How to Reach Empty Nesters With Your Online Marketing

September 29, 2014 Maria Valdez Haubrich

online marketing

Do you think empty nesters are still influenced by traditional marketing? Think again. A recent survey of empty-nester women age 45 and up by Influence Central reports that contrary to conventional wisdom, empty nesters are embracing social media, online browsing and shopping, and online reviews when making purchasing choices.

Empty nesters are desirable customers because now that they’re child-free, they have more time and purchasing power than during the hectic child-rearing years. Here’s some of what the study found about these customers’ habits:

Getting Social

  • Empty nesters are just as social, if not more so, than other generations. Almost all (close to 90 percent) are on Facebook, and nearly 60 percent use Twitter.
  • More than 70 percent use their smartphones to go on social media sites.
  • Although they rarely create content online, they’re very active in enjoying and sharing content created by others.
  • Nine out of 10 use texting, with more than one-third saying they’d rather text than have a phone conversation.

Shopping Online

  • Empty nesters now start their shopping journey online. Even when they learn about products offline, they go online to find information, reviews and discounts.
  • Google is typically their first stop along the way, with 90 percent using a search engine such as Google to learn more aabout products before buying.
  • More than 80 percent say they now spend more time browsing for products online than in physical stores.
  • 65 percent use their smartphones to find product information.
  • 64 percent make purchases online using their tablets.

Rate It

  • Empty nesters are highly influenced by others’ opinions, including both offline and online reviews.
  • 80 percent say they’re more likely to buy something if it gets a high rating online.
  • Almost 75 percent are more likely to buy if they get a positive in-person recommendation.
  • 45 percent are more likely to buy if a product is recommended by a blogger they follow.

What don’t empty nesters care about? Traditional marketing and advertising. The study found that although this can help to raise brand awareness, it typically doesn’t convert to a purchase. A mere 12 percent say they’re more likely to purchase a product when they see a compelling ad for it. Maybe that’s because almost two-thirds are “skeptical” of traditional advertising.

How can you reach empty nesters?

  • Bridge the gap between how they view themselves (tech-savvy) and how others view them (out of touch).
  • Make sure your company and/or products and services have lots of online ratings and reviews. Urge happy customers to recommend what you sell to others, whether online or in person.
  • Be active on social media, especially Facebook and Twitter.
  • Provide plenty of online information about what you sell in a mobile-friendly format.
  • Consider using a text messaging marketing campaign for customers who opt in.

Basically, reach out to empty nesters the same way you would to younger generations—using today’s digital marketing and advertising methods.

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Author information

Maria Valdez Haubrich

Maria Valdez Haubrich

Maria Valdez Haubrich is Chief Liaison Officer of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her company’s blog at


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