Know your audience — it’s the cardinal rule of marketing. That holds true whether you’re marketing cars, clothes –- or listings. These days, a lot of marketing chatter is focused on millennials. But there’s another buyer group that’s just as important: boomers.

  • Smart agents market to both millennials and boomers with targeted content.
  • To win buyer business, market yourself as a trustworthy guide to millennials and a local expert to boomers.
  • Millennials respond best to emotion-driven marketing and listings for affordable homes. Boomers want efficient living and maintenance-free properties.
  • Maximize marketing efficiency by targeting based on social network. Boomers are active primarily on Facebook, but millennials are on all the major platforms.

Know your audience — it’s the cardinal rule of marketing. That holds true whether you’re marketing cars, clothes — or listings. These days, a lot of marketing chatter is focused on millennials. But there’s another buyer group that’s just as important: boomers.

According to the National Association of Realtors’ most recent Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report, millennials and boomers are neck-and-neck for the title of most active homebuyer.

Millennials account for 32 percent of buyers while boomers account for 31 percent. That’s good news if you’re trying to market a listing to either audience — but if you want to do it effectively, you need to tailor your marketing to fit the generation. Here are three ways to do just that.

1. Tailor your personal brand.

Marketing starts at the beginning of the homebuying process when buyers are looking for an agent to guide their home search. NAR found that boomers tend to move longer distances — an average of 30 miles, compared to less than 10 for millennials — and, therefore, tend to prize agents with local knowledge.

There are several ways to market to this need. On your website and social media, post educational neighborhood-oriented content such as community videos and photos of local amenities.

Share info about local events to show that you’re plugged into the community. And put together a video bio that highlights your qualifications as a local expert, especially if you’ve been in the area a long time.

NAR found that, when possible, Boomers also tend to choose agents they’ve worked with before. So if you’ve got boomers in your contact list, keep in touch with them.

Although boomers use the Internet to help them find a home or agent, they prefer analog methods of communication. So pick up the phone or send a card to keep the connection strong.

According to the NAR report, millennial buyers look for something different in an agent. Because so many of them are inexperienced homebuyers, they want trustworthy agents who will help them understand the homebuying process.

To market to this need, post informative articles and videos on your website and social media. Focus on fun, educational content, and keep it short.

Suggested topics: budgeting for homeownership, navigating the mortgage application process and what to expect from a home inspection.

2. Match the tone and listing to the buyer.

According to the NAR report, boomers and millennials have different reasons for buying, and they look for various types of homes. Because millennials are usually first-time buyers, they tend to buy for emotional reasons and to purchase lower-priced properties.

So if you want to market to millennials, focus on emotion-driven reasons for owning a home: fulfilling the American dream, building a family and belonging to a community.

If you use Facebook advertising, target this age group with ads for affordable listings, such as smaller historic homes or fixer-uppers.

NAR found that boomers usually buy for more practical reasons, such as downsizing or retirement. Because of their stage of life, they also tend to favor lower-maintenance properties.

Engage them with a focus on efficient living: easy ways to downsize possessions, clever storage hacks, getting exactly what they want out of their homes and life.

NAR says that condos, new construction, and homes in full-service communities will be the most appealing listings for this group.

3. Use the right social network.

Social media is a notorious time and money suck, but you can maximize efficiency by tailoring your activity to the audience.

According to the Pew Research Center, Facebook is hugely popular with all age groups — yes, even boomers — so make sure you have a strong presence there.

Put together a quality business page and maintain it by posting at least several times a week (daily is better). But don’t just post listings — share content that’s also informative and entertaining.

If you’re targeting boomers, Pinterest is the second-most-popular age group for this demographic. Pew found that it gets a 27 percent audience share.

Other networks such as Twitter and Instagram barely get a nod. But keep an eye on them: usage is growing among older cohorts.

To reach millennials, you need to be active across all the main networks. Pew found that Facebook is still their favorite choice, but Instagram makes a strong second-place showing.

This is incredibly convenient for you because the two networks are linked — you can now build one ad campaign and have it run on both platforms.

Twitter and Pinterest aren’t far behind. Each network has its own set of conventions, so don’t cross-post reflexively. Make sure you tailor your content if you want to re-use it.

Do you have helpful tips for tailoring your marketing to specific age groups? If so, please share in the comments section below.

Kathryn Royster is the marketing communications coordinator for HouseLens, Inc., the nation’s largest provider of visual marketing solutions for real estate. You can follow Kathryn on Twitter @kathrynroyster. HouseLens is on Facebook.

Email Kathryn Royster.

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