A recent study by Deft Research of older adults shopping for Medicare insurance may hold some lessons for seniors living operators on the best ways to reach potential residents and their adult children.

For its annual “Age-in Study,” the company surveyed 64-year-olds as they approached Medicare enrollment, as well as seniors who were enrolling late, and found that direct mail was a major motivator for many consumers to visit websites.

“Even though most internet users said they found websites on their own, direct mail was the top promotional vehicle for driving consumers to websites,” the report found. “Mail drove three times more visitors to websites than internet or TV advertisements.”

Consumers most likely to visit a health plan’s website were more highly educated and had higher income and more health insurance literacy, according to Deft Research.

Interestingly, the company said, for the first time in the 11 years of the study, internet shopping was the most frequent way that this age group shopped for health insurance. The company suggested the use of multiple marketing channels to ensure that consumer preferences are being addressed, but “direct mail and other channels may no longer be as effective as they once were as introductions and announcements,” the authors said. “Their better purpose may be to offer unique shopping values — advice, assistance and opportunities to targeted populations.”

The study included 1,450 people who were 64 or up to three months past their 65th birthday and not enrolled in Medicare; 153 people aged 65 years and 4 months up through age 68 and not enrolled in Medicare; and 656 people who participated in Deft Research’s 2015 Age-in survey and were contacted again. The survey excluded older adults who receive health benefits through TRICARE or Medicaid.