There is a huge amount of talk in the industry about marketing to millennials and for good reason. Just like any generation prior, millennials think and buy differently. If millenials are a target audience for your business, it is vital to have an understanding of how this generation differs, what they value most and which factors play a role in their purchasing habits. Below is a quick guide to connecting with and marketing to millennials. In addition to some general information regarding millennial consumers, I will also provide you with a list of crucial things you must know about effectively marketing to millennials.
What are Millennials & Why Should You Care?
Although you may find multiple definitions of what a millennial is, this generation is typically understood to be those who were born between 1982 and 2002. This means that consumers in this generation range in age from 16 to 26, give or take a few years. If your target audience falls within this age range, then there is a good chance that they have some things in common with the typical millennial.
There are several characteristics that are often associated with millennials. Though you should take these with a grain of salt, it is vital to be aware of these generalisations if you are aiming to reach these customers. Since this generation has had access to the internet for most, if not all, of their lives, they tend to be well-informed and internet savvy. This includes searching online for answers to their most pressing questions and conducting thorough product research through the search engines.
As multi-taskers, millennials also tend to value flexibility and mobility. Most people in this generation work remotely or have flexible work schedules that allow them to work from anywhere with an Internet connection. This desire for flexibility also means that millennials are generally very mobile. Most millennials use mobile devices to work and stay connected to others from any location. Millennials also value experiences, sometimes over ownership itself.
This has paved the way for a new type of product or service that emphasizes use over ownership, such as ride-sharing services like Uber and clothing rental platforms such as Rent the Runway. Millennial preferences for experiences also extend to their marketing tastes as these consumers tend to favour marketing campaigns that invite them to be a part of the experience through user-generated content. The reason why there is so much buzz around this particular generation is that they have a considerable amount of buying power.
5 Things You Need to Know About Marketing to Millennials
If you hope to build a digital marketing strategy that allows you to effectively engage millennial buyers, you will need to understand what makes them tick. Here are just a few of the most vital things you need to know about marketing to millennials and what this means for your digital marketing strategy:
- Millennials Want to Connect With Brands Through Content
Millennial consumers do not respond well to traditional advertising messages that are disruptive or written in marketing language. Most millennials do not trust traditional advertising. This makes inbound marketing a must for any brand that is trying to reach and convert millennial consumers. Content marketing plays a vital role in helping you build trust with your millennial consumers, making quality content essential to reaching this population. Millennials want to engage with authentic brand messages and stories that help them better understand their challenges and also get to know who a company is and what they stand for.
Content marketing provides your brand with the opportunity to make real connections with your target millennial buyers. By consistently publishing quality content on your website or blog, you are educating your audience whilst demonstrating your industry expertise. In addition, you have the chance to show some of your brand’s personality and voice through the tone and topics of your content. Your blog content plays a crucial role in helping you reach millennial buyers. One in three millennials use blog content to gain information they need prior to making a purchase.
By consistently publishing content that adds value for these consumers, you can begin to build relationships with these buyers and work on converting one time customers into lifetime brand advocates. Ensure that the content you are creating adds value for your target audience. Use your customer personas to comprehend what your buyers value the most and what type of information they need to make a purchasing decision. Then, use these details to generate relevant content topics and create a content calendar to ensure that your continuously posting useful content that engages your millennials buyers.
- Online Customer Reviews Matter
Millennials are known to only follow brands that they trust. They like to establish an emotional connection with the product or brand first before making the decision to purchase. That is why you should not push your brand in an obvious manner to get their attention. Rather, you should do it in a way that will build an emotional connection with them. Use real people to show real results. Tell them stories about your product, your brand’s values and how it changes the lives of people. One method to do it is through online reviews.
Your brand should emphasize positive online reviews. For millennials, online reviews have become the new word-of-mouth marketing. How do I do this? Discover new ways to encourage happy customers to leave their review online. One way to get more online reviews is to simply ask. Reach out to your best customers and provide some kind of incentive for leaving a review. For example, you might send out an email message to those who have made repeat purchases asking them to recommend your brand online. Then reward them with 10% off their next purchase.
