Professional Jeweler Archive: The Personal Touch

May 2005

Cover Focus | Older Boomers: Promotion


The Personal Touch

Older Boomers respond to all forms of communication, including e-mail

Jim Ackerman and Wink Jones


Baby Boomers really do come in two packages – those journeying nearer to 60 and those under 50. Quite a difference. While they share many similarities, you can do some special things for older Baby Boomers.

These folks have money and believe they’re entitled to quality treatment. They realize they’ve paid their dues. Their incomes may be near peaking or have peaked already, but their expenses probably have declined. Many enjoy a quality of life beyond anything they’ve experienced before. The kids are gone, the grandkids are arriving and these older Boomers are enjoying themselves and new-found freedom.

One-on-One, the Personal Touch

If you’re not taking advantage of database marketing yet, there is no time like the present, and there may not be a better group to test.

Query your database for your older Boomer clients and search their buying history individually. If you’ve done your homework, you have key information such as anniversary and birthdates of the Boomers and their children. (If you’re not getting this information on all of your clients, start gathering it now! You’re leaving thousands of dollars on the table.)

Most importantly however, is their buying history. Knowing what they’ve bought in the past gives you a pretty good insight into what they’ll buy in the future.

Don’t wait for them to come to you. Go to them with individualized offers. And you have four key ways to reach them:

1. They’ve Got Mail

E-mail is a new marketing venue, and older Boomers are computer-savvy and reachable. The secret to making this work is to make the e-mail message personal. Follow these four simple steps:

  • Address them by their first names.
  • Remind them of the occasion as you convey your well wishes.
  • Make an offer related to the occasion and that demonstrates you are aware of things they’ve bought in the past. “These beautiful earrings will go perfectly with the diamond anniversary necklace you bought last year and the tennis bracelet you got in 2002,” for example.
  • No pressure, but definitely let them know you’re thinking of them and you value your relationship with them.

2. Postcard

You can do the same thing with a postcard, as long as you keep it personal. Here are three steps:

  • Use a picture postcard. This should look like a “wish you were here” photo of an attractive location. Don’t send a picture of jewelry. (One exception: you can send a photo of the actual piece you’re recommending they buy on one side of the postcard.)
  • Handwrite your message or use a handwriting font on your computer. If you don’t have a handwriting font, opt for a typewritten look, using a typeface such as Courier.
  • Follow the steps outlined above for the e-mail.

3. Sales Letters

Put the letter on personal stationery, which is usually smaller and fits in a No. 6 envelope, instead of on your company letterhead.

Personalize the body of the letter with your customer’s first name, and remember to keep the tone of the letter friendly. Here are some other tips:

  • Don’t be overly concerned about the length of the message. Feel free to go onto the back of the first page. If you run to three or four pages, however, consider cutting back.
  • Enclose a picture of the product or products you’re recommending.
  • The envelope should be plain with a first-class stamp. Instead of your company logo, simply put your name and the street address of your store on the return address section of the envelope. Handwriting, a handwriting font or the typewriter look are best for all copy on the envelope as well.

4. Telemarketing

You can certainly give these important clients a personal phone call. The “script” is basically the same as the written pieces described above. Let the conversation “free-flow.”

Describe the product you’re recommending and indicate you’re holding one back just so they can come to your store for a look. Invite them to make an appointment to come see it.

Remember, older Boomers believe they deserve special treatment. Give it to them and they’ll reward you with their loyalty and their cash.

Jim Ackerman is president of Ascend Marketing Inc.; (800) 584-7585, jimack@ascendmarketing.com. Wink Jones is owner of Winfield’s, a retail jeweler in Boise, ID. Together they’ve produced a six-CD audio program on marketing for jewelers.

Goldie Hawn, at the top end of the older Boomer category, is a radiant 59.

Copyright © 2005 by Bond Communications