Millennials — also known as the Net Generation, Generation Y, Generation Me, Digital Natives, Generation Rent and Echo Boomers — are the demographic born roughly between 1981 and 2000. They are the first generation in history that have been raised in a world dominated by digital technology. This has shaped their identities and their political, social and cultural attitudes, and also defines how and where their money is spent — making it important to take marketing to millennials seriously.
Members of this generation are smart, environmentally aware, health-conscious consumers. In fact, they are on track to become the most educated generation in Western history. So call them what you will, but they are the wave of the future — and a demographic that is vital to today’s and tomorrow’s business economy. So what can your company do to catch that wave?
Millennials and technology
Millennials’ affinity for technology is defining how business attracts and keeps customers. According to Nielsen, 98 percent of millennials aged 18 to 24, and 97 percent aged 25 to 34, own a smartphone.
Smartphones are integral to both online marketing with 39 percent of this demographic claiming to use their smartphones for retail online purchases.
However, the majority of purchases — 53 percent — are still made at bricks-and-mortar stores. And while it’s true that they are still shopping at physical storefronts, 84 percent are using their mobile phones for shopping assistance while in the store, according to Alliance Data.
Millennials take their own path to purchase:
- They read a review.
- They consult their friends.
- They visit the deal site and compare prices.
- They download a coupon.
- They use the product.
- They take photos.
- They share their opinion on social media.
It’s important to keep this pre- and post-purchase behavior in mind as you devise a strategy for marketing to millennials.
Why does this matter to my small business?
This digitally in-touch, social media-smart, environmentally sharp, health-conscious, price-aware, intelligent group of consumers will give you a run for your money! They will research and compare before buying, with all the information they need at their fingertips.
Whether your storefront is online or on a street — or both — marketing to millennials and social media engagement are very important.
You need to give them a reason to connect with your business, and you can do this by discovering what’s important to them.
|What millenials love …||Attract them with …|
|Connection. Some claim a preference for buying local, even if the goods or services are more expensive because they like to feel connected to the products they buy. They want to know they are helping the local economy and not just some mass-market alternative.||For your small business to cash in on this, you will need to build business strategies for marketing to millennials by making your business easy to reach and emphasize the local, small business platform.|
|Transparency. Reciprocity and transparency are significant factors in determining their spending habits and brand preferences. This relationship is reciprocal because a good review by a popular millennial on social media could go viral and rocket your company to heights you never thought possible!||According to The Reciprocity Principle, companies need to reach out to millennials with a cross-media, cross-channel and cross-device brand presence that is based on an authentic reputation with the right values, personalities and communications. Push for a two-way, open dialogue to enhance feedback and your presence on the digital and social media platform.|
|Making a difference. A whopping 75 percent want to feel that, when they buy, they are making a difference by affecting the world in a positive way. For example, they are more likely to make a purchase from a company that is socially responsible, environmentally conscious and/or a protector of personal data.||Develop branding that is transparent and socially and environmentally conscious. Share these traits over social media and two-way forums.|
Tools for marketing to millennials
One of the most significant ways you can make your business accessible to millennials is by developing an enticing brand that’s available to them. Creating your brand by building a website — for example, with GoDaddy — is an effective marketing tool that can be used to attract this consumer pool. You can start for free and it can be built in under an hour.
Click-to-call is a link to your phone number on your website that, when your customers click it, calls your number. This makes it very easy for your millennial customer to feel connected to your business by reaching a “real” person on the other end.
You can also boost their confidence by adding a 1-800 SmartLine number to your mobile phone to create a professional, established presence for your small business. With no new equipment and an easy setup, your business will have a dedicated number — and its own voicemail box — so you can keep your business and personal calls separate.
Don’t forget about social
Stepping up your social media game on your website allows customers to share their experiences with you and others, giving you a free opportunity to increase the size of your customer base. This, in turn, could enhance your image with millennials, as they tend to rely on their peers for social reference regarding the brands they support.
Some 62 percent of millennials say if a brand engages them on social networks, they are more likely to become a loyal customer.
Marketing to millennials should be top of mind for your small business. And with an easy-to-navigate website, click-to-call functionality, a 1-800 number and a strong social media strategy, you can come across as professional and relatable. Take advantage of these tools to connect with millennials before they pass you by!