According to the most recent Family Resources Survey people in their forties are now almost twice as likely to be renting their home from a private landlord than ten years ago. So, with middle-aged renters on the rise it is arguably the right time to reconsider your core customer market.

Different properties appeal to different types of tenants, therefore, with an increasing number of older people renting, Assist Inventories are asking if it’s time for landlords to change what properties they buy and for agents to review how best to market them. Should they be focusing more attention on the growing middle-aged market instead of younger first-time renters? Target them effectively and companies could be profiting from this increase in more reliable older tenants.

Targeting the middle shouldn’t be ignored

The challenge of securing a foothold on the property ladder has transformed Britain into a country of renters with a group emerging known as ‘lifetime renters’. The latest available data shows how the middle-aged market has grown. The age group who has seen the largest increase in renting their home privately in the last ten years were 35 to 44-year-olds. The figures have doubled since the financial crisis from 13% to 26%. The proportion of 45 to 54-year-olds renting from a private landlord rose from 8% to 14% over the same period.

Those age groups are now a large share of the 5.4million people who are currently living in rented accommodation. This number is forecasted to keep growing for at least the next seven years – so property professionals can’t afford to ignore them as a target audience.

How to market to older adults

Before deciding how to target the age group it’s important to understand them by asking what do middle-aged people look for in a property? What do they value when looking at the benefits of a home and its location?

Rented accommodation can offer inclusive amenities for tenants that aren’t available to traditional homeowners, so these should be made clear to them when promoting a property. Talk about the maintenance available, state-of-the-art fitness facilities, common spaces, walkability, lift access, ease-of-living and a sense of community that these areas have. Shared amenities such as fitness areas and outdoor spaces need to be accessible and attractive, they want them to be more appealing than their current home. It’s also worth highlighting the security features of a property to middle-aged renters as it’s a common concern high on their list of priorities.

This demographic may live with children (permanently or periodically) of varying ages and looking at the more senior end some will have grandchildren too. Recognise the value of spending time with family and the nearby activities they can do. Swimming pools, cinemas, parks and any other facilities for planned outings will interest them when looking for a new home. The senior market will be concerned about accessibility. If the property has features like lever-style door handles, wide doors or hallways, and lift access then include them in the property’s photos you share. However, don’t dwell on physical ageing and painting it negatively. Reflect on the features as something positive – the lift makes bringing shopping up easy.

Effective audience engagement

Regarding advertising and media platforms, what are the best ways to reach out and communicate with middle-aged people?

Direct mail campaigns might be more antiquated for younger generations but for the middle-aged and baby boomer audience they are still highly effective. This market takes a greater interest in the direct mail they receive and has more time to read through promotions and pieces that interest them. A good basis for a mail campaign to this audience would include clear and legible text, a strong call to action, while linking the amenities to the personal values of this generation such as activity, adventure, growth, and happiness.

Customer service matters a lot to this group. Respond to their concerns promptly to help build brand loyalty and the likelihood of future referrals. Take opportunities to add a personal touch to marketing communications with a professional but friendly tone. Follow-up direct mail pieces with a personalised email or speak to them on the telephone. These gestures go a long way in delivering upon the personal, one-on-one communication this generation still believe in.

This demographic may not be using social media in the same way as millennials but they do use it and understand it. They access social media on their smartphones and other devices often to search for information and stay in touch with friends and family. A housing industry research firm called J Turner Research found that Facebook is the most favoured platform and more than half of this group who use social networking sites will visit a company website or continue their search on a search engine as a result. They like to do their research before making an informed decision, placing a lot of weight on online reviews with Google+ being the most used and trusted site when researching something in the community.

They’re more likely to be reading a printed publication and have subscriptions for them than a younger audience. An advert in a magazine will be more trusted than an online advert for this market. According to Forbes, advertising in specialty magazines can reach niche audiences that may be more difficult to target online. Focus on offering information that will resonate with a middle-aged audience such as real-life situations or featuring people who are like them.

As you develop your social media and advertising strategy for this demographic, link up your media channels. Have a user-friendly website and ensure these pieces come together to strengthen your message and offering. Remember this demographic knows what they want and are not afraid to pay for it. They tend to have more disposable income and savings than younger renters. Tell a story through your digital strategy about how a property will make their life better and more enjoyable.

Bringing together all the details

This advice will help you market to a demographic that may have been previously overlooked. Try to have an overarching strategy behind marketing tactics (direct mail, social media, online, print) that allows you to see measurable results if possible.

Middle-aged people care about details and so should any business. Assist Inventories provide comprehensive and detailed property inventory reports and services for landlords and agents who require security of a robust inventory report. For more information please get in touch.