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How to market to millennials

By Alexandra Gavril - July 15, 2017

Millennials are a demographic that every business out there wants to charm. But the trick in earning their loyalty involves getting their attention, and keeping it too. This is no easy task considering this group doesn’t respond to traditional advertising or marketing tactics like previous generations.

So, how do you market to millennials and create the kind of engaging experiences they will remember and respond to?

Here are a few ways…

Eight ways to market to millennials

1. They’re mobile junkies

It’s fairly obvious that smartphones are the device of choice for this generation. They use them from everything from reading articles and sharing stuff on social media to booking flights and hotels. So it goes without saying that they have high expectations when it comes to their experience on your website. They want it to be simple, easy, and fast.

This means that if you want to cater to this demographic, you need to ensure your site is responsive, meaning it can automatically adapt to the screen size of any device.

But aside from being responsive and populated with eye-catching content that fits into every mobile screen, you should also make sure it loads quickly. Millennials aren’t a patient bunch so if your site is slow, meaning it takes more than two seconds to load, they’ll most definitely leave and go to your competitors instead.

Fortunately, our Website Builder can help with that, by enabling you to build a responsive, fast and affordable website in a few clicks.

2. Make them the star

Millennials like to see themselves in the media they consume. So don’t hesitate to use them and the content they generate to help tell your story.

Here’s an example:

If you’re using Twitter or Instagram, you can also try to come up with a memorable brand hashtag that people can use when talking about you.

So when they’re sharing photos, videos or testimonials of their experience with you, they can tag your brand in their posts. Not only will you be able to monitor mentions of your brand with ease, but you can also feature this user-generated content throughout your social channels.

Here’s an example of how people are telling a story using Coca cola’s #ShareaCoke hashtag:

This is the kind of awesome user-generated content that you should aim to feature on your page for everyone to see.

When you make followers part of your story, and when you also feature their content for everyone to see, you’ll not only make them feel special, but your message will also reach more people.

3. Let them be part of your brand

This group of consumers likes it when brands ask for their feedback. So when you’re making decisions regarding your business – whether it’s choosing between two new logos or which chairs to use in the office – seek their input.

Check out how easy it is to do this:

Everyone, but millennials in particular, appreciates it when you make them feel important and valued. And when you do, they will feel like they’re part of your brand and they’ll want to help it grow. That’s the road to brand loyalty.

4. Use your voice to connect, not to push your product

84% of millennials don’t trust advertisements. Why? Because they think it’s all spin, which is why they’ve become almost immune to it. It has no effect on them or their buying habits. If it’s not what they want, they’re incredibly adept at filtering it out.

That means that traditional marketing will no longer cut it. So if your idea of marketing is to use billboards, radio ads, or even “here’s my awesome product, buy it now” type of online ads, hoping that some of it sticks, it’s time to completely shift your focus.

If you’re not aware of these generational wants and needs, and continue to market your business using outdated tactics, you will find your ads (and your business) very, very lonely.

The key here is authenticity.

Every piece of content you create needs to be real. If it looks like an ad, it will be skipped over faster than a Tinder profile without a photo.

So instead keep your content, communications and content as authentic as possible. That means:

  • Producing content that lines up with their needs, wants and goals. Think: blog posts, video tutorials, webinars, ebooks, infographics.
  • Opening your business to them and showing them what happens behind the scenes. You can’t run a business behind closed doors and expect people to trust you. You need to show them that they’re dealing with real people, not faceless corporations.
  • Show that you care, and not just about them, but also about you and your work. Prove that you’re passionate about what you do, and about providing people with something of value, and aren’t just in it just for the money. If you want people to believe in your product and that it can truly make their lives better, they need to see you believe it too.

And when you do use ads to reach millennials, make sure they look like native ad (meaning ads that are “in-feed” and non-disruptive). That also means keeping adjectives like “amazing” and “the best” to a minimum.

5. Build strong relationships with influencers

Since millennials don’t respond to traditional advertising or hard selling, your challenge is to build relationships with influencers that they respect, so they can become advocates for your brand, and influence for you.

Influencer marketing works because when an influencer promotes a brand (effectively) it doesn’t feel like an ad but more like a trusted friend recommending a product. Millennials enjoy the raw, no frills, up close and personal nature of influencers.

So since millennials put so much trust into the recommendations of influencers, you should make it a priority to build relationships with these powerful personas. Just make sure to choose the right influencers, otherwise you might risk losing credibility in front of millennials.

Nick Leech, group marketing director at 123 Reg, shares lots of useful tips on how to find influencers and ways to engage them in these Swift 6 videos:

6. Appeal to FOMO

Millennials, more than any previous generation, are about FOMO (fear of missing out). They want the best deals; they want the newest products; they want exclusive access to the latest technology; and they want it now, before anyone else.

So make sure you find creative ways to offer them a unique experience or deal in order to tap into their drive to be involved and stay in the loop. That can mean anything from special offers, discounts and coupons to product trials delivered via email or social channels.

Just make sure that what you’re offering is good. Because if it is, they’ll share the life out if it. And their friends and followers will follow suit, helping you to create further buzz.

7. Social media is your badge of acceptance

Social media is your review. It’s where millennials get informed and educated. It’s where they do their research on your business and also where they form their opinion about your brand.

So those countless hours that they spend on social media, they’re not there to be talked at. They don’t choose to follow your Facebook or Instagram page to scroll down through tens of self-promotional and product-focused messaging. Instead they do it to engage, to read fun, interesting, useful content, to have their questions answered and to share their experiences or read about others’.

So you can bet that the content generated by your fans and followers in the form or reviews and conversations will weigh more heavily on their purchasing decision than even the most clever post or ad.

In fact, 51% of millennials say that being able to see consumer opinions gave a greater impact on making a purchase decision.

That means that not only should you ensure you offer a great purchasing experience from beginning to end, but also engage with your followers’ reviews, comments and discussions.

8. Millennials expect an instant response

The rise of mobile has meant that millennials stay connected all the time, wherever they are. And if they have questions, they’ll ask them on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and expect an instant response. That means that you need to be present and active, and try your best to answer quickly.

Wrapping up

There is this assumption that millennials are a challenging demographic to connect and sell to.

That may be true, but here’s the thing: no generation, millennials or other, have or ever will become loyal to inauthentic brands that only talk and never listen to their audience, that only want to sell but don’t take the time to provide anything of value or educational, or that spam their followers with irrelevant ads, hoping someone will bite.

So when marketing to millennials you first need to learn what they respond to and what matters to them. Then you can use that information to deliver the relevant, engaging and helpful content that they’re looking for.