5 Tips to Market to the 50+ Patient

The 50+ group is profoundly overlooked in marketing, and optometry is no exception.


Growing your Practice with 50+Year-Old Patients

A huge focus in marketing today is on millennials. Which makes sense. After all, these digital natives are now well out of college, starting families, and are rapidly changing the world. And don’t worry! We get to how to market millennials in a few weeks. But here’s why you should (re)consider how you’re marketing to this valuable demographic. 

Why 50+ Patients?

The answer is simple: Massive buying power! Boomers simply have more to spend and are far more likely to spend that cash lavishly on fashionable eyewear than their millennial counterparts. demographic. 


Want strategic marketing campaigns and measurable new patient growth?

Caption: In 2013, the US Census Bureau reported the disposable cash spend of 50+ to be in the ballpark of $3.2 Trillion. Yes, with a “T”.


Consider what that means for your potential optical revenues. And don’t stop there. When it comes to high-revenue optometric specialties, this is an audience you don’t want to overlook.

Focused Marketing

But first, we need to say a little bit about this demographic. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: If you’re trying to market to everyone, you’ll end up marketing to no one! If your goal is higher-revenue patients, then you need to tailor your website content and marketing strategy to your audience. So, here’s the scoop on the 50+ patients, which overlap two older generational cohorts: Baby Boomers and older Generation Xers. 

While not a strict science, the term Baby Boomer refers to folks born between 1946 and 1964. Now entering retirement or a good few years in, they have the time and money to spend on themselves and their families. And they love doing it. Here are some broad generalizations that you can make about this cohort:

  • They have a lot of brand loyalty. Convert one happy customer and he/she will stick around
  • Forget any preconceptions—They’re online and active on social media
  • Their style is pragmatic but they still want to be “hip”, responding well to that aesthetic

Generation X, on the other hand, is usually defined as the cohort born between 1965 and 1980. Living through Thatcherism and economic stagflation, Gen-Xers tend to be a bit more restrained in their purchasing decisions. They’re skeptical, savvy, and very much engaged with technology, having lived through the transition from analog to digital. Although somewhat older research paints this group as penny-pinchers, the fact is that older Xers are now at the pinnacle of their careers and therefore have more spending power than they did ten years ago. Marketing data also shows that this generation responds well to a good deal (think 2 for 1) and a digital coupon is an enticing offer. They also care about the ethical integrity and values of the companies they choose to purchase from, but they don’t have the downtime that retired boomers typically does.

Keeping these unavoidably broad generalizations in mind—but with a huge grain of salt!—here are Five Tips to Market to the 50+ patient.

#1. Your Website and Reviews Matter!

If you think Baby Boomers aren’t online, well...you’re wrong! Boomers are tech-savvy and a whopping 85% of them research products and services online. In fact, Boomers tend to value information and, unlike their millennial counterparts, they have the patience to read carefully. They want to understand who you are and the value of what you have to offer.

So, make sure your website content is primed for this audience, be it optical or optometric services. Establish your expertise and build trust with authoritative information. Testimonials and a great bio page are essential for this purpose.

And on the topic of trust, your Google reviews are a crucial first impression. Make sure you’re proactively having happy patients leave 5-star reviews. And always respond to reviews. You can bet that Boomers looking for the “right” eye doctor are looking. At EyeCarePro, we provide the right content strategy for your specific growth goals and powerful technology to get those reviews coming in.

#2. Everyone Wants to See Themselves

You might have a beautiful, trendy dispensary. And you may be running chic, cool marketing campaigns. But there’s a marketing fail when it comes to many designer frame lines. Their marketing aesthetic is like the rest of the fashion industry—the models tend to be very young, aloof, and too cool for school. And this is true even when the data is clear that the biggest buyers of these frame lines are indeed older women. The imagery often doesn’t reflect the target audience. People want to see themselves in marketing. Or at least their best selves. Boomers and older Xers value lifestyle, health, and active living. And the imagery you use should reflect that: in your dispensary, in your emails, and on social media.


#3. Email Works!

According to a study a few years ago from the AARP and marketing researchers, Boomers, and certainly Gen-Xers are heavily into email.


So, make sure you’re putting out campaign messaging by email to this audience. Whether it’s a fabulous new frame line or messaging about advanced dry eye treatment. Many PMS/EHR systems have email capacity, as do patient communication tools as well. We regularly prepare and send marketing emails for all our marketing clients.

Pro Tip: Boomers often purchase or inquire about services on behalf of others such as grandchildren. Older Xers and younger boomers are also often caregivers for geriatric parents, who may require low vision devices or specialized eye care.

#4. Up Your Facebook Game

Today, nearly 60% of 50+ are active on social media. What’s more, while Millenials hop around Instagram and Zers fly below the radar on TikTok, boomers and older Gen Xers are the largest demographic to be on Facebook. And while they post far less than their younger counterparts, they are avid spectators who follow, share, and immerse themselves in the Facebook ecosystem. Plus they’re far more likely to read everything.

So, make sure you’re putting your targeted messaging and imagery out there. We recently made a video featuring a practice of ours that does this really well, which you can watch here.

#5. Medical Specialties for Growth

The 50+ audience, that is, boomers and older Xers, are also an important demographic if you plan on growing your practice via optometric specialties. We’ve already mentioned the obvious one above, Dry Eye. And there are others. Glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, the care that’s relevant directly to this audience. But don’t be afraid to go beyond the obvious and think outside the box! 

Xers are also caregivers to aging parents and Boomers often have young grandchildren. Craft your website content and your marketing campaigns accordingly. This is a generation that reads the details and makes or contributes to family decisions. 

And as the Boomers march onwards into their seventies, you can bet that fitting low vision devices is a growth industry. 


Want Some Help?

Crafting content, planning your campaign strategy, and maintaining growth momentum is tough. And we can help. We’ll work with you to identify your top audiences, develop your online presence, grow your reviews, and get those new patient appointments flowing. Just fill out the form and choose a time to speak with us. Get your marketing on.


Make sure to subscribe to our blog below for optometry marketing best practices and industry updates to grow your practice!