but rather to create relevant opportunities for which people are inspired to do what we are all wired to do – share.