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Published on July 15th, 2010 | by Janine Popick

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Baby Boomers Need to Read Your Email So Make It Easy on the Eyes

Smiley FaceAmber Cleave, our Customer Retention Specialist, recently forwarded me a great article by Chad White, who writes for Smith-Harmon an email marketing agency for larger businesses. He wrote a really interesting article where he talked about how Baby Boomers are critical to marketers since they control over 80% of personal financial assets and more than 50% of discretionary spending power. Wow.

Chad is seeking to convince marketers to increase the point size of their fonts by 1 point this year, in 2015 and in 2020 to make it easier for the growing Boomer population to read and take advantage of their offers. He also offers suggestions like avoiding:

  1. Reverse type, where there’s white/light text on black/dark background
  2. Low-contrast text, where text and background colors are very close in value to each other
  3. Text over background images with lots of bright and dark areas
  4. Full caps, which is not only considered shouting, but is harder to read than lower case

We’ve written about some of these things before when it comes to designing your email for deliverability, but Chad hits the nail on the head with these design issues for readability. We’ve talked about doing this internally on our own website and now we’ll be taking these ideas into account for our email marketing.

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About the Author

is the CEO and founder of VerticalResponse.



3 Responses to Baby Boomers Need to Read Your Email So Make It Easy on the Eyes

  1. Our market is nearly entirely “boomer” and older – the oldest person getting our emails is 85. Of the fonts offered on Vertical Response, we use Verdana, as it has the highest readability of the fonts offered, and put it in a large (at least 14 pt) size.
    For our general correspondence, we use Tiresias. The British Royal National Institute for the Blind offers this font for free. (You can easily find the free download with a web search.) I tell you, once you get used to a high visibility font like Tiresias, you’ll wonder how you ever dealt with Times Roman 10 pt in your past!

  2. Actually I’ve noticed that websites, and emails I receive are starting to get smaller and smaller fonts.
    Maybe that’s me as I get older, or maybe it’s newer marketers trying to say too much in such small spaces.
    In any case, the larger the type, the more readable, and the more attention getting.
    One of my rules of thumb is that the more difficult you make it to do business with you the fewer clients you get. And I throw the ones that even strain my eyes a bit, and there’s more and more of those.

  3. Linda says:

    Over 40 I think everyone eventually succumbs to presbyopia – so heed this good advice if you market to the over 40 crowd. Also take this into account for website development – small gray text is very difficult to read without reading glasses and many boomers are too vain to wear them so they will skip your website if they don’t know how to magnify their computer (and many don’t know how to adjust their computers)

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