5 Ways to Market and Connect with Millenials

If you are looking to market to Millenials (18 to 34), there are some things you need to know before you put together a plan to market to them especially online:

They’re larger than any age demographic in the world, making up ~90 million of the U.S. population. Lower employment rates and higher student loans have left them with less discretionary income and spending power.

They quite often tend to be very selective and price conscience. They’re less likely to be concerned with costs related to marriage, home ownership, cars, and even music.

In terms of discretionary income, they spend 27% less than Gen Xers and 23% less than Baby Boomers.

One of the most important things to know about the millennial generation is that they are the most connected demographic in the world.

If they like something about your brand, they will most likely talk about it through social media, blogs, text messaging, forums, and other digital avenues.

By tailoring an approach specifically to this generation, you have the opportunity to tap into some incredible word of mouth advertising for your brand.

However, you can’t expect to use traditional advertising methods to appeal to them. You’ll need to be sincere in your communication, reach them digitally and understand their values.

Since millennials live in a digital world, your website and other aspects of your online marketing need to be in tune with them.

If you pay attention, millennials will teach you how to reach to them!

Here are 5 strategies to help you market your brand to this generation:

Optimize Mobile

On a global level, millennials spend just over 3 hours a day on their smart phones – 25% longer than Gen Xers. Take a look around; many of them are practically surgically attached to their phones.

Your marketing strategy needs to keep this in mind.

You need to optimize your landing pages for mobile. They need to load quickly, and your call-to-action (CTA) needs to be bold and more importantly clear.

Find Influencers

In a world of options for information and entertainment, it’s easy for your messages to get lost in the sea.

Millennials are online to meet their own needs and often subscribe to sites that fit niche interests; they generally won’t welcome unrelated advertising with open arms.

To advertise to people, you have to know what they want; you have to know how they think. Understand the millennial mind and you will gain leverage over your competitors.

Forget old-style outreach advertising. Instead, discover the people with online influence whom millennials have come to trust.

This will include YouTube personalities, podcasters, Instagrammers and bloggers. The digital age puts a lot of pressure on especially millennials to be involved in the digital world – to show their social groups and the world at large what they’re up to.

Find ways to connect with those who have the attention of millennials and can get the buzz going about your business very quickly.

Be Authentic

It’s not too difficult for a business to develop a social presence. But, to reach millennials, it’s important to properly engage.

Remember, they’re savvy and resistant to being sold to. This is why it’s critical that they perceive your social involvement to be genuine, interesting and authentic.

Make sure your YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook channels make those who engage with you there feel special.

It could be said that millennials are the “me” generation, but really it’s basic psychology; you’re always going to do better if you can find ways to have your customers, no matter their age, believe they’re special.

Dale Carnegie, author of the bestseller How to Win Friends & Influence People, says it best: “Talk to someone about themselves and they’ll listen for hours.”

Here are some ideas that have been proven to work:

· Contests

· Loyalty programs

· Featuring content from users

· Sincere engagement with comments

Many businesses, for example, have had great success with Instagram campaigns featuring photos taken by followers.

An example is Apt2B, a Los Angeles-based furniture retailer. Their customers are encouraged to take pictures in their apartments of the sofas and accessories they’ve purchased.

Customers like this idea because they get to see how the product will look in an actual apartment instead of in the showroom. And the customers who provide photos feel valued by the company that is sharing their contribution.

Also, as an added bonus, those who provide photos may appreciate compliments from others about their style choices.

Connect Genuinely

Millennials may shun traditional advertising and view it as white noise, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want information. They value any information they deem to be authentic and within their interests.

Remember, they’re very tuned-in and don’t want to be conned.

Don’t focus on using hard-sell approaches; it won’t work.

Instead, shift your focus to developing believable content. Be trustworthy. They’re actively looking for information that will entertain or inform them.

With this soft-sell approach, you’re looking for opportunities to get your message to them in the context of experiences they already value and appreciate.

In today’s digital world, and especially when targeting millennials, you need to adapt your plan to reach them where they are, through content they trust.

If they see that your business understands and respects their core values, they’ll be hooked.

Include Them

People love to be involved; involvement will detract from the fact that you’re advertising to them. Lay’s “Do Us a Flavor” campaign is a great example of reaching millennials’ by including them in the creation of products.

Since 2012 in the U.S., Lay’s annual campaigns have offered a $1 million prize and encouraged the public to suggest new flavors for potato chips.

Outreach through various channels including Facebook and Twitter resulted in millions of submissions, each representing engagement with Frito-Lay.

Most companies can’t manage a promotion on that scale, but the take-away is that it helps to have a direct relationship with your audience and make business decisions based on input.

In Closing

How do you successfully reach millennials in a cluttered digital world? At its core, it’s pretty simple: you need to speak in their language and engage them authentically. Show that, you too, are human. Learn more about their problems and desires—then keep this in mind when you develop your products/services and messaging—and you’ll be ahead in today’s new marketing game.