RISMEDIA, July 31, 2007—After almost five years in development and testing, The Toma Group, an Olympia, WA-based company, has just released its flagship product, Seniors Connected. Seniors Connected is a nation-wide network of interconnected Web sites, designed specifically for the Seniors demographic. Along with having a unique arena for the exchange and communication of information at the National, State, County, and City levels, Seniors can research subjects encompassing virtually every interest and concern they may have. In addition, there is a calendar of events, a private section for Seniors to organize their own personal lives, a section for Seniors oriented organizations to establish their own presence and dozens of additional features. Along with the National site, UnitedStatesSeniors.com, this network will encompass over two thousand towns, cities, counties and States when fully deployed over the next 12-18 months.
Sponsorship opportunities are provided for one exclusive real estate professional in every city of the United States to become the agent of choice amongst Seniors in that community. For every City, the corresponding County, State and then National sites will draw from the daily changing content and interactions amongst Seniors at the local level. Numerous opportunities are built in to the sites to assist real estate professionals in developing lasting, long-term relationships amongst this fastest growing, most affluent and mobile demographic. Developing name awareness and professional credibility for real estate sponsors was a major focus in how the sites were designed.
Pointing to the increasingly important role and buying power of Seniors and their communities, Doug Burger of The Toma Group explains, “We found the Seniors’ community to be left out when it comes to a truly representative Web site developed especially for them. The Seniors’ market is emerging as the most important demographic in our economy. The spending habits of Seniors ranks them at the very top of the groups real estate professionals should be creating Top of Mind Awareness with.”
According to Burger, seniors are on the go. “They move around. They sell their big house and downscale. They sell their small house and upscale. How many times have you come across an empty-nester couple who raised their family of five in an 1100 square foot rambler with three bedrooms and 1 bath? Now they’re buying a 3500 square foot, four bedroom, three bath, dream home for the two of them. Approximately 21 percent of Seniors expect to move to an entirely new part of the country.”
The Toma Group has product tested the Web applications amongst seniors and sponsors alike, and has applied those experiences into continual improvements and features on the sites over the last several years.
According to the developers, one of many features called ‘My Home Central’ makes these products come alive.
“The registered user can virtually set up and manage home inventories, important documents, photos, calendars, addresses and so on,” says Burgess, co-owner in charge of site development.
Seniors discussions, events and forums are open to the public but only registered users can post information and engage in one-on-one communication. All registered user activities are provided at no charge. Recommended vendors are posted by the sponsor, who can highlight and support local businesses who do a good job. Vendors can provide coupons and discounts for Seniors directly on the sites.
The Real Estate section is especially dynamic and helpful, and can direct them to targeted real estate agents whose expertise in real estate and working with Seniors can guide users in the complicated areas of buying, selling and retirement planning. This section is specifically designed for real estate client relationship-building, creating an opportunity for agents, teams, brokers, title and escrow companies to sponsor and develop name awareness in cities across the country. Agents should and will be focused on capturing loyalty from this exclusive demographic group.
Web users tend to expect a higher level of technological expertise and use a wider variety of educational tools when making their buying and selling decisions. While studying home buying and selling information on a Seniors Connected site, they will be reminded of the sponsor as the ‘Seniors’ real estate expert.
The sponsor will have the opportunity to interact, provide a higher level of customer service and develop solid long-term client loyalty. The Toma Group will be mainly focused on agents who hold the Seniors Real Estate Specialist designation to sponsor their local sites.
“It’s amazing that we now have the capability of harnessing the power of the Internet to really communicate in the areas we’re most familiar with, but traditional farming methods are still the norm.” says Burger. “The exclusive site sponsors will have an enormous advantage over their competition when it comes to establishing relationships and long term loyalty amongst this growing and affluent demographic.”