You also need to ensure the process of leaving a review is as easy as possible. Link to your Google, Yelp and social media review pages in your email communications with customers. For example, you may provide a prompt with links to these review pages in your shipping confirmation email or in a later follow-up email after a customer makes a purchase. To receive even further traction out of your online reviews, it is vital to engage with reviewers. For positive reviews, ensure to leave a short and sweet comment on the review that thanks the customer for their time and opinion. For negative reviews, you will not only want to leave a comment thanking the reviewer for their time but also assure them that you are working to remedy the situation, if possible. This shows those who land on your page that your business cares about customer service and providing a positive experience for all your buyers.
- Mobile-Friendly is No Longer Optional
Mobile site design is another crucial aspect of successfully marketing to millennials. If millennials are part of your target audience, it is important that your website and content is optimized for mobile devices. This generation includes the largest group of regularly active mobile device users. According to Nielsen, 98% of millennials aged 18-24 and 97% of millennials aged 25-34 own and use a smartphone regularly. These consumers are using their phones to research products and services online and to make purchases.
Google discovered that 66% of millennials believe that the information they find on their mobile device is just as accurate and thorough as the information they find on their desktop. This means that if a millennial consumer stumbles upon a website that is not optimised for their device, they will likely take their business elsewhere. Google also discovered that 89% of people are likely to recommend a brand to their friends and family after having a positive experience on their mobile site. This shows how crucial a helpful and pleasant mobile shopping experience can be for buyers in this generation.
If you wish to ensure that you are not taking advantage of every opportunity to engage millennial consumers, you will need to ensure that your website design is optimised for mobile devices. This includes having a mobile-friendly website layout and design that is simple to read and navigate from any device. You should also ensure that your content marketing is optimised for smartphones, including any website content or email marketing.
- Get Social
The millennial population is one of the most connected generations around. To remain connected with their friends, family and colleagues, millennials are very active on social media channels such as Facebook and Instagram. According to Nielson, the app most often used by millennial smartphone users is Facebook, with the Facebook messenger app close behind. If you wish to connect with millennial consumers, you must reach them where they are and engage with them in ways that they prefer.
With social media being time consuming for the millennial customer, it is vital for businesses to utilise these channels to build their brand, cultivate trust, drive engagement and boost sales. If you want your social media marketing to be effective with millennial buyers, you will need to go far beyond just posting interesting content on your channels. Social media networks are by their very nature social spaces which means that you must interact with customers and start a conversation in order to hold their engagement.
The more engaged your millennial audience is, the more likely they will be to buy from your business. Forbes reported that 62% of millennials said they were more likely to become a customer if a company engaged them personally on their social media channels. In addition, you can use social media as a customer service channel. When consumers ask questions or voice concerns on your social media pages, it is crucial for your business to accurately respond to these enquiries in a quick manner. Not only does this improve customer satisfaction, but it shows other millennial customers on social media that your brand puts its customers first.
- Find Ways to Collaborate
Given that the majority of millenials are interested in experiences, it should come as no surprise that they favour collaboration when it comes to interacting with brands. Research has shown that millennial customers want to help companies develop future products and services. This desire to be part of the action can be extremely beneficial to brands that are always looking for new opportunities to provide better products and services. Millennials are also interested in spreading the word about the brands they enjoy. Though you cannot purchase their loyalty, you can earn it by building trust and establishing rapport with your best customers.
The goal is to get these customers to share their experiences on social media and other channels, which in return improves your reach. One way that you can take advantage of this desire to collaborate is by working with influencers in your industry. Partnering with an influencer that has a significant blog or social media following, you are also tapping into their engaged audience. Collaborating with influencers helps you reach and build trust with new millennial audiences.
Another way is using user-generated content, this is content that your fans and followers create around your products and services that acts as social proof. Due to the nature of this kind of content, it is typically more memorable than some branded content. Not to mention, it is coming from customers who are actually using your products or services on the daily, millennials often trust this type of media over traditional branded content. Using this method helps to build trust between the brand and audiences.
Millennials are a powerful market when it comes to buying both power and influence. If your business is attempting to target these buyers, it is essential that you keep in mind the ways that they are different from other generations. By comprehending their purchasing process and getting to know the types of marketing they prefer, you can adjust your digital marketing strategy to better engage these buyers